Volant offers at-home setting

VOLANT, Pa. -- Nestled on the winding banks of Neshannock Creek, a way back in the rolling hills of Lawrence County, there's a quaint little country town loaded with charm and top-notch shopping.
If you've never been to Volant, Pa., plan an outing today -- you won't be sorry.
A mere 30-minute drive from Youngstown, summer is the perfect season to saunter down this sleepy little town's Main Street and stop in its more than 40 delightful shops and restaurants.
Start your walk at the top of the hill on Main Street at the Good Earth Gallery, a shop that features Amish heirlooms, rugs, paintings and pottery.
By the time you've reached the stores at the bottom of the hill on Main Street -- where the lazy waters of Neshannock Creek gurgle past -- you're sure to have found something that pleases your purse strings.
Whether it's the countless cooking gadgets featured at The Kitchen Shoppe or the collectible dolls at the 1906 Mercantile and Doll Co., there's something to interest every browser.
Other features: Don't care for dolls and don't like to cook? Then take a look at the country crafts, candy, leather goods, jewelry, antiques, toys or garden statuary featured at other shops.
And ladies, if your man would rather go to the dentist and have teeth pulled than accompany you on an all-day shopping trip, give him a rod and reel and send him down to the creek to do some fishing.
Neshannock Creek is literally world-renowned for its fly-fishing, and on a typical summer afternoon, you're sure to see a few fishermen wading into the water in pursuit of a trout.
Volant was founded around 1784 when land was purchased from Native Americans.
In 1812, a gristmill was built on the banks of Neshannock Creek, and by 1900, Volant was a bustling community and a stop on the New Castle-Franklin railroad.
The Great Depression brought hard times to the area, and by the 1960s, trains had stopped running through town.
Then in 1984, the old gristmill was restored and transformed into an ice cream parlor and gift shop, a move that brought new life to the forgotten village.
Soon numerous other shops sprang up around the old mill, and Volant was well on its way to becoming the charming tourist attraction it is today.
Getting there: Getting to Volant is just as enjoyable as actually being there. While en route to the town, you'll pass through rolling green pastures dotted with tidy Amish farms. Here and there throughout the picturesque countryside are produce stands, antique shops and stores that sell Amish-made quilts and furniture.
Neighboring towns also offer plenty of appeal.
Leesburg, Pa., which is about five minutes west of Volant, features several wonderful antique shops and three delectable restaurants.
Rachel's Roadhouse, the Iron Bridge Inn Restaurant and the Springfield Grille are all located on Route 19 heading north out of Leesburg, and all three serve up delicious cuisine.
If you opt to dine at one of the three, which all have the same owner and therefore some of the same dishes on their menus, make sure to request the peanut butter pie for dessert. It is truly decadent.
Home cookin': If you want to grab a bite to eat in Volant, try the Neshannock Creek Restaurant, which features home cooked meals, sandwiches, soups and salads.
Volant's calendar of events includes the Great American Yard Sale July 21 and 22; Heritage Days Sept. 8 and 9; the Autumn Pumpkin Festival Oct. 6; and Christmas on Main Street Nov. 10 and 11.
During Heritage Days, historical enthusiasts will reenact what life was like during the fur trade era of the 1700s and during the Civil War.
Christmas on Main Street will feature a visit from Old St. Nick, and kids can eat a breakfast hosted by the man himself and then see the jolly bearded one ride through town in a horse drawn carriage. Carolers and musicians will also add to the festivities by strolling from shop to shop and spreading musical Yuletide cheer.
For more information on any of these events, call (724) 533-5054.

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