Come Vacation With Me...The Laurel Highlands

Last week we had a little family "stay-cation" and hung around beautiful Western Pennsylvania for the week. Work was set aside for fun around our hometown. I thought you might want to see what the Laurel Highlands has to offer and give you some ideas for an inexpensive vacation at home.

We began our trip with a visit to Ohiopyle State Park to ride our bikes on the Youghiogheny River Trail. There was some sweating and swearing when it came to loading 5 bikes onto our brand new bike rack (little bikes are not built for these sort of racks), but after the Big Guy pulled it together, we were off!

This trail can be ridden all the way to Washington D.C. and we met a father and son doing just that - biking and camping for the next two weeks. My kids were mortified at the amount of gear the dad was making the son carry on his bike. I guess they aren't ready for that sort of thing yet.

A quick family pic and we began our ride:

We stopped on the wooden bridge to watch the white water rafters below:

The wooded trail is flat and beautiful. Easy enough for my Helper Munchkin, but challenging enough for an experienced rider. I never thought about the evolution of bike riding before this trip. My kids must have said 100 times "This is so fun!" I realized then, that kids today never ride their bikes TO someplace, just around and around for the sake of riding. Riding as transportation was new to them and they loved the feeling of freedom.

Pretend you're with us, just run a track in the background of birds singing, leaves rustling, and me yelling "Here comes another bike! MOVE TO THE RIGHT! The RIGHT! MOVE OVER!!!" Yeah, it was peaceful.

We were exploring a small waterfall along the trail when my kids noticed a culvert under the bike trail. Really, why bother with nature when there is a man made PIPE underground just BEGGING you to play in it.

My kids started posing and yelling, "Take a picture, take a picture!" So, I did.

All of this riding and picture taking went on for about 4 miles. Whoopee!!!

Then 4. Miles. Back. whoopee. Mental note: Don't wait until they are getting tired before turning around. Trust me.

If you do, you might have to bribe them to return by promising to buy them ice cream and the super cute ice cream parlor in town. I hope you brought money...

Come back tomorrow, we'll go for a hike and play in the river!


  1. OMG LOVE the photography! Your posts are hilarious too! Thanks for stopping by my digs, I'll be sure to check back... actually I may need to collaborate with you very soon.

  2. That trail looks like the rail trail in Franklin. You can be there in an hour, ride along the Allegheny River and even ride through a super-dark (and cold!)tunnel!

  3. How fun! Staycations are the way to go. I think sometimes people get so wrapped up in wanting to travel far away that they don't even really explore the beauty that their own area has to offer. I can't wait to go hiking! :-)~

  4. Haha! What a trip!

    I love the pipe pictures.

  5. What a fun trip. Who knew that you could have so much fun outdoors!!!Popping in from SITS!

  6. I love the pictures. very cool and its so nice that you share your wonderful time with us. (perfect strangers filled with words and images on your computer screen) :)


    I am not leaving my house until summer is over. It is now too hot to go outside and "breathe" at the same time. Florida heat is like a sauna outside.

    It was 86 degrees outside at 10:30pm.

  7. Looks like the perfect summer day. I know your kids will remember these good times. Love the chocolate mustaches. lol The tunnel pics are awesome! I like fun things like that. I have a few of my own when they were little in the playground tunnels. I love those moments.

  8. I love the pictures in the culvert! Very Fun! Thanks for sharing them with all of us.

  9. Those pipe pictures are awesome!!

  10. Jennifer, like a few others said, your photography is always incredible.

    I had no idea you could take that trail all the way to D.C. That's incredible.

  11. those photos are AWESOME ... all of them ... what does it say about me that although I love, love, love the nature shots, I REALLY dig the pipe shots ... A LOT.


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