Pat and I (Tom) have owned and operated Chapel Valley Estate Bed & Breakfast for over 9 years now. One of the questions people have asked is, “What is the draw to Ellwood City?”. I usually tell them that we are! Now Ellwood City is not necessarily well known for being a tourist area, but there is certainly plenty to do!
Yes, as any typical bed and breakfast in a non-tourist area, we do get families and friends visiting our neighbors from in and around the small town of Ellwood City. Some folks find us as they are traveling through to and from destinations such as Chicago, New York, Maryland, and, well, you get the idea. We also get folks coming for a short get away, but didn’t want to travel far. Some return every year as they have had their wedding here and find the peace and tranquility of what we have to offer. Others get their friends together for reminiscing and enjoying each other’s company. There’s also groups that utilize our Event Room and book all rooms and have a retreat.
But again, what is Ellwood City about? The population from the 2020 census shows it to have a little over 7600 people, down from almost 13,000 in the 1950’s. It is located mostly in Lawrence County with a smaller portion in Beaver County. Located about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, it has the small town lifestyle with easy access to the city life. The Connoquenessing Creek meanders in and around the City which gives some breathtaking views and opportunity for kayakers.
Once known for the various industries associated with the steel industry such as tube mills, steel car works, building stone and limestone quarries, foundries, machine shops and coal mining, it still has some active industries including, Ellwood Group, Hall Industries, Adams Manufacturing, NALCO, and others. So how does this affect the traveler to our B & B? I guess that it doesn’t directly, but I just thought I’d share a little about our town, and to give you a little idea about the area. There are some unique places in Ellwood City that you should check out. Did you know Ellwood City has Pittsburgh’s largest retail chain of comics, games, and collectables and is the home and warehouse of New Dimension Comics? Sometime, we’ll have to “walk” down the streets of Ellwood City to give you a better tour of what is here.
For now though… Where do I begin? We are located in the middle of everything! Do you like biking? There many great trails, of which I’ve ridden many and are within an hour’s drive. I usually ride on the local roads, many of which are not heavily traveled (and I’ve found some routes where the hills aren’t too bad!) Do you like hiking and nature? We’re not far from State Parks, including McConnell’s Mills, Moraine State Park, and Racoon State Park. Did you know that entry into Pennsylvania State Parks is free, unlike many (if not all?) states? There are also other parks and hiking areas close by, including the North Country Trail. Maybe you can stay with us and get rested up from your 4800 mile hike from North Dakota to Vermont!
OK, so what if you’re not that adventurous? Maybe take in some antique stores, or shop at the Grove City Premium Outlets. If you’re at the Outlets, consider a stop at Wendell August Forge and check out America’s oldest and largest crafting handwrought ornamental metalware and giftware since 1923. Well, gee, don’t stop there, check out next door and do some wine tasting at Libation’s Winery. Do you like quaint little towns? Check out the small town of Volant (where both Pat and I grew up!) and shop at the multiple shops including the Volant Mill. While you’re at it, you’re in Amish country! Sign up for an Amish Tour with Simple Life Tours and tour the area learning about one of the most (if not the most) conservative Amish in the country.
Have you had enough? I haven’t started on the restaurants yet. OK, for starters, one mile up the road, you can visit a castle and eat at Shakespeare’s Restaurant, or venture into town or other nearby towns as the list is great. Maybe I’ll dive into this another time. But if you go to Shakespeare’s for dinner, and while you’re there, you may want to golf at Olde Stonewall which is ranked in the top 50 public courses by Golf Digest. OK, it is not the only course in the area, but again, maybe another time for more detail of other courses.
So what if you’re in the mood for a show? You can take in a play at the Red Barn Theatre, or see a classic movie, live show, music concert or special event at the Strand Theater, or go a little further and check out the Comtra Theatre for a live performance from local actors. Did you know that there is a School for performing Arts in Western Pennsylvania? You could see a play at the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center. If you want to delve a little into the “city life” and check out the Cultural District, which includes the August Wilson African American Cultural Center, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh CLO, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Public Theater and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, you have many choices to choose from. I’m not even going to touch on the many things there are to do in Pittsburgh, but you can enjoy the city life and then come back and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the country life and sit around the fire pit and discuss the joys of the day with the one you love.
Just to our north there is a campground, Cooper’s Lake that is always hosting all types
of various events such as AEthelmearc War Practice, Western PA Solo Canoe Rendezvous, the Bantam Jeep Festival, DrachenFest US, Pennsic 51, The Band Jam, Tough Mudder, and many others!
Sooo, have we wet your whistle yet? This has been just a sampling of what there is to do… and there’s more! We have an on-line Area Guide that you get when you stay with us that gives you the information you need to satisfy your desires for excitement, relaxing, or combination of both. Like I said before, we are in the middle of it all! Yes, small town living has been great, but then again, what is there to do around here?! Why come to Ellwood City?!