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2.15.2017

9 Things You Have to Do in Crawford County

If you are looking for a relaxing and affordable getaway, Crawford County is a place that you need to check out. From activities and attractions ranging from visiting a historic amusement park, enjoying natural lakes, viewing wildlife, riding a historic railroad through the area of the first commercial oil wells, sleeping in a caboose, seeing a zany public art project, to shopping at one of our nation's oldest continuously operating market houses, Crawford County offers a little bit of everything. Here are some of our favorite things to check out.

1) Conneaut Lake Park
One of the last two remaining Traver Tumblebug rides in operation
Conneaut Lake Park is an excellent small amusement park with extremely affordable prices and classic rides. If you are looking for a perfectly landscaped park like Disney, this is not the place for you. If you enjoy good times with family, affordable prices, rides for people of all ages, and some of the strongest airtime that there is upon any coaster, Conneaut Lake Park is definitely for you.
The park is home to the classic Blue Streak, one of only two remaining wooden roller coasters of its kind. The park is also home to the last remaining carousel of its kind, the second to last classic tumblebug ride, and a little waterpark.
To top it all off, there is a classic hotel that is located right on the water of Pennsylvania's largest natural lake, which is often home to banquets and parties.
There is also a full beach where you can cool off on a hot summer day. Conneaut Lake Park is a regular destination for us to really get away from it all and relax. The park also plays host to events in the autumn months, with Pumpkin Fest and Ghost Lake for those who prefer spooky thrills. The park also has a campground.

2) Sightseeing and Feeding the Fish at Pymatuning State Park
This is another thing that we absolutely love to do. Pymatuning State Park is located right near Conneaut Lake and its reservoir is the largest lake by surface area that touches Pennsylvania, aside from Lake Erie. It is located directly on the border of Pennsylvania and Ohio. The lake is so wide that there is actually a two mile long causeway that crosses the lake between Espyville, PA and Andover, OH.
There are plenty of boating, fishing, and other recreational opportunities, but the most popular activity at the lake is stopping at one of the dams, the Linesville Spillway, "Where the Ducks Walk On the Fish." This spot is dominated by these massive carp and ducks that compete to feed upon the bread that people throw into the water. This activity is so popular and it stems from the Great Depression era where this became a popular and inexpensive roadside attraction for people to enjoy. It is impossible for us to avoid making a stop here. When our bread is no longer edible, we take it to feed to the fish. The carp are so large that you could throw an entire hot dog roll into the water and there is a solid chance that one of the fish will actually swallow it whole. It is extremely entertaining! Additionally, the lake serves as an excellent habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. We had a great time last summer taking in a sunset at the lake, in addition to watching this blue heron.

3) PennDOT Road Sign Sculpture Garden
The PennDOT Road Sign Sculpture Garden is something that we've appreciated for many years. It started out as a small public art project and turned into something large and with a popular following. It seems to grow by the day like any normal garden, but everything is made from recycled PennDOT signs. What was once a simple and mundane PennDOT road maintenance facility is now circled with a famous public art installation that draws people from all over the place. It is a creative and odd attraction that is really quite beautiful. The display is a work of love by nearby Allegheny College and it is located right at the juncture of the famous Route 6, US 19, and Interstate 79, making it an easy place to take in if you are visiting around Crawford County, or just driving through.

4) Taking in the natural lakes such as Sugar Lake, Canadohta, Conneaut, and Others
Idyllic Sugar Lake
Natural lakes are something that are not common in Pennsylvania. Very few exist outside of the northeastern and northwestern corners of the state that experienced glaciation. Crawford County has multiple f excellent natural lakes that have served as traditional tourist destinations and places of relaxation. The bulk of the lakes within the state have been created by way of damming up a waterway, often as a result of flood control.

Conneaut Lake is the largest natural lake within the state and it is absolutely beautiful and it has a great beach for swimming, along with no horsepower limits for boats. Sugar Lake is practically undisturbed and a fisherman's paradise. There is a limit of six horsepower on the lake and it is just so idyllic and peaceful. Canadohta Lake is a traditional tourism draw.

5) Shopping at the Meadville Market House, one of our nation's oldest community markets
The Meadville Market House has stood strong for the better part of 150 years, serving as a marketplace for people to sell their locally made handiwork. You can find all kinds of locally produced food, crafts, baked goods, and more at this great institution in downtown Meadville. We highly recommend going in and getting some stuff, especially some pies. 

6) Taking in the wetlands, hiking, and wildlife at the Erie National Wildlife Refuge
Erie National Wildlife Refuge is a place that you can go and enjoy some beautifully restored wetlands, filled with lilly pads and all of the other vegetation you would expect in healthy wetlands. There are a number of trails and boardwalks that traverse the woods and wetlands, in addition to viewing platforms that allow you to stay hidden and watch the birds and other wildlife without spooking them away. This is a really relaxing place to visit.

7) Checking out the fine little cafes, restaurants, shops, and historic buildings in Titusville

Visiting Titusville is an absolute must and between it and the local attractions, you have a really solid and affordable weekend trip. The town is filled with little shops, fun and delicious cafes, a beautiful town square, and lots of historic homes and buildings that hearken from the days in which this was an oil boomtown. This is the town that brought us John Heisman. He played his high school ball here and practically invented football as we know it today.

8) Riding the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad 
The Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad is a short line railroad that you can ride through the "Valley that Changed History," the Oil Creek Valley. It runs through the land that now makes up Oil Creek State Park, and was home to the first boomtown in the history of fossil fuel extraction. This is a pretty awesome place to explore for a multitude of reasons, from exploring history that has seemingly been frozen in time, in a semi-apocalyptic way, with nature taking control once again. You will find random foundations and old industrial machinery scattered about the woods along Oil Creek. The railroad is a remnant from that time period and it is a joy riding on it in classic rolling stock. The people who run it are really nice as well and this is certainly a place that you need to check out.

9) Sleeping in a Caboose at the Caboose Motel
At the train station for the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad you can find the Caboose Motel, accommodations that were created exclusively with classic cabooses. You can have your own caboose for the night, complete with a full bedroom, bathroom, deck area, and more, to sit and relax at. It is a short walk from all of the fun things to check out in downtown Titusville as well, making this an excellent and unique place to stay the night.

All in all, Crawford County as a nice and well rounded collection of things to do that should certainly be on your radar to check out. One of the best aspects of all of these things is the low cost/free aspect of all of these activities, perfect for an affordable weekend getaway.

For more information on visiting the county, be sure to check out http://www.visitcrawford.org

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