Most of us have had that vacation at the beach, the mountains of North Carolina or the trip to Disney. For the most part, they are fun and provide for a lot of good memories. Trouble is, after a thousand miles on the crowded interstates with congestion, delays and detours, as well as crowded restaurants with long waits for tables by the time, we get home and realize that its back to work tomorrow and we are really in need of a vacation from the vacation.

What about a different approach, a true vacation, but close to home? Scheduled time off with no projects or grass cutting and no long drives on crowded roads. Perhaps just a series of short day trips to local attractions with a lot of good meals at local restaurants and the comfort of our own home for the night. Maybe even a night or two in a local B&B or a cabin on the lake without the interstates and the long drives.

Day one could include a visit to Laurel Caverns, followed by lunch at Falls Market in Ohiopyle and then spending the afternoon riding the natural water slides on Meadow Run. The slides are located just as you come into town on route 381. There is parking both at he slides and at the visitor’s center. Don’t forget to stop for a view of the falls and a great interpretive center with lots of great displays. End you visit with an ice cream treat. You will have earned it with all the great exercise from the day’s activities. Dinner can be back at home or perhaps the Stone House or Maywood Grill in Chalk Hill, both on Route 40.

Day two includes a bike ride on the Great Allegheny Passage from Ohiopyle to the quaint community of Confluence with lunch at the Rivers Edge Café. My favorite is blackened catfish, and after eating, a stroll through the gardens beside the restaurant or just a short walk down the street will reveal a generous display of summer and early fall flowers. Dinner is at home with the cooking of steak or fish on your grill. Later that night, dessert will be in the form of s’mores cooked around your backyard fire ring or on the grill.

The next day is our local history day with visits to Fort Necessity and Washington Tavern. The neat thing about this history is that it is ours. This is our history and it played such a big role in the early formation of our country. You will be traveling along Route 40, which is also the National Road.

You may want to stop by Nemacolin Woodlands Resort for lunch and a visit to the Woodlands Zoo and the Aquarium. At the Aquarium is a fantastic sea-shell display from all over the world. Some of these shells are millions of years old. The art work that graces the walls at Nemacolin is also worth a visit. There is also a range of activities and things to do and since you saved several thousand dollars by staying close to home you may want to splurge and treat yourself to a round of golf, the spa or dinner at the new Italian restaurant, Baratollo.

Tomorrow it’s off to Grantsville just about 30 minutes east of Farmington and home to the Casselman River and bridge and the living craft venues at Penn Alps. See crafts being made by the artists and perhaps buy yourself something nice for your home or a gift for a friend. Lunch at the Penn Alps is a real treat. Speaking of treats the Hill Top fruit market located at Routes 40 and 219 is a must stop for some candy and fruits. Last week, we picked up a bag of Bridge Mix as well as dark chocolate and a pound of green spearmint leaves. Before heading home don’t forget to fill the gas tank as prices are 30 to 40 cents cheaper than here in Fayette County.

You still have a few days left to raft or canoe the Yough River or visit the Frank Lloyd Wright homes of Fallingwater or Kentuck Knob and have a few more good eats at your favorite restaurants. At the end of the week. you will be refreshed and still have a bit of money left for next year or perhaps a return visit this fall to see the falling leaves.

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