Purchases of our 2024 PA Calendar and PA Amusement Parks Book

2024 PA Calendar and PA Amusement Parks Book Purchase Options

2.19.2024

10 years of Interesting Pennsylvania and Beyond! Thank you for all of the support!

Another year gone by for us here at Interesting Pennsylvania and Beyond. Life is hectic, but adventure is always fun! That is what we aim to take out time for on this page. To cover the beauty that is right around the corner, everywhere in the commonwealth. Over the years we have hit all 67 counties and are still finding new spots, or new scenes from the same spots, as we revisit them. We created this page as one of the first Pennsylvania based travel blog and were unaware of anyone else doing this at the time. We aim to bring attention to the many great things our state had to offer. Some things have been continuously improving in regards to the state capitalizing on its scenic opportunities, and in other places things have fallen sadly short. The first that comes to mind is losing beautiful Conneaut Lake Park. 

Even with tremendous efforts by many, historic Conneaut Lake Park was leveled and a beautiful gem destroyed. The other huge loss that comes to mind is the old Roadside America Miniature Railroad display in Hamburg. Another great attraction lost  There are many ways in which this state needs to step in and preserve and grow many of its scenic and tourism opportunities. I approach this topic at length within this article. Since that article was written, we lost the Blue Streak and Conneaut Lake Park as a whole. 

The most pressing threat right now is the potential loss of the historic coasters at Lakemont Park in Altoona. Both Leap the Dips, the world's oldest coaster, and the zippy Skyliner are at threat right now, with the park announcing they will not operate this year. Hopefully they can be preserved in place, or rehabilitated and run at amusement parks that are great at preserving their historic rides, such as Knoebels Amusement Resort, or even Kennywood. We try to bring attention to these kinds of places so we can help bring awareness and support to them. 

 

Me and the pups at Asbury Woods in Erie County. 

I think my favorite development in the state in the time since we started has been the addition of significant accessibility improvements to some of the trails. The Asbury Woods Boardwalk Trail in Erie County and the Cook Forest Sensory Trail immediately come to mind. They have improved trail portions of significant length to be accessible to people with different abilities. Access to nature is critically important for quality of life, and these efforts are greatly appreciated. 

One primary thing you can depend upon here at this page is that we give you our fully honest opinion at any given time. Nothing is done "for the clicks" here. We tend to keep it positive, but if something needs to be said, it gets said. We work to responsibly spotlight what the state has to offer. Some other pages have not taken this kind of effort and it has led towards unprotected sites getting completely destroyed and unable to be preserved. 

Thank you for these ten years of support!

If you want to help support us, our book on Pennsylvania Amusement Parks is available through the dropdown menu at the top of the page. Thank you so much for your support over the years!


1.28.2024

Wintry Views of the Route 40 Historic National Road & Watering Trough in Fayette County

Driving from the southeast through Route 40/National Road back to Pittsburgh is one of my favorite routings. It is scenic and exciting, crosses waterways, and goes up and down hills and curves from Western Maryland. My favorite kind of driving. As we were driving, it was just getting toward sunset and we were seeing some of the first snow that we saw all year. Heading out of Maryland is pretty spectacular on I-68. Getting to see the Alleghenies unfold like that is pretty spectacular, as you glide across the edge of mountains. I enjoy riding on the Turnpike, up through Breezewood, but I really enjoy taking this routing instead, for variety in road conditions makes me more alert on the road. 
In one spot you go through a massive cutout at the top of Sideling Hill, where they have created an observation deck and rest stop in the location of a massive 340 foot road cut into the mountain, one of the largest cuts for any highway in the world. It is visible from very far away, to the point that it looks like a gap in the mountain. 
Our first quick and scenic stop was the Youghiogheny River Lake which is a terrific spot to visit as a campground on a warmer day, or to pass through on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail. At this point, the major rains that we saw earlier in the month had not passed through yet that likely loaded the reservoir up pretty well. Within short distance of here, you can reach Nemocolin Resort and Ohiopyle State Park. 
The one downside to this routing down the summit on Route 40 means that you don't get to see the pretty view from the roadside overlook in the eastbound direction. They have really worked though to capitalize on the beauty and history of this spot lately in the westbound direction with restoring the old springs here that has serviced roadside travelers and residents for centuries, for people and horses to drink, to fill old radiators, to bottle up and take along, and more. The Summit Inn at the top of the hill has serviced many people over the years including Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. It is likely that they topped off their radiators at this old springs. 

Just recently they capitalized on this history and rebuilt it nicely. The spring was home to a house, the Mountain Water Club, and the Drinking Trough Restaurant. It with just the spring going into a stone trough for a very long time and they have since restored it into an attraction. Exhibits have shown what existed here and they have built structures to both illustrate this and capitalize on the beauty of this spot. There is even a small picnic grove for roadside picnics.  
Historical Marker
In addition to seeing the spot, we also stopped to let the pups play in their favorite kind of conditions.

 

1.07.2024

Harrisburg Transportation Center: Stunning & Historic Train Station

Harrisburg has an absolutely stunning train station. It was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad from 1885-1887 and was significantly rebuilt after a fire in 1905, giving it its current distinctive shed barn roof, which is one of my favorite aspects of this classic station. The roof is build with the Fink truss and is a testament to the power of this design, which would go on to be used for many industrial purposes. It was also the largest train shed in the world when it was built, and it is one of the only remaining ones today. The station was built in the Queen Ann Style. Everything about this station is grand, from the entrance and ornate lobbies, to the train shed over the tracks. This is a grand entrance into the city that many larger cities should be envious of, especially New York City.
PRR 4859. This sleek GG1 electric locomotive was built at the Altoona Works and designed by GE. It was the first electrified unit to run from Philadelphia to Harrisburg on January 15, 1938. It is registered on the National Register of Historic Places. Adjacent you can see an modern Amtrak locomotive waiting to head back out on the open rails
This was a union station, though never referred to as such, in that it served several other rail companies and several different major lines. Unlike Pittsburgh, which was always referred to as a union station, though it never really was one. You could refer to the current setup as a union station, with the myriad of connections that can be made by bus at the station. The Pennsylvania Railroad operated the same east-west routing the exists today in one way or another with connections as Amtrak does, but it also had a passenger line that ran from Baltimore to Buffalo and a line that ran to Erie (which has another beautiful train station)on the old Philadelphia and Erie Railroad routing. 
These days, the station still pulls large Amtrak traffic, with it being the western terminus of the Keystone Service, Amtrak's 3rd most used route in the Northeast Corridor and its fifth most used overall. The route runs between New York City and Harrisburg, via Philadelphia and Lancaster (which has another stunning train station)
The second route is the Pennsylvanian which runs from New York City to Pittsburgh, via Philly, Lancaster, Lewistown, Huntingdon, Tyrone, Altoona, Johnstown, Latrobe, and Greensburg. That route only runs one train eastbound and westbound each day. There are plans to add another train that are frequently talked about, but I am not holding my breath on that happening. Harrisburg is also the end of the electricified system. The locomotives run on diesel as they head west. The first major landmark the trains hit as they head westbound out of the station is the stunning Rockville Bridge, the longest stone arch bridge in the world

We highly recommend checking out this beautiful train station! It is also located within close proximity of the State Museum and Capitol Building 

Thank you so much for your support over these many years with these calendars. The proceeds help to keep the lights on here. The 2024 edition is available now!


Our 2024 Pennsylvania Wall Calendar features scenes from across the state, including views of:
-The old growth forests in Cook Forest State Park 
-Center City Philadelphia 
-Knoebels Amusement Resort 
-Gettysburg Battlefield in the snow 
-Sailing in Erie 
-PA's Elk Herd 
-Canyon Vista at Worlds End State Park 
-Kinzua Bridge 
-Cowan's Gap State Park 
-Downtown Pittsburgh 
-A vista on the PA 144 Scenic Byway -A holiday scene from Sunbury PA. 

The calendars open up to be 17 inches tall by 11 inches wide (8.5 by 11 pages) and all photos have been taken by us, and the calendars are produced in the USA. The proceeds help us to continue what we do to highlight and bring attention to the many great adventures that this state has to offer. 

It makes for a great gift for someone or for yourself. It is available for purchase through the PayPal dropdown menus at the top of the page and the bottom of this article.

Also 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.


2024 PA Calendar and PA Amusement Parks Book Purchase Options       


 

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