Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in the Laurel Highlands of western Pennsylvania is a fantastic place to get away for a weekend to recharge. A 1.5 hour drive from Pittsburgh and 3 hour drive from Washington D.C., the resort is an easy drive for most of the mid-Atlantic region. If you prefer to arrive a little quicker, the resort even has its own airstrip.
The resort houses three separate hotel properties – the Chateau, the Lodge, and the luxurious Falling Rock. We enjoyed the Chateau as it was centrally located to most activities, restaurants, the spa, and the main pool, however, the resort’s shuttle services makes getting around the property incredibly easy. The property also has three fine dining restaurants. Aqueous, located in Falling Rock, focuses on seafood, while Rockwell’s is a classic steakhouse.
The highlight, however, is Lautrec, the resort’s AAA five diamond award winning French restaurant. The menu changes weekly based on what Chef Kristen Butterworth has available from the resort garden or local vendors. Diners can chose from the ala carte menu, or take a “Leap of Faith” and allow Chef Butterworth to create a custom tasting menu based upon your preferences. Upon being sat at your table, you are presented with an envelope detailing the Leap of Faith. If you chose to accept this culinary adventure, you are asked to circle ten of the fifteen items listed ranging from shellfish to caviar. Chef Butterworth will then chose seven of those items for the tasting menu. The wine cellar is extensive and the sommelier will help chose the perfect wines to match your tasting menu. At the end of dinner service, choose a selection of chocolates and other treats from the table side candy and chocolate cart to take home with you.
The 2000 acre property has activities for everyone – clay pigeon shooting, fishing, a zoo, ropes courses, skiing, bowling, mini-golf, bike paths, and paintball. There’s so much to do that you don’t need to leave the property, however, close by is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, the Laurel Caverns, and Fort Necessity. If you prefer to simply relax, the Woodlands Spa is a quiet retreat. The men’s and women’s facilities each have a whirlpool, sauna and steam room, and there is a co-ed indoor lap pool. At the end of your service, relax with a glass of wine and treats in front of the fireplace.
While Falling Rock has its own private pool, the main resort pool is closer to the Lodge and Chateau. Below the main pool is an adult only pool. The adult pool is free to use, however, for a fee you have the VIP experience with reserved chairs, upgraded loungers, a welcome drink, afternoon Patron margarita and snacks. While we were there, we received a meat and cheese tray, cold coconut, and frozen grapes.
At the end of the day, grab a drink at the lobby bar and head out onto the patio in front of the Chateau to take in an amazing sunset.
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