Join the #GivingTuesday movement by supporting Pennsylvania’s Heritage Areas. Your contribution will help them continue to serve their communities.
Join the #GivingTuesday movement by supporting Pennsylvania’s Heritage Areas. Your contribution will help them continue to serve their communities.
Just in time for needing-gifts-for-everyone season (or something for yourself), the folks from the Allegheny Ridge Heritage Area have created a handy rundown of local shopping and dining spots in three historic and charming towns across their region. Click below to explore the towns of Saltsburg, Huntingdon, and Hollidaysburg. Your support of local shops and restaurants goes a long way in helping these Pennsylvania communities and the heritage area thrive.
POTTSTOWN—The Schuylkill River Heritage Area announced Thursday its new organizational identity that includes changing its name to Schuylkill River Greenways NHA, and revising its logo.
Both the new name and the logo, are reflective of the organization’s mission to connect people and communities to the river and the river corridor.
The new logo features a green and blue graphic representative of fields and towns with a river running through the center. It replaces an old logo with an encircled image of sun and water.
“We have changed our name and our logo, but we are not changing what we do,” said Schuylkill River Greenways Executive Director Elaine P. Schaefer. “Our new identity better represents the work we do, building and promoting the Schuylkill River Trail, championing the river and revitalizing the communities along it.”
The rebranding comes on the heels of a new strategic plan that sets a course for the Schuylkill River Greenways for the next decade. That plan, completed earlier this year, calls for finishing the entire Schuylkill River Trail, which will run a projected 130 miles from Philadelphia to Pottsville. It also sets goals for protecting and restoring the river, connecting communities to it, and engaging people in programs that encourage them to value and advocate for the river.
The new name was selected following a series of meetings that sought input from board members, staff, and other constituents. It harkens back to the organization’s roots, while incorporating its present identity as a National Heritage Area.
The organization was founded in 1974 as the Schuylkill River Greenway Association. Its primary goal was to build a trail along the length of the river, protect its greenway and advocate for river conservation. The Schuylkill River Greenway Association changed its name to the Schuylkill River Heritage Area after being designated as a National Heritage Area by Congress in 2000. Prior to that, in 1995, it had been named a Pennsylvania State Heritage Area.
However, the non-profit managing entity for the Schuylkill River Heritage Area maintained the name Schuylkill River Greenway Association.
“Having two names became problematic for us,” said Schaefer. “Some people continued to call us the Greenway, while others knew us as the Heritage Area.”
The new name, Schuylkill River Greenways NHA maintains the National Heritage Area distinction and embraces the organization’s founding identity. Furthermore, making the word Greenways plural (rather than singular as it had been), speaks to the fact that there are many greenways along the tributaries of the Schuylkill that are important to the river’s health and the region’s economic well-being.
The Schuylkill River Greenways NHA is headquartered in Pottstown. It encompasses the Schuylkill River watershed in Schuylkill, Berks, Chester, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties. It is one of only 49 national heritage areas in the country, a designation that recognizes this region as nationally significant for the role that its people, places, and events played in the American, Industrial, and Environmental Revolutions. The region is home to over 3.2 million people across five counties. Approximately 1.5 million people draw their drinking water directly from the River.
The Columbia River Trails Center opened in March 2016 and has now surpassed 45,000 visitors. Enjoy this birds-eye-view of the center and Columbia River Park and plan a visit today. Find more information at Susquehanna Heritage Area’s website HERE.
Named by National Geographic as “One of America’s most scenic drives” and the #1 Motorcycle Road in the Northeast by Motorcycleroads.com, US Route 6 in Pennsylvania is the heart of the American Dream. This magical and tranquil highway along Pennsylvania’s northern tier is 400 plus miles of history and heritage, linking small towns, generations of people and wondrous sights often forgotten. One of the best ways to explore Route 6 is by motorcycle.
The 2018 Take the High Road Motorcycle Map features five loop tours using the scenic highway as the main road to exploring other roadways along the northern tier of Pennsylvania. Each loop has scenic, historic, and entertaining stops along with lots of local restaurants and overnight accommodation. It is recommended that motorcyclists spend a couple of days exploring a loop or two or spend a couple of weeks touring all five loops.
Motorcyclists are also encouraged to post photos to the Facebook page – US Route 6 in Pennsylvania, with the #Do6.
Printed maps are available by request through local visitor centers and motorcycle shops or by contacting the PA Route 6 Alliance office at 814-435-7706 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Detailed itineraries of each loop can be downloaded at http://www.paroute6.com/motorcycles.
It’s time to pick the 2018 River of the Year. Administered by The Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR), the winning river will receive a $10,000 leadership grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The money will be used for a year-long list of activities and events to celebrate the river. Make a nomination from now until November 6th at 5:00 p.m.
Autumn Hawk Watch season is underway. The Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in the Schuylkill River Heritage Area offers eight miles of hiking trails and mountaintop vistas where you can watch the migration of nearly 20,000 hawks, eagles, & falcons until December 15 (weather permitting). Go exploring today!
By Jim Cheney
Originally published on UncoveringPA.com.
There’s nothing better than a road trip, and if you love history, taking a road trip along the Historic National Road in Pennsylvania is a fantastic choice. While I have traveled portions of this road through southwestern PA in the past, I had the chance recently to explore this roadway in much more detail than before.
What I discovered is a roadway that is steeped in world-changing history and natural beauty. While it might sound cliché to say that the National Road has something for everyone, it does offer experiences that nearly any history or outdoor lover will enjoy.
The story of the National Road begins even prior to the arrival of European settlers. In those days, it was a Native American footpath known as Nemacolin’s Trail. As settlers began moving westward, they used this old path to get over the Allegheny Mountains, making it one of the most important paths for those moving west.
George Washington, then a colonel in the British army, expanded this road during his 1754 attempt to reach the French-held Fort Duquesne at present-day Pittsburgh with a detachment of soldiers. The next year, British General Edward Braddock returned along the path and extended it to the shores of the Monongahela River. Known as Braddock’s Road, some of this path would be used to form the National Road’s path through Pennsylvania.
Years later, in an attempt to make westward expansion easier and connect the country, President Thomas Jefferson authorized the creation of the National Road on March 29, 1806. This road would eventually stretch 620 miles from Cumberland, Maryland, to Vandalia, Illinois, and take 26 years to build.
Known as the Eastern Legacy, the first portion completed connected Cumberland to Wheeling, West Virginia. This connected the Potomac River to the Ohio River, allowing both travelers and goods to connect to points both east and west. At its peak, over 200,000 people a year used the country’s first federally-funded highway.
Built between 1811 and 1819, 90 miles of this section passed through the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania. The road entered the state in present-day Somerset County near Addison and passed through Fayette and Washington Counties before entering West Virginia.
Today, visitors traveling this historic road can explore the area’s history, great natural beauty, and small towns. In fact, there are few areas of the state that offer as much to do in such a rural area. Here are a few of my favorite things to do while traveling the National Road in southwestern Pennsylvania.
As the home to some of the least-known and most-important events in U.S. political history, the National Road features some amazing museums and historic sites that are worth the trip.
The best place to learn about the history of the National Road, as well as one of the nation’s most defining events, is at the Fort Necessity National Battlefield, the only National Park Service site that covers the French and Indian War.
Fort Necessity National Battlefield preserves the sites where a young George Washington and his troops engaged in the first battle of the French and Indian War in the summer of 1754. The shots fired here would create a war that would extend around the world and lead directly to American independence two decades later.
Inside the battlefield’s museum, visitors can not only learn about the battle fought here, but also about the history of the National Road. This very well done portion of the museum highlights the story of the road, how it was built, and its importance in American history.
I found it fascinating to not only think about how the events at Fort Necessity shaped the history of America, but also to discover that George Washington was responsible for beginning the process of turning this Native American path into a viable route for westward expansion.
Several decades later, Nemacolin’s Path would again be traveled by men under Washington’s command as they traveled to quell the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794.
The Bradford House in Washington, Pennsylvania, does an excellent job covering this little-known piece of American history, as well as showcasing what life was like on the Pennsylvania frontier in the years after the Revolutionary War.
I also had a chance to tour several other spots that showcased what life was like along the National Road. The Addison Toll House and the Searight Toll House, the only remaining toll houses of six that that once stood in Pennsylvania, tell the story of the National Road’s transition to a state-run toll road. Washington Tavern, another spot of interest located on the grounds of Fort Necessity National Battlefield, offers a fascinating look at what life was like for those working and traveling along the National Road during its heyday.
Touring these three sites gave me a great appreciation of the difficulties faced by those moving west and what life was like for those who worked along the National Road during the 19th century.
Another great stop, and a great place to spend the night, is the Historic Summit Inn. Located atop Summit Mountain and with a commanding view of the National Road as it winds its way west, this hotel offers a comfortable place to stay in a historic setting. There are few things that I’ve enjoyed more on my trips to this area than watching the sun set from the porch of the Summit Inn.
The Beautiful Natural Scenery
I’ve traveled to every corner of Pennsylvania, and there’s no doubt that the area around the National Road offers some of the state’s most breathtaking natural scenery. What’s great about traveling this roadway is that you don’t have to leave the road to see the amazing scenery, especially when crossing the Youghiogheny River Lake and from the scenic overlook near the Historic Summit Inn.
The star of the region’s scenery is Ohiopyle State Park. Known for its fantastic whitewater rafting, the park is also home to several incredibly beautiful waterfalls, including Cucumber Falls, which is one of my favorite waterfalls in Pennsylvania. The park is centered around the community of Ohiopyle, one of my favorite small towns in Pennsylvania. Both the community and the park are bisected by the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile rail trail that travels from Cumberland, Maryland, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The beautiful Fallingwater is located along the National Road Heritage Corridor.
Just outside of Ohiopyle State Park, along Route 381, the Laurel Highlands Scenic Byway, is Fallingwater. Considered the masterwork of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, tours of this home are offered daily with prior reservation. Nearby, Kentuck Knob, another Frank Lloyd Wright designed home, offers a look at his unique usonian design. In my opinion, a visit to Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob should be on the bucket list of every traveler.
Another of my favorites is Laurel Caverns. This is the largest cavern in Pennsylvania, and I was impressed with the uniqueness of the cave’s interior. In addition to regular cave tours, visitors can also go spelunking and even repelling within the cave. I can’t wait to visit again and try these unique activities
Nemacolin Castle served as both a home and trading post in Brownsville, PA.
In addition to world-changing history and beautiful scenery, I also found the National Road to be filled with destinations that showcased the cultural impact of the National Road throughout its history.
Downtown Brownsville features some of the most stunning architecture along the National Road Heritage Corridor.
From the hillside on which Nemacolin Castle sits, I was afforded a sweeping look over downtown Brownsville and the Monongahela River. At one point, this river delineated the line between British controlled territory and land controlled by Native Americans and the French.
While the downtown area of Brownsville is currently undergoing a much-needed revitalization, it was clear to me when I was walking along the streets that it was once a very prosperous place. In fact, it was once said that, “Pittsburgh might amount to something if it wasn’t so close to Brownsville.”
Further west, the LeMoyne House in Washington, PA, offers a look at another cultural revolution: the Underground Railroad. During the mid-19th century, Dr. John LeMoyne headed up the Underground Railroad in southwestern Pennsylvania, and is said to have taken injured runaway slaves into his home for medical treatment.
The LeMoyne House is home to the Washington County Historical Society Museum.
I always enjoy learning about the bravery of the men and women that helped runaway slaves escape to freedom, and my visit to the LeMoyne House was no different. As the home of the Washington County Historical Society, the house features many fascinating displays that allowed me to get a great look into the history of Washington County, PA.
The cultural impacts of the National Road continues into the 20th century. The Christian Klay Winery and Ridge Runner Distillery sit opposite each other in Farmington, Pennsylvania. The Christian Klay Winery was the region’s first winery, having opened for business in 1997. Don’t leave without trying their fantastic Lavender Mist wine.
Ridge Runner Distillery offers delicious spirits along the National Road Heritage Corridor.
In recent years, Ridge Runner Distillery was opened as one of the first post-Prohibition distilleries in Pennsylvania. Today, they offer seven different types of liquors. I definitely recommend the whiskey, which is not only delicious but also a great tie-in to the history of the National Road and of course the Whiskey Rebellion!
Without a doubt, traveling the National Road is one of Pennsylvania’s great road trips. While I’ve traveled portions of the roadway before, the chance to really dig in and explore it was an experience that I was glad to have and something I’d recommend for anyone wanting to uncover the overlooked history and jaw-dropping natural beauty of Pennsylvania.
Uniontown, Pennsylvania, is a great stop along the National Road Heritage Corridor.
While the National Road in Pennsylvania only covers 90 miles, there is more than enough to keep you occupied for many days. However, with two or three days, you can see the main highlights of America’s first federally-funded road.
Start in Addison with a tour of the toll house. Continue west, stopping at Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Christian Klay Winery, and Ridge Runner Distillery. Take a short jaunt off of the road to visit Jumonville Glen, site of the first shots of a skirmish that led to the French and Indian War. Continue through the communities of Hopwood and Uniontown, taking in their beauty, before doubling back for a night’s stay at the Historic Summit Inn.
If you have some extra time, spend your middle days exploring the beautiful Ohiopyle State Park, Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes, and Laurel Caverns. While you can’t see all of these amazing sites in only two days, you won’t want to miss the chance to explore some of these amazing places that are conveniently located near the National Road.
Laurel Caverns is a fantastic stop along the National Road Heritage Corridor.
For the final day of your trip, continue heading west along the National Road. Since you’ve already seen Hopwood and Uniontown, sit back and enjoy your ride through them again. After a quick stop at Searight Toll House, continue to Brownsville and take a tour of Nemacolin Castle. Explore Brownsville’s historic downtown and ride over the Dunlap Creek Bridge, the first cast iron, metal arch bridge in the United States, before crossing the Monongahela River.
Continue to Washington, Pennsylvania, where you can tour both the LeMoyne House and the Bradford House. From there, it’s a short drive west through the communities of Claysville and West Alexander to the end of Pennsylvania’s portion of the National Road.
For more information on Pennsylvania’s National Road Heritage Corridor, visit NationalRoadPA.org.
About the writer: Jim Cheney is the writer behind UncoveringPA, Pennsylvania’s most read travel blog. He has traveled to every county in Pennsylvania and many countries in North America, Europe, and Asia. He lives in Harrisburg, PA.
The rehabilitation of the historic Tarbell House, located at 324 East Main Street in Titusville, PA, has been recognized as a winner of a 2017 Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Award issued by the statewide advocacy group Preservation Pennsylvania.
On October 12, a Construction Project Award will be presented to the non-profit Oil Region Alliance, owner of the Tarbell House, for the multi-year phased rehabilitation which returned the exterior and interior of this 1870 Italianate home to its appearance during the years when Ida Tarbell and her family resided in the house designed by her father.
The ceremony is being conducted in the auditorium of The State Museum in downtown Harrisburg. Pennsylvania’s First Lady Frances Wolf will participate in this awards ceremony. Accepting the award on behalf of the Oil Region Alliance will be Mrs. Marilyn Black, ORA’s Vice President for Heritage Development. Also being recognized is the local firm StruXures, LLC, which served as the architect of record throughout the 9-year preservation endeavor which began when ORA acquired the property in 2007 and StruXures prepared a Preservation Plan for this important building.
Also among the 23 people and organizations receiving awards at this annual ceremony is a project in Conneaut Lake in western Crawford County. Universal Development will receive a Community Involvement award for their work converting the former High Street Church into the Conneaut Lake Town Hall. Kidder Wachter Architecture and Design of Erie is receiving a Construction Project Award for their work on the Dickson Tavern in Erie County.
People interested in viewing the restored building interior are welcome to attend the public teas hosted at the Tarbell House each month. Seats remain available for the student-served teas on Friday, October 20 and Friday, November 3. Such teas begin at 4 p.m.; those who wish to tour the house are encouraged to arrive by 3:30 p.m. Advance reservations are required.
Private tours and events are also conducted at the Tarbell House. For details or reservations, please contact Mrs. Black at 677-3152, Extension 105; email@example.com.
Five Fridays in one month?! This only happens a few times a year. Celebrate this rare occurrence and take in the history & heritage of your region. For ideas, check out things happening in these five unique areas below.
Washington Libations Locations Poker Stroll
Check in at the Bradford House at 6 p.m. Visit the 5 designated locations in the city of Washington, which include Red Pump Spirits Craft Distillers, Washington Winery, Liberty Pole Spirits distillery, and ending at Washington Brewery, to collect all 5 playing cards. Throughout the evening, as participants walk throughout the lighted city, they will enjoy live music, local art and museums, and be able to make purchases at all locations. All must report to the brewery at 8:30 p.m. to present the collected hand. The 3 best hands will receive baskets of rewards and deals from the Washington Business District.
Pot Still Pub
Located in the National Register listed Hopwood/Miller Tavern circa 1790 as a private home and circa 1832 as an Inn and tavern on the National Road. Among the distinguished guests were: John Quincy Adams, James Polk, James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln. The pub is now operated by Christian Klay owner and founder of Ridge Runner Distillery.
The pub sells Ridge Runner’s moonshine, vodka, and whiskey cocktails as well as by the bottle. Pennsylvania wine and beer are sold by the glass. Stop by on Friday, September 29th anytime between 4:00 to 11:00 p.m. – shoot pool, throw darts or challenge your friends to a game of corn hole or enjoy a cigar on the patio in our spectacular backyard.
Christian and his team will be offering a tasting of Ridge Runners fine spirits and cocktail specials. Check out the simple pot still used for distilling. Around 7:00 p.m., catch Christian talking about the history of distilling and how the process has changed through the decades. A local food truck will be there if you get hungry and there will be live music!
5th Friday at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, located on Route 6 in Potter County, PA, is eager to welcome visitors to the Lumber Heritage Region of Pennsylvania in honor of the September 29th, 2017, Heritage PA 5th Friday program. Any visitors to the museum on that day that mention the Heritage PA 5th Friday program will be eligible to receive a complimentary admission with the purchase of a regular admission of equal value (BOGO).
The Lumber Heritage Region of Pennsylvania will also present a special screening of their documentary “The Civilian Conservation Corps: A Peaceful Revolution” at 1 Pm in the museum program room. This documentary, produced by Michael J. Schultz & Son, chronicles the contributions made by the CCC to the natural landscape and recreational infrastructure of the Region. In partnership with PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor, they will also be premiering a short PA Route 6 video. Please join us for this special event; the fall foliage will be near peak condition at this time of the year, providing a gorgeous backdrop for your visit to the wilds of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, a key gateway destination within the Lumber Heritage Region, strives to educate the public about Pennsylvania’s rich lumbering history and the ongoing care, management and recreational use of its forests. For more information about the museum, please visit our web site (lumbermuseum.org) and Facebook page, or call 814-435-2652.
Visit the National Canal Museum
Come spend a day with us. Take a canal boat ride. Listen to stories of the old canal days inside the National Canal Museum. Visit one of the few remaining locktender’s houses on the Lehigh Canal. Have a chat with Hank and George, our canal boat mules. Bike the lovely D&L Trail along the canal and Lehigh River. Take a paddleboat or canoe ride on the canal. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a quiet meal in a lovely setting. Bring your binoculars and take a bird walk on a shaded trail. There’s plenty to do in Easton’s Hugh Moore Park.
Rock and Roll Man: The Alan Freed Story
The high energy musical, “Rock and Roll Man” uncovers the true story of Alan Freed – the Father of Rock and Roll. It is the 1950s and a cocky young DJ discovers the music that all America wants to hear – except no radio station will play it. Through guts, grit, and ingenuity, Alan preservers and unearths music for a new generation. Featuring original songs and classic tunes by legends like Little Richard, Frankie Lymon, and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, this world premiere will have you rocking around the clock!
Live Musical – “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka”
This fantastical, scrumdiddlyumptious musical is performed by the talented actors, singers, dangers of the Franklin Civic Operetta Association, which owns and operates this restored 500-seat theatre in beautiful downtown Franklin, PA in the heart of the Oil Region National Heritage Area. Local resident Nicholas Hess will portray Willy Wonka, while Ben Hoover depicts the Candy Man. Besides the memorable individual characters, there are a bevy of Oompa Loompas, a Chorus of Cooks, and yes a clutch of squirrels on stage!
Zimmerman Center for Heritage
The John & Kathryn Zimmerman Center for Heritage will extend its regular weekend programming to include HeritagePA’s 5th Friday, September 29. Three programs explore the Susquehanna River’s natural and cultural heritage. 11:30 am & 2:30 pm – Native Lands. Discover the history and lifeways of the People who once called the Susquehanna their home, with a guided walk to the site of the Susquehannock Indians’ last community. 1:00 pm – Inspiring Susquehanna. We explore the Zimmerman Center’s Visions of the Susquehanna River Art Collection to see how the river has and continues to inspire artists, authors, poets, and the people who encounter its beauty and power. 1:30 pm – Natural Susquehanna. Venture to the Zimmerman Center’s waterside pavilion, dock, and a rain garden to encounter the river’s plants and animals while learning about its ecology, history, and physical features. The Zimmerman Center is an Official National Park Service Visitor Contact and Passport Stamping Station for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.
Columbia Crossing River Trails Center
Current Color: A Year on the River is a special exhibit presenting the work of local artist Diana Thomas. This unique show is the result of Diana’s year long journey on the Lower Susquehanna River creating one acrylic painting a week. In addition to 52 paintings, the show includes her weekly introspective journal and chronicles lessons learned from the river, creating art, and living through tragedy. View this exhibit September 1st through September 30th. Hosted by Susquehanna Heritage.
September 29, 2017, isn’t the only 5th Friday we will be celebrating. Here are the upcoming 5th Fridays happening through 2018: December 29, 2017; March 30, 2018; June 29, 2018; August 31, 2018; November 30, 2018. Look out for more information and events on these dates in the future.