Sunday, July 31, 2016

Day Trip Diaries : Slippery Rock and Volant Mills

Sometimes you just want to get away - break out of your routine, go somewhere new or try something different. For me, two of the best ways to do that are to get out of town, or to hike a new trail. A perfect day would let me do both.


On Saturday the BF had the day off, a real rarity in our world. Since we hike nearly every weekend we've quickly covered many of the trails in Pittsburgh and the nearby burbs. We decided we would use the day to take a trip about an hour north of the city, hike a new to us trail and grab a late lunch at a favorite restaurant of ours.

We planned to hike first and food second, but mother nature had other plans. Some fast and furious rain hit Pittsburgh on our drive up, so we made a last minute change of plans and headed to Volant.

I visited Volant a few weeks back (post here) so I knew it would be a perfect stop. We headed to Volant Mills Winery first. Parking was super easy, and since the main street and shopping area is only about a quarter mile long we were able to park once and walk everywhere we needed to be.


Volant Mills Winery does tastings, 5 for $2, and sells by the glass and by the bottle. They even have two ciders available to taste. We opted to taste & dash, but they have a cute little indoor seating area if you want to stick around.

Next we headed to Knockin' Noggin. Tastings are complimentary and they offer both wines and hard ciders. They have 4 ciders always on draft and a large list of rotating seasonals. Last visit I had a cranberry lemonade cider. This visit their seasonals included strawberry, blueberry, peach and cranberry.


Their outside patio is charming and on summer weekends they have live music + a small selection of food items. The BF and I each enjoyed a glass of cider, I went with the strawberry, he chose the cranberry.


After we finished our drinks we wandered around a few of the local shops before hopping back in the car and heading to Wolf Creek Narrows. This small nature area is about a 10-15 minute backroad drive from Volant Mills.

Wolf Creek Narrows
195 Miller Rd. 
Slippery Rock, PA 16057

Parking : If you're heading east on Miller Road, a small parking area will be off to your right just before the one lane bridge that crosses Wolf Creek.

Finding the trail : From the parking area, head a few hundred feet down the road and across the bridge, the trail will begin (and is marked by a small wooden sign) just after the bridge on the left.

About two miles in length, it's well marked by white blazes and follows Wolf Creek before an uphill stretch taking you around a hilltop before looping you back down to the creek.



This trail was the perfect way to break up the day and help us work up an appetite. Although I would consider the BF and I to be fairly avid hikers this was definitely a trail suitable for anyone.

After our hike it was back to the car, and back on the back roads as we headed into the town of Slippery Rock for a late late lunch at North Country Brewing. They brew their own beer and carry a huge selection of local wines (including some from Volant Mills). If you stop in, their fried pretzels appetizer is a must (splurge the extra $.75 for the mustard and the cheese) and their burgers are great too, though, to be honest, I'm not sure I've ever ordered the same thing twice, and I've still yet to be disappointed. Ask for bread as well, it's homemade, and arrives hot and fresh at your table with a sweet honey butter.

Photo Cred : Growler Creative
After lunch we were both stuffed, but we had one more hike in mind before we called it a day and headed back to Pittsburgh. We headed to a spot known as Frew Mills, but you won't find this trail on many maps. While I'm told it's technically private property, we saw several other couples out hiking.

Pittsburghers - if you hike far enough from Frew Mills you'll hit Eckert Bridge (4.7 miles, or so I'm told) and McConnells Mills State Park. So expect to find similar scenery, but fewer people.

Frew Mills
3956 Frew Mill Rd. 
New Castle, PA 16101

Parking : Wherever you can find it on the road shoulder, there are a few good "spots" on either side of the Frew Mills Bridge. But be prepared for none of it to look like parking.

Finding the trail : If the falls are on your right and the bride straight ahead, hop over the guardrail in the bend of the road, and start hiking! This trail is entirely unmarked, but wide and easy to follow.


We hiked about two miles, stopped to swing on a swing and explored a few mini caves before finally turning around. This trail has lots of shade and great views since it follows Slippery Rock Creek for its entirety. The terrain is fairly flat, but there are some narrow sections of trail, with a decent drop off to the side.


We headed home with full bellies and tired legs. A short day trip and a change of scenery was just what I needed after a few busy busy weekends.

Pittsburghers - what are some of your favorite trails, help me find some new ones!
Where was the last place you took a day trip?
What does your perfect day trip entail?

 I’m linking up with  Holly, TriciaAmandaLovePastaToolBeltA Little R&R +  Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World for Wanderful Wednesday! 

27 comments:

  1. This sounds like a great day trip with a nice mix of food and activity. Those photos of the second trail are beautiful!

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    1. It was the perfect balance, I love moving after a big meal, so the second hike of the day was perfect.

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  2. That looks like a beautiful hike Jessie! and the winery looks lovely!!

    I'm not from Pittsburg, but we have wanted to hike Ohiopyle for years now! We hope this is the year!

    We daytrip almost every weekend! A good daytrip for me includes something fun and active, a good meal and a tired body at the end of the day.

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    1. I love Ohiopyle! So much fun! And great for hiking AND biking!

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  3. This looks like such a fun day! All of those ciders sound delicious too. The last place I took a day trip to was Rockford, Illinois, about 2ish hours away. My friend and I hiked for a few hours then hung out at a beach and grabbed dinner on our way home!

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    1. I'm trying to channel my inner Amanda, and meet a friend at a few wineries that are halfway between us. I think it would be the perfect day. She's moving away but don't know if either of us have time for a full weekend before she moves!

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  4. What a wonderful way to spend the day! Quaint towns, wineries, breweries, tasty food, and the great outdoors -- I don't think it could get much better! Thanks for linking, Jessie.

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    1. It was the best. And now I'm on the hunt for other places for day dates like this!

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  5. Looks like an awesome weekend! I love finding those towns & fun places to go that aren't very well known.

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    1. Ditto & now I'm on the hunt for more. Do not google Wineries near me, you'll want to leave work & go!

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  6. That looks like a really fun excursion! I hike with some food and wineries thrown in is perfect!

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    1. My thoughts exactly Marcia! I'll take this over a fancy dinner on a weeknight any day!

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  7. A day trip sounds like the perfect way to spend a Saturday! I loveee exploring new places!

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    1. It was perfect, so now I'm on the hunt for more nearby wineries and tiny towns I've never heard of.

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  8. that cider name is so cute! strawberry cider sounds awesome, cranberry though...hmmm. beautiful pics!

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    1. The cranberry was so good, but as is the rule, we can't ever order the same thing. Then we don't get to try something different! Haha

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  9. A good daytrip for me includes something fun and active, a good meal and a tired body at the end of the day Sakura Beauty

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  10. I couldn't agree more! Hikking and have a bit of time in nature is a great way to refresh yourself and see something new, it's one of my favourite weekend activities :) It looks so calm and tranquil :D

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    1. Ditto! I was so pleased, after the big rainstorm the trails were NOT a muddy mess & we had the whole forest to ourselves!

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  11. This all looks so fun! :) I love going out for short day hikes. We went to St. Mary's Glacier here in Colorado a couple weeks ago, and it was a really refreshing day out in creation.

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    1. Colorado must have such amazing day hikes. It has been a long time since I've been to Colorado, it's definitely on my list of places to visit again!

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  12. What a neat hike! We are trying to get a day hiking trip planned near me as well. It's so hot but where we are going is usually 15-20 degrees cooler on the canopy floor than the area! So yea I hope it pans out!

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    1. I hope your hike pans out! I agree, it's definitely hot, though I'm sure hotter down near you. We try to avoid hiking in the heat of the day, but we don't always succeed. So I am always thankful for a cool breeze and some tree cover.

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  13. This sounds like my absolute perfect day! I've been super into hiking recently and I'm always down for a good beer, wine or cider tasting! (Or in your case all 3 :D) looks like a ton of fun! Thanks for linking up for #wanderfulwednesday!

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    1. I've been loving all your Santiago hiking posts! Hiking is one of my favorite ways to get outside, and I love discovering new hikes & places.

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  14. I am loving the sound of those ciders!x #twinklytuesday

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    1. They were so good, I am always amazed at how different varieties of apples make such a difference in taste!

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