The pampering begins the minute I turn onto the driveway and past the giant outline of the famous “fat bird” mascot to the initial check-in gate at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, known as a 2000-acre playground in the Laurel Highlands region of Pennsylvania and most recently made famous for its host location on ABC’s “The Bachelorette.”
As I arrive at the gate, a friendly employee welcomes me and gives me directions to the property in which I’m staying, the AAA five diamond Falling Rock (a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired boutique hotel). I zig zag across the resort, passing the famous signature Chateau and Lodge, the spa, shopping, golf courses and directional signs pointing me to everything from the safari to golf courses and the zip line. There’s even a private air strip for guests arriving by private plane. I finally arrive at Falling Rock, where I’m greeted by name and ushered inside to check in, where I’m once again greeted by name, handed a glass of prosecco (yes, please!) and introduced to my butler (!), who brings me to my room.
I see the Frank Lloyd Wright influences immediately at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort – the stone, the symmetrical designs – but where the FLW properties and furniture were known for aesthetics over comfort, here it’s anything but. WOW. A giant, luxurious room overlooking the (while I was there) snow-covered golf course, pillows for DAYS, and a bathroom I’m pretty sure was larger than my first apartment.
No time to relax though – there was exploring to be done. Now, I visited Nemacolin in early March, with snow still on the ground, but past the season of most of the resort’s snow activities. But trust me – there are activities to be had. The adventure center has everything from dog sledding and snow tubing to go carts and off-road driving courses as well as zip lines and mini golf. The safari tools introduce guests to buffalo, wolves, lions, tigers and bears (oh my). There’s an incredible art collection and eclectic sculptures dot the landscape. There’s even Lady Luck Casino, but I refrained, having an almost uncanny ability to immediately lose my cash within about three minutes.
But that’s not all. I head back to Falling Rock for dinner at Aqueous, Falling Rock’s steakhouse, where FLW fans will notice his trademark chair styles and banquettes, and culinary enthusiasts will notice some truly remarkable artistry in the kitchen. The windows provide some fantastic sunset views, but the best view in town is going to be on the plate in front of you. My ribeye steak with a horseradish cream sauce was cooked to a perfect medium rare; the accompanying brussels sprouts were a vibrant green and had just the right amount of crunch. However, the real star of the meal were the scallops. Seriously. Get. This. Dish. Sweet scallops with just the ideal sear are served with maple pork belly, more sprouts (What can I say? I’m a sucker for any dish that involves brussels sprouts) and a decadent truffle emulsion. I’m still having dreams about those scallops.
I’m glad I skipped dessert though, because as I returned to my room, I was greeted with milk-and-cookies turndown service. To top the night off, a butler-drawn jasmine bath, complete with rose petals and candles. Kind of a shame I was there alone! However, I wasn’t going to pass on the opportunity. The giant soaking tub may have been the largest I’ve ever been in. Spoiler alert: the tub was so big my5-feet-tall-on-a-good-day self kept slipping underwater. All in all, a perfect way to unwind and relax before closing my eyes for the night in the lap of luxury.
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort: The Verdict
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2017 with a variety of special deals and offers for guests. It’s an incredible experience for anyone looking for a getaway from families to luxury travelers. Resort owners say the only thing they don’t have is the beach, however they’re working on it!
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, 1001 Lafayette Dr, Farmington, PA 15437, Website