Hotel Review: The Historic Summit Inn in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands
During my first visit to Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, I was making my way towards Ohiopyle State Park from points west. As I came over the crest of Chestnut Ridge, I noticed a fantastic looking hotel called the Historic Summit Inn. I knew instantly that this was somewhere I wanted to check out at some point, so I was happy that the hotel agreed to host me during my second visit to the area.
I pulled up to the hotel after a long day exploring the many trails and waterfalls in the area, and was instantly glad that I was able to stay at this historic property.
The Summit Inn opened to the public in 1907 and was quickly very successful with both travelers and the many millionaires that lived in nearby Uniontown. The hotel hosted Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, and Thomas Edison as part of the American Science Wizards. The rooms they stayed in still bear plates on the doors attesting to this.
Over the years, amenities were added and owners were changed. However, the Historic Summit Inn has now been in the same family for nearly 60 years.
Even before entering the hotel, I knew I was in for a treat. The beautiful white exterior and fabulous decks seemed like they wouldn’t be out of place in a five-star hotel. Walking through the front door, I was greeted by the striking dark wood of the lobby. Throughout the room, cozy chairs had been set up, inviting visitors to sit and read a book in front of the fire or chat with other guests.
Just off the lobby, is the hotel’s large porch. While it is located right next to the very busy Route 40, the view is simply stunning. It is said you can see all the way to Pittsburgh on a clear day, and, while I don’t know if that is true or not, the view overlooking Uniontown and the surrounding countryside is quite breathtaking.
During the summer months, meals are offered on the veranda, but any time of the year you can sit outside, drink in hand, and watch the sun set over the distant mountains.
With such an impressive exterior, lobby, and veranda, I was excited to see my room. However, opening the door, I was quite disappointed. The room itself looked like it hadn’t been redecorated in 20+ years. The bed and chair, while quite comfortable, were covered with dated fabric. While the room was clean, it had a few stains that obviously had been there a long time, and the bathroom fixtures were the quality I’d expect in a 2-star hotel.
To be fair, I have seen photos of better rooms online, and since they claim that every room is different, it’s possible they put me in the ugly room at the end of the hall. However, since it’s the only room that I saw, I have to judge the hotel by this.
That being said, the common areas of the hotel are so ridiculously impressive that I’m willing to forgive the comfortable, but badly in need of redecorating, room.
In addition to the veranda, the Historic Summit Inn is also home to large indoor and outdoor pools, a game room, a unique bar, and a delicious restaurant. While certainly not the cheapest restaurant in the area, Mae’s Dining Room provided good food for those looking for a nice meal at the hotel.
The hotel is also home to a treehouse that was recently built by Pete Nelson of TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters.’ Open for daily tours, the treehouse is definitely a must-see for any fan of the show.
Overall, despite my room needing a major upgrade, I would definitely consider staying at the Historic Summit Inn on a later visit to the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. The communal areas of the hotel are so special that I would just use my room for sleeping and spend my time relaxing on the verandas. This historic charm, combined with a great location near places like Fort Necessity, Fallingwater, and Ohiopyle State Park, make this a good choice for visitors to Fayette County.
Note: My stay at the Historic Summit Inn was hosted by the hotel. However, the opinions expressed in the article are my own.