In the Pennsylvania Wilds, there’s the pleasant little town of St. Marys, PA. About 120 miles northeast of Pittsburgh and 120 miles due south from Buffalo, NY, you’ll find this city that was home to the first Benedictine convent in the US. Straub Brewery also calls St. Marys home.
We spent three nights in St. Marys recently in the renovated Cozy Afghan Bed and Breakfast. This three-story Tudor Revival was built in 1897 and is listed on the National Registry of Historical Places. Attractive from the outside, it’s even more spectacular inside.
As you pass through the double door vestibule, you can’t help but notice the quality, rich, quarter-sawn wood paneling and beautifully detailed stair rail and bannisters leading upstairs. Eleven guest rooms are each unique and accommodate different size groups. Each has its own bathroom. Some even boast fireplaces.
Breakfast was different each morning and something to look forward to as you started your day. Out back, in warmer weather, you’ll find a large inviting in-ground pool. Generous off-street parking is also available on the property.
Located at 152 Center Street, you are walking distance to the city center, the movie theater, and across the street from the city library with a great genealogy and historical reference section for Elk County, with records dating back to the 19th century.
St. Marys is home to three Catholic churches with one of the largest, just doors away from the Cozy Afghan. As you drive into town, you’ll likely see its steeple towering over the city. The exquisitely carved interior of the gothic Sacred Heart at 337 Center Street is something to see. Detailed, stained glass windows were shipped over from Cologne, Germany. Built in 1907, it is still active today.
For contrast, take a drive south down to the intersection of Earth Road and PA 255 to see Decker’s Chapel. Also on the National Registry, this 12 foot by 18 foot chapel is reputedly the smallest chapel in the US.
Thirsty? Head over to Straub Brewery, 303 Sorg Street, home of the “eternal tap,” for a complimentary tasting when touring the facility. Straub advertises themselves as “The Natural Choice” – no sugars, no salts and no preservatives – the same brewing process perfected back in 1872.
Hungry? Be sure to check out the hidden-in-plain-sight little restaurant at the Village Peddler Country Store, 14 Erie Avenue. Located in a gift shop, this family run restaurant has some of the freshest food served in a homey atmosphere.
Want something a little more spirited? Head out of town a mile or so to the Green Lite Restaurant & Lounge at 1221 Bruesselles Street. Separate lounge and dining rooms serve great steaks and seafood. Their haddock with lemon pepper seasoning was super tasty and was accompanied by a soup and salad bar. The lounge features two pool tables, darts and live music with karaoke.
For more outdoor activities, head west to Ridgway for chainsaw carved animals or head east for live elk viewing in Benezette Township– home of east of the Rockies.