There is a mist that occasionally rolls across the Youghiogheny River, creating a mysterious, surreal setting. The scene is beautiful anytime, but especially at sunset when lovely pink and yellow rays mingle with the gray mist. The sounds of nature are all around, ducks meandering along the banks, birds flapping, even a passing kayak.
From the veranda of the River’s Edge Café on the banks of the river in Confluence, there is a feast for the eyes as well as the appetite. Guests can enjoy the beauty of the wildflower gardens or watch for the resident bald eagle to make an appearance. Osprey and hawks populate the area as well.
The River’s Edge Café is a German-style clapboard home that has stood ready to welcome weary trail riders, travelers, nature lovers and local residents since 1989. The Great Allegheny Passage is visible from the café and the adjoining bed and breakfast. It’s a reminder that adventure awaits just down the road on the way to Ohiopyle, Cumberland or even Washington, D.C.
Time slows just a little as meals are savored. The café serves American-style cuisine, often with an international twist, every item made to order from scratch. There is seating inside the Old World-style farmhouse that was renovated by owner Anna Marie Yakubisin and her late husband, Robert Benns. The couple purchased the house after they spotted a “for sale” sign propped against a tree while riding the bike trail from Ohiopyle to Confluence in 1988. They shelved their plans to move west and transformed the house into the River’s Edge Café over the next year. It opened for business in 1989. Inside, photos on the walls tell the tale of Confluence in its heyday and show the house as it looked in decades past. The antique décor has an elegant, time-gone-by feel.
Tired “day trippers,” as short-trip bike riders are fondly referred to, can take a trail break, park their bikes and dine, or make the River’s Edge a stop along the longer trail ride and stay overnight at the River’s Edge Bed and Breakfast that adjoins the café. There are three double-occupancy rooms available to rent from the end of April through the end of October. Another overnight option is the Loft, located a few steps from the bed and breakfast above the antique store. It’s an apartment-style space that sleeps up to five.
Wander a little farther down river and browse through the Imports from India store, a log cabin-style building filled with handmade items collected during the offseason while the River’s Edge is closed for the winter.
Among the mountains and rivers of the Laurel Highlands there is much to enjoy: rafting, hiking or shopping at Ohiopyle, visiting Fort Necessity National Battlefield, spelunking in Laurel Caverns and touring Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes, Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob.
For more information, visit www.riversedgecafebnb.com.