Monthly Archives: August 2014

Is a destination wedding in the Raystown Region right for you?

By Susan Penning

Destination weddings, which are essentially getaways that combine both the wedding and honeymoon, are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional weddings.

Wedding at the Gazebo at Lake Raystown Resort. Photo by Lisa Rhinehart.

Wedding at the Gazebo at Lake Raystown Resort. Photo by Lisa Rhinehart.

There are many reasons why more and more couples are choosing destination weddings.

  • They have family all across the country (or world) and most guests will need to travel regardless of where the wedding is located.
  • They yearn for a more intimate gathering. The guest list of a destination wedding is typically smaller, which allows a couple to indulge in extra luxuries for closest friends and family.
  • They are looking for something unique as this is a second marriage – or they are renewing their wedding vows.
  • They want to save themselves the money (and stress) associated with planning a large wedding and they would prefer to elope somewhere picturesque and relaxing.

For couples desiring a spectacular and memorable destination wedding experience, the Raystown Region may be the perfect spot. The area offers dozens of locations for both indoor and outdoor weddings and receptions as well as countless choices for romantic honeymoon accommodations.

For example, weddings are a specialty at the elegant Lake Raystown Resort, Lodge and Conference Center, which overlooks beautiful Raystown Lake – known as the crown jewel of Pennsylvania. With multiple indoor and outdoor ceremony and reception sites and a variety of lodging options for the wedding party and guests, the resort is a popular place where marriages begin, or are rekindled.

The C. Barton McCann School of Art, situated on 250 pristine acres between Huntingdon and State College, is a unique event venue that boasts one of central Pennsylvania’s most spectacular backdrops. The soon-to-be bride and groom may choose from five indoor or outdoor facilities with several different configurations to suit their needs.

Other popular wedding sites in the Raystown Region include Hawn’s Overlook at the Raystown Lake Recreation Area, the Huntingdon Country Club, Lincoln Caverns and Whisper Rocks, Seven Points Marina and the Stone Valley Recreation Area.

For more information on these destinations and more, visit and click the “plan a wedding” link.


Photo by Lisa Rhinehart.

Photo by Lisa Rhinehart.


About the Author: Susan Penning writes the blog Living Rich on Less, and resides in Hesston.

Categories: 2012 Visitors Guide, Weddings | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Time to escape into the woods.

By Ed Stoddard

A good friend of mine once said: “When I feel life is getting a little crazy, I know it is time to escape into the woods.”

The ridgetops are often cloaked in mist early in the morning, and the day that I set out was no exception. It was a weekday. A day off; for rest, reflection and recharging. I had camped overnight to enjoy the stars, quiet and a small crackling campfire all to myself. I was not expecting to see anyone on this Tuesday as I started up the trail, and I was soon lost deep in thought as I walked and breathed in the sweet morning air on the Mid-State Trail…

Trough Creek State Park mist_ecsDSC_1121www

Morning mist at Trough Creek State Park. Photo by Ed Stoddard.

Huntingdon County is full of trails like the one that I was on that morning. High vistas and rolling valleys wait for your boots to bring you to their views. You have a variety of options; from short trails like the one that leads to Hawn’s Overlook to bootbuster longer trails like the Ironstone Loop in Stone Valley and Terrace Mountain Trail that parallels Raystown Lake. Mountain bikers, trail runners and hikers alike travel here to enjoy the well-groomed Allegrippis Trails. (Thanks RMBA!)

You can learn a lot about how our forefathers did things and see remnants of history on quite a few treks; the Standing Stone Trail, for one example. I love the fact that we have so much public land available and undisturbed within the Raystown Lake Region for exploration. You almost travel back in time to the timbering, railroad and subsistence era that our great-grandparents lived in…I feel looking back and appreciating the historical sites is a great way to give thanks for the toil those folks invested that built our world today.

Not all of our trails are on land. Every summer the Juniata Clean Water Partnership takes a few days off for the Juniata River Sojourn. It is a great event with good fellowship and catered meals along the river.

Paddling on the Juniata below the dam is a favorite byway on slow, gentle water. I have also heard that some of our resident eagles are often seen hunting on that stretch of water. You have all of the 118 miles of shoreline to paddle and the no-wake zones to explore on Raystown Lake.

The Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau has a lot of trail information at the Raystown Lake Region Visitor Center, in the “Things to Do” section of the Huntingdon County Visitors Guide and posted to We link out to, DCNR, Mid-State Trail Association, the Standing Stone Trail Club, Raystown Mountain Bike Club and other expert sources for trail information in the Raystown Lake Region. Rothrock Outfitters maintains the website for the Allegrippis Trails; and they have a whole library of Purple Lizard Maps for the region, trail maps and guide books for sale.

We have trails that are easy hikes to boot busters, bike rides from road to “rollercoaster” trail and water trails that are great paddling trips through our fantastic scenery and historic canal remnants.

This author recommends: Get outside and enjoy the wooded paths and gentle waters that the Raystown Lake Region offers. Take only photos; leave only footprints.


Mike Hermann of Purple Lizard Maps rides the Allegrippis Trails. Photo by Ed Stoddard.


Here are a couple of favorites that you might want to check out:


Some of the least strenuous trails in the area include Hillside Trail that loops from the Raystown Lake Region Visitor Center for about 1/2 mile, Riverside Trail that follows the shore of the Juniata River downstream from Raystown Dam for about 1/2 mile, and the Buck, Doe and Fawn trails that are part of the Allegrippis Trail system in the Seven Points Recreation Area at Raystown Lake.

Take a walk, run, or bike ride on the brand new 2.5 mile Greenside Pathway in the Seven Points Recreation Area at Raystown Lake. The pathway connects 19 different recreation facilities and is composed from 100% recycled tires; which means that your run, ride, or walk will not only be convenient, but comfortable and environmentally friendly.

Another set of easy to moderate paths would be the Flagpole Hill Trails in Huntingdon — probably at least 10 miles of trails that interweave through the forests and hills just outside of the Borough of Huntingdon.

The Lower Trail runs for almost 17 miles from near Canoe Creek State Park in Blair County northeastward to near Alexandria in Huntingdon County. The trail is extremely flat with only a slightly noticeable grade when riding from east to west. The Lower Trail is open year-round for hiking, biking, horseback riding, bird watching and photography and, in the winter months, cross country skiing and snowshoeing (any non-motorized use).The trail has a rolled crushed limestone surface except for a 2 mile asphalt section through the Borough of Williamsburg and running northeastward.

 ENJOY THE VIEWS – moderate

Moderate trails in the area include section hikes on the Mid-State Trail, Mid-State connectors like the Jackson Trail on the border of Huntingdon and Centre County and one of my favorites The Ironstone Loop in Stone Valley. The Ironstone Loop is 15 miles of deep valleys and high vistas.

1,000 Steps Trail is a part of the Standing Stone Trail system. The 1,000 Step were climbed by quarrymen every day on their way to work in the quarry. They climbed from the highway to the top of the mountain. It is almost 800 ft in elevation change! Over 1,000 steps to climb! Accessed from US Route 22 between Huntingdon (8 miles east) and Mt. Union (2 miles west). Look for heritage trail markers on both sides of RT 22. Parking is on opposite side of the River. There is a small spring at the trail head. Follow blue blazed trail 300 yards to the base of the steps and begin hike from here.

LONGER AND WORTH IT – plan ahead, know your limits

Named one of the top 4 mountain bike trails in North American by Mens Journal magazine, the Allegrippis Trails are more than 30 miles of stacked loops that allow you a multitude of riding or hiking options. The trails were built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. (Maintained by volunteers organized by the Raystown Mountain Bicycling Association and on lands leased by the non-profit Friends of Raystown Lake.) I love to hike these trails in the spring and fall to get bonus views of Raystown Lake when the leaf canopy is lighter. Rothrock Outfitters will tell you to go ride ‘em — and I agree with that too.

Terrace Mountain Trail, 30+ miles that primarily runs the eastern ridge above Raystown Lake. The trail meanders by Trough Creek State Park, through Rothrock State Forest and Army Corps of Engineers land. Many access points exist that could help to make this a great trail for section hikes, if you don’t choose to do the whole 30 miles in one outing. Note that major trail maintenance is underway to make this a more mountain bike and boot friendly path.

Helena and Stan Kotala_Trough Creek State Park_ecsDSC_1310www

Hiking at Trough Creek State Park. Photo by Ed Stoddard.

About the Author: Ed Stoddard first discovered the Raystown Lake Region in the 1990s and visited here often before moving to Huntingdon County in 2009. He is currently the marketing director of the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau. Ed, Heather and Genevieve Stoddard reside in the historic district of Huntingdon.

Mike Hermann of Purple Lizard Maps and Evan Gross of Rothrock Outfitters both contributed to this article – thanks!


NOTE: This article will be continued in future blog posts. Stay tuned for information on water trails, road bicycling, and geocaching! 

Categories: 2014 Visitors Guide, Outdoor Recreation, Things to Do | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The Road to Unions and Reunions.

By Lydia Lane, location, location! On the road less traveled in the Raystown Lake Region, nestled amongst the Allegheny Mountains; you can hold your event overlooking a pristine lake, a vast valley or peaceful & tranquil forest. Available all seasons of the year: spring, summer, fall, winter or any holiday. Now is the perfect time to schedule your fabulous wedding, indescribable family reunion, church or family retreat, quilters, scrapbook, art or writer’s club, tea party, red hat meeting, fishing or hunting expedition. Our beautiful Raystown region, with its awesome natural backdrop is a perfect venue for a spectacular wedding, also small groups, bridal parties, bachelor party, fellowship, planning committees, office retreat or social ride on your motorcycle.

Have you thought about renewal of your wedding vows? Make it a big splash celebration! There are accommodations & photo opportunities galore, with the amazing natural backdrop of the trees, waterfalls, creeks, lake or ponds. Our area is spacious, with limitless beauty of the valleys, mountains, visions of fields of grain, assorted crops, and forests; with a profusion of plants, flora and fauna in groves & glens.

Take the time…take the road less traveled and hold your next event amongst our scenic byways. Come, hear, see and experience the perfect place that can host your next great vacation, union or reunion.

Photo by Lisa Rhinehart.

Photo by Lisa Rhinehart.

About the Author:  Lydia Lane and her husband Bruce are the proprietors of two accommodations in Todd, PA and have hosted many unions and reunions on their 146 acre homestead.


Categories: 2013 Visitors Guide, Weddings | Leave a comment

Stop and Shop the Circuit

By Candice Hersh

Coming to Huntingdon? Take time to “stop and shop the circuit” of stores unique to Huntingdon and the surrounding area. You’ll find hand-crafted jewelry, birdhouses and specialty birdseed, pottery created by local artists, country crafts, mosaic tables, braided rugs, antiques, framed art, photographs, stained glass décor, and so much more!

Checkers_DSC_0847If you’re traveling on Route 26 North towards Huntingdon, check out Checkers! Nestled in the small town of Marklesburg, Checker’s front porch beckons you in for a quaint shopping experience. Continuing North on Route 26, turn right onto Seven Points Road and venture out to the Raystown Lake Region Visitors Center. Just inside the lobby you will find Raystown Reflections Gift Shoppe where you can purchase local crafts and Raystown Lake souvenirs.

If you are a visitor traveling to Huntingdon on Route 22 East, your first “stop and shop the circuit” opportunity is at Lincoln Caverns, the area’s largest gift shop. Here you will find a variety of nature-style gifts and Raystown country souvenirs. Next stop – continue on Route 22 East and turn right onto Hartslog Valley Road, home to the Log Cabin Gallery. This cozy space is filled with an ever-changing selection of juried art and crafts: hand-forged iron, jewelry, photographs, Amish quilts, kaleidoscopes, toys, and Russian wall art.

Approaching Huntingdon on Route 22 East, you will arrive at Family Treasures. Here you will find an array of booths filled with irresistible treasures to include primitives, Americana, handcrafted jewelry, antiques, and seasonal decorations. Jumping back onto Route 22 East, watch for Gardners Candies, on your right. This red and white candy-striped shop is full of sweet treats such as chocolate covered pretzels and the original peanut butter meltaways.

After filling your bags with lots of sweet confections, it’s time to head for Huntingdon.  Crossing over the Juniata River, you will find Laney’s Feed Mill immediately on your left. A large selection of birdfeeders hangs throughout the store and Laney’s is known for their fresh, specialty birdseed mixes, but don’t be fooled by the name Feed Mill, Laney’s carries Carhartt clothing, Beaumont pottery, hammocks and lots of pet supplies.

As you travel the corridors into Huntingdon, there are shops you won’t want to miss. Once in town, hit the Washington Street/Penn Street loop and find more unique shops all within walking distance. You’ll want to visit them all so plan to “stop and shop the circuit!”

Laney's Feed Mill. Photo by Ed Stoddard.

Laney’s Feed Mill. Photo by Ed Stoddard.

Categories: 2013 Visitors Guide, Shopping, Things to Do | Leave a comment

Seize the moment…to shop!

By Pat Kepple

You came to Raystown Lake to get wet, splash around in the lake, feel the spray on your face as your boat glides across the glassy water. But wait, that spray is not coming from the boat’s wake, it is dropping from the sky!

Yes, it does rain at Raystown Lake, just as it does everywhere there is a lake. But don’t despair. Seize the moment . . . and the shopping bag . . .  and head to Huntingdon.

Reeves Gift Boutique_AELandesPhotography_0909040035Let’s start our shopping with Sweet Annie’s Herbs, Huntingdon’s original herb apothecary. Sweet Annie’s is a small shop with a large selection of herbal and other natural supplements, many formulated by Annie Wishard herself, as well as fresh spices, dried flowers, bohemian skirts and blouses, and, well, let’s just say it’s a shop you don’t want to miss.

For a totally fun experience, check out Whisper Rocks Souvenirs and Gifts at Lincoln Caverns, the largest gift shop in the Raystown Lake Region A distinctive feature of Whisper Rocks is, well, its rocks. There is a vast array of very reasonably priced rocks, fossils, and gemstones for the rock enthusiast. And for the bat lover, Whisper Rocks has all the information you need.

Originally known as Grove’s Office Supplies, this is a store that knows how to add and subtract. The store has added a JC Penney Catalogue Center; a new line of American made handbags known as Cinda b to complement its large collection of Vera Bradley bags; and Kameleon jewelry, also made in the USA, to accompany the Chamilia charms and beads already in-house. Groves recently expanded its online presence with a new website that offers office supplies, scrapbooking needs, rubber stamping products, art supplies, and vintage antique and collectible items, in addition to tutorials for crafting. What did Groves Office Supplies subtract? The words “office supplies” is gone because the store has evolved into so much more.

Laney’s Feed Mill is another place you don’t want to pass up. You can buy Outback Chair Company hammocks and chairs, Carhart clothing, and Beaumont pottery. Grab a bag of Laney’s store-made specialty bird seed blends to go into one of their beautiful Audubon bird feeders. In 1998 the store changed hands and there have been a few modifications but one thing hasn’t changed—it is still a great place to shop.

Whether you are looking for cookbooks, cocktail napkins, or classy readers; Ginger Yaps or gift baskets; artsy clothing or aprons for the chef, you’ll be delighted at the variety in Reeves Gift Shop. And if shoes are your love, you’ll find everything from pictures of shoes to books about shoes to actual wearable shoes embellished with glitter and animal prints at this quaint little shop.

If none of the above floats your boat (ok, I just couldn’t resist that one), how about taking a journey along the heART of The Alleghenies Artisan Trail. Discover the Log Cabin Gallery Shop, a modest log structure filled with a variety of arts and crafts. Also on the trail is Vintage Art Glass with its remarkable inventory of beads, custom stained glass, and blown glass. Of particular note is the custom-made jewelry created by owner Leah Davis Dell. This is the place to go for a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry from a one-of-a-kind artist. Raystown Reflections Gift Shoppe located at the lake’s visitor center offers a mix of local crafts and gift items as well as the usual t-shirts and coffee mugs with Raystown Lake branding, providing the shopper with a taste of the area.

Need to furnish your vacation home in the Raystown Lake Region? Check out Park Furniture and Appliances offering appliances (and appliance repair), audio and video equipment, furniture, bedding, flooring and home security systems. Park also is a Weber Grill dealer. And Sears Hometown Store offers all brands of appliances, big screen televisions, home and garden tools, and the best customer service you’ll find anywhere.

For the outdoor enthusiast, visit Rothrock Outfitters and Saxton Outdoor Supply. Both are filled with everything you need for your outdoor adventure, rain or shine. Don’t forget to pick up your Allegrippis Trails map for some very excellent biking; as well as Purple Lizard Raystown Lake and Purple Lizard Rothrock State Forest maps.

With this many shopping opportunities in Huntingdon, you might just start praying for more rain at the lake!

Reeves Gift Shop. Photo by A.E. Landes.

Reeves Gift Shop. Photo by A.E. Landes.


Categories: 2012 Visitors Guide, Shopping, Things to Do | Leave a comment

It is a sweet day coming up August 10 in the Raystown Lake Region

Lake Raystown Resort is celebrating the 4th Annual National Smores Day on Sunday August 10, 2014 starting at 2:00 pm.

You know that campfire gatherings were the original social network?

Campfire1_HelenaKotolaPhotoWWWcpGather your family and friends for the fourth annual National S’more’s Day! This fun-filled, S’more themed event will be located in Lake Raystown Resort’s Conference Center on August 10th. The event will feature s’more themed activities and refreshments for all ages. You will even get a chance to indulge in our ultimate S’more eating competition! Best of all, the event is completely free of cost to all participants! Yes, that is right…free s’mores!

Come and enjoy everyone’s favorite summer snack while watching our candy themed feature film! Our ultimate s’more eating and building competitions will be open to anyone who wishes to participate, and prizes will be awarded to the winners for both events. The winning S’more in past years included things such as gummy worms, pretzels, sprinkles, and more. So be sure to come out and show of your creativity! The entire day will be filled with tasty treats, and lots of sweet memories, so much so that you will be left wanting S’more!

Schedule of Events:
2:00 pm – Registration and Movie Begins
3:30 pm – Games and Activities
4:00 pm – Ultimate S’more Building Competition
4:30 pm – Ultimate S’more Eating Competition
5:00 pm – Winner’s Circle and event concludes

For more information call Lake Raystown Resort, An RVC Outdoor Destination at (814) 658-3500 or visit

Categories: Events, Things to Do | Leave a comment

Standing Stone Trail

By James Garthe

For an enchanting hike in the Huntingdon County region, the Standing Stone Trail (SST) has numerous natural and manmade features that will enthrall beginners and seasoned hikers alike. You’ll discover it’s easy to reward yourself for your physical efforts by taking in a trove of vistas. Perched way out on a jagged rock, you can experience rugged mountains and wild forests as far as the eye can see. You can reflect on this nation’s past as you take in centuries old farmlands nestled within deep river cuts.

StandingStoneTrail_Winter maintenance SST'12wwwThe SST section of the Great Eastern Trail is a 76-mile stretch connecting to a spur of the Mid State Trail at Greenwood Furnace State Park in northern Huntingdon County, to the Tuscarora Trail in Cowans Gap State Park just over the border in Fulton County. Both bucolic parks feature a lake, camping, and day use amenities.

The trail has distinct ‘flavors’ along the way. In the north, Stone Mountain offers miles of narrow tree-shaded ridgeline with frequent vistas from elevations around 2,000 feet. Along this stretch, be prepared to enjoy some challenging but basically level rocky terrain along the way.

Moving south, you enter a rocky ridge zone at lower elevation where the route twists for several miles past intermittent strange rock outcrops that will pique most everyone’s curiosity. The geology of this area also produces a rich soil that favors carpets of wildflowers in April and May.

As you continue south, be alert for Clark’s View, one of the most spectacular views in the State. The trail then descends along historic ‘dinkie’ railroad grades as you soon come upon a panoramic view, Jacks Narrows, the deepest water gap in Pennsylvania.

A short hike past a stone building perched high above a boulder field and you’re at Thousand Steps. The steps were built in mid-1900s by energetic employees of a brick company, who on a daily basis had to access the quarry and boilers within the stone building. The boilers powered machinery to move ganister stone across the Juniata River to be made into fire bricks. You’ll delight in an almost dizzying journey down the thousand (actually over 1,200) meticulously placed stones.

For more information including maps, photographs and information on how to volunteer, check out the Standing Stone Trail Club’s website.

1000 Steps 2012 J. Clark (3)www

Thousand Steps. Photo by J. Clark.

Categories: Outdoor Recreation, Things to Do | 3 Comments

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