Volant PA

TribLive

Daycation: Charming Volant in Lawrence County boasts 30 rural retail options.

Joyce Hanz

JOYCE HANZ  
Sunday, April 2, 2023 7:01 a.m.

5972480_web1_vnd-DaycationVolant-040223-4-001

JOYCE HANZ | TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Georgetowns Eats server Denise Heckathorn greets a customer at the full-service cafe and bakery in Volant.

5972480_web1_vnd-DaycationVolant-040223-5-001

JOYCE HANZ | TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Volant Mills in Volant sits in a former grist mill and offers multiple vendors filled with many locally made products.

5972480_web1_vnd-DaycationVolant-040223-7-001

JOYCE HANZ | TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Rail cars serve as shops along Main Street in downtown Volant.

5972480_web1_vnd-DaycationVolant-040223-3-001

JOYCE HANZ | TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Chef Francine Schmid of Georgetown Eats prepares salmon at her farm-to-table fresh American foods cafe and bakery in Volant.

5972480_web1_vnd-DaycationVolant-040223-2-001

JOYCE HANZ | TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Grilled salmon salad with kales, tomatoes, pickles red onion, cucumber, feta cheese and an herbed vinaigrette at Georgetown Eats in Volant.

5972480_web1_vnd-DaycationVolant-040223-9-001

JOYCE HANZ | TRIBUNE-REVIEW

A handmade necklace at Bebe’s Artistry and Design in Volant.

5972480_web1_vnd-DaycationVolant-040223-8-001

JOYCE HANZ | TRIBUNE-REVIEW

A lake along Bonanni Road in Volant. Legend has it that Volant was named by duck hunters in the area during the late 1800s who shouted “Volant” watching ducks take flight from a local pond. The Latin meaning of volant is “to fly.”

5972480_web1_vnd-DaycationVolant-040223-12-001

JOYCE HANZ | TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Amish made rugs sold at Volant Mills in Volant.

5972480_web1_vnd-DaycationVolant-040223-13-001

JOYCE HANZ | TRIBUNE-REVIEW

The Harlansburg Station Museum of Transportation is located a few minutes from Volant at 424 Old Route 19.

5972480_web1_vnd-DaycationVolant-040223-18-001

JOYCE HANZ | TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Retired airline pilot Don Barnes chats with wife Pat Barnes inside the Harlansburg Station Museum of Transportation. The Barnes own the museum that boasts four Pennsylvania train cars.

A daycation to Volant offers a rural retail retreat with more than 25 independent shops and eateries along Main Street and the surrounding countryside.

The tiny borough, home to about 125 residents, occupies land purchased from Native Americans in 1784.

Its rural location once served as the hub for commerce and boasted a grist mill, livery stable, harness shops, a blacksmith, stone quarry, lumber mill and brick company.

Located about 50 miles from Pittsburgh, downtown Volant (pronounced “vol-ant”) is easily navigated, less than a half-mile long and a popular tourist destination in Lawrence County.

Volant Mills

Cathy Collier, 61, is from western New York and has been making custom jewelry for more than 20 years.

She owns Bebe’s Artistry and Design, a gift shop inside Volant Mills, a large former 1812 grist mill.

“I’m a metal worker. I use sterling silver and 14-karat gold at my home workshop, and it’s a lot of fun,” Collier said.

5972480_web1_vnd-daycationvolant-040223-6-001

JOYCE HANZ | TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Bebe’s Artistry & Design owner Cathy Collier stands inside her shop inside Volant Mills. She opened in 2019.

Main Street Volant attracts folks from everywhere, including the Amish, who reside in the region.

“It used to be booming with more businesses when Amish goods were really popular. It was on a bus tour route. Since 9/11, the bus tours stopped. Every once in a while we will get them, and it’s wonderful,” Collier said.

Collier lives 3 miles from Volant and touted the Old World charm that resonates with visitors.

“I’m attracted to small towns, and tourism is everything here. My theme is bringing the outside in. I want people to walk in and feel refreshed,” Collier said of her business philosophy.

Dining destination

Situated in a vast field along rural Georgetown Road in Volant is Georgetown Eats, a new uber-farm-fresh cafe owned and operated by Francine Schmid, a former Pittsburgh-area chef.

The Schmid family owns and operates Dinner Bell Farms, and the cafe is on the property in a former chicken coop.

Schmid, 53, grew up in Crafton and said it’s her “dream come true” having her own eatery and dining destination.

“There’s definitely not a lot of places to eat around here,” she said.

5972480_web1_vnd-daycationvolant-040223-11-001

JOYCE HANZ | TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Georgetown Eats in a new farm-to-table cafe located at 1947 Georgetown Road in Volant.

Schmid graduated with a culinary degree from the former Art Institute of Pittsburgh and holds advanced degrees in nutrition.

“It’s my baby, but if I put out the call my family is always there to help me. I’ve been working in food and beverage since I was 9 years old. My mom was a single parent, and I’ve been working my whole life,” Schmid said.

Georgetown Eats serves wine, beer and freshly made desserts and offers a clean-foods concept menu. Ingredients are procured from local farms and Dinner Bell.

The salads feature edible flowers and microgreens grown with aquaponics.

“Our dream was to feed the community that we’re in. We had such a need for a restaurant around here. We wanted to showcase our food to other people. We’re truly farm to table, because we run a working farm,” Schmid said.

Popular sandwiches include the Little Italy, BBQ smoked chicken, and steak and blue cheese, all served on fresh-made-daily Focaccia bread.

Breakfast specialties include buttermilk waffles and lemon blueberry sweet rolls for Sweet Roll Saturdays.

The homemade meatloaf, crab cakes and filet mignon are all served with dual sauces.

“We get everybody from bikers to bankers,” Schmid said. “Tourism is so important to Volant, and we are a dining destination. People just kind of stumble upon us.”

Rural refreshments

Sample ciders and wine at Knockin Noggin Cidery & Winery, next door to the historic Volant Mills.

Free tastings are offered, and there’s an outdoor patio for enjoying a bottle or glass from the more than 30 handcrafted wines, each with a different theme.

Housed in a former train car, Derailed Distillery sells flavored whiskey and moonshine.

5972480_web1_vnd-daycationvolant-040223-10-001

JOYCE HANZ | TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Derailed Distillery sells flavored whiskey and moonshine in a former train car in Volant. The spirits’ flavors change with the seasons.

Flavors change with the seasons and include shamrock shine, apple pie, lemonade, railrunner, cherry vodka and pickle.

Transportation Heritage Hub

Step back into a transportation time warp at the family-owned Harlansburg Station Museum of Transportation and Gift Shop, located at 424 Old Route 19 a few miles outside of Volant in New Castle.

Housed in a replica train station, four Pennsylvania passenger cars dominate the grounds and catch the eyes of motorists.

Many forms of transportation are represented here, from trolleys to bikes, planes to trains, and trucks and buses.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=triblive&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=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%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1632075409826217985&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Ftriblive.com%2Flocal%2Fregional%2Fdaycation-charming-volant-boasts-30-rural-retail-options%2F&sessionId=3b4f9d584e49bab15fe2642d2fcd2f644e6a10bb&siteScreenName=triblive&siteUserId=20269833&theme=light&widgetsVersion=aaf4084522e3a%3A1674595607486&width=550px

The museum is the brainchild of retired US Airways pilot Don Barnes, who flew for 30 years, collecting an array of transportation-related artifacts and memorabilia.

Look for a postal buggy, baggage wagons and first-class china used on flights. Sit in authentic airline seats as you explore all the ways people traveled from point A to point B.

Guided tours are available with advance notice.

Fly fishing find

Neshannock Creek runs through Volant and offers year-round catch-and-release trout fishing.

Neshannock Creek Fly Shop offers a one-stop fly fishing apparel, tackle and gear shopping destination, steps away from the creek.

The creek is stocked with trout about six times annually, said Neshannock Creek employee Chris Matus.

“We are located on a special regulation section of the creek (delayed harvest artificial lures only, or DHALO), and this is unique that this section of water stays open for trout fishing year-round,” Matus said.

Fishing is free, but anglers must have a current Pennsylvania fishing license with a trout stamp.

It’s catch-and-release for the majority of the year, with harvesting allowed between June 15 and Labor Day.

“People like that we are one of the few fly shops right on the water, we’re well-stocked and it makes it convenient,” Matus said.


More Daycations:

• Things quiet down in winter in Ohiopyle
• Palace of Gold in West Virginia on National Register of Historic Places
• Steubenville, Ohio, boasts world’s largest display of life-sized nutcrackers
• Smicksburg offers a rural retreat 60 miles from Pittsburgh
• Agritourism farm tours offer rural retreats in Waynesburg
• Coshocton, Ohio, America’s canal town

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joyce by email at jhanz@triblive.com or via Twitter .

Categories: Editor’s Picks | Lifestyles | Regional | Travel

EMAIL NEWSLETTERS 

TribLIVE’s Daily and Weekly email newsletters deliver the news you want and information you need, right to your inbox.

1-800-909-8742

Fax (724) 779-8743

210 Wood Street
Tarentum, PA 15084

© 2023 Trib Total Media | All Rights Reserved