Saturday, April 2, 2016

9 Mostly Free Road Trips From The Susquehanna Valley

Recently I was asked for some ideas for a cheap road trip from our area, and since I was thinking of the list, I might as well take the time to type it up here so it's handy.  I'm going to compile two lists - one of 10 Cheap Road Trips, and another of 10 things To Check Out In The Susquehanna Valley In April.  I'm always baffled by those who say there is "nothing to do" around here - we live in an amazing area.  Most of these trips are about an hour away - the Elk are two hours, but well worth the extra driving.

Ricketts Glen
The Waterfall Loop at Ricketts Glen will always top my list.  If you are not up to the full hike, try parking at Adams Falls (my favorite of all the waterfalls - and it's right beside the parking lot!) and hiking up to Waters Meet. You'll see a few falls, and it's a pretty easy hike.

Ricketts Glen State Park is located near Benton PA, and is less than an hour away from Watsontown Pa.

Graffiti Highway, Centralia PA
Graffiti Hwy is Now CLOSED & you can be cited for trespassing for visiting.
Centralia is the town with the underground fires. I remember visiting when I was a teen, and most of the town was still there - but these days, it's mostly empty grass lots, with a lot of dirt bikes and rvs using the area.  It's still interesting to see.  One of the most popular sites left is graffiti highway.  A new highway had to be run, the old one was too damaged by the underground fires. The abandoned strip has become a popular place for graffiti artists.
Try typing "PA 61 (Destroyed), Ashland, PA 17921" into google maps, and it should take you to the area.  These gps coord will get you there too - N 40° 47.797 W 076° 20.519 

The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon
While in the area, downtown Wellsboro is a nice place.  Antique stores, little shops, small restaurants, and the Wynken Blynken & Nod fountain. They have a walking tour, and if you are a geocacher, there's a wherigo for the town.
The PA Grand Canyon overlook is located in Leonard Harrison State Park.  (The park pretty much IS the overlook).  They have different activities and vendors and exhibits throughout the year.

The Wynken Blynken & Nod Statue fountain is one of my favorite things in our area.

The Elk In Benezette

Both times that we have made this trip it has been in the fall, but spring is the best time to see the new babies.

This trip is a bit further - it's a 2 hour drive from Watsontown PA.  But it's always been worth the drive for us.

The Elk County Visitors Center has all the informtion you need to plan your trip:  and their facebook page is really informative too -

The Seven Tubs Natural Area
This is a pretty, nice, 2.6 mile hike right in Wilkes Barre PA  The tubs are unique - and there are lots of pretty falls and bridges and things to see here.

We did this hike in the winter, while in the area for another event, I'd love to go back and see this when there is not snow on the ground.   But then, I've read that a lot of people swim and slide in the chutes and falls there, and I'm not fond of crowds in bathing suits getting in the way of my photos, so perhaps winter is the best time for me to see these.  Or early spring, when it's too cold to swim in them.

Address: Bear Creek Blvd, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18706

French Azilum & The Marie Antoinette Overlook

During the french revolution, around 1793, french aristocrats left the violence of their country, and settled in rural Bradford County PA.  They stayed for 10 years, until 1803, when Napoleon Bonaparte gained control of his country and offered amnesty for the nobles to return.

French Azilum is located at 469 Queens Road, Towanda, PA 18848.  It's about an hour and 20 minutes from Watsontown PA.  Pay attention to the hours - we were there when it was closed, and while we could walk around the area, we could tour the buildings.  I'd love to go back and see inside the house!  It's free when they are closed though. :-)  While in the area, check out the nearby overlooks.  They are gorgeous.

Worlds End State Park
There's a gorgeous overlook here, that rivals the one at Leonard Harrison.  Directly behind it is a huge Rock Garden you can climb on and walk through, almost directly behind the overlook.  And there's also a great little flat trail that leads to a waterfall.

And after all of that, it's just a quick trip over to the Forksville Covered Bridge & General Store, where you can get ice cream and old fashioned bottled sodas.  I'm not sure how much has changed since the gas company has been up that way, but it used to be that this spot was about the only place our phones had service.

Look how little the kids are!  In the Rock Garden, 2002 --->

Boulder Field at Hickory Run State Park
Boulder Field is a National Historic Landmark.  It's a huge field of boulders you can walk across and explore.  Much smaller than the stones at world end, the ones at worlds end are the size of large trucks. But these are still large, and its an interesting site to see. There are lots of other things to see at Hickory Run too, including the beautiful Hawk falls.

The photo here doesn't even begin to show you how large this area is..  it's huge.  Some of the stones are painted - graffiti has been a problem here unfortunately. But there are also some pretty ones, like a turtle, that you may discover as you walk here.

Hickory Run is about an hour and a half  from Watsontown Pa.

The Millersburg Ferry
"Nestled among the beautiful mountains of Central Pennsylvania is the historic town of Millersburg, home to the last known all wooden double stern-wheel paddle boats believed to be operating in this country.  The Millersburg Ferry Boat is the oldest transportation system in Pennsylvania.  Ride the ferry across the scenic mile wide Susquehanna River and relive a part of transportation history."
When the kids were little, they got a kick out of taking the van on the ferry.. but you can go just as a passenger without your car too. There is a small fee - around $8 for vehicle & driver, with an extra $3 per a passenger..  or $5 for just a person round trip.

There's not much in Millersburg, but it is an interesting little town to walk around, with a park in the town square an a couple of small stores.  From here it is only another 15 minutes to Lake Tobias Animal Park, or another 20 minutes to the Old Sled Works

Trips On My List For This Year:
A few places I have not yet been, but hope to visit this year.
Cement Houses, Nanticoke PA
Sullivan County Game lands Falls
Bradford Teapot
Kinzua Bridge
Ringing Rocks
The Reading Pagoda

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