The Lodge at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

By the beginning of the 20th century, Pittsburgh and its surrounding communities had recast Western Pennsylvania into one of the country’s most economically vibrant regions. Countless steel mills and factories dotted the landscape, attracting scores of individuals eager to forge a living for themselves. The industrialists who owned those businesses became incredibly successful. Interested in fleeing from the chaos of city life, they began raising magnificent summer homes throughout the neighboring countryside. The nearby Laurel Highlands in particular became a hotspot for these bucolic manors, as its inherent natural beauty made it a desirable destination among the locals.

Willard F. Rockwell was one such person who sought refuge in the Laurel Highlands. One of Pittsburgh’s manufacturing titans, Rockwell began developing a 60-acre retreat in the area during the late 1940s. He continued to add more land onto the location over the next twenty years, eventually turning his estate into a massive game reserve called the Nemacolin Trail Hunting Game Reserve. Rockwell eventually hired his friend and architect, C.W. Balling, to construct a striking hunting lodge that would act as the grand focal point for the reserve. Finished in 1968, the quaint, four-story Tudor-style structure was a beautiful sight to behold.

Rockwell would entertain friends and family at the lodge, often going out on grand trips to hunt the region’s fantastic wild game. The lodge’s popularity among his loved ones inspired Rockwell to convert it into an exciting retreat open to the public. Without disturbing the scenery, Rockwell and his family began installing additional facilities around the lodge, such as swimming pools, gourmet restaurants, and even an airstrip. By the end of the 1970s, the entire location—now known as the Nemacolin Inn—was among Pennsylvania’s most esteemed vacation getaways. Hundreds of people soon began arriving each year, including several Hollywood celebrities like Phillis Diller, Milton Berle, and Eva Gabor.

In 1987, Joseph A. Hardy III purchased the Nemacolin Inn and much of its accompanying land. The founder of 84 Lumber, Hardy originally bought the location so his daughter, Maggie, could have a quiet place to fish. But the Hardys ultimately decided to keep the business active, investing millions into its future. Over the course of the next decade, the new owners spectacularly transformed the Nemacolin Inn into an internationally-renowned resort. Reborn as the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, the venue offered a wealth of new and exciting attractions, such as a professional 18-hole golf course, a world-class spa, and several outdoor adventure centers. The Hardys also significantly enlarged the original hunting lodge, renaming it “The Lodge at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort” in the process.

Since then, the resort as a whole has won many illustrious accolades for its service, including numerous AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star awards. People from across the globe now travel to The Lodge and its fellow facilities in great numbers. As such, both The Lodge and the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort are among the best holiday destinations in the entire United States.

The Lodge at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2018, dates back to 1968.