Need a break from your everyday routine? Looking for a spark to get you fired up for that long, dreary winter season? Or are you tired of working hard and need a place to play hard?
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa could be the place for you.
This luxury adult playground, nestled in the mountains in Southwestern Pennsylvania 70 miles south of Pittsburgh, is close enough for Western New Yorkers to drive to (about 285 miles), but far enough away to really feel like you are “on vacation.”
It’s an exquisite year-round mountain resort destination with enough amenities to please anyone. The master planners of Nemacolin, named after a Delaware Nation chief, made a concerted effort to include just about every type of recreational amenity imaginable, and they treat everyone like a VIP.
Nemacolin features 320 guest rooms, suites, townhouses and private upscale homes. There are so many options for accommodations, it’s almost difficult to choose one.
There are more than 10 dining options at Nemacolin, from an upscale fine dining experience to an old-fashioned diner. Lautrec is the award-winning restaurant, PJ’s is the diner specializing in ice cream, but the choice here was Aqueous, the resort’s steakhouse. Inspired by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, it features floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the Pennsylvania Laurel Highlands.
The resort offers two championship Pete Dye-designed golf courses – Mystic Rock and Shepherd’s Rock – a must-do for golfers of all abilities.
The Wildlife Academy is simply amazing. The wildlife habitats on the grounds feature bears, bison, zebra, a Bengal tiger, lions, wolves, sheep and goats. Not very many elite resorts can boast having their own zoo on the premises.
There’s also the Woodlands Spa, a big fitness center, the Shooting Academy; an Adventure Center, complete with zip lines and climbing wall, indoor and outdoor family and adult pools and much more.
Owned by Joseph A. Hardy III, the founder and CEO of 84 Lumber Co., Nemacolin is a first-class operation. From the minute you pull up to the front lobby, you are welcomed by resort staff with friendly smiles and impeccable service. Maggie Magerko, Hardy’s youngest daughter, has taken over the leadership of the resort and is determined to make Nemacolin a superior luxury four-season resort.
“We want to be a mega destination,” Magerko told a group at the recent grand opening of Shepherd’s Rock golf course. “Shepherd’s Rock is the cherry on top of the resort. It’s just magical.
“But we are so much more than just a golf resort,” she added. “This is the rebirth of Nemacolin. We will put our resort up against anyone around the world. We have soul.”
The heart and soul of Nemacolin is the golf. The facilities are outstanding. The two 18-hole courses, built atop the Allegheny Mountains, are both challenging and aesthetically pleasing.
Shepherd’s Rock offers many spectacular views from elevated tees. The target areas are big and the terrain is spectacular.
“To me, it’s a variety of holes,” said director of golf Mike Jones. “You’re going to have some holes where you can bomb it, some holes when it’s a little tighter off the tee. It’s typical of Pete Dye.
He wants you to make choices out there.
“It’s a great complement to Mystic Rock, which is the No. 1-ranked course you can play in Pennsylvania right now,” Jones added. "Our goal is to make Mystic and Shepherd’s the No. 1 and No. 2 courses you can play in Pennsylvania."
The Hardys, who have a beautiful sprawling home on the resort property, invested $250 million into Shepherd’s Rock, and it shows.
“People ask why did we build another championship golf course,” Magerko said. “I tell them because we want to have fun.”
The golf here is definitely fun.
Mystic Rock was a staple on the PGA Tour in the early 2000s when it hosted the 84 Lumber Classic. The well-groomed fairways and greens keep Mystic Rock difficult yet friendly. It’s a terrific track.
The resort’s Golf Academy is also second to none. Led by head professional Eric Johnson, this facility on the grounds offers instruction, club fitting and state-of-the-art technology.
It’s all here, everything you need for a dream vacation.
Nemacolin knows the meaning of stay and play, offering a plethora of package options for golf, lodging, dining, spa and other resort activities. It’s a five-star facility and they treat you like royalty.