Mountain Mama

A few weeks ago, one of my best friends, Stephanie, and I ventured to Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland for some whitewater rafting, wine tastings and overall R&R.  We have never been rafting before and heard that there’s some great rapids in the Ohiopyle State Park.  Although it was a bit difficult to get there (I drove in from Michigan and Stephanie took a bus to Pittsburgh, where I picked her up and continued onto our B&B), it was such a fun time and totally worth the long drive.

We stayed at Hanna House Bed and Breakfast, located in Confluence, PA.  This house dates back to the late 1800s and has stayed in the owners family since then.  It is located in Confluence, PA, which is set up in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains.  Stephanie and I stayed in the first floor room (“The New Room”), which features two twin beds and has an ensuite bathroom that is designed to look like a forest (complete with a wooded shower and bath).  Although this is the priciest room, at $110/night, it definitely doesn’t break the bank.  There are five, less expensive yet equally as stately rooms upstairs that have a shared bath.

The hearty breakfast is the morning features fruit to start out with and then a main meal (Frances asks what you want the day before–she makes anything from waffles and french toast to eggs, etc.) with a side of toast and veggies.  Frances, the owner, also typically makes some baked goods that are left out throughout the day for your taking.  All the food was delicious and filled us up for hours!

The first morning of our stay, Stephanie and I went white water rafting on the Yough River with Laurel Highlands River Tours.  Since we didn’t want to go too hardcore on our first rafting trip, we went with the Class III/IV rapids on the Lower Yough River.  This is a 7-mile stretch of rapids that weren’t too difficult or bumpy.  And of course we took a guide, which wasn’t cheap but is much safer than doing the rapids yourself.  Although we had a lot of fun and the rapids were thrilling, we definitely want to try out the Class IV/V rapids next time on the Upper Yough River.  There are also options to take a simple float trip down the river with the Middle Yough River Tour.

After our rafting trip, Stephanie and I wanted to try out some wine tasting, so we made our way up to Glades Peak and Vin de Matrix Wineries.  On the way, we saw a pretty little covered bridge and of course took a bunch of pictures by it.  I loved Glades Peak–they had plenty of wine options (and the wine tasting was free for 8 wines!), as well as food available and a relaxing patio that overlooks the mountains.  My favorite wines from Glades Peak were Tempranillo, a semi-dry, spicy red, and Spiced Apple, a fruit wine that resembled an apple pie in a bottle.  The second winery, Vin de Matrix, is located in the Kings Mountain Country Club.  I didn’t love this winery as much…the wines were pretty acidic and didn’t go down smoothly, so I’d probably pass on this one in the future.

Before heading back to Ohiopyle for some late night drinks and music, Stephanie and I stopped at the Lucky Dog Cafe in Confluence.  We got the baja fish tacos, which were delicious–and of course, I got a Moscow Mule too, one of my favorite drinks.  In Ohiopyle, we went to get drinks at Falls City Pub, which is a local hangout that features a live band on Saturday nights.  We didn’t stay for long since we were exhausted and weren’t feeling the reggae music the band was playing but it was a cool vibe that we’d check out again if the music was a bit different (i.e. country/bluegrass!!).

The next day, Stephanie and did some hiking and exploring in West Virginia, since it’s so close to the Pennsylvania border.  We stopped at Coopers Rock State Forest, which has a phenomenal overlook of the Allegheny Mountains (as well as plenty of hiking trails) and is only a short drive to Morgantown, where we got food afterwards.  After doing some hiking, taking some Instagram-worthy pics and getting corn dogs (my favorite food FYI), we went to the Mountain State Brewing Company.  Their pizza and beer was SO GOOD!! We’d definitely go back.  Morgantown is also home to West Virginia University, so there’s plenty of food and drink options in town, as well as a lively population of young people if you want to go out at night.

After lunch, Stephanie and I found this cool cavern nearby that offers underground tours.  Laurel Caverns is the deepest and biggest cave in the NE United States, as well as the largest in Pennsylvania.  We did a traditional tour but the park also offers rappelling and caving tours.  We just didn’t have the time for it, since it was a last minute trip.  My favorite part of the tour was near the end, where you enter a cavern, close the door, turn all the lights off and an audio of an orchestra plays for a few minutes.  It was so cool to see the cave in pure darkness and utter silence (before the orchestra came on).

For our last stop of the day, Stephanie and I went to Cucumber Falls, beautiful waterfall just a short walk from the road near Ohiopyle.  You can go swimming in the falls too, although we passed because the water was pretty cold.  There’s a few ways to get near the falls.  The best way is to take the rocks off to the left of the waterfall instead of walking up towards it via the river.  We took the river, since we thought it would be easier and it wasn’t–the rocks were really slippery!  Thankfully we didn’t fall!

The next morning, we had another delicious breakfast and ventured off to Maryland for a few more adventures before heading home.  We stopped at Deep Creek Lavender Farm, where you can buy a TON of lavender products, including soaps, teas, oils, bath salts, cookies, etc.  I picked up a charcoal lavender soap that I’m so excited to try, as well as some bath salts and tea!

Next up, Stephanie and I went to Firefly Farms, a cheese shop in downtown Accident, PA.  We were lucky enough to stumble on a day where they offer free wine tastings–and the wine was great!  I bought a few bottles of a Chenin Blac from South Africa that I loved.  They also have some fantastic local and imported cheese.

Our last stop that day before heading home was another winery–Deep Creek Cellars in Friendsville, MD.  The owner walked us through his many wines, my favorite being the Blue Dolce, a sweet, blueberry dessert wine.  He also has some pretty good dry reds!

Stephanie and I had such a great visit and can’t wait to go back in the near future!

xoxo Kasia

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