Tuesday, June 20 2017 5:13

Get Away in PA

Written by Mary Irene Dolan

When you think of weekend getaway destinations, does Pennsylvania come to mind? It should! Our state is packed with fun, exciting, scenic and relaxing vacation spots—only a few hours away. Try these four favorites …

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Eagles Mere

The Last Unspoiled Resort

3-hour drive

Cool, clean air. A mile-long crystal clear lake. Victorian cottages, old-fashioned shops and an unspoiled natural beauty that’s hard to replicate. Eagles Mere isn’t called The Town Time Forgot for nothing. Founded in the early 1800s, this charming town gives you the sensation of stepping back into a simpler time.

For eats and treats, try the Jolly Trolley Sidecar Deli or The Sweet Shop, then A. C. Little’s Drinkery for quaint local pub fare. Visit the Eagles Mere Air Museum and complimentary Auto Museum to see old-school airplanes and classic cars.

To really escape, head for Ricketts Glen State Park—known for its wild, free-flowing waterfalls including 94-foot Ganoga Falls—or the seemingly endless mountainous landscape at World’s End State Park. You’ll discover why the Philadelphia Inquirer calls Eagles Mere “A Nature Photographer’s Dream.” VisitHistoricEaglesMere.com.


The Sweetest Place on Earth

1.5-hour drive

Sink your sweet tooth into the chocoholic’s paradise that is Hershey, PA! Home to Hershey Park and more decadent delights, it’s a mere hour away from neighboring Lancaster County.

Stay the weekend at The Hotel Hershey or Hershey Lodge and treat yourself to award-winning dining, a day on the green at Hershey Country Club’s golf course, or a Whipped Cocoa Bath at The Spa at Hotel Hershey.

The amusement park with its 70-plus rides and attractions is a must for family fun, along with ZooAmerica, home to 200 animals native to North America. Head to Hershey’s Chocolate World to see how chocolate is made or make your own masterpiece at the Chocolate Lab at The Hershey Story Museum.

And when you need a break from all the chocolate-y goodness, more than 500 colorful butterflies await you at Hershey Gardens’ indoor Butterfly Atrium as a perfect way to round out your sinfully sweet stay. HersheyPA.com.


Connect with History

2-hour drive

Head west to the town famous for its integral part in Civil War history. You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate the sights at Gettysburg, though a curiosity for its rich past helps.

First on the to-see list is the Gettysburg National Military Park, specifically Gettysburg Battlefield, known for those three dramatic days in July 1863. Take the tour any way you’d like—by horseback, Segway, scooter, bike, carriage, bus or your own car—and check out the Museum and Visitor Center. Inside, don’t miss a top Atlas Obscura pick, Gettysburg Cyclorama, a stunning century-old oil painting—longer than a football field and taller than a two-story building—that depicts an immersive 360-degree view of Pickett’s Charge.

Head downtown for a surprising number of food and drink options plus many historic gift shops. And it wouldn’t be Gettysburg without a ghost tour! Candlelight paranormal tours and investigations abound. DestinationGettysburg.com.


Seek Adventure

2.5-hour drive

Calling all adventure enthusiasts! The Poconos has just the spot for you in Bushkill.

Start with a hike to one of PA’s most famous scenic attractions, Bushkill Falls—also known as the “Niagara of Pennsylvania,” a unique series of eight waterfalls nestled deep within the wooded Pocono Mountains. Then plan a camping trip at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, a 70,000-acre park of untouched natural beauty where you can canoe, raft, fish and picnic at its many campgrounds.

If resorts are more your style, stay at neighboring East Stroudsburg’s Fernwood Resort for modern amenities and more outdoor excitement. There you’ll find Blue Lightning Tubing for all-season fun, Poconos TreeVentures where you can climb trees, walk tightropes and balance your way through an aerial obstacle course, and Poconos Zip Racer for zipping 1,000 feet above ground.

And if that’s not thrilling enough, fly even higher while skydiving at 13,500 feet overlooking the spectacular Delaware Water Gap! PoconoMountains.com.