Places Mom will love in the Pennsylvania Wilds
Mom deserves to be celebrated every day, but especially on Mother’s Day. What better way to honor the mom in your life than by reconnecting her with another mother… Mother Nature! We’ve put together a list of exciting destinations that moms will love visiting in the Pennsylvania Wilds.
Pine Creek Rail Trail
The 1,000-foot deep Pine Creek Gorge (aka our PA Grand Canyon) is commonly ranked as one of the most thrilling and beautiful places within the PA Wilds. Take this trip to a new level by encouraging Mom to take a bicycle ride, walk, or horseback ride along the Pine Creek Rail Trail, voted by USA Today as one of the “10 great places to take a bike tour in the world.” Orient yourself to the trail and the surrounding area at the Tiadaghton Resource Center near Waterville, closer to the southern side of the trail.
Does Mom love Christmas, regardless of what time of the year it is? 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. Don’t worry if you’re visiting on Mother’s Day instead of during winter… you still won’t be disappointed. Main Street is lined with small businesses offering locally made products and other specialty items, perfect for treating Mom to a shopping spree.
Scenic Route 6
Let Mom feel the wind in her hair! Whether you’re traveling by car, bike or motorcycle, 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!” It’s time to fill up Mom’s gas tank and make a playlist of her favorite songs. Roadtrip!
World Famous Dark Skies
“I love you more than the moon and the stars,” many mothers tell their children. Inspiring awe and delight, the PA Wilds Dark Skies landscape is home to the world’s second certified International Dark-Sky Park. Cherry Springs State Park is world-famous for being one of the best places in the USA for stargazing and the study of astronomy. But these mesmerizing, star-filled skies are JUST the beginning, with plenty of other hikes and historical sites nearby. The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum is a fun (and educational!) stop in the Dark Skies landscape. Hyner View State Park also offers a thrilling overlook of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. Is Mom a little bit of a daredevil? She can even hang glide from Hyner View!
Many moms dream of wandering in charming European communities, but one needn’t travel overseas to London, Brussels or Paris to make that vision a reality. While the “wilds” aspect of the PA Wilds gets much of the focus in our modern tourism industries, the storied towns that comprise the PA Wilds are just as worthy of a visit, offering guests the chance to unplug, reset and experience the holidays in places that welcome strangers and foster a genuine sense of community. Bellefonte is one of those beautiful towns, filled with friendly faces, history, shops and great food. One PA Wilds blog content contributor, Tia DeShong, even took her two young boys to spend the day exploring Bellefonte, which you can read about here.
Elk Country and the Elk Country Visitor Center
Make some noise! Let mom hear the call of the wild in Elk Country, a place that truly 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, including the Elk Country Visitor Center and the Sinnemahoning State Park and Wildlife Center. (Just like Tia DeShong wrote about her boys visiting Bellefonte, she also wrote about her children visiting the Elk Country Visitor Center! Read about how it’s a great spot for kids and adults alike.) 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.
Kinzua Bridge and the rest of the Kinzua Experience
This breathtaking view is sure to inspire Mom. Named “One of the World’s Top 10 Most Beautiful Skywalks and Viewpoints in the World” by the Culture Trip, U.K., the Kinzua Bridge Skywalk is an engineering masterpiece with a rich history and one of the most stunning views you’ll see in the Pennsylvania Wilds. 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. Don’t forget to stop and buy Mom a locally made souvenir at the PA Wilds Conservation Shop at Kinzua Bridge State Park!
If your mother loves to walk around neighborhoods and admire the houses, Millionaire’s Row in Williamsport is sure to be a hit. Once the Lumber Capital of the World, Williamsport had more millionaires per person than any other city in the USA. Take a walking tour of these lumber barons’ Victorian homes on “Millionaire’s Row.” Part of the I-80 Frontier landscape, Williamsport is the largest city in the PA Wilds and is full of wonderful shops and restaurants.
Tionesta Market Village (and a lighthouse in the middle of Forest County?)
If Mom likes to get off of the beaten path and explore quirky places, Tionesta is a real treat. The Tionesta Market Village is a cute little Victorian marketplace along Elm Street, offering all kinds of refreshments and souvenirs for sale there. (Psst… if your family loves Bigfoot, so do the people in Tionesta! You can find plenty of Bigfoot products there.) Another cool site within Tionesta that is a must-see is the Sherman Memorial Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in Pennsylvania at 75 feet. The lighthouse stands, fittingly enough, on Lighthouse Island, which also holds the local Peace Park, a pleasant park in which you can take a walk and see a replica of the Statue of Liberty. Lou Bernard, a PA Wilds blog content contributor and history buff, wrote about his family’s trip to Tionesta here.
Wineries and vineyard tours
Mom deserves to kick back with a glass of her favorite wine. For many visitors to the Pennsylvania Wilds, nothing beats a refreshing beverage after an outdoor adventure or time spent exploring the communities the region has to offer. If Mom loves a good glass of red or white (or rose… or a fruit wine… or anything sweet!), check out this guide to wineries and vineyards within the PA Wilds. If she’d rather relax with a cold beer, we’ve got you covered there, too.
Whether it’s for your mom, spouse or partner, mother figure, sister or even yourself, these special places within the PA Wilds offer the perfect setting for a meaningful outing to celebrate that wonderful woman in your life. Plan a Mother’s Day trip to one of these popular PA Wilds destinations that Mom will love!
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