Purchases of our 2024 PA Calendar and PA Amusement Parks Book

2024 PA Calendar and PA Amusement Parks Book Purchase Options


Buchanan's Birthplace State Park, Franklin County

Buchanan's Birthplace State Park is in a pretty remote location of south central PA. President Buchanan, the first of the two presidents to have been born in Pennsylvania, was born here on April 23, 1791. From here on he would go on to have an accomplished career in law, politics, and as ambassador to Russia. He went on to be catapulted to the office of the presidency in 1857 and would finish his term in 1861 and hand the baton on to Lincoln. Unfortunately he was unable to ease the tensions that led to the outbreak of the Civil War, but I cannot imagine that there would be anyone that could ease that fate at that time. He was and remains widely considered ineffective as a president and his moderate positions as president did not appease anyone and may have even hastened the breakout of the Civil War by emboldening southern positions. He was between a rock and a hard place as president and I do not think there were really any decisions that the office of the presidency could have made in that volatile time period.  
I would imagine that his steadfast stances in his moderation were built upon the rugged upbringing he would have had in this location. This spot is both peaceful and remote. This small state park is well worth stopping at for a picnic lunch. 

The memorial was built for him in 1907-1908 and dedicated in 1911. It uses local native stone and rubble and is a strange and unexpected contrast of a structure in a bucolic natural spot. 
The pups really enjoyed visiting this relaxing spot. The natural beauty of the spot definitely took my attention as the pups played. The history is cool, but living in the moment definitely took my attention here. 
These two had an absolute blast.

Buchanan's Birthplace State Park is definitely worth checking out if you are in the area. Beautiful Cowan's Gap State Park is not too far away and has more day and overnight facilities in a similarly beautiful natural setting. Historic Carrick Furnace is also pretty close. These roads themselves are a ton of fun to drive as well with tons of great rural scenery. 

Available is our book on Pennsylvania's historic amusement parks, Great Pennsylvania Amusement Parks Road Trip. It features Knoebels, Kennywood Park, Hersheypark, Dorney Park, Waldameer, DelGrosso's, Lakemont, Dutch Wonderland, Idlewild, and the sadly former, Conneaut Lake Park.

Thanks for your ongoing support over the years! 


Carrick Furnace Historic Site: Stunningly Preserved 1800s Furnace Complex, Franklin County

Carrick Furnace is something that is really special. This is probably the most well preserved of the unused historic furnaces that I have seen in the state. There is a fully intact steam powered blowing engines, which I have not seen before. The machinery that made this furnace work is fully intact, which is shocking. I would assume that scrappers have gotten the other similar equipment over the years, but this iron machinery with the furnace has lasted unused since the 1880s. 

The steam equipment with manufacturer markings "Weimer Brothers 1879, Lebanon, PA"

The original furnace was built in 1827, and in 1879 it was converted to a hot blast furnace. The historic society of the area has done a fantastic job of keeping this place up and it is an absolute treasure. 

It is within easy reach of other local natural landmarks, including Cowan's Gap State Park, Big Mountain Overlook, and Buchanan's Birthplace State Park. It is roadside so it is very easy to access. For more info on visiting, check out the website of the Path Valley Historical Society


RB Winter State Park Complex: RB Winter, Sand Bridge, and McCalls Dam State Parks, Bald Eagle State Forest in Central PA

There is something really special about the small state parks of the center part of the state. They are quiet places of respite that are not overcrowded since they do not serve huge metro areas. They are great places to go if you are really seeking out some quiet relaxation. The state parks are always beautifully wooded and the usually have a small lake that has an old mill dam or CCC/WPA era dam and a nice swimming area and picnic areas, usually with CCC built infrastructure buildings, cabins, and park facilities. 

The RB Winter State Park Complex fits the bill perfectly. If you are looking for a truly quiet place to get away, these places are awesome. 

Hemlock, Mountain Laurel, and Rhodendron are bountiful in this area. 

Halfway Lake at RB Winter State Park has the first of many cement and stone dam ever built by the CCC that serve as the centerpiece of public recreation areas all across the country. It is a cold water fishery year round, thanks to the constantly cold temperatures from fresh springs and the colder conditions of the area around the state park and Bald Eagle State Forest. 

RB Winter State Park is a giant 695 acre state park, though most of it can only be accessed through hiking. McCall's Dam State Park is located just a few miles away and is only eight acres in size. The picnic facilities built there date back to the CCC and the name refers to an old saw mill dam that is long gone. Sand Bridge State Park is only three acres in size and also boasts nice picnic areas. The name of that state park is a mystery because there is no sand bridge whatsoever. It is still a beautiful spot though that is worth checking out if you are in the area. RB Winter also has a full campground. 

This is a beautiful area to check out. 

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