A great trip through an interesting and beautiful part of the United States.
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Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.
Activity note: Check-in from 5:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Program Registration: 5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the Dining Hall lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. After you settle into your room, enjoy a walk on Laurelville's wooded trails or relax in the spacious common area of your building. Participants are welcome to bring their own bike, or bikes are available to rent at $100.00 per week. There will be a form to reserve a bike in the Information Packet. Please complete by the date requested.
Dinner: In the Dining Hall, we’ll have a buffet dinner with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water.
Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Retreats program. Our programming at Retreat locations includes opportunities for light morning exercise, interaction with members of the local community, a farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, and evening entertainment. One night we will dine at a restaurant with a bring-your-own-beer (BYOB) policy. Please plan accordingly if you would like to bring your own beer or wine. All transportation will be via vans unless specified otherwise. Each morning and afternoon, we will bike portions of the Great Allegheny Passage. Rides may be anywhere from 11 to 19 miles long. Riders will have the opportunity to meet up with the support vehicle and staff for lunch and breaks. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Activity note: 20 minute stretch session before breakfast. Biking about 32 miles, approximately 4.5 hours with morning, lunch, and afternoon stops; snacks and water refills provided on all stops; trail surface of packed crushed limestone. Getting in/out of a van; driving about 41 miles, approximately 1 hour.
Breakfast: In the dining room, we’ll have a buffet breakfast with water, coffee, tea, milk, and juice.
Morning: We’ll depart the hotel by van to the start of the week's ride. The morning ride from Meyersdale to Deal will highlight the curved Keystone Viaduct. Built in 1911 and refurbished for bike and hiker traffic in 2003, this 910-foot bridge originally carried Western Maryland Railway trains over ground railroad tracks and the Casselman River.
Lunch: We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch in Deal, PA.
Afternoon: The afternoon ride from Deal to Cumberland, MD features the Eastern Continental Divide, the 3,294' Big Savage Tunnel, the Mason-Dixon Line and the 957' Borden Tunnel. It is at Mile Marker 0 where the Great Allegheny Passage meets the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath (C&O Canal) to Washington, D.C. Our ride will end at the Fairfield Inn and Suites, located along the first mile of the C&O Canal. After checking into our rooms, we will have time to clean up, relax and explore nearby before dinner.
Dinner: At a local Cumberland restaurant, we’ll enjoy a sit-down plated and served meal with water, coffee, and tea.
Evening: At leisure. The evening is free to further explore the town or relax in the pool or hot tub.
Activity note: Getting in/out of vans; driving about 35 miles, approximately 40 minutes to Meyersdale; driving 40 miles, approximately 1 hour to Laurelville. Biking 31 miles, approximately 4.5 hours throughout the day with morning, lunch, and afternoon stops; trail surface of packed crushed limestone.
Breakfast: At the Fairfield Inn, we’ll pick from a tasty buffet with water, coffee, tea, and juice.
Morning: We’ll depart the Fairfield Inn and Suites in vans for Meyersdale, where we will begin the second day of riding. The ride from Meyersdale to Rockwood will highlight the 1,908' Salisbury Viaduct which crosses the Casselman River Valley, and offer great views of a wind farm.
Lunch: We’ll stop to have a picnic lunch in Rockwood.
Afternoon: The ride from Rockwood to Confluence will take us through the Pinkerton Tunnel. The ride will end in the town of Confluence, traditionally called Turkeyfoot because of how three streams merge into one. The Youghiogheny and Casselman Rivers and Laurel Hill Creek look like the track of a turkey when viewed from the surrounding hills. The small broad valley here was the site of ancient Indian villages and a resting place between the mountains. George Washington camped here, and the Yough Dam – a major flood control and recreation project built and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – was built here. The vans will meet us in Confluence to return to Laurelville.
Dinner: Dining hall buffet.
Evening: A speaker will join us to discuss the industrial history of the area and how it ties into the Great Allegheny Passage. We will learn about some of the specific areas we’ll pass through on the trail. We’ll also have a delicious dessert.
Activity note: Getting in/out of van; driving about 40 miles, approximately 1 hour to Confluence and 13 miles, approximately 30 minutes to winery. Biking about 28 miles, approximately 4 hours throughout the day; morning and lunch breaks; trail surface of packed crushed limestone.
Breakfast: Dining room buffet.
Morning: We’ll depart by van from Laurelville for Confluence, where we will begin our next day of riding. The ride from Confluence to Ohiopyle will quickly take us into the beauty and serenity of Ohiopyle State Park. Much of the morning ride runs beside the river, providing great views and the opportunity to descend the slope and take a break riverside. This portion of trail also parallels the active CSX rail line across the river.
Lunch: We’ll stop to enjoy a picnic lunch in Ohiopyle.
Afternoon: The ride from Ohiopyle to Connellsville continues through Ohiopyle State Park and highlights the high and low bridges over the Youghiogheny River as we exit the park. The ride ends in Connellsville where the vans will pick us up for a short return trip to Laurelville.
Dinner: We’ll hop in the vans and head to a favorite locally owned restaurant serving American cuisine for a plated meal, plus water, coffee, and tea. It is a Bring Your Own Beer or Wine establishment so don't forget to snag your beverage of choice earlier in the week.
Evening: The evening will be spent enjoying each other's company over fine food at the restaurant, so expect a late return back to Laurelville.
Activity note: 20-minute stretch session before breakfast. Getting in/out of a van; driving about 13 miles; approximately 20 minutes to Connellsville and 25 miles, approximately 1 hour to Laurelville. Biking about 31 miles, approximately 4.5 hours throughout the day with morning, lunch, and afternoon stops; trail surface of packed crushed limestone.
Breakfast: Dining room buffet.
Morning: We’ll depart from Laurelville for Connellsville where we will begin our next day of riding. The ride from Connellsville to Whitsett takes us back in time to the heart of coal and coke country. Considered "the most important mineral resource in the history of the world" during the late 1800s and early 1900s, coal fueled the Industrial Age in western Pennsylvania. Towns like Adelaide, Whitsett, Van Meter, and Smithdale are examples of the coal patch towns that were built by the coal and coke companies to house their workers. Whitsett, an intact coal patch town, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lunch: In Whitsett, we'll enjoy a picnic lunch.
Afternoon: The ride from Whitsett to Buena Vista will continue through old industrial towns dotting the route to Pittsburgh. Soon after Whitsett, we will ride by the site of one of the worst coal mining tragedies in U.S. history. In 1907, 239 miners were killed in an explosion at Darr Mine. Now little remains of the once-bustling Banning No. 1 Coal Processing Operation. The vans will meet us in Buena Vista to take us back to Laurelville.
Dinner: The buffet meal tonight will be augmented by a live performance.
Evening: We’ll listen to an informative presentation from a local expert on flora and fauna while enjoying a delicious dessert.
Activity note: Getting in/out of a van; driving about 50 miles, approximately 1 hour to Pittsburgh and 25 miles, approximately 50 minutes to Laurelville. Biking about 30 miles, approximately 4.5 hours throughout the day; morning and lunch stops; trail surface is packed crushed limestone. Riding 800-foot railway incline.
Breakfast: Dining room buffet.
Morning: We’ll depart by van for Pittsburgh, where we will begin our last day of riding. This morning we will start at the heart of the city. We’ll first take a break from our bikes and ride the Duquesne Incline to see a spectacular view of the city. We’ll then ride to Point State Park. Here we can enjoy the iconic Point State Park Fountain where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers form the Ohio River. We’ll then begin our 12-mile journey to Homestead. Today’s stretch is the final part of the trail to have been completed and now formally connects the Point in Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. This segment of the trail runs alongside the river, offering great urban views, particularly as we cross over the Hot Metal Bridge. e’ll depart by van for Pittsburgh, where we will begin our last day of riding. This morning we will start at the heart of the city. We’ll first take a break from our bikes and ride the Duquesne Incline to see a spectacular view of the city. We’ll then ride to Point State Park. Here we can enjoy the iconic Point State Park Fountain where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers form the Ohio River. We’ll then begin our 12-mile journey to Homestead. Today’s stretch is the final part of the trail to have been completed and now formally connects the Point in Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. This segment of the trail runs alongside the river, offering great urban views, particularly as we cross over the Hot Metal Bridge.
Lunch: Upon reaching Homestead, we'll enjoy a picnic lunch.
Afternoon: After lunch, we'll cover the final ride from Homestead to Buena Vista, which is 18 miles. This afternoon, we’ll go through McKeesport, a one-time major steel center strategically located where the Youghiogheny and Monongahela Rivers join. Today, the major industries are telecommunications, pipe making, and steel fabricating. Once we’ve reached Buena Vista, we’ve completed the Great Allegheny Passage!
Dinner: We'll enjoy a special celebration buffet at Laurelville plus coffee, tea, water.
Evening: For our last evening together, we’ll take time to relax around the campfire! Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.
Activity note: Check-out 12:30 p.m.
Breakfast: Dining room buffet. This concludes our program.
Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!
A great trip through an interesting and beautiful part of the United States.
This is a FANTASTIC way to "bike the GAP" (the Greater Allegheny Passage)! It's delightful to share bicycling with like-minded folks along such an interesting route.
This was a wonderful trip. The trail is interesting and scenic. I learned a lot about the former coal industry. The trail leader and support staff were terrific.
There is much to like about this program. The riding is on a good surface, mostly flat with each day being about 30 miles. The leaders, accommodations, and food were all very good. We lucked out with pretty good weather too.
What a great experience! A group of diverse and interesting people from many locations domestic and international who enjoy cycling, pedaled 150 miles, enjoyed the scenery, shared meals and camaraderie, learned the history of the area and made some new friend. This was my first Road Scholar program and I will look forward to others.
I wholeheartedly recommend this bike trek. I am not a cyclist, but am physically fit, and did it for my husband who loves to ride his bike. It opened up whole new world to me. I would definitely take another bike trek and enncourage anyone who has a desire to try something a bit outside of one's comfort zone to sign up!!!
The attention to detail by our coordinator Katie Cline was outstanding. She went so far and above to ensure every participant was taken care of. All the little details, for example; she provided glasses for us to view the solar eclipse, certificates and a cake to celebrate our completion of the ride and on and on...... The organization of the whole event was outstanding, the accommodations perfect, and the ride itself phenomenal. The rental bikes were excellent (although now i may have to replace my bike :) ). The representative (Steve) that supplied the bikes and provided transportation and support was outstanding as well. A wealth of information about the local area and trail.
I would highly recommend this trip. The scenery on the ride was spectacular. The accommodations were very comfortable and the surrounding campus was very serene and peaceful It was a fantastic trip
The Allegheny Gap Trail is a great biking trail. There is almost no street riding so there is virtually no traffic to deal with. The trip is also set up so that you do almost no uphill biking. If you can ride for 30 miles a day on level ground you can do this trip.
Cycling the Great Allegheny Passage is a wonderful experience. Most of the trail is lovingly maintained. There is a great variety in the scenery that keeps the cycling interesting. The Laurelville facility is comfortable and the food is excellent. Couldn't have asked for a better biking adventure!