16 New Year’s Resolutions in PA
Does National Plan for a Vacation Day have you poised to fill your calendar with some much needed r & r? Let’s add another r – resolution. Here is our collection of some of Pennsylvania’s resolution-worthy must-dos to add to your list. If happiness is your resolution, Pennsylvania is your destination. And, with all of those unused days you’ll need even more suggestions, correct? To help you out, we’ve released the newest edition of our annual Happy Traveler guide to inspire your travels in Pennsylvania.
Expand Your Horizons
We’re named “Penn’s Woods” for a reason: more than 50 percent of Pennsylvania is covered by forest, with the state almost totally covered by mountains. Those looking to reconnect with nature or explore new turf can enjoy miles of hiking, whitewater rafting, biking, and more.
1. Great Allegheny Passage
Stretch out those legs and prepare for the bike of a lifetime. The Great Allegheny Passage spans 150 miles along a redeveloped, multiple-use rail trail linking Pittsburgh and Cumberland, Md. Whether you decide to do the route in short spins or all at once, you’re in for some spectacular scenery, charming and cyclist friendly trail towns, and an abundance of nature leaving you rejuvenated and revitalized.
2. Hyner View State Park
Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks and 2.2 million acres of state forestland offer a multitude of ways to enjoy some great outdoor fun. Take in the scenery of Hyner View State Park from the air as you soar over the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in a hang glider, or enjoy an invigorating hike along the park’s 4.1-mile Long Fork Loop trail. Afterward, take a breather while you watch hang gliders soar through the air from Hyner View, one of the best scenic vistas in all of PA.
3. Lehigh River
Get ready for some heart-pumping thrills with a whitewater rafting trip down the Lehigh River in the Pocono Mountains. With family-friendly Class I and II rapids to the Whitewater Challenges, the Lehigh River is ideal for all ages and the perfect place to embrace PA’s great outdoors!
4. Presque Isle State Park
If the big adrenaline rush isn’t quite your thing, kick back and drop a line into Lake Erie. The 3,200-acre sandy peninsula of Presque Isle State Park offers some premier fishing. Species include perch, bass, walleye, trout, and steelhead. Even when the winter weather sets in, you can still reel in a catch ice fishing on the ever-scenic Presque Isle Bay.
Delve into History
Explore Pennsylvania’s history and heritage at these iconic historic sites and attractions.
5. Zippo/Case Museum
Take a self-guided tour exploring the rich history of two iconic American brands — Zippo lighters and Case knives at the Zippo/Case Museum in Bradford. Enjoy free admission as you view its featured exhibits, including Zippo Rocks!, which features Zippo’s role in music throughout the years.
6. Battle of Gettysburg
As the birthplace of the United States, Pennsylvania has contributed much to our nation’s history. Visit a small 18th century town in the state’s south-central region to learn more about one of the most pivotal events to take place on Pennsylvania soil – The Battle of Gettysburg. Gain a new perspective of this historic battle when you tour the battlefield on horseback or aboard a horse-drawn carriage with a Licensed Battlefield Guide.
7. National Museum of American Jewish History
Learn more about America’s Jewish population and their many contributions to the U.S. at the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) in Philadelphia. More than 30,000 artifacts — including Albert Einstein’s pipe, Irving Berlin’s piano, and Steven Spielberg’s first camera — illustrate the broad spectrum of American Jewish life while demonstrating the universal themes of immigration, worship, hard work, entertainment, and community and family life. A special exhibition entitled The Art of Rube Goldberg (through Jan. 19) explores the artistry and wit that made Rube Goldberg a household name.
8. Drake Well Museum and Park
Visit the spot where Edwin L. Drake drilled the first commercial oil well and launched an industry that has forever shaped our modern world at the Drake Well Museum and Park in Titusville. The museum's 240-acre site features a replica of Edwin L. Drake’s engine house, operating oil field machinery, 12,000 square feet of interior exhibits, and the largest artifact and archival collection focused on the birth of the modern petroleum industry.
With more ways to experience art, music, and film than ever, 2019 is the perfect time to find what engages you. Enjoy a show, learn about the artists behind some of the world’s finest instruments, or encounter architectural masterpieces:
9. Philadelphia Orchestra
You might be inspired to dust off your old clarinet and attempt a few notes after attending a performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center. The orchestra’s 2019 season spans a world of genres and musical styles. Come and hear for yourself at the upcoming Cirque de la Symphonie (Jun. 13 & 14), where world-class acrobats perform to a variety of classical masterpieces and popular contemporary music selections.
10. Martin Guitar
Experience the 300-step art of guitar making — from lumber to finished product — with a free guided factory tour at Martin Guitar in Nazareth. Afterwards, be sure to visit the Pickin' Parlor for the opportunity to play some of Martin's high-end and Limited-Edition models. If you take the leap and decide to purchase a guitar for yourself, you’ll be joining the ranks of artists Ed Sheeran, Rory Block, the Avett Brothers, Father John Misty, Sam Hunt, and a host of other professional musicians who rely on Martin’s quality in their performances.
11. Andy Warhol Museum
Find your New Year artistic inspiration with a trip to the Andy Warhol Museum in Warhol’s hometown of Pittsburgh. You’ll probably want to make a day of it, as the museum features seven floors of his art, films, and collections to explore, including experiences where you can make your own Warhol-inspired art in the underground studio, The Factory, or star in your own short film using the screen test machine.
Perfectly blended with the natural landscape, the architectural masterpiece Fallingwater will leave you reveling in its genius and beauty. Designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the iconic home was built cantilevered over a cascading waterfall and is one of the greatest architectural
Challenge Your Taste Buds
This year, resolve to push your culinary boundaries with some new foodie experiences, whether it’s sampling James Beard Award winners or sampling unique regional fare:
13. Shady Maple Smorgasbord
If you want food that’ll stick to your ribs and make the table groan, you’ve come to the right place. Shady Maple Smorgasbord in East Earl is the largest buffet in America, featuring 200 feet of authentic PA Dutch specialties. As the Dutch would say, come and eat yourself full!
14. Benezette Hotel
Pennsylvania is home to the largest elk herd in the northeastern United States and is a premier spot to catch the wild animals in their natural habitat. Like beef but with a gamier flavor to kick it up a notch, elk also makes for a delicious meal, whether in a burger, chili, or other dishes. Visit the Benezette Hotel in the PA Wilds to try some for yourself!
15. The Pennsylvania Ice Cream Trail
It’s true — we all scream for ice cream! The Pennsylvania Ice Cream Trail features stops along 12 creameries that provide a true cow-to-cone experience. Pursue your scoops by collecting stamps on a passport and win some prizes along the way!
16. Old Forge Pizza
A legend among locals in northeastern PA, Old Forge is the American pizza capital you’ve never heard of, according to USA Today. A product of the area’s rich industrial history, this signature food differs from the typical American experience. Here, you’ll get your pizza Roman-style: in trays, by the cut. Depending on the restaurant, you might find unconventional ingredients like American and cheddar cheese paired with sweet red sauces alongside sauceless white pizzas covered in herbs and onion and stuffed with cheese and toppings. Whether you go with Ghigarelli’s, Revello’s, Salferno’s, or one of the many other pizza joints in Old Forge, this is one PA culinary tradition you need to check off your bucket list.
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