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Archive for pennsylvania

Grey Towers

By Linda Tancs

Gifford Pinchot is legendary in Pennsylvania. Son of a wealthy wallpaper merchant, he was twice Governor of Pennsylvania and the first Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. His family’s summer home, Grey Towers, is in Milford, under the care of the Forest Service. Designed in the style of a French château to reflect the family’s French heritage, it’s open for guided tours during the summer season. The stunning grounds, however, are open year-round.

A Christmas Village in Philadelphia

By Linda Tancs

German Christmas markets are legendary, but if you can’t make the trip, then consider Philadelphia’s Christmas Village. You’ll certainly be feeling the gemütlichkeit with over 80 vendors selling authentic European food as well as arts and crafts and ornaments from around the world. The event is located at LOVE Park through Christmas Eve.

Old Wheels in Hershey

By Linda Tancs

There’s more to Hershey, Pennsylvania, than its chocolate-themed park. Indeed, just minutes away is the AACA Museum, an automotive museum dedicated to the preservation and presentation of vintage automobiles and their vast history. A Smithsonian affiliate, the facility showcases vintage vehicle displays and interactive exhibits featuring cars, buses, motorcycles and other vehicles from the 1890s through the 1980s. Permanent exhibits include the Cammack Tucker Gallery (the world’s largest display of Tucker ’48 automobiles and related artifacts), the Route 66 gallery exploring this iconic stretch of roadway and the Museum of Bus Transportation. Special themed exhibits and car shows are plentiful.

The House Above the Falls

By Linda Tancs

In the 1930s wealthy department store owner Edgar Kaufmann commissioned renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright to build him a house in the woods in southwestern Pennsylvania. Not just any house, mind you. Positioned right over a waterfall in the Laurel Highlands in Mill Run, its cantilevered tiers assure that the man-made structure melds with its natural surroundings, which include a mature forest, sandstone boulders, a stream, a variety of plants and flowers and, of course, that waterfall. Appropriately named Fallingwater, the structure is a National Historic Landmark. Be sure to capture the trademark view from the clearing called, what else, The View.

An Iron Plantation in Pennsylvania

By Linda Tancs

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in Elverson, Pennsylvania, is an example of an American 19th century rural “iron plantation.” Operating from 1771 to 1883, Hopewell and other iron plantations led the industrial revolution in the United States. Hopewell and sites like it were called iron plantations because these early industrial enterprises were typically isolated, largely self-sufficient communities centered around the production of iron for sale. Comprising 848 acres, the site’s cold-blast iron furnace and accompanying community have been restored to the way it looked during its heydey in the 1830s and 1840s.

America’s Best Bike Tour

By Linda Tancs

Ernest Hemingway said, “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.” So what could be better than a nearly level bike path along 150 scenic miles? That’s what you get on the Great Allegheny Passage (the GAP), a holy grail for bicyclists. Winding its way between Cumberland, Maryland, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the trail comprises a series of retired rail corridors—the longest rail trail east of the Mississippi. Aided by interpretive signage, the path crosses the Cumberland Narrows, the Mason-Dixon Line and the Eastern Continental Divide and is dotted with a chain of cyclist-friendly trail towns.

The Spirit of Things in Pennsylvania

By Linda Tancs

Ephrata began in 1732 as a monastic settlement in Pennsylvania labeled a cloister, a retreat from worldly distractions where devoted members followed a disciplined life designed to prepare them for a heavenly existence. Their labors included farming, papermaking, carpentry, milling and textile production. The site became known for the development of the German calligraphic art of Frakturscriften (considered the first of this folk art produced in America), hundreds of compositions of a cappella music and the translation and publication of the 1,500-page Martyrs Mirror for the Mennonites, the largest book printed in colonial America. It also served as a hospital for nearly 260 American soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Administered today by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Historic Ephrata Cloister boasts historic buildings, collections and programming exhibiting the community’s spiritual, creative and intellectual accomplishments.

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