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Archive for pennsylvania

An Old Farmstead in Bucks County

By Linda Tancs

The author of more than 300 books and other works, Pearl S. Buck won the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes in literature. She gained fame for her books on China, notably The Good Earth, which chronicled the fictional life of the farmer Wang Lung against the backdrop of 20th-century turmoil and revolution in China. Her farmstead, Green Hills Farm, is a National Historic Landmark in Perkasie, Pennsylvania. Dating to 1835, the oldest part of the fieldstone dwelling is a one-story stone summer kitchen. When Ms. Buck purchased the farmstead, she made extensive alternations and additions to the 19th-century farmhouse, including a two-story fieldstone wing added to the east gable. The home is open for guided tours, featuring her Nobel and Pulitzer prizes, the desk where Buck penned her novel The Good Earth, gifts from luminaries like the Dali Lama and President Richard Nixon and paintings from renowned artists.

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The Niagara of Pennsylvania

By Linda Tancs

Popularly referred to as the Niagara of Pennsylvania, Bushkill Falls encompasses eight waterfalls amidst 300 acres including more than two miles of hiking trails, bridges and walkways. Privately owned by the Peters family, Charles E. Peters first opened Bushkill Falls to the public in 1904 with a single path and a swinging bridge over the head of the Main Falls, a majestic cliff with a 100-foot drop. You can view those falls from the green or yellow trails. Take the blue trail for Pennell Falls or the red trail for the popular Bridal Veil Falls. Nestled in the Poconos, Bushkill Falls is an easy drive from locales in eastern Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.

The Pinchot Trail

By Linda Tancs

Gifford Pinchot was a founding father of forest conservation, a childhood interest that netted him an appointment by President Theodore Roosevelt as the first chief of the then-U.S. Division of Forestry. Pennsylvania’s Pinchot State Forest is named in his honor, a vast forest land of over 45,000 acres across Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wyoming, Susquehanna and Wayne counties. The Pinchot Trail is the only developed hiking trail on the Thornhurst Tract, the largest tract in the system located on the Pocono Plateau. The 26-mile trail features red and black spruce, tamaracks and bogs.

Prehistoric Life in Pennsylvania

By Linda Tancs

Just minutes from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a National Historic Landmark—the site of the oldest human habitation in North
America. Known today as Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, artifacts unearthed there have confirmed a campsite for prehistoric hunters and gatherers that existed 16,000 years ago. Excavations have revealed 10,000 artifacts as well as more than 950,000 animal bones and more than 1.4 million plant remains. An enclosed observation area provides visitors with a unique, never-before-seen perspective into the oldest and deepest parts of this internationally-renowned archeological excavation. The site is open May through October.

The Mercer Mile

By Linda Tancs

In the heart of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is a tribute to archaeologist Henry Chapman Mercer. Known as the Mercer Mile in Doylestown, it’s an area comprising his three concrete landmarks: Fonthill Castle, Moravian Pottery & Tile Works and the Mercer Museum. Fonthill, a 44-room castle, was Mercer’s home, a National Historic Landmark with 32 stairwells, 18 fireplaces and 21 chimneys. An avid tile designer, he also founded Moravian Pottery & Tile Works, another historic landmark that functions as a “working history” museum and produces handmade tiles and mosaics in the same style as Mercer’s original designs. His love of early American craftworks is also evident at the Mercer Museum, housing artifacts representing 60 early American trades as well as large objects including a whale boat, stage coach and Conestoga wagon.

A Revolutionary Museum in Philadelphia

By Linda Tancs

The Battles of Lexington and Concord, fought on April 19, 1775, were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. In a fitting tribute to the “shot heard ’round the world,” today marks the opening of the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The day will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution in Washington Square, featuring the U.S. Army Old Guard and a blessing from the Oneida Indian Nation. At 10:30 a.m., an official dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony in the museum’s outdoor plaza will open it to the public. Inside you’ll find hundreds of documents, weapons, maps and paintings, a re-created privateer ship and General Washington’s original sleeping and office tent—among other treasures. Entry to the facility is by timed ticket.

Ice Boating in Erie

By Linda Tancs

Winter play abounds at Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Pennsylvania. Presque Isle is French for “almost an island.” Well…almost. Presque Isle actually has been an island many times over its 11,000-year history as storm waves broke through the neck to isolate the main section of the recurving sand spit. Jutting into Lake Erie, this migrating peninsula (still growing eastward at Gull Point) delights visitors during winter. For instance, the ice dunes are pretty formidable, built by the combination of lake ice, wave surge and freezing spray. And then there’s the ice boating with ice boats provided by the local yacht club. Ice skating? Sure thing. Got a kite? Then add wind skating to the list. And cross-country skiing, hiking and ice fishing, too. Now bundle up and get going.

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