Mom would probably never tell you this herself, so we will: She may not want more stuff for Mother’s Day.
The date is rapidly approaching this Sunday, May 8. Rather than receiving flowers or candy, a picture frame or some bubble bath, mom might secretly prefer to try ax throwing, target shooting, archery, golf, tubing on the Stonycreek River or bicycling with family on the Great Allegheny Passage.
Even if mom is not the adventuresome type, there are many unique activities in and close to Somerset County where families can spend some quality time together, try a new experience or learn a new skill.
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For instance, at Buffer Creek Sporting Clays in Somerset, guests can pick up a shotgun and take aim at clay targets released into the air to simulate birds in flight.
Will Brendle, whose family owns and operates the facility, said most regular customers choose the clays course with 100 targets, but new customers may choose to shoot 25 or 50 targets to try out the sport. There’s also a women’s league that meets weekly during the summer months.
Ax throwing is another popular activity, especially among women, said Bill Wissinger, whose family operates Steel City Ax at 2447 Bedford St. in Johnstown.
“We have a very large population of women that throw,” he said, noting that his own daughter, age 8, likes the activity.
“The first year that we opened, we had a grandma bring her grandkids in to throw before school started.”
Steel City Ax opened in June of 2020, and since then, they have booked more bachelorette parties than any other kind of party, Wissinger said. They also encourage businesses to try ax throwing as a stress-busting, team-building activity.
“From an entertainment aspect, there is something very satisfying about throwing an ax at a piece of wood,” he said. “(Once they try it,) people want to come back and do it again. Our challenge is getting people at the door. It seems like people don’t think they’ll have as much fun as they do.”
Here are some creative ideas to bring mom and the family together for some fun this summer.
The Archery Zone
The Archery Zone offers archery lessons in May and June from championship-winning instructors. Half-hour sessions available by appointment, and customers must provide their own equipment. Bow tuning and repairs are also available.
Address: 1103 Frances St., Johnstown.
Contact info: 814-269-9663 or thearcheryzoneltd.com.
Steel City Axe
Steel City Ax is open from 5-10 pm Wednesday through Friday, from 12 pm to 10 pm on Saturday and from 12-8 pm on Sunday. Reservations are recommended, but walk-ins may be accepted if a lane is available. One-hour and two-hour open throw for up to eight people per lane are offered. A two-hour group party is also available for up to 25 people. Guests must be at least 8 years old to throw, and children ages 8 to 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Flat, closed-toe shoes must be worn to throw. Adult guests may bring along their own beer or wine, but no hard liquor. Reservations and gift certificates can be ordered at website.
Address: 2447 Bedford St., Johnstown.
Contact info: 814-266-0293 or steelcityaxe.com.
Confluence Cyclery opens May 9 with regular hours or by appointment before then. It offers bicycle rentals for all ages and abilities to ride the Great Allegheny Passage. New to rent this season are some Fuji electric assist bikes and some seven-speed cruiser step-through bicycles. Bicycle repairs, tune-ups and accessories also available.
Address: 500 Hughart St., Confluence.
Contact info: 814-395-9380 or confluencecyclery.com.
Maple Leaf Outfitters
Maple Leaf Outfitters, Meyersdale. 814-701-8080 or mapleleafoutfitters.net. Organizes biking, hiking and camping trips on the Great Allegheny Passage. Also offers gear rental and other services to make the trip hassle-free.
Address: PO Box 86, Meyersdale.
Contact info: 814-701-8080.
Casinos near Somerset, PA
Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin, 4067 National Pike, Farmington, can be contacted at 724-329-7500 or ladylucknemacolin.com. It’s open 9 am to 2 am daily. There are nearly 600 gaming machines, as well as gaming tables and the Lone Wolf restaurant. Stay-and-play packages are also available.
Live Casino at Westmoreland Mall, is at 5260 US Route 30 in Greensburg, and can be contacted by phone at 878-787-7770 or online at pittsburgh.livecasinohotel.com. Slots, live action table games, electronic table games, Poker and PlayLive! Online Casino are offered. Various dining options are also available.
Rocky Gap Casino, Resort and Golf, is at 16701 Lakeview Road NE, Flintstone, Maryland, and be reached by phone at 800-724-0828 or online at rockygapresort.com. A casino, hotel, comedy club, restaurants, golf course, indoor pool and other amenities are on site.
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Laurel Caverns opened for the season April 23, offering three lighted tour options for the public through Pennsylvania’s largest cave. Hours are from 9:30 am to 4 pm, Monday through Sunday. Reservations aren’t required except for private tours for groups of 15 or more people. Caving courses also available for more intense adventure seekers.
Address: 1065 Skyline Drive, Farmington.
Contact info: 724-438-3003 or laurelcaverns.com.
Escape rooms near Somerset, PA
Escape Room Somerset is located at 315 Georgian Place in Somerset, and it can be reached by calling 814-893-2507 or visiting escaperoomsomerset.com. Two different one-hour escape rooms are now available: “Distressed” (two-player only) or “The Frenzy Farmstead” (for 2-10 players, recommended four-player minimum). It’s open Wednesday through Friday from 5-10 pm, Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm and Sunday from 2-10 pm Room bookings and a waiver form must be completed online. Answers to frequently asked questions and gift certificate option can be found online.
Escape Rooms Johnstown, located at 130 Clinton St. in Johnstown, can be reached at 814-254-4219 or escaperoomsjohnstown.com. Two family-friendly games are available, each one hour in length: “The Saloon” and “Zombie X.” It’s open from 4-10 pm Thursday and Friday, from 12:30 pm to 10 pm on Saturday and from 2:30 pm to 10 pm on Sunday. Additional information and gift card purchase options are also available online.
Driving ranges near Somerset, PA
PH’s golf driving range, located at 411 Barron Church Road in Rockwood, can be reached at 814-233-4476. It’s open by 8 am daily until dusk. This range offers a Mother’s Day special: a free small basket of balls for mom with the purchase of any other size basket. More information can be found at facebook.com/pages/category/Driving-Range/PHs-Golf-Driving-Range-601951476482982/
Information on D & J Golf Haven, located at 3212 Somerset Pike in Johnstown, can be found at facebook.com/DJGolfHaven. This range opened March 1. It’s open all hours, and has an automated ball machine and timers to light up and hitting areas at night.
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Golfing near Somerset, PA
Highlands Golf Club can be found at the Seven Springs and Hidden Valley resorts. Both resort courses opened April 16. Reservations required for all tee times, with nine-hole and 18-hole greens fees available. Various membership packages can be purchased, but gift cards are not offered. More information can be found online at highlands-golfclub.com or by calling 814-352-3131 (for the Seven Springs course) or 814-714-1000 (for the Hidden Valley course).
Oakbrook Golf Club, located at 251 Golf Course Road in Stoystown, can be contacted at 814-629-5892 or visited online at oakbrookgolfclub.net. It’s open from 7 am to 5 pm This club offers an 18-hole public golf course with a driving range, pro shop and grill room.
Himalayan salt rooms near Somerset, PA
Mindful Body & Wellness, located at 339 W. Union St. in Somerset, can be reached by calling 814-442-5724 or visiting facebook.com/Mindful-Body-Wellness-LLC-1630868660507109. It’s open from 10 am to 7 pm between May 4 and May 7 for Mother’s Day weekend. All sessions are by appointment only, and those interested are asked to call or send a message through Facebook to schedule. This business offers 45-minute dry salt therapy sessions for up to four people. Guests sit in a zero-gravity chair and relax while listening to music and breathing in salt air. Dry salt therapy is promoted as beneficial for people with allergies, respiratory conditions and skin conditions. Gift cards, salt lamps and other wellness products are available as well.
Himalayan Salt Spa & Cave, located at 15630 N. Preston Highway in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, can be reached by calling 304-379-7000 or visiting brucetonwellness.com/himalayan-salt-cave. It’s open for varied hours from Monday through Saturday. Appointments are recommended to assure seating. Sessions are 45 minutes long; guests can sit in a zero-gravity chair and listen to music while breathing in mineral-saturated salt air. Gift certificates, private group sessions and salt massage options are also available.
A & S Pistol Range
A & S Pistol Range, located at 617 Overhead Bridge Road in Youngwood, can be reached by calling 724-925-1212 or visiting indoorpistolrange.com. A public indoor pistol target shooting range is offered, with two bays of six lanes each available to use. Gun rentals, gift certificates, memberships and private party rentals are also available. Firearm classes and personal instruction are offered as well.
Sporting clays near Somerset, PA
Buffer Creek Sporting Clays, located at 776 Schoolhouse Road in Somerset, can be reached by calling 814-443-3141 or visiting buffercreeksportingclays.com. The clays course is open all year, weather permitting. It’s open from 9 am to 5 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, and from 9 am to 7 pm Thursday through Monday. It offers a five-stand option with 25 targets, a standard 100-target clays course and a Wobble Trap with 25 targets. Equipment can be rented in-house. Private instruction for individuals or a group is available at an extra cost. Guests younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Memberships and gift certificates also available.
Highlands Sporting Clays, located at 777 Waterwheel Drive in Champion, can be reached by calling 800-452-2223 ext. 7899 or visiting highlandssportingclays.com. It’s open from 9 am to 3 pm, Thursday through Sunday. Reservations are required. Three courses and a practice area is available, as well as private instruction. Highlands Sporting Clays also offers fly fishing and stillwater fishing permits on its own lakes and guided fly-fishing trips to local waters.
Whitewater rafting near Somerset, PA
Coal Tubin’ Adventures, located at 100 Station St. in Johnstown, can be reached by calling 814-254-4393 or visiting coaltubin.com. Inner tubing, kayaking and whitewater rafting adventures are offered on the Stonycreek River. Opening day is May 28, with weekday and weekend options available.
Rafting tours of the Younghiogheny River are available from:
Other activities near Somerset, PA
814 Lanes & Games, located at 1140 Frances St. in Johnstown, can be reached by calling 814-266-6109 or visiting 814lanesandgames.com. This venue offers bowling, laser tag, two escape rooms and a virtual reality platform with games for all ages. Dining options and party packages are available.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort, located at 777 Water Wheel Drive in Champion, can be reached by calling 800-452-2223 or visiting 7springs.com. Summer season activities begin May 27. Offerings are to include an alpine slide, bowling, courtyard and yard games, chairlift rides, disc and miniature golf, swimming, paddleboats, paddleboards, a rock climbing wall, trampoline and horse riding. An all-day pass can be available to purchase on the day of the visit. Starting May 2, all transactions must be paid by credit card, with no cash accepted.