There are entire cities with fewer attractions than those contained within the 1,700-acre grounds of Oglebay Resort & Conference Center. Originally built at the beginning of the 20th century as the summer estate of Cleveland industrialist Earl W. Oglebay, the resort has since been consistently evolving and improving.
In 1937—as a part of federal relief project—a massive outdoor swimming pool was built along with the Crispin Center, a stately building forged from locally mined sandstone; both remain cornerstones of the resort. The post-war era working boom fueled the creation of tennis courts (today, they have both indoor and outdoor options), picnic sites, and nature trails and roads.
With its scenery, space, and splendid infrastructure, Oglebay Resort was an attractive location for the development of a golf course. Two of the world's most famous course architects happened to agree. In the 1970s, Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designed a championship layout into the landscape; it has gone on to host the LPGA Classic 11 times. Three decades later, Arnold Palmer placed his artistic spin on the soil, creating another 18-hole, championship golf course.
Whether lodging in one of the resort's rustic cottages, a sprawling estate house, or simply booking a room in the Wilson Lodge, guests won't have to go far to find entertainment on the resort grounds. A walk across the lawns—which feature an English garden—leads them to the Good Zoo, home to 50 species of exotic animals including salamanders and tamarin monkeys. Guests hoping to interact with animals can also head to the Oglebay stables, where horses await to play games of chess in which the knight is the only piece.
Sunday-morning visits to the grocery store are vastly improved by samples of toothpicked sausage bites and tiny cups of squash soup. Humanity's mysterious love affair with trial-sized morsels is in full effect with today's deal: for $20, you get access to one walking food tour of the Strip District from 'Burgh Bits & Bites, a $38 value (including tax and service fees). Tours meet at the Old St. Patrick's Church courtyard and depart at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. Call ahead and namedrop your Groupon to reserve your spot on a tour.
In the 900,000-acre Monongahela National Forest, amid the bald eagles, deer, herons, and small-mouth bass, lies Blackwater Outdoor Adventures, a family-owned business dedicated to equipping treks into the outdoors that surround it. From their river outpost and general store, staffers dispatch water vessels to traverse the clear waters of the Cheat River, a scenic passageway carved into the rolling hills with plenty of areas for swimming and fishing. Blackwater also operates a 7-acre campsite on the banks of the river, where groups can lessen the edge of the outdoors with hot showers and space to store boats, gear, and inflatable six-bedroom homes.
A short 6 mile trip from its more recognized cousin, Fallingwater, Kentuck Knob offers visitors a glimpse into one of Frank Lloyd Wright's distinctive Usonian homes. The small structure exemplifies Wright's abiding philosophy of organic architecture, as it melds naturally into its surroundings. Standing 2,050 feet above sea level, the home sits below a crest of hills, and its native tidewater red cypress and sandstone construction materials help it seem to sink into the hills themselves.
Tours of the property provide insight into the home, its features, and its original owners, as well as its newest inhabitants, Lord and Lady Palumbo, who have since filled Kentuck Knob with an extensive art collection. In fact, the gardens, woods, and meadow are dotted with works from such notable artists as Andy Goldsworthy, Claes Oldenburg, and Ray Smith.
Located on the Montour Trail—a 46-mile stretch of flat, non-motorized trail paved with crushed limestone—The Tandem Connection stands as a convenient stopping point to outfit customers for two-wheeled excursions. Folks can stop in for daily or hourly rentals of 3-, 7-, or 21-speed bikes, such as retro-styled tandems from Sun Bicycles and pint-size rides from KHS Bicycles. The bikes feature hand or coaster brakes and may be attached with kid-friendly add-ons such as tagalongs and trailers. Once atop bikes, riders confront bridges and tunnels on their scenic adventure before heading back to Tandem for trail snacks, locally roasted coffee, and weekend barbecue.