Great Small Towns Near DC: Ligonier

A great small town offers some quirky charms for a weekend away.

Standing guard over town is Fort Ligonier, a key garrison in the French and Indian War. Photograph by April Reppucci.


Ligonier, Pennsylvania, may be among the best places on Earth to lick an ice-cream cone on a warm summer night. Cone in hand from Ligonier Creamery, locals head to the town gazebo to listen to a Sunday-night concert. Others gather with friends to bowl at the Wicked Googly Bar & Restaurant in Ligonier Lanes. Nested within lush Ligonier Valley, the town attracts golfers, fly-fishermen, and other lovers of the outdoors. Plus hunters: The late Joe Snyder filled his Joe’s Bar with an array of trophies, from costumed squirrels to waterbucks, a polar bear, and a massive elephant head. It’s worth a stop for a cold beer.

Chill out with a nice cold beer, and a polar bear, at Joe’s Bar. Photograph by Flickr user Shaun.

Standing guard over town is Fort Ligonier, an important relic of the French and Indian War. Stay in town at the Thistledown at Seger House (221 W. Main St.; 724-238-4087), a charming inn with eight renovated bedrooms, and walk to the Kitchen on Main (136 E. Main St.; 724-238-4199), a BYOB favorite that serves New American fare such as the grilled lemon-dill salmon burger on its lunch menu. The charms of Ligonier aren’t all American: The new French patisserie Warrior King Pastries (114 S. Market St.; 724-624-3880) bakes butter croissants and savory quiches.

Population: 1,549.

Distance from DC: 187 miles.

Nearby: One of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpieces, Fallingwater, is a 45-minute drive away.