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 Nemacolin Resort

Mark Glass - Click to Enlarge
by Mark Glass

Mark Glass is a journalist trapped in a lawyer's body, balancing his practice with
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, or call 800-422-2376.

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Email: (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.)


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