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Enjoy the Bounties

I have been blessed to be able to travel the state, the country and the globe both during my working years and now in retirement. Yet, I am always amazed that when I am away from home, my mind constantly wanders back to Northcentral Pennsylvania — the area of my roots. I feel very fortunate to have grown up here and to call this area my home. If you live here or are merely passing through, you too should feel fortunate to be able to enjoy the bounties that our surroundings provide. Following is a list of some things that are unique to our area that will create great memories over the upcoming fall months.

The Fall Colors: Particularly vibrant in the coming weeks is the annual display of fall foliage. While this seasonal pageant can be seen from the mid-west through the northeastern United States, we have spectacular viewing in our surrounding counties. Whether you are hiking, biking or traveling by car, the colors can be awesome as you move through the Pine Creek, Lycoming Creek or Loyalsock Creek valleys.

PA Wilds Elk Viewing Area: Within just a couple of hours by car, you can be in the heart of Pennsylvania’s elk country. With around 1,000 animals, Pennsylvania is home to the largest wild elk herd in the northeastern United States. Begin the trip with a stop at the Elk Country Visitor Center at the Sinnemahoning State Park in Austin, PA and then travel the 127-mile loop through portions of five counties, which includes several established elk viewing areas along the way. If you time it right, you may even be entertained by the powerful bugling that these impressive bull elk make in preparation for the upcoming breeding season.

The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon: This is the time of year when a trip to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon is most memorable as nature puts on its wonderful display of colors. Located in the Tioga State Forest and southwest of Wellsboro, PA, it stretches over 45 miles and at some points reaches a depth of nearly 1,500 feet. There are two vistas, Colton Point State Park on the western rim and Leonard Harrison State Park on the eastern rim, which provide excellent viewing and photo opportunities.

The Pine Creek Rail Trail: This picturesque 62-mile hiking and biking trail runs from Jersey Shore to Wellsboro, traversing both Lycoming and Tioga Counties and following the Pine Creek Gorge. The gradual grade of the old railroad bed makes for a very pleasant walk, bike ride or along some sections, a horseback ride. Multiple entry points along the way allow for a shorter hike or bike trip of a few hours, or the more adventuresome can travel the entire route and then enjoy a well-deserved dinner at one of the restaurants in Jersey Shore or Wellsboro. Particularly during the early morning and late evening hours, whitetail deer, black bear, turkeys, and ruffed grouse can be seen and often hawks, and even bald eagles can be spotted soaring overhead.

“The Loop” is the nickname given by some locals to the tract of roadways that course through northern Lycoming County and southern Tioga County and provides outstanding opportunities for wildlife viewing and enables great observation of the fall foliage. Generally, it runs out of Waterville northwesterly on Route 414 to Slate Run, then cuts northeasterly to Cedar Run and Blackwell. After that, it angles in a southerly direction into English Center, with a final leg along Route 284 back to Waterville. Wildlife viewing, seeing the occasional bald eagle, traveling through the scenic countryside, and having some enjoyable places to eat along the way, make scooping “The Loop” a popular way to spend a few hours or most of the day.

The Hiawatha Paddlewheel Riverboat: Now here is a rather unique way to view and enjoy the fall colors! Operating six days per week on public cruises, they offer a wide variety of activities on their trips. Located out of 2205 Hiawatha Boulevard, Williamsport, PA, they have dinner cruises, wing night cruises, and even a bingo cruise!

From Forksville to Salladasburg and from Mansfield to Jersey Shore, as well as points in between, we have some of the most picturesque and interesting places to see and explore. With great eateries and some fine dining available, plan to make a day trip during the weeks of fall colors and take advantage of the bounty that our neck of the woods offers.

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