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Archive for pennsylvania

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.

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.

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.

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