Route 31 Road Construction

It began May 8 and has a very long way to go!! When you exit the PA Turnpike at Donegal be prepared to experience delays! The project begins just above the turnpike exit and continues down to the turn to Route 711 at Sarnelli’s. In a months time much has been done with much more to come! Please pack your patience and watch out for the workers!


Nemacolin 5 Alarm Chili Cook-off June 13, 2015

Nemacolin Chili Cookoff

Compete in the Restaurant Division of Nemacolin’s annual Five Alarm Mountain Madness Chili Cook-off

Have you been told that your restaurant has the BEST chili? PROVE IT by registering for the Restaurant Division at Nemacolin’s 6th Annual Five Alarm Mountain Madness Chili Cook-Off! Winner will receive Bragging Rights, an Award Plaque and a One-Night Nemacolin Stay with $150 in Resort Spending Credits. For more information, contact Ashli Mazer-Workman by email or by phone at 724-329-6387.


Trillium Time!

For those of you who follow our BLOG you know how much we love the Indian Creek Valley (ICV) Bike and Hike Trail. Most of you will easily find it because it is located across from the Somerset Trust Bank on County Line Road (Please, only use their parking when they are closed). Although there are multiple sections with each one having its own unique characteristics, including FLOWERS! One of our personal favorites is the Trillium and this weekend they will be blooming for all to see! Check out the ICV website!




It is one of the most frequently asked questions we receive, “Where can we ride our ATV’s?” Here’s one option, the Indian Creek Valley ATV Club. Easily found by staying on 711 to White, maybe 8 miles from Sarnelli’s, then look for the sign on the right (if you come to Indian Head you passed it).  They offer year round riding for ATV’s and UTV’s on over 30 miles of “safe and groomed trails.” There’s a mix of elevation and difficulty to challenge any rider. Their website offers more details, check it out and safe riding!



SB 76 Picture

It is time for more discussion! SB 76 the NO more school property tax was voted and passed In the Senate Finance Committee 6-5! We were there TODAY. Now it goes to Approbations Committee to see it they will pass it to the floor. Wags and I along with many of our REALTOR friends filled the rooms (yes they had to open up a second hearing room there were so many of us because we were having our State Organization meeting the same day!!) with high hopes! Check out RealReform76 for more information, find your Senator, and to share your story!  Basically, Philadelphia and that area and the teachers union are the greatest opponents, while every retired person with property and Realtor in the state should be for it. Here’s how the finance committee voted:

Yes –
Senator Blake, Democratic chair (D-Lackawanna)
Senator Browne (R-Lehigh)
Senator Brubaker, Republican chair (R-Lancaster)
Senator Eichelberger (R-Blair)
Senator Scarnati (R-Clearfield)
Senator Wozniak (D-Cambria)

No –
Senator Greenleaf (R-Montgomery)
Senator Hutchinson (R-Venango)
Senator Smith (D-Allegheny)
Senator Teplitz (D-Dauphin)
Senator Vance (R-Cumberland)


Senate Finance Committe to VOTE on SB 76 TOMORROW!!

NO TAX SHOULD EVER BE ABLE  TO TAKE AWAY YOUR HOME! Check out for the details on this bill. It was just scheduled to come up for a vote in the Senate Finance committee TOMORROW! Let your senator know that it is time for school property tax reform!! Tell them you support SB 76 and expect them to do the same! School property taxes are making our seniors homeless! One of our elderly neighbors recently shared they can only pay their school property taxes for another 4 years and then they are out of money!


Pennsylvania Turnpike Traveler Advisorary Panel

The Turnpike Commission is in the midst of the largest capital rebuilding plan in their history! This panel is an on-line research community that will provide feedback from 4,000 customers! We know our readers spend a good bit of time on the PA Turnpike and you may qualify to be a part of the Advisory Panel! Here’s your chance to be heard and to receive some treats in return! The first step is taking a short survey as they want to ensure they have a good mix of different types of travelers sharing their thoughts.


No More School Tax??

At our state Realtor Association meetings in Harrisburg this September more details on the progress of PA House Bill 76 and PA Senate Bill 76 were disclosed.  The goal is to replace the school property tax with a personal or earned income tax.

Our association is committed to property tax reform and is moving forward with a campaign to support these bills. A presentation was made at our meetings by Jason Horwitz of the Anderson Economic Group. Check out their research on this topic. Soon the PAR Realtor Association will have a website with more details.

If it passes, all homeowners would no longer be paying property taxes to support a school district.  Homeowners without children have long cried, “no fair” to school taxes. Our second home owners at Hidden Valley and Seven Springs would no longer pay a tax to a school that their children do not attend.

The numbers appear to work so keep your eyes and ears open so you can have a say!


Fiscal Cliff and Real Estate

Our National REALTOR Association has shared what impact the fiscal cliff vote has for real estate! Including capital gains and tax extenders! To read the full details click here!


Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative

This is the latest newsletter from the Conservation Landscape Initiative, established about 2010 by PA DCNR to help small communities in the planning of conservation efforts in their area. As we are are striving to keep our natural resources intact and improve the area in the Laurel Highlands we thought this would be good information. Newsletter talks about effects of natural gas drilling, Stoney Creek, and more.


Nemacolin Ski Lodge Burns Down

Sunday evening Nemacolin Ski Lodge completely burned down. The fire started about 8:00 and was reported by an employee in the building who got out. There were no injuries to the staff. Nearly every fire department in Fayette County responded to the fire alarm. Here is a link to a report and video by Pittsburgh Channel 4 WTAE.


Laurel Highlands CLI Newsletter Vol 3 No 7


Imgrund to lead bureau
Lauren Imgrund was recently selected to head the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation at DCNR.

Lauren has helped to steer the Laurel Highlands CLI since its inception as DCNR’s “lead internal partner” and she also served as coordinator of all seven CLI’s across the state.

While we will miss her hands-on leadership in the Laurel Highlands CLI, she will continue to support our efforts as burea director and we are confident that she will do an outstanding job.
PEC is proud to be the lead external partner in the CLI. Please see PEC at:

Follow-up Links
DCNR’s CLI page.
PEC’s Laurel Highlands CLI page.
Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau.

Laurel Highlands CLI
Vol. 3 No. 7

Conservation Coalition Conference Nov. 7
A broad-ranging program will be featured in the third conference of the Laurel Highlands Conservation Coalition from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7, at Powdermill Nature Reserve, 1847 Route 381, near Rector.

The coalition was created last year by grass-roots conservation and environmental groups in Fayette, Westmoreland, Somerset and Cambria Counties to support funding for conservation efforts, provide information about key issues and to network.
Conference presentations
The Conservation Coalition conference will have four featured presentations.

At 9:30 a.m., John Wenzel, Director for Biodiversity and Ecosystems at Powdermill, will exlain Powdermill’s traditional research on birds and its explanding mission into areas such as biodiversity.

At 10:45 a.m., Davitt Woodwell, vice president of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, will provide a broad update on the Marcellus industry and issues, including the status of a proposed impact fee.

At 12:45 p.m., Dr. Tim Kelsey, professor of Agricultural Economics at Penn State University, will talk about the values of open space and conservation, including ways of assessing land-use options.

At 2:15, Michelle Chapkis of Women for a Healthy Environment, wil talk about potential health impacts of various environmental issues, including Marcellus shale.

There will also be a brief presentation on the economic impacts of State Parks in the Laurel Highlands and Statewide, as well as a wrap-up discusion for feedback from participants at 3:15 p.m.

Directions to Powermill
Powdermill Nature Reserve is centrally located within the Laurel Highlands along Route 381 between Route 30 and Route 31.

From the intersection of Route 30 and Route 711 in Ligonier, take route 711 south 3.3 miles to the Rector/Darlington intersection; see signs for Powdermill and Linn Run State Park. Turn left toward Rector and go 1 mile. At the bottom of the hill, before going over the bridge, turn right onto Route 381 South. Follow Route 381 South for 3.3 miles to the Nature Reserve headquarters.

From the PA Turnpike exit in Donegal, take Route 31 east for 2.7 miles. Turn left onto Route 381 North. Follow Route 381 North for 6.4 miles to the Nature Reserve headquarters.

Information on Powdermill:

Conference registration
The cost for the Laurel Highlands Conservation Coalition conference will be $20, which will cover lunch, morning coffee, and water and soda for breaks. Registration deadline will be Saturday, Oct. 29.
Registration information will be included in an e-mail that will be sent soon and posted at

Stony whitewater progress
Stonycreek River whitewater releases planned next summer cleared a big hurdle when recent tests showed very little vibration of a valve stem inside the dam.

Cambria Somerset Authority, owner of the Quemahoning Lake, completed $59,000 in repairs to a 100-year old valve stem that assists with the release of water from a new valve.

The valve now can release up to 500 cubic feet of water per second, which boaters say will create outstanding whitewater conditions in the Stony.
Fun Events
Links to information on many of these and other events are located on the web site of Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau at

Autumnfest at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, HallowBoo! at Idlewild, Haunted Hayloft Rides, Haunted Hollow and similar events, Oct. 22-23.

Haunted History Hayride, Bushy Run Battlefield, Oct. 22.

Halloween at the Johnstown Children’s Discovery Center, Oct. 23.

Third annual Yough Defense Fund Fundraiser will be held Nov. 17 at Falls City Pub in Ohiopyle; watch for details.


Fall Foliage Peak is Here NOW in the Laurel Highlands PA

Repost from the Somerset Daily American.
Article written by Ralph Couey

7:10 p.m. EDT, October 14, 2011
After 11 long months of waiting, October, my favorite month, has finally arrived.

I’ve written a lot about my love of autumn, maybe too much. But I can’t help myself. I love forests, but when the chlorophyll is withdrawn from the leaves and their natural colors reveal themselves, a dormant part of myself comes alive.

It is the month I actually make time to spend in the woods, camera in hand, or winding along the roads through these mountains trying to capture forever these all-too-ephemeral days.

We are so very fortunate to be in an area that rarely disappoints us leaf hunters. Vermont and New Hampshire may boast and brag, but the Laurel Highlands is truly a fall foliage paradise.

We live in what is called “Fall Zone 2” a…well…tree-shaped area of Pennsylvania. The roots and trunk start in the east in Pike, Monroe, and Northampton counties and runs west as far as Centre County where it “branches” northwest to Erie and southwest to Fulton, engulfing the rest of the western half of Pennsylvania. As far as I can determine according to several authoritative websites, the peak of these counties should arrive this weekend.

The warm summer and abundant (in some cases over-abundant) rainfall, along with the prompt arrival of cool weather has provided the set-up for what I’m told should be one of the most spectacular years in recent memory.

The great thing about living in the Laurel Highlands is that you don’t have to go far at all for spectacular vistas. For some, all that will be required is a glance outside the kitchen window.

I’ve found a few favorite places to go to absorb Fall’s karma. One of my favorites is the drive (or ride for us motorcyclists) along Route 381 from US 30 running south past Ohiopyle to the National Pike, US 40. Another favorite is the heavily forested Route 31 between Bakersville and Laurelville. For a short jaunt, I take Trent Road south from Route 31, through Laurel Hill State Park, to the Copper Kettle Highway/County Line Road past Seven Springs to Champion.

Another great drive is Route 271 from Westmont over Laurel Mountain to Ligonier, then going west on 30 through the Loyalhanna Gorge. It’s so pretty, I have to do it twice. Mt. Davis Road around High Point Lake provides some beautiful vistas as does Route 56 through the Conemaugh River Gorge northwest of Johnstown. There’s also US 219 from Somerset through Berlin and Meyersdale, leading to the Maryland border.

Route 30, the Lincoln Highway, is highly recommended, essentially running from the Loyalhanna Gorge all the way to Gettysburg. An area I found last year is along Old Forbes Road, starting just east of Stoystown and going to Ridge Road, which takes you back to the Lincoln Highway.

These are few of my favorites, but I’m sure everyone reading this has found their very own autumn nirvana, which is one of the many benefits to living around here. The challenge, of course is to do this safely, ensuring I don’t drive off the road or into the oncoming lane while rubbernecking at the leaves.

You don’t even have to be in a car, for that matter. The Laurel Highlands has an abundance of forest trails, including the 70-mile-long Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail, for both casual strollers and hard-core hikers that will take you through the hills amongst the glowing trees. There, of course, you get to enjoy that unique fall aroma of the leaves, and that soul-satisfying experience of swishing through them while walking along.

I particularly enjoy the two-mile path that leads to the Allegheny Portage Tunnel near Mineral Point. You walk in the darkness of that 900-foot tunnel and suddenly a hillside lit up in reds and golds appears at your feet. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

Words are my tools, my toys, my playground. But even after years of effort, I have been unable to fully articulate the miraculous joy that I feel on an autumn day. The bright sunlight, cool air, and the glorious colors in the trees combine to create in me an inexpressible happiness.

This is a busy time of year, especially for families. But try to find the time in that short span of time when the leaves are peaking to take a drive, take a ride, or take a walk somewhere. It’ll be a memory you’ll treasure forever.

Oh, and don’t forget your camera!


Nemacolin Resort gets Casino License

It was reported today by the Tribune Review that Nemacolin Resort in Fayette County was selected for the last $5 Million slots license. This license will allow up to 600 slot machines and 28 table games. For the complete story go to


Laurel Highlands CLI Newsletter

Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative Newsletter

Laurel Highlands e-blast update Vol. 3 No. 3



Mini-Grant program announced at Summit

            Announcement of a new mini-grant program for the Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative (CLI) was a highlight i n the successful Laurel Highlands Summit help April 4 at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College.

The summit attracted 180 people who learned about economic benefits, how to develop trails and better conserve our natural resources, and how to build capacity in small local organizations.

 The economic benefits of tourism, recreation, conservation and active living were emphasized throughout the day to help participants understand and be able to articulate the fact that funding for these efforts is not just a “feel-good” thing but in fact is an investment with a financial payback for communities and the state.




Mini-Grant deadline, other details

             April 21 is the deadline for submitting a Letter of Intent to receive a Laurel Highlands mini-grant. A total of $50,000 is available in the program, which will provide small grants of $1,500 to $15,000 to help local governments, non-profits and state park friends’ groups to implement projects that support tourism, recreational or conservation in the priority landscapes of the CLI (Laurel Ridge, Chestnut Ridge, Great Allegheny Passage and the Stonycreek River and Johnstown area).  All grants will require a cash match.

            The program is being administered by the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor and the National Road Heritage Corridor, who of the state heritage areas that are central partners in the CLI effort.

            Organizations interested in applying must submit the letter of intent by April 21 to the Lincoln Highway (e-mail if they are north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and to the National Road (e-mail if they are south of the Turnpike.  Invitations to submit the full application will be provided on May 10 and full applications will be due May 31 with notification of awards on June 17.




Keynote highlights beneifts of open space 

In the keynote presentation, Tood Poole, president of 4ward Planning, noted several things that bode well for tourism in the Laurel Highlands.  For instance, people are looking for one-tank vacations and spending more on “experiences” rather than material purchases, and 4.9 million people live within three hours.  These visitors spend money, creating direct, indirect and induced economic benefits for the region.

However, most of the benefits of open space and parks do not necessarily show up as a direct bottom line.  Poole outlined the benefits in four categorites.

  • Citizens can enjoy recreational amenities, mental and physical health, improved air and water Quality, and cultural amenities.
  • Businesses, especially those involved with visitors, receive increased revenues, while all businesses in the region enjoy improved employee recruitment and improved employee retention.
  • Property owners have increased property value, better stormwater management and the enhanced aesthetic value of the scenery.
  • Governments benefit from low cost ecosystem services, increased taxable values, and improved business retention and attraction.




Summit feedback and powerpoints 

The feedback received from a survey of Summit participants also showed how successful it was. Nearly 90 percent of participants rated the program excellent or good, while less than 10 percent rated it fair.

Several excellent comments were provided on Poole’s keynote address. The Powerpoint from his presentation and a powerpoint on about 40 studies or reports on economic benefits of tourism, recreation, conservation and active lifestyles are available on the Laurel Highlands CLI web site at www.pecpa.or/Laurel_Highlands.

The highest rated breakout sessions were community-based trail development, telling your trail’s story, Marcellus shale conservation strategies, capacity-building and using social media and smart-phone apps.




CLI events coming up

The Stonycreek Rendezvous on May 13-15 will feature the first official water release through the release valve installed in Quemahoning Dam. The full weekend agenda of races, the whitewater rodeo, music, gear, food, etc. is available at

 The Stonycreek valve will be dedicated at a program about noon May 13, and later that day, several local conservation organizations will hold the third Laurel Highlands Green Drinks event starting at 6 p.m. at Greenhouse Park, the location where many of the whitewater boaters camp. Green Drinks offers an opportunity for social networking in an informal atmosphere encouraging support for recreation, conservation and related efforts.

A new Amtrak passenger-rail station will be dedicated in Connellsville at 10 a.m. April 29. Officials from Amtrak, DCNR and local government will join tourism-development advocates to highlight the potential to use passenger train service to access the Great Allegheny Passage and other area recreational and heritage assets.

The 17th annual Yough River Trail Race will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 23, in Connellsville, featuring 5K walks and runs, and 10K and 10-mile runs. The event benefits the Yough River Trail Council, which supports a section of the Great Allegheny Passage. Information is at

 The Rails to Trails Conservancy’s 9th annual Greenways Sojourn will pass through the Laurel Highlands and feature parts of the developing Pennsylvania Mainline Canal Greenway on July 19-24. Register now to explore the Path of the Flood, Ghost Town, Hoodlebug, West Penn, Roaring Run and Westmoreland Heritage Trails from just north of Johnstown through part of the Conemaugh River corridor and beyond. For information and to register:



Holiday Help!

Are you overwhelmed with your holiday to do list? Rustic Red is a service provided through Rustic Lodge Furniture on Rt 31. You pass their store in Donegal as you head up to either Hidden Valley or Seven Springs. Just look to your left as you pass the pie shop on the right.

They provide holiday decorating, party and event planning, gift wrapping, specialty gift baskets and catering! You can reach them by phone at 412-721-9038 or e-mail .

Now you can cross off several to dos from your Holiday list! Imagine walking into your place with the wreaths hung, twinkling lights strung, candles on the mantle, centerpieces with candy canes, presents wrapped, gift baskets ready to be delivered, and food on the way!

Maybe this service should be on your wish list!! Enjoy the season!!


Pennsylvania Tourism Facts

The 49 Tourism Promotion Agencies representing all 67 counties of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have an incredible informational piece that outlines how vital tourism is to Pennsylvania’s bottom line. I’m reciting some facts just in case you don’t have time to open the link!

“Did you know that Tourism ranks as the second largest industry in Pennsylvania! How about, that our state is the 4th most visited state in the country! In 2007, visitors generated a total of $2.8 billion in state and municipal tax revenues (a little more than 10% of the total General Fund Expenditures in 2007-08).

Due to the major tax revenues generated by tourism industry in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, each one of our 4.9 million households benefits with $575 in tax savings. Put another way, if not for tourism industry, each household would have to pay $575 in additional taxes to maintain the current level of state services.”

In deed, we as REALTORS focusing our business on Hidden Valley, Seven Springs, and the immediate area in the Laurel Highlands are extremely biased in our support for the tourism industry. “We urge Gov. Rendell and our legislators to maintain FY 2009-10 Tourism Promotion Assistance funding at $8 million – funding that has already been contracted and awarded.

Without this support of a key state industry, the second round of cuts included in the Governor’s FY 2009-10 budget revisions would leave PA’s total tourism promotion expenditures at 65% below FY 2008-09.”

Here is the link that shares how YOUR VOICE can make a difference! Through a call, letter, or  e-mail YOU can help to keep tourism a viable factor in our economy!

  • Write a letter or E-mail to your state senators and representatives
  • Sample letter to a legislator



Gaming at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort?

Since Governor Rendell has blessed table games in Pennsylvania (just yesterday) Nemacolin Resort has decided they now want that last resort license available! If you remember back in 2006 they had submitted an application for a license. But before it could be awarded they withdrew!

At the time they cited the $25 per person charge requirement for their change of mind. That fee has been reduced to $10! Another change in the license is that the number of allowable slots has gone from 500 to 600. Add with table games being added to the mix the opportunity becomes much more interesting!

They announced that they have a casino management and marketing agreement with Isle of Capri Casinos. This is a relatively large corporation in the industry. They own and or operate 14 casino properties in six states and the Bahamas. There are several other resorts vying for this license! Our bet is on Nemacolin!

Check out the article in the Trib Total Media!


All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Copyright 2022.

© ©2022 BHHS Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of Columbia Insurance Company, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. Equal Housing Opportunity.