Heather Bien

writing and designing a colorful life

Travel Guide: Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Pennsylvania, Part Two

Okay, y'all, this took me a bit longer to write than I anticipated I would, but there was just so much to cram into one post that I had a hard time consolidating it! Our weekend at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort was one of the best weekends so far this winter and one of the most varied. It was a mix of the outdoors, culture, food, and downtime, and it was all within 48 hours.


Spending the weekend at Nemacolin, you'll definitely feel like you're out in the woods of Pennsylvania, yet you're not committed to settling in for a quiet mountain weekend if that's not your thing. We had a weekend that was the perfect mix of woodsy relaxation, staying activeluxury, and even art. You can make your weekend away whatever you want it to be and tailor it to exactly what you're looking for at the moment.


One of the reasons I wanted to visit Nemacolin was that I was looking for a ski trip that had more to offer than just skiing and apr├Ęs ski. I love to ski, but I'm admittedly not a strong skier, and I prefer a more low key approach. Easy mountains, limited crowds, and an excellent selection of food and beers when I am done on the slopes is exactly what I want. And that's exactly what I found at Nemacolin. It was perfect for a laid back day of skiing


While I honestly was looking forward to a wintery weekend, I couldn't complain about the mild weather that gave us two full days of wandering the 2,000 acres that make up the Nemacolin property. From simply taking a relaxing walk through the wooded trails to slowing down and taking in the scenery to appreciating the sculptures that dot the entire landscape to seeing the exotic animals that have been rescued from failing zoos and circuses, I loved having a getaway to breathe in the fresh air.

So much of the Nemacolin property is just showcasing the personal interests of the owners – the Hardy family of 84 Lumber – and their interests are eccentric in the best way. As you stroll around the property you'll see a plane hanger with vintage planes, a garage of collector cars, a meditation chapel, art at every turn, and, as I mentioned before, exotic rescue animals. Looking for more activities? You'll also find golf, pools, off roading, shooting, and a wildlife academy. 


Looking to do a bit of shopping while you're on vacation? There are retail stores located right next to the lodge where you can find everything from homewares to gift items to clothing. I don't typically find myself shopping when I'm at a resort, but I found several of my favorite home brands within their stores, and the clothing boutiques were the perfect mix of high end and affordable, classic and of the moment.


One of the most impressive aspects of Nemacolin is the art. The Hardy family are avid art collectors and while their tastes seem almost unpredictable, every piece is captivating. There are oil paintings, sculptures, glasswork, furniture – the diversity of artwork is incredible. You'll find artwork throughout the halls of the resort, across the grounds, and in the incredible Reflection building shown below. 

If you're an art buff, you'll definitely want to book a tour of the art collection with the curator or take one of the art classes. We weren't able to fit this in on this trip, but it's definitely on the agenda for next time.


As I noted earlier, Nemacolin has so many interesting and quirky spots, and I can't emphasize enough just wondering around and taking them all in. Around every corner you'll find something new, from the shell collection to a massive fish tank to a colorful retro ice cream parlor, I loved discovering all the fun spots hidden around the resort.


If you want to get out and explore the area a bit, you'll definitely want to plan stops by Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob, two of Frank Lloyd Wright's most iconic homes. They're just about 15 minutes away from Nemacolin and it's absolutely worth the stop to take in these architectural masterpieces. I actually minored in Architectural History in college so making a trip to Fallingwater was long overdue. It's worth noting, however, that Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob are both semi-closed during January and February, so you can only explore the grounds and the exterior of the homes.


In case you missed my first travel guide to Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, make sure you head over here to check it out. I talked all about the delicious food, the serene spa, and the amazingly relaxing aspects of this woodlands getaway – don't miss it. 

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