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Experience Fall Foliage at Its Best on Road Trips in Mercer County, PA

Fall Foliage tours near Pittsburgh and Cleveland

By Peggy Mazyck

Mid-October through the end of October is the perfect time to plan your getaway to Mercer County PA. The county’s location near Pittsburgh offers less than 90 minutes travel time for great attractions and a spectacular display of colors as you travel back roads through scenic countryside communities. Take a drive along some of the routes suggested below to experience the best of Mercer County’s changing leaf colors and vistas.

SELF – DRIVING TOUR 1: Exit 10 (Mitchell Rd Exit) off I-376 to Rt. 18 N

From Pittsburgh, travel I-376 to Rt. 18 North, turning right turn onto Rt. 208 East. This self- driving tour winds through New Wilmington, Volant, and Grove City, PA. On this tour, you will be captivated by the old order Amish communities and the scenic countryside. Look closely for the small signs showing Amish homes and shops selling baked goods, handmade crafts, furniture, quilts, and other unique items. Places of interest on Driving Tour 1 include THE APPLE CASTLE, THE CHEESE HOUSE, THE AMISH QUILT SHOP, WINERIES, THE TAVERN ON THE SQAURE RESTAURANT, and the charming villages of NEW WILMINGTON AND VOLANT. Stay on Route 208 East towards Grove City. Enjoy stops at WENDELL AUGUST for handcrafted metal giftware and GROVE CITY PREMIUM OUTLETS, which is Pennsylvania’s premiere shopping destination with over 130 brand-name outlet stores. Numerous quality accommodations are near Grove City Premium Outlets, so stay overnight and enjoy Self-Driving Tour 2 the next day.

SELF-DRIVING TOUR 2: (Route 258 N to Mercer and Clark)

From Grove City Premium Outlets, travel Route 258 North to Mercer. Cross over Rt. 19 at the Courthouse Square to again pick up Rt. 258 North and travel back roads along the Shenango River to Clark, home of Tara – A Country Inn.

Places of interest on Driving Tour 2 are the Historic Village of Mercer, where you can enjoy various shops and restaurants on the COURTHOUSE SQUARE. Two renowned Mercer County restaurants, RACHEL’S ROADHOUSE or IRON BRIDGE INN are just a few miles from the Courthouse Square on Rt. 19. TARA – A COUNTRY INN is about 30 minutes from the Courthouse Square at the intersection of Rt. 258 and Rt.18. This luxurious inn offers the opportunity to escape from the ordinary with picture-perfect vistas on the grounds and tours of a world class inn. You will need a reservation to take a guided tour.

Why do leaves change colors in the Fall?

Leaves change colors in the fall because that is the time when trees stop producing the pigment chlorophyll, which gives leaves their green color.

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