Produced by Rachel Jones | Written by Danielle Armstrong and Steve Gifford, Greensburg Community Development Corporation
Do you ever have days where you just want to escape the rat race at home and the office? Consider a calming drive through the Laurel Highlands area, visiting the wineries and viewing the countryside. Just outside Pittsburgh sits a stretch of road so beautiful and picturesque, you won’t believe you were just an hour from home. The changing colors of the leaves this fall will make the trip that much more enjoyable. Plus, you can take advantage of numerous festivals, wineries, and local shops along the way. Start planning your weekend getaway or even a day trip right now. Trust us — it is a must this fall!
The Grape Escape
We heard through the grapevines that the Laurel Highlands is filled with spectacular wineries! Visit these true treasures for a relaxing day trip and the chance to taste exceptional berry and grape wines from our region. Most of the wineries even host special events throughout the year, featuring live entertainment, special menus, and more!
Christian W. Klay Winery
This casual winery, located at 2,300 feet in the Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pa., has the highest elevation of any winery east of the Rockies. That elevation and the rocky, well-drained soils of the 135-acre farm create perfect conditions for the flourishing 14,000 vines that produce grapes used by Sharon Klay to create excellent, hand-crafted white and red wine for the Christian W. Klay collection. For over a decade, the winery has been providing customers with seasonal and award-winning wines like Chestnut Ridge Sunset, a semi-sweet white zinfandel style wine, and Blanc De Lafayette, a light-bodied floral dry white similar to sauvignon blanc. In addition to growing grapes, the winery also grows berries, apples, and lavender, which is used in The Lavender Mist, a sparkling white wine. Enjoy a bottle on the patio with a brunch or lunch picnic from the Old Stone House Restaurant, Maywood Grill, or Dr. McCarthy’s Kitchen. The beauty of the historic barn and countryside is equal in experience to the wine enjoyed in your home or in a quiet corner of this vineyard. Take a post-meal walk through the rolling hills, and get up close and personal with the fruitful vines on the surrounding hillsides. We’re sure your furry friend would enjoy a run through the hay field, too! Christian W. Klay Winery is open Sunday-Thursday, 12-6 p.m., and Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. 412 Fayette Springs Road, Chalk Hill. 724.439.3424. cwklaywinery.com.
Greendance Winery at Sand Hill Berry Farm has been a favorite stop for fresh berries and pies since 1985 and delicious wine since 2007. Greendance offers over 40 wines using grapes grown on the property and purchased from the Lodi region of California, which can be sampled through free tastings every day. Our current favorite is the 2013 malbec and the award-winning Isabella. The natural light pouring into the tasting room and gift shop beckons you to come out and enjoy your favorite wines and friends in the Nectar Garden. Grab a table near the stage to enjoy local musicians, who perform Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, or enjoy the beautiful flowers with a spot near the fruit trees. Refuel with light options from the café during the week and a special menu for the weekend. Greendance Winery is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday, 12-5 p.m. 306 Deer Field Road, Mt. Pleasant. 724.547.6500. greendancewinery.com.
Stone Villa Wine Cellars
Located in the heart of the Laurel Highlands, Stone Villa Wine Cellars is one of Pennsylvania’s most picturesque wineries. With a multi-tiered patio overlooking a lake, the 135 acres of surrounding fields, and the tree-filled Chestnut Ridge, Stone Villa invites guests to find their perfect spot to relax and enjoy the friendly atmosphere and remarkable architecture of the winery. The stone and wood building, containing the tasting room and large oak fermenting barrels, was built by the owner to create a large, open gathering space similar to the wineries of California. Guests often comment on the craftsmanship of the structure before praising the white and red wines of the vintner’s blend. For those preferring a medium-bodied, dry red wine, the staff recommends the 2014 Chambourcin, which brings a spicy flavor with a cherry and currant bouquet. Open a bottle to enjoy with bites from Nino’s, Out of the Fire Café, and Treetops. Stone Villa Wine Cellars is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 1085 Claypike Road, Acme. 724.423.5604. stonevilla.com.
Fun For Fall
Embrace the cool, comfortable weather with the smell of kettle corn, fresh pies, and crisp beer at these fun events:
+ For more about recommended driving tours in the Laurel Ridge and future events in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, visit laurelhighlands.org!
The Little Things
In this season of transition, the easiest way to get ready for fall is through accessories — for your wardrobe and your home! First, make a bold statement with gold jewelry. The classic look shines against the rich, earth tones of autumn. These pieces from Beeghly and Company Jewelers fit the bill with vibrant stones and opals adding extra beauty to each piece. Beeghly and Company Jewelers, 401 S. Main St., Greensburg. 724.832.1500. beeghlyandcompany.com.
If you’re looking to add a little shine to your countertops, dress up your wine bottles with these adorable charm bottle bracelets from Shalimar Bazaar. They make great gifts, too — just saying! Continue the wine theme for your next dinner party with this rustic wood salad bowl and server set, topped with a silver grape leaf. Or bring inspiration from the beautiful fall foliage indoors with these deep orange vases that look super chic next to their teal counterparts on your mantle or bookshelf. Shalimar Bazaar, 159 E. Otterman St., Greensburg. 724.836.4740. myshalimarbazaar.com.