The Laurel Highlands: An Area of History, Local Culture, and Outdoor Adventure


Our roomy farmhouse is located on 31 acres of fields and woodlands three miles from Confluence, PA. We reside in the "Lower Turkeyfoot" river valley rich in Appalachian culture, flora, fauna and history. It was so named by the young surveyor George Washington during the French and Indian Wars. He surveyed the area and mapped the three beautiful rivers, the Laurel Hill, the Casselman and the Youghiogheny that form a turkeyfoot where present day Confluence exists. As the early American population grew westward, towns in the Appalachians grew up around the river valleys where the railroads developed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Confluence, PA, was booming at the turn of the century with abundant commerce in lumber, hides, coal and more because of the introduction of the railroad. Already by the 1960s, the railroads were in decline and so was Confluence. The Western Maryland Railroad closed on the west side of the Casselman River; but the B&O on the east side survived and eventually became the CSX railroad. It still runs at the edge of the farm today, a reminder of a historical presence that has defined the culture and history of this area for over 100 years.

The abandoned Western Maryland rail was developed into the Great Allegheny (the bike trail from Pittsburgh to DC) with the first 9 miles opening in 1987 from Confluence to Ohiopyle. Now it is completed for 305 miles from Pittsburgh to DC. The GAP/ATA passes through Confluence and has road access one mile from our farm at the Harnedsville trailhead (see DirectionsArriving by Bicycle). Fallingwater, Kentuck Knob, Ohiopyle, Seven Springs, Nemacolin Woodlands and Ft. Necessity, among others are a short, scenic drive away (See Nearby Attractions for descriptions and other links).