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10.30.2016

French Azilum and the Marie Antoinette Overlook, Susquehanna River, Bradford County, PA

Today we visit French Azilum and the Marie Antoinette Overlook, along the Susquehanna River and Route 6 near Towanda, PA. It overlooks a stunning horseshoe bend in the Susquehanna River and provides an excellent place for checking out some autumn colors. For some a better understanding of the history of this location, we need to take a look at some context. 

You were in trouble if you were one of the powerful elites in France in the 1780s and 1790s. The working classes and other oppressed groups were through with being taken advantage of. The people rose up in the French Revolution to fight for better futures for themselves and their children, whether it be on the mainland, or within many of the nation's colonies. The brutally oppressed people of Haiti, who were forced into enslavement either as natives or through the slave trade, had risen up against their French oppressors. The Haitians won the fight, the only successful slave uprising that lead towards the creation of an independent nation state. The French captors were forced into exile off of the island.
Towards the end of the revolution in France, when it became clear that the monarchy was going to fall. Some prominent Philadelphians were sympathetic to the plight of the aristocrats and proposed the creation of a settlement. The village was built tract along a horseshoe bend along the Susquehanna River near Towanda, PA. This was an area that was largely uninhabited by European Settlers. 1600 acres were purchased, and a grid system was set up with 30 log buildings built, along with a school, several small shops, a chapel, gristmill, blacksmith shop, and more would be built. It is rumored that Marie Antoinette was to flee to this settlement, though this is not officially verified. She faced the guillotine before she would have the chance to successfully flee. While the French Revolution was bloody and violent, the result would be the end of absolute monarchies in western Europe and a trend of countries moving forward with secular and enlightened governments that were more tolerant of all groups of citizens. 
The land would have supported much more development, but the settlement would end up being very short lived. Napoleon declared amnesty and many of the French returned home. Some of the families that lived on the settlement ended up living in the region, with some descendants still living in the area. Most of the land is currently used for farming. None of the original structures remain. A cabin from the period was relocated to the site, and a home that was built by a family member of the original settlers was built in 1836, and they serve as a museum for this quirky piece of history. 
Recognition of the historic site, specifically with a beautiful lookout overlooking the Susquehanna River Valley from Route 6, was created as one of the many awesome WPA projects during the Great Depression. Regardless of the history of the spot, this is a stunning lookout point that is worth seeking out. 
An elegant structure at the overlook.
This overlook is stunning and it is yet another place of sheer beauty along the Route 6 corridor. The Marie Antoinette Inn, a nice little bar and restaurant, is located right at the overlook. 


Be sure to check out our Interesting Pennsylvania 2017 wall calendar, available through the drop down menu at the top of this page, or through this link. It is available on early-bird special for free with purchases of our book through the page, or individually for $9.99 plus shipping. 

10.27.2016

High Knob Overlook and Dry Run Falls: Loyalsock State Forest, Sullivan County, PA

Earlier this week we talked about the spectacular Canyon Vista at Worlds End State Park. Just a few miles down the road in the adjoining Loyalsock State Forest is the High Knob Overlook, a place with a view that looks like it is straight out of a Bob Ross painting. This is a spectacular scenic overlook that stands at an elevation of roughly 2000 feet, with a view that is roughly 1200 feet over the spectacular landscape of the area. The overlook gives views that are as far as forty miles away on clear days, and mountain tops in seven counties are visible. On most days, at least twenty miles are visible. 
Coordinates:
41.444221, -76.679035
The dramatic landscape here was formed with giant glaciers some 20,000 years ago. 
The setting sun
The fall colors are particularly beautiful in this location.
80 percent of Loyalsock State Forest, roughly 90,000 acres of land open to recreation for all Pennsylvanians, are visible from this location.
This section of the knob had some particularly stunning yellow colored trees scattered across the ridge. The colors looked like they were straight out of a Bob Ross painting, "little trees" and all!
The sun setting on a spectacular day and an even more amazing overlook. 

Even with the sun almost fully set, these yellows continued to radiate as if they were glowing.
Almost completely set!
Dry Run Falls
Coordinates: 41.430345, -76.670412
Just down the road from the overlook is Dry Run Falls. The size of this set of falls is maybe twenty feet it is not particularly spectacular, but it is pretty nonetheless, and well worth a stop after visiting the downright spectacular High Knob Overlook. This set of falls has a nice little picnic area where you can listen to the babbling creek with a picnic lunch. There are a bunch of different creeks with waterfalls throughout the area, along with tremendous hikes. Forksville and Hillsgrove Covered Bridges are also nearby. I highly recommend visiting the Endless Mountains Region, Worlds End State Park, and Loyalsock State Forest if you like outdoor recreation and the sights and sounds of nature. 

Be sure to check out our Interesting Pennsylvania 2017 wall calendar, available through the drop down menu at the top of this page, or through this link. It is available on early-bird special for free with purchases of our book through the page, or individually for $9.99 plus shipping. 

10.25.2016

Loyalsock Canyon Vista, Worlds End State Park, Sullivan County, PA

Today we visit Worlds End State Park and the stunning Loyalsock Canyon Vista overlook. The S shaped meanders of the Loyalsock Creek, and its gorge, are beautifully viewed from this stunning overlook. The rugged landscape of this state park, and the surrounding areas, are beautiful beyond words. This beauty is even further exemplified with the flaming yellows, oranges, and reds of the trees in their autumn grandeur.
Canyon Vista, overlooking the abrupt meanders of the Loyalhanna Creek, provides a view that is nothing short of spectacular. At an elevation of 1750 feet and the creek bed having an elevation of roughly 1100 feet, the vista gives a commanding view roughly 650 feet above the lowest point.
The autumn colors were so bright that it looked as if the trees had caught on fire. In the early 20th century this was not the case. The land was almost completely clear cut using irresponsible logging practices. Thanks to a coordinated state and local effort, this and the surrounding areas were replanted. A mature second growth forest has taken root and matured on what was once cut down to a wasteland. A CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) project that employed young men to better the nation during the Great Depression, planted many of the trees that you see today, in addition to building cabins, the dam for the swimming area, hiking trails, roads, and other infrastructure that you see in the state park today.
Looking towards the setting sun.
The Canyon Vista overlook area is fully handicap accessible, something that I strongly commend the park for having the foresight in doing. I believe that everyone should have the chance to enjoy such beautiful and outstanding places.
Some of the forest at the top of the overlook. The Devil's Garden rock formations, in addition to waterfalls and many other scenic opportunities within the gorge, make this an awesome place to visit. Countless hiking trails, including the Loyalsock Trail, pass through the state park. Be sure to check out this awesome area sometime. The Endless Mountains region is gorgeous.

Vista Coordinates: 

41.466058, -76.565057


Be sure to check out our Interesting Pennsylvania 2017 wall calendar, available through the drop down menu at the top of this page, or through this link. It is available on early-bird special for free with purchases of our book through the page, or individually for $9.99 plus shipping. 
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