Located in Western Pennsylvania, Butler County is the perfect blend of charm and quirkiness. North of Pittsburg, the area features small historic towns and unique attractions. From scenic outdoor beauty to a toy store in the shape of a stealth bomber to a brewery housed in a former funeral home, Butler County has something for everyone. Here’s our list of 10 of our favorite things to do in Butler County.
The Maridon Museum
The Maridon Museum focuses on Chinese and Japanese art and culture. Located in Butler, the museum’s collection, comprised of jade and ivory sculptures, tapestries, paintings of landscapes, scrolls, 300 Meissen porcelain pieces and more, was the collection of Mary Hulton Phillips who also donated the building.
Living Dead Museum
Harmony, Pennsylvania Historic District
Perfect for history buffs, Harmony is home to the first National Historic District in Western Pennsylvania. Founded in 1804 by the Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists, the district exudes charm with an old-world feel, reminiscent of a German village from a past era. The district features the Harmony Museum, tucked inside an 1809 building, where you can see Harmony’s 250-year history through various means, including presentations on George Washington, Harmonists and Mennonites, plus collections like sporting rifles. The preservation group, History Harmony, owns the museum along with several other properties in the district. Be sure to check out the Original Mennonite Log Cabin as well, for a peak into 19th century life.
For the little ones and the young at heart, a stop by Playthings Etc. is an absolute must when visiting Butler County. Touted as the ‘World’s Best Toy Store,’ the Butler-based shop, which is located inside a building reminiscent of a stealth bomber, is brimming with excitement and specializes in a wide range of toys, from classics to futuristic delights to educational options. What’s great about this store is that kids can be kids and test out some of the exciting toys and watch demonstrations provided by the employees. There are over 3,000 toys, so you know that there will be something for everyone. Be sure to visit once at night to see the building lit up with blue lights – a fantastic sight!
North Country Brewing Co.
North Country Brewing Co. is a great place to savor some delicious food and a cold brew. Relax while savoring dishes like the sausage cheese platter; the hummus pita loaded with veggies and cheese; the Harbourmaster, which is a house-made jumbo lump crab cake topped with seafood aioli on a toasted kaiser roll; and pepper bourbon chicken sautéed with green peppers and topped with bourbon sauce. Of course, a meal wouldn’t be complete without a handcrafted brew.
Log Cabin Inn
Visit the Log Cabin Inn for a bite to eat. The interior space is warm and inviting, and decked out in rustic decor. They also have an outdoor deck when the weather allows, offering a picturesque view of the wooded area. Their menu places an emphasis on meaty dishes along with some succulent seafood options. Highlights include the pot roast with roasted red potatoes and vegetables; the ‘Knuckle Sandwich,’ which is a Cajun-seasoned burger with bacon, blue cheese, lettuce and tomato on a toasted kaiser; and the balsamic chicken with sautéed spinach, diced tomato, fresh mozzarella and balsamic glaze.
The Glass Blowing Center
Anyone who has a love for art, especially glass art, should add The Glass Blowing Center to their list of activities to check out when visiting Butler County. Located in Hilliards, there’s a gift shop selling unique items such as jewelry, sculptures, and marbles. The best part, however, is that the center has artists making their artwork on location so that anyone stopping by can watch. You can even participate in a glass blowing class. They’re open every day except for Wednesdays.
Todd Nature Reserve
For all the nature lovers out there, be sure to visit the Todd Nature Reserve, part of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania (ASWP) and located in Sarver. Featuring 176 acres, this nature reserve is a playground for those who love to explore the great outdoors. There are five miles of trails that will take you through beautiful landscape, including a forest, stream and a pond, all of which can be explored on your own. If you’re visiting in spring or summer, you can also take a public walk that starts at 9am. It is a wonderful place to enjoy the beauty of nature and an ideal area for the budding or professional photographer to capture some incredible scenery.
Succop Nature Park
Succop Nature Park is a gorgeous park that has much more to offer than just the lush landscape. The property boasts a stunning 170 year old mansion, two ponds, walking trails, plus open spaces where the four-legged members of the family can also enjoy the great outdoors. Also an education center, the park hosts classes, retreats and art exhibits.
What better way to culminate a fun day exploring Butler County than with a sweet treat from The Snowman. This unique destination is located within a 13-foot-tall fiberglass building in the shape of a snowman. There’s an incredible array of cold, sweet treats: many varieties of shaved ice, smoothies, frappés and ice cream. Highly recommended is the Yeti (shaved ice with Hershey’s vanilla or chocolate ice cream blended in).
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