If you can't wait for the colors of fall to come to Northern Virginia, you can get a sneak peek by heading for the hills of Western Pennsylvania, where fall foliage is expected to peak from Oct. 10-15, according to the state tourism office.
The jewel of the Laurel Highlands undoubtedly is Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, located in Farmington, Penn., on 2,000 acres of woodlands, horse trails, golf courses and hiking and biking trails. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the award-winning resort is offering a Best Rates Celebration Package on select dates this fall and winter.
The resort got its start when Joe Hardy III, founder of 84 Lumber, purchased its lodge and surrounding property at an auction. Hardy's daughter Maggie Hardy Magerko now serves as president and CEO.
Located about three hours from Fairfax County, the four-star resort offers three hotels: Falling Rock (its nod to nearby Fallingwater, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) the Chateau Lafayette and the Lodge. You can go trout fishing, get a massage, sample fine dining, brush up on your golf game...or just hike around the woodsy property. There is also an RV park, townhomes and vacation homes.
There's plenty to see, with collections of art, cars, planes, wine, guns and exotic animals on display. The resort offers daily tours of the $45 million art collection, which includes pieces by Fernando Botero, Tiffany Studios, Alexander Calder, J.J. Audubon as well as Clarice Smith of Arlington and Howard Behrens of Potomac, Md. Wine tastings are held at the resort's 21,000-bottle wine cellar, the largest in the state.
The resort's Lautrec restaurant earned a five-star rating from Forbes as well as a AAA Five-Diamond award, one of only 20 restaurants in the world to earn the awards simultaeously. The resort's Falling Rock also holds those honors.
In addition to golf, art and fine dining, Nemacolin will add a gaming casino to its activities, starting next year. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last month affirmed a decision by the state' gaming board to allow a license for resort gaming. Lady Luck Nemacolin is expected to open sometime in 2013 with 600 slot machines, 28 table games and a casual dining restaurant and lounge managed by Isle of Capri Casinos.
In honor of its 25th anniversary, the resort is offering a $25 third night with a two-night stay on select days (mostly weekdays but we found a few weekends too), through Dec. 23. The offer includes a $200 resort amenity spending credit.
The resort is also offering a "Heroes" discount package to anyone who presents his or her military, police or firefighter identification upon check-in, through March 2013. See details here.