Headed to Steelers camp? Here are other things to do in the area | TribLIVE.com
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Mary Pickels

We all know Steeler Nation is a loyal bunch.

And as its members descend on the Saint Vincent College campus for Steeler training camp through Aug. 16, all eyes will be on Chuck Noll Field.

But in between watching the action, visiting the vendors and trying to snag a photo or autograph, some fans — and perhaps their less “fan”atic friends and family — may decide to explore the area.

And there’s plenty to do.

Just ask Briana Tomack, president of the Greater Latrobe-Laurel Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber’s The Neighborhood Visitor and Information Center, located at 3960 State Route 30, below Sharky’s Cafe and just down the highway from the college, is a colorful stop.

Tomack has several suggestions for keeping little ones busy and giving family and friends of all ages some options when they need a little “halftime” from the football action, including Battle Zone Family Fun Center.

The indoor play site offers battleball-dodgeball, battleball-castle defense, and pickleball, described as “paintball without the paint or pain.” Hours: noon-10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday

Tomack also suggests a trip along historic Route 30, from Latrobe into Ligonier, with stops along the way at perennial favorites including Idlewild & Soak Zone and the Lincolin Highway Experience.


For train lovers

Kids of all ages love trains, and they can learn all about them at the Ligonier Valley Rail Road Museum, Tomack says.

The mission of the museum, housed in an original Ligonier Valley Rail Road station that was built around 1896, is to preserve the history of the Ligonier Valley Rail Road, according to its website. Hours: 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Saturdays

Three miles east in Laughlintown, Tomack adds, is the Compass Inn Museum, a National Register of Historic Place Site. The authentically restored 1799 stagecoach stop tour includes the original inn and three reconstructed outbuildings, a cookhouse, blacksmith and barn with a restored stagecoach and Conestoga wagon. Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday


History on the grounds

Curious about local history? Nearby Fort Ligonier is both a museum and national historic site. A British fortification from the French and Indian War, it served as a staging area for the Forbes Expedition of 1758. Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, open until 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays through August, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

On the return trip, approaching Saint Vincent College, Tomack suggests a visit and/or trail walk at the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve.

Back on campus, she urges visitors to stop at the Foster & Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery, in the lower level of the Fred Rogers Center.

Also close to the football action, but seeming a lifetime away, is the St. Vincent Gristmill. Built by Benedictine monks, the gristmill has been in continuous operation since 1854. At the gristmill, you will find a small museum with exhibits as well as a store where you can purchase breads, flours, jams and more. Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays


Burn off some energy

Kids and even some adults eventually tire of sitting in camp chairs and lolling on blankets. Just a short distance from the Saint Vincent Campus, in downtown Latrobe, Legion Keener Park offers structures to climb and swing on, picnic tables and room to run.

It has a 3-mile fitness trail for walking, jogging, rollerblading and bicycling. Hours: 9 a.m.-dusk

And if you go on a Tuesday between noon-4 p.m., you can visit the on-site Latrobe Farmers Market.

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