by Mark Glass
Mark Glass is a journalist trapped in a lawyer's body, balancing his
writing and broadcasting on travel, entertainment and professional sports.
Travel writing can be full of surprises. I was exploring a new (to me)
region of southwestern Pennsylvania. Since it was summer, I found its low,
green mountains and valleys to be as idyllic as expected. But about 90
minutes southeast of Pittsburgh - just above the West Virginia state line in
a region the locals call Westsylvania, arose the most spectacular non
sequitur one could imagine in such a rural setting. I wasn’t prepared
for the grandeur of the Nemacolin Resort and Spa.
Oh, sure. You might anticipate the palatial home of some 19th-Century
coal, steel or railroad magnate to have been converted into a posh hotel.
Those “robber barons” knew how to live, and how to spend. Although
Nemacolin is on the site of a playground for the wealthy of yore,
what you see is all new, yet worthy of that bygone era.
Once you pass through the gates and enter this estate, your first clue
is the massive, sprawling French-chateau style of the main part of this
hotel. It looks like it was lifted from the Loire Valley, and inflated upon
arrival. Inside are 165 spacious rooms, with elegant appointments, and some
of the most luxurious marble bathrooms one can find anywhere. This connects
to a rambling Tudor-style wing, with more rooms, and a plethora of shops,
restaurants, lounges and meeting rooms. A couple of clusters of townhouses
bring the total number of guest rooms and suites to 275.
Nemacolin is part resort, and part theme park It boasts two PGA-championship
golf courses, skeet shooting, a riding academy/polo field, tennis courts and
a few swimming pools. Winter visitors can choose between downhill and
cross-country skiing. The spa is not only full-service, but feng shue’d
to the envy of any new-age Californian.
Banquet and meeting facilities are over 23,000 square feet. Corporate
clients will find rope courses, and other amenities for team-building
events. One with a private plane can even fly directly to the resort, with
its 3900-foot airstrip.
Although almost everything on the property was built by its present
owner, Joe Hardy, since 1987, the resort’s name and theme honors the
region’s history. Nemacolin was a Delaware Chief, who helped early
explorers lay out trails for settlement in 1740. This was a key pathway for
George Washington, and later westward migrations until railroads superseded
other means of transport about 100 years later.
The resort caters to every taste. Its golf, riding, and shooting
facilities include instructional opportunities. One section of the main
building includes not only an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, but a video
arcade. They also offer a variety of kids’ programs, with different
options for various age groups, or just baby-sitting services for those who
wish to have a lesser degree of separation from their progeny. The 32,000
square-foot, three-story spa serves up more forms of pampering than the most
devout hedonist could absorb in one visit. Its 13 restaurants and bars cater
to every taste, formality level, and budget, from sushi, to French cuisine,
to hot dogs.
Nemacolin has received numerous awards from magazines and organizations,
covering its food and beverage service, meeting facilities, spa, recreation,
and the overall resort., including Conde Nast, Zagat, and AAA. There
is a broad assortment of packages available, depending on your interests.
For further information, visit the website at www.nemacolin.com,
or call 800-422-2376.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark Glass)
Mark Glass is a
Mark Glass is a freelance writer and broadcaster, based in St. Louis, covering travel, entertainment and professional sports for his readers
and listeners. Mark was travel editor for "St. Louis Connoisseur", and
now have that role for "Life in the Midwest", based in Indianapolis.
For the last fifteen years, he's written and broadcast features on
travel, entertainment and sports, while maintaining his law practice in the St. Louis
area. (More about this writer.)