There's hardly a wintertime activity more romantic than hopping into an old-fashioned horse-drawn sleigh and riding through the snowy hills of Western Pennsylvania. The only thing that could make it better is Andy Williams singing carols in your ear.
A number of farms within a short drive of downtown Pittsburgh offer charming sleigh rides throughout the holiday season. So, after the first snow, head to one of these horse-drawn sleigh ride venues in Western Pennsylvania for a quintessential winter experience. Just remember to make reservations before you go.
Holly Hill Belgians
Holly Hill is located in the sleepy rural community outside of Spartansburg, Pennsylvania, about 120 miles north of Pittsburgh. Here, visitors can see the scenery by sleigh, covered wagon, carriage, or trolley. After an enchanting journey through snow-covered pines, guests arrive at a cabin where a crackling fire and cups of hot cocoa await. Let's just say it's worth the two-hour drive if you're coming from Pittsburgh.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort
Seven Springs Mountain Resort is one of the largest ski resorts in Western Pennsylvania, but it's more than just a hub for winter sports. You can take a ride through this scenic wonderland astride a horse or in a sleigh, or, if you'd rather, go snow tubing, then hit up the spa for a massage afterward. There's also snowmobiling and snowshoeing tours, 10 different restaurants, and a slew of cute chalets. Seven Springs is about 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, and the sleigh rides begin for the season as soon as there's enough snow on the ground for the carriage to move.
Tim Swickrath Carriage Services
Tim Swickrath doesn't just facilitate sleigh rides in the wintertime. You can find him riding around the Greater Pittsburgh Region with a Belgian draft horse year-round. Swickrath, who is usually donning his Victorian-era costume, operates a traveling sleigh-and-pony ride service. When there's snow, it can make for a fairytale-like experience. When there isn't, his turn-of-the-century sleigh operates on wheels.
Misty Haven Carriage
About 88 miles east of Pittsburgh, Misty Haven Carriage in Davidsville provides rides whether there's snow or not. If there is, you'll be treated to a ride through 65 acres of wooded farmland. If there isn't, you might get a little Christmas light tour through town instead. Bring your own mulled cider and popcorn to enjoy on the ride, and a warm blanket to cuddle up and stay warm. Their carriages are also available to hire out special events, such as parties, photoshoots, or weddings.
Overly's Country Christmas
In 2020, Overly's Country Christmas is open only as a drive-through event to families in their own vehicles. The horse-drawn carriage is not available.
A full-on holiday oasis is what you'll find at Overly's Country Christmas in Greensburg, just 32 miles outside of Pittsburgh. Visitors are welcome to wander through the Christmas Village, then roast marshmallows and sing carols around the bonfire afterward. There's a model train display for transportation buffs and a General Store for last-minute shoppers. At the end of the day, you'll be treated to a grand holiday light display (weather permitting). Overly's Country Christmas is open every year from mid-November through December.
Dragon Run Forge & Livery
As of December 2020, Dragon Run Forge & Livery is not accepting reservations until further notice.
Located in Cowansville, Pennsylvania, about 50 miles from Pittsburgh, Dragon Run Forge & Livery is where you'll find horse-drawn carriage rides through a snowy pine forest (by lantern, if you'd like). Because it's a small, family-run production, all rides are private and bespoke.