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Archive for pennsylvania

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.

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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.

Colonial Splendor in Pennsylvania

By Linda Tancs

A National Historic Landmark, Graeme Park is a 42-acre historic park featuring the Keith House, the only surviving residence of a colonial Pennsylvania governor, Sir William Keith. Originally called “Fountain Low” because of its many natural springs, the manor is distinctive for its stone construction and remains virtually intact since the late 18th century. It was renamed Graeme Park following its purchase by Dr. Thomas Graeme, a respected judge and doctor. Its location in Horsham affords visitors a quiet retreat amidst the property’s stream, pond and trails through the woods. Admission is charged for a tour of the mansion, but entrance to the grounds is free.

Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon

By Linda Tancs

As you might expect of a “grand canyon,” Pennsylvania’s version boasts of steep canyon walls and waterfalls. Part of Tioga State Forest, it stretches for nearly 50 miles with depths over 1,000 feet. Carved into the Allegheny Plateau, one of its most popular attractions is the Pine Creek Rail Trail, a converted railroad bed at the canyon floor. The gentle grade of this meandering route is great for bikers, promising not only spectacular views but also abundant wildlife.

Georgian Roots in Pennsylvania

By Linda Tancs

Historic Hope Lodge is a historic building built by Quaker merchant Samuel Morris. Located in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, it was used by Continental troops during the 1777 Philadelphia Campaign of the American Revolution. An excellent example of early Georgian architecture, historians speculate that the architect of Independence Hall might have had a say in its design. House tours are available from April to October in addition to an annual re-enactment in November to commemorate the time from November 2 to December 11, 1777, when General George Washington and the Continental Army encamped in the Whitemarsh Hills.

Daniel Boone’s Homestead

By Linda Tancs

Daniel Boone may be best remembered as the man who settled Kentucky, but he also served in the Virginia Legislature, the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. Boone was also a blacksmith and wagoneer and operated a tavern. He grew up in Pennsylvania’s Oley Valley in a one-room log cabin and spring house, where he lived until moving to North Carolina in 1750. Located in Birdsboro, the Daniel Boone Homestead is a historical site that explores Boone’s youth and the everyday life of 18th century settlers. Guided and self-guided tours are both available.

Seclusion at Blue Knob

By Linda Tancs

Located in the northwestern tip of Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Blue Knob State Park has the distinctive advantage of seclusion. The park is named for its dome-shaped mountain, the second highest mountain in the state (after Mount Davis) at 3,146 feet above sea level. Open year round, its 18 miles of trails on 6,128 acres of woodland are ideal for viewing the scenic Ridge and Valley Province to the east of its location on a spur of the Allegheny Front.

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