After a lot of discussion the previous night, we decided to go to Fort Ligonier and the Compass Inn on the last day of Chris and Bob’s visit with us. We couldn’t decide whether to do something active (another bike ride or a hike) or something more sight-seeey. After lots of debate, we went with the sightseeing, provided that we could also do plenty of walking. So we headed to Ligonier to visit Fort Ligonier and the Compass Inn.
I’ve already written about wonderful and amazing Fort Ligonier, so I won’t take up space with it here again. Chris and Bob really enjoyed it and Tom and I were glad to visit again. We took the morning to visit the museum and the fort. Then we walked around Ligonier and ate lunch at one of the local restaurants (review next week). But we didn’t tarry because we wanted to visit the Compass Inn just down the road.
The Compass Inn is owned and operated by the Ligonier Valley Historical Society. Like Fort Ligonier, they can charge an admission that actually pays for the upkeep of the property. The National Park sites often seem like poor cousins in comparison. We paid our admission – $10 each – and joined the tour in progress. The tour guide makes a loop so you join the tour in progress and just keep going until you reach where you started.
We started with the Blacksmith’s shop, which delighted Tom. The shop has an extensive set-up and Tom admired the tools, bellows, and the big forge. One weekend a month the Compass Inn does living history where volunteers come in and work. After the shop, we headed to the kitchen, which included a beehive bake oven.
The Compass Inn itself was our next stop. The Inn was built in two parts. The first part was built in 1799 as a drover’s inn, so very rough. The second part was built in 1820 as a stagecoach stop. This part was nicer with higher ceilings. We saw a 18th century mousetrap and a collection of spinning wheels. The Compass Inn was owned by the Armor family from 1820 until 1966 so they kept many of the original furnishings and collected other antiques along the way. One room had a collection of irons through the years. One iron weighed 48 pounds. Talk about building up your biceps!
After touring the Compass Inn, our tour concluded in the barn. There is a stagecoach, a freight wagon, and a sleigh in the barn. They also had a stall filled with equipment to turn flax into linen yarn: a scrutcher and hackles.
We enjoyed our visit to the Compass Inn very much. Our tour guide was great. She told a similar story to the one that I tell at Mount Washington Tavern, and she did it very well. Pennsylvania is filled with preserved history and people who appreciate it.