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When you hear about the attractions that Pennsylvania has to offer, you often hear about the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Hershey Park in Hershey and Gettysburg’s battlefields. Time and time again, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania goes by the way-side and is forgotten about. The state has a variety of “hidden gems” offering history, fun for the whole family and a one-of-a-kind experience. We would like to share with you “hidden gems” across the entire state.
Pat’s vs. Geno’s Cheese Steaks
When you visit Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, a go-to place to eat is either Pat’s King of Steaks or Geno’s Steaks. Other cities are known for their pizza or clam chowder, but cheese steaks are the city’s greatest rivalry and is a tourist attraction and cultural obsession. People say you can only like one or the other, you can’t like both. Both offer nearly identical sandwiches, but have their signature differences that you have to visit to find out!
Eastern State Penitentiary
This penitentiary is America’s most historic prison and is located in Philadelphia. It was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world. Today it stands in ruins, with unforgettable crumbling cellblocks and vacant guard towers. This is the world’s first true penitentiary and is known for its impressive architecture and strict discipline. Eastern State Penitentiary once held many of America’s most notorious criminals, such as bank robber “Slick Willie” Sutton and Al Capone.
This is foodie heaven and is as genuine as it is fun. While making a trip to Pittsburgh to see the University of Pittsburgh, the Duquesne Incline or to see a Pirates or Steelers game, travel down along the Allegheny River and you will find this love of the locals. The Strip is about a half-mile of low prices and incredible selections. It is full of ethnic grocers, products stands, meat and fish markets and sidewalk vendors. While you walk along the river and mountain side, you will be filled with splendid aromas of fresh-roasted coffee, pastries and fresh baked bread.
Ohiopyle State Park
If you love the outdoors and spending time with your family, this is a place for you! Located in the Laurel Highland mountains and Fayette County, Ohiopyle State Park has a number of activities in its 135 mile Great Allegheny Passage; from hiking and biking to fishing, rock climbing, camping or having a picnic by the river’s edge. Ohiopyle also offers some of the best whitewater rafting in the eastern U.S and has spectacular waterfalls.
While making a trip to Ohiopyle, just a few miles down the road from the state park is a home designed by a renowned architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, which is a must see also! Fallingwater is nestled in the lush, wooded Bear Run Nature Reserve and is a timeless monument of organic architecture at its finest. This home is listed in Smithsonian’s “Life List of 28 Places to Visit Before You Die.” The house became so famous because it doesn’t appear to be on solid ground, but stretches across a 30 foot waterfall.
Old Jail & Museum
When traveling south on I-81 and need to stretch your legs, you can stop at the Old Jail located in Chambersburg. The jail was built in 1818 and is one of the few buildings to have survived the burning of Chambersburg by confederate Forces in 1864. You can brush up on your history while visiting the museum and learning how the jail also served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. The jail houses a number of local criminals, such as “Lewis the Robber” and Captain John Cook. The Old Jail is on the State and National Register of Historical sites since 1970.
Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania
This remarkable landmark is located in the Pine Creek Gorge in Wellsboro. The Grand Canyon is known as “The Crown Jewel of Pennsylvania” and stretches 50 miles and ranges depths of 1,000 feet. The canyon winds its way through an immense wilderness scenery of magnificent beauty that will capture your imagination and renew your soul. Many activities are offered for nature lovers, from kayaking, fishing, hiking to cycling and camping. The hiking trails offer breathtaking views of the canyon, forests, waterfalls and wildlife.
Eisenhower National Historic Site
Along with touring the battlefields in Gettysburg, you can pay a visit to the home and farm of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Eisenhower farm served as a weekend retreat for the President and his family in addition to a meeting place for world leaders. This farm has a peaceful setting and view of mountains which made it a great place to get away from Washington D.C. and to reduce the tension of the Cold War.
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Letter from the Director
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