Written by HappyValley.com Contributor
The Carnegie Inn & Spa is the most elegant destination in the State College area for dining, overnight stays, and spa services. We found, by personal experience, that Carnegie is more than just for special occasions.
“You don’t need to wait for an anniversary or special occasion to have one of the best dining, overnight, or spa experiences you’ll have all year,” Pete Weaver, Carnegie’s General Manager, said. “Every occasion can be a special occasion – and that’s how we treat each guest visit every day at Carnegie Inn & Spa.”
Established in 1994 as an exclusive woodland retreat modeled after Scotland’s grand country inns, Carnegie Inn & Spa reminds one of a subdued country manor.
Although directly accessible to Toftrees golf courses and just a few miles from town, the airport, and even the frenetic exuberance of Beaver Stadium, Carnegie is set a world apart from the clamor and activity.
When we had the occasion to speak with Pietro Pezzella, one of the management staff, he shared, “The design of the library, bar, dining room, and kitchen convey a level of intimacy -- when you’re here, you’re at home. We have many repeat overnight and dinner guests that we get to know personally. The personal touch gives Carnegie Inn & Spa something you just can’t find anywhere else.”
As a guest at the Carnegie House Restaurant at the Carnegie Inn & Spa, we found that the establishment’s reputation had preceded it. “You will first be served your cocktails and some hors d’oeuvres in the library”, a friend told us. Truly, we enjoyed that unique service and much more.
The library has a classic atmosphere of quiet, comfortable distinction decked with rich woods, oriental rugs, and comfy leather arm chairs. The seating is strategically positioned in groupings facing quiet nooks, the French doors that look out onto the veranda, and facing a roaring fire.
Weaver greeted us personally and led us past the impressive Wine Cellar featuring the 1600 bottles from their extensive wine list to see a secluded, and one of the most charming, bar areas imaginable.
“This part of the Inn is actually patterned after a pub in The Carnegie Club, a members-only Inn and Country Club west of Dornoch, Scotland,” Weaver said. “They were so impressed with the way we captured the essence of their Inn, they made us honorary members. Plus, they sent us commemorative golf clubs and a plaque we have displayed on the wall in the bar.”
While sitting in the library, enjoying some of the best jumbo prawn and crab cakes we’ve ever encountered, we learned the menu is ever-changing and developing at Carnegie.
Each month, their award winning Executive Chef, Lisa Palermo creates a unique European Contemporary menu of items to suit each season. For example, in October there was a wonderful menu with an Oktoberfest flair, featuring wiener schnitzel, pretzel crusted pork chops, sausages and cider.
Another unique feature at Carnegie is that we were escorted from the library and into the dining room as our first course was ready to be served. For our dinner entrees, we had two recommended specialties of the house – the Filet Mignon and Chilean Sea Bass, both served over garlic mashed potatoes with braised asparagus.
The plating of each was impressive – both towering cuts of the most choice meat and fish. And the meals, they tasted as good as they looked. The sea bass was cooked to perfection, tender, flaky and buttery, and the filet practically melted in your mouth.
Carnegie is one of the very few restaurants in the central Pennsylvania area that serves a certified black angus steak and one can taste the difference in quality. (My companion, an out-of-towner, commented that it was the best she had eaten in her many sojourns to Pennsylvania over the last three years.)
For dessert, we ordered cheesecake with raspberry sauce and a chocolate flourless torte complimented with raspberry ice cream. “The chocolate is so thick and dark it almost feels like eating fudge,” our server explained in her recommendation. She was true to her word. We also learned that all desserts are made on the premises – including the delicious ice cream.
General Manager Weaver’s message to visitors to Happy Valley and residents is clear – dining can always be a “special occasion”. And there is no reason to wait to have an excellent meal.
“The Carnegie House Restaurant is offering more options than ever. We’re offering breakfast every day and a very popular three course lunch special,” Weaver said.
The inn serves breakfast starting at 7:30 am seven days a week with superior fare like a Spinach and Bacon omelet with Asiago cheese for a reasonable price. Of special note is that the overnight guests all receive a complimentary, made to order breakfast.
They serve lunch starting at 11:00 am on week days and currently offer a three-course lunch special for just $14.95.
“We provide truly unique, premium corporate events,” Weaver said. “Small groups can bring spouses along and let them spend the day golfing, taking cooking classes, or going to the spa while they work.”
Carnegie Inn & Spa currently offers 20 large guest rooms appointed with antique furnishings, oriental rugs, deep soaking tubs, and lovely views – as well as fresh cookies throughout.
The spa attached to the Inn, ESSpa Kozmetika, was named “The Best Spa in America” by Industry Source. It offers deep Hungarian treatments such as organic facials, massages, wraps and scrubs, and vegan manicures and pedicures.
Whether you’re looking for an outstanding meal, a beautiful place to spend the weekend, or world-class spa services, Carnegie Inn & Spa will exceed even the highest expectations.
And since they are currently offering a range of packages, why not try all three? A couple’s massage, with gorgeous complimentary roses, followed by a delicious meal and drinks, and then on to your luxurious accommodations?
It sounds like a fantastic way to make a memorable weekend.
Carnegie House Restaurant located within the Carnegie Inn & Spa
100 Cricklewood Drive State College, PA 16803 - P: 814-234-2424
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