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.
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.
Come September every year, though, the course?the size of a football field?transforms into a creepy, crawly stomping ground for ghouls and goblins. During the weeks before Halloween, visitors putt their way past eerie creatures and props to the tunes of spooky music, and glow-in-the-dark golf balls let them play into the night without affixing a little headlamp to each ball. Players of all ages are welcome.
Located in Hopewell Township, The Windmill has entertained local families with its 18-hole miniature-golf course for more than half a century. Away from the obstacle-laden course, a snack bar produces tasty treats, including nachos, corn dogs, and the Windmill's renowned ice cream.
More than 50 years ago, Mr. John E. Connelly set his sights on cleaning up Pittsburgh's polluted three rivers and returning them to their former glory as the Steel City's heart and soul. As then-treasurer of the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, John was in a prime position to complete his ambition. With the belief that he could get the public engaged and committed to a cleanup, he decided to give the local people access to the rivers via boat tours, knowing the city's characteristic architecture as viewed from the rivers would engender a genuine appreciation for the region's waterways and environment.
After getting his nephew, Captain Jack Goessling, on board, John purchased a 100-passenger fishing boat they would christen the Gateway Clipper, which would later launch from Monongahela Wharf for the first of its many pleasure cruises. Today, with Gateway Clipper Fleet, his dream of engaging locals and visitors in the city's history and waterways thrives with a fleet that has grown to five boats capable of accommodating 2,500 guests. Through the years, the fleet has ferried more than 25 million passengers, treating them to dinner cruises, sightseeing tours, and entertainment jaunts along the clean, blue waters of Pittsburgh's three rivers.