Shopping in the Pennsylvania Wilds means you’ll be doing more than just providing a good gift! Shopping within the region strengthens the local economy, supports local makers and businesses, and also reduces your carbon footprint, as items are not shipped from faraway places to your doorstep.
The communities across the Pennsylvania Wilds have much to offer — including items available at the PA Wilds Conservation Shop, those provided at small retailers across the region, and unique handmade products sold by independent creative makers.
PA Wilds Conservation Shops are gift shops run by the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, a nonprofit organization serving the PA Wilds region. The first brick-and-mortar shop is at Kinzua Bridge State Park Visitor Center (296 Viaduct Road, Kane, PA 16735); however, there is an online component as well, available at www.ShopThePAWilds.com.
These shops offer locally-made and value-added products from the region. Purchases at the Conservation Shops have a ripple effect on the local economy while also supporting the nonprofit’s mission, which is to work with partners to grow the region’s outdoor recreation, nature, and heritage tourism industry as a way to create jobs, diversify local economies, inspire stewardship and improve quality of life. You can learn more about how products are sourced for the Conservation Shops here.
The Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania is a regional value chain of makers and retailers, as well as place-based businesses that add to the overall Pennsylvania Wilds experience. This growing network of rural creative entrepreneurs creates one of the largest resources for shoppers in the PA Wilds!
A great resource for holiday shoppers is the PA Wilds Buyer’s Guide, which outlines Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania Trading Posts, Creative Service Partners, and professional Artisans. These retailers and makers provide quality products and services that might be just what you’re looking for — and the Buyer’s Guide is a free, easy-to-use tool designed to help you find them!
Visit www.WildsCoPa.org/directory to find the Buyer’s Guide, a web directory of members, or use the search engine on the site, to search for more products made in the PA Wilds.
There are many communities across the region with traditional downtown shopping districts. Here we outline at least one community from each of the 12.5 counties in the Pennsylvania Wilds to help get your holiday shopping excursion started!
Note: if you decide to check out communities in the PA Wilds, consider going to www.WildsCoPa.org and searching for the name of the town using the search engine in the top left corner to learn about must-visit places already involved in the Wilds Cooperative of PA!
Located in Lycoming County, Williamsport is the largest city in the Pennsylvania Wilds. The downtown shopping district features a variety of small businesses offering locally-made products, from jewelry and pottery, to body care items and edibles, and much much more! Be sure to check out both Third and Fourth Streets downtown, before also making a short trip to the Pajama Factory, which features individual artisan studios rented by creative makers. The Lycoming County Visitor Center on Fourth Street also features an in-house PA Wilds Conservation Shop!
The seat of Clinton County, Lock Haven features several businesses offering local products and unique experiences. Main Street offers the traditional charm of rural Pennsylvania communities and features several businesses offering local products or specialty services. Flanking the downtown are a number of museums and galleries with gift shops that provide items celebrating local heritage and culture, including the Station Gallery, which offers an annual holiday sale that features locally-made items, the Heisey House Museum, and the Piper Aviation Museum. Not far away is the original Woolrich store!
Downtown Bellefonte in Northern Centre County is filled with shops, boutiques, museums, parks, restaurants and places to explore! Downtown’s charming, walkable streets are ideal for shoppers, with antique shops, jewelry boutiques and other specialty stores basking in the Victorian architecture. Be sure to check out the Bellefonte Art Museum of Centre County.
The seat of Clearfield County, Clearfield has a distinct downtown with shops featuring a variety of products and services that make great gifts. While in town, be sure to check out the Liddle Gallery, which offers handmade items crafted by Central Pennsylvania artisans.
Downtown Brookville in Jefferson County features a handful of boutiques, gift shops and antique stores perfect for shopping during the holiday season. From heirloom quilts to locally-crafted floral arrangements and more, this is a great spot to find one-of-a-kind items for your loved ones.
This scenic community in Clarion County features a small downtown filled with shops and opportunities to find unique gifts from the region. Stores and boutiques offer everything from locally-made products to highly-sought-after specialty items.
The seat of Warren County, Warren is one of the largest cities in the PA Wilds — and the downtown shows it! There are many small businesses offering items that are perfect for holiday shopping, from jewelry and pottery, to outdoor gear and much more! Be sure to check out the Crary Art Gallery to find artisan products made in the area.
The McKean County community of Kane has been experiencing a lot of change recently, with many new businesses popping up and several established businesses expanding. Fraley Street is a hub for downtown shopping activities and features several businesses with unique products, including locally-made items. Be sure to check out the Kane Depot and Laughing Owl Press Co. while in town! (Read more about downtown Kane’s revitalization efforts here!)
This tiny community in Forest County has a handful of shops to explore, including the “Tionesta Market Village,” which describes 10 artisan merchants in small 1800s-style buildings in downtown Tionesta. Shops offer local artwork, woodcrafts, jewelry, fiber products, home décor, pottery, and more!
This Elk County borough has a wide selection of shops and storefronts to peruse, and many feature items made right in Elk County, as well as the broader PA Wilds region! Galleries and consignment stores are just some of the fun places awaiting your presence! During your stop, check out the Elk County Council on the Arts to find a variety of locally-made artwork, or look into products made by Elkwood Arts, an organization that employs individuals with disabilities to make unique wooden products while adding to quality of life.
The small community known as Emporium brings the town’s name to fruition, as this center of commerce in remote Cameron County showcases locally-made products and specialty gift items in storefronts throughout downtown. Be sure to check out the Cameron County Chamber of Commerce & Artisan Center, which features works made by several area artisans, or step across the street and check out the small selection of products available at Aroma Cafe.
Located conveniently along Scenic Route 6 in Potter County, Coudersport offers a quaint downtown with shops selling locally-made artisan goods and antique products. From the Potter County Artisan Center, which stocks unique works by several county artisans, to other shops featuring products by single artisans, there is something for everyone. Take Route 6 eastward for a few miles to find the PA Lumber Museum store, or check out downtown Galeton and explore A Stroll Down Memory Lane, for even more regional products! (Read more about downtown Coudersport’s revitalization efforts here!)
Literally referred to as “The town that saved Christmas,” Wellsboro is a Tioga County hamlet known for its winter celebrations and downtown shopping experience. Each year, the community hosts a Dickens of a Christmas celebration, and recently began offering Christmas on Main Street, to encourage folks to come and see what the downtown shops and pop-up artisan displays have to offer. Main Street is lined with small businesses offering locally-made products and other specialty items perfect for the holiday season.
Learn more about navigating the Pennsylvania Wilds region at www.PaWilds.com/explore.
Journeys & Landscapes
Covering more than 500,000 acres, the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) is Pennsylvania’s only national forest. It dominates the western end of the Pennsylvania Wilds and contains within it and around it some of the region’s most treasured places and experiences.
Known as a land of giants because of the “forest cathedral” of ancient pines and hemlocks, this landscape is an ode to the majesty of the Pennsylvania Wilds and home to many of the tallest hemlock and pine trees in the Northeast. If an adventure among Cook Forest & The Ancients sounds mystifyingly exciting to you, rest assured that you’ll rest well during your exploration. So what are you waiting for? The Ancients are calling. Come see some of the tallest pine trees in the Northeast.
Inspiring awe and delight, Dark Skies is home to the world’s second certified International Dark-Sky Park. Cherry Springs State Park is world-famous for being one the best places in the USA for stargazing and the study of astronomy. But these mesmerizing, star-filled skies are JUST the beginning.
Elk Country is a place that lives up to its name. Home to the largest free-roaming elk herd in the northeastern United States, Elk Country features two large visitor centers to welcome you. If you come to Elk Country for the elk, you won’t be disappointed. But if you stick around to see what’s all around you, you’ll be delighted you did.
Whether you’re coming from the east, south or west, the I-80 Frontier is the quintessential welcome mat to the Pennsylvania Wilds. With its proximity to Pennsylvania’s southern population centers of Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, not to mention close by New York City, and Cleveland on the western side, it’s easy to plan a trip for each season. Home to forested state parks and storied towns and places, any given exit off the interstate is a surefire way to find and explore the natural and hidden wonders of the region.
The Eastern Gateway to the PA Wilds...If it’s your first visit to the region, the PA Grand Canyon is a must see and one of the perfect ways to orient your mind and senses to the wonders of the Wilds. But once you’ve delighted in the Pine Creek Gorge views, you’ll soon discover that this scenic and unique landscape is best discovered from multiple vantage points.
Pronounced "kin-zoo," by local residents, and "kin-zew-uh" in the Seneca language, a road trip through Kinzua country is an experience rich in Native American history and modern advances.
There is great freedom in travel and it is found on the 400+ scenic miles of PA Route 6. Truly, it is a journey like no other in Pennsylvania. Even National Geographic agrees, calling PA Route 6 “one of America’s most scenic drives,” and the Weather Channel picked Route 6 as its Pennsylvania choice for "Amazing Road Trips to Take In Every State!"
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