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.
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?