Author Archives: Helena Kotala

About Helena Kotala

Writer, outdoors enthusiast, cyclist, runner, rock climber, photographer.

Trough Creek State Park.

By Helena Kotala

It’s always been one of my favorite places — the rhododendron-filled gorge, sun filtering in through the pines, and the rushing of the rocky stream combine to create a vibe of serenity. The enchanting swinging bridge, curiosity-inducing Ice Mine, and gravity-defying Balanced Rock instill a sense of wonder.

Rainbow Falls after a big rain. Photo by Michael Reed.

Rainbow Falls after a big rain. Photo by Michael Reed.

This is Trough Creek State Park, a place that, in my opinion, is one of the prettiest in the Raystown Region, a spot definitely worth visiting. The 554-acre park surrounds the scenic gorge created by Great Trough Creek as it cuts through Terrace Mountain before emptying into Raystown Lake. The park is also enveloped by other public lands — Rothrock State Forest and Raystown Lake Recreation Area, creating a large tract of contiguous forested land.

The area is best known for its hiking trails, which take users past many spots of natural beauty. One of the most popular routes, Balanced Rock Trail, crosses the creek on a suspension bridge and winds along the hillside amongst rhododendrons for a short distance before crossing another bridge at Rainbow Falls. The Falls are named for the occasional rainbow created by the sun filtering in through the trees hitting the mist. The falls can be just a trickle during the drier times of the year, but in the spring and after a big rain, they are transformed into an impressive flow of water cascading down the hillside into Great Trough Creek. The trail continues past the falls up to Balanced Rock, an “erosion remnant” that is precariously balanced on a cliff high above the gorge. Though the rock looks like it will fall over the edge at any moment, it’s been there for many years, and has barely moved from its original position. Don’t be the tourist that tries to push it over.

From these must-see sights, there are a number of trails that branch off that can easily extend a hike and expose visitors to other beautiful parts of the park. Ledges Trail, Rhododendron Trail, and Copperas Rock Trail all traverse the western side of the Gorge, while Boulder Trail and Laurel Run Trail take hikers along the side of Terrace Mountain on the eastern side. The park can also be used as a trailhead for the Terrace Mountain Trail, a ~30-mile thru-hike that runs along the mountainside for the length of Raystown Lake.

Many of the trails are steep and rocky, so if you go, use caution and wear appropriate footwear.

You can pick up a park map at the park office, located on your left as you enter the park. The maps shows all the hiking trails, as well as other points of interest.

On your way into the park, be sure to stop and check out Copperas Rock, a large outcrop overhanging the river that is naturally dyed a yellowish-orange color. Further into the park, you’ll encounter yet another interesting geologic feature—the Ice Mine. The Ice Mine is not a mine, but an opening into the hillside that acts as a passageway for cool air. Walk down the steps into the little hole in the ground and you will feel a sudden burst of winter—a real treat on a hot summer day.

Trough Creek also has a rich history. American Indians inhabited the Gorge for years before white settlers found the area. Paradise Furnace was founded in 1827, and began producing approximately 12 tons of iron a day. During the twentieth century, the Civilian Conservation Corps came to the area as well, planting trees, constructing recreational facilities, and creating what is now Trough Creek State Park. Edgar Allen Poe is also rumored to have spent time in the area, and the ravens inhabiting cliffs above the gorge were supposedly inspiration for his famous poem, “The Raven.”

Trough Creek is an area that is great for day use, but also provides enough to see and do to warrant a longer stay. The park does have 29 campsites, which are open from mid-April to mid-December, offering accommodations for shoulder seasons as well as the peak summer months. The park is truly a treat to visit any time of year, and with its remarkable beauty and plethora of trails and outdoor recreation opportunities, you’ll quickly discover why it’s on MY list of favorite places in the Raystown Lake Region. Go and check it out for yourself!

#Raystownselfie at Rainbow Falls. Photo by Michael Reed.

#Raystownselfie at Rainbow Falls. Photo by Michael Reed.

Helena Kotala is an outdoor enthusiast and writer living between Huntingdon and State College. You can read more about her adventures in the Raystown Lake Region and elsewhere at

Categories: 2015 Visitors Guide, Outdoor Recreation, Things to Do | 1 Comment

The Road Less Traveled

By Kevin Cook and Ed Stoddard

At the time of this article, Kevin Cook, was the baker at McBurney Manor bed and breakfast, living and working along a road less traveled; where life slows down just like the traffic. McBurney Manor is just down the road a piece from Greenwood Furnace State Park. Along that path you can stop in for some of Mary Lou’s meatloaf at Couch’s Country Store. The C. Barton McCann School of Art sculpture garden and gallery are worth special arrangements for a scheduled visit.

C. Barton McCann School of Art. Photo by Ed Stoddard.

C. Barton McCann School of Art. Photo by Ed Stoddard.

We have many great state parks along our roads less traveled in Huntingdon County, Whipple Dam State Park is a gem in the mountains of Stone Valley – not too far from Shavers Creek Environmental Center. You can make a day of it by visiting the raptor center at Shavers Creek, rent a canoe at Whipple Dam and have dinner at the award-winning Doan’s Bones Barbecue.

Meander through Huntingdon (one of the coolest small towns in PA per Budget Travel magazine) for a stop in at the newly renovated Station General Store, located in the old Huntingdon train station. You might want to tuck in a vegan lunch at Boxers or stop for a fine coffee at Standing Stone Coffee Company.

Take a trip into Mount Union to visit the historical society and buildings there. This area is known for textiles and industry – being along the old East Broad Top Railroad line and also for its sand quarries that are still worked today for some of the finest sand in all of the United States. Our current Riverview Business Center is not too far from the borough of Mount Union.

Head to some of the most scenic locations in the area while you visit. Trough Creek State Park and the Trough Creek Valley are some of the most scenic locations in Pennsylvania – any time of the year. There are some great events that happen in this area too; like Oktoberfest in Cassville each year in September. Cassville Food Mart and Deli is a great spot for lunch and you will not leave hungry.

The Saxton Area is the southern gateway to Raystown Lake and is a popular destination for kayakers and bass fisherman. Saxton Outdoor Supply has fishing gear and bait or any hunting gear you might need through the seasons.

You will find great surprises around each bend on the road less traveled in the Raystown Lake Region. We encourage you to explore our sights, sounds, tastes and moments of solace.

Balanced Rock at Trough Creek State Park. Photo by Ed Stoddard.

Balanced Rock at Trough Creek State Park. Photo by Ed Stoddard.


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

Made to Order Moments Along the Road

By Luana Lindberg & Matt Price

From fast food to slow smoked barbeque, and all speeds in between, the road to dining in the Raystown Lake Region is a road worth traveling!

S'mores cupcakes at Sweethearts Confectionary.

S’mores cupcakes at Sweethearts Confectionary.

From the moment you arrive, we are ready to serve you.  Want a quick lunch before you head to the lake?  Stop at one of our fast food restaurants or convenience stores and you won’t be disappointed!  You might even find some surprises like barbeque chicken pizza, homemade macaroni salad, and some of the best meat loaf you’ve ever tasted!

Got the whole family? Great!  We have some fabulous family restaurants to make your moment special!  Whether its pancakes for breakfast, a burger for lunch or pork chops for dinner – diners are the quintessential eating experience for the road!  One diner even offers free pie if a train stops at the diner and the engineer comes in to get something to eat!

Maybe steaks and salad are more to your liking?  We’ve got that too, as well as quaint cafes offering gourmet specialties surrounded by the work of local artists!

Does an ice cold beer or martini sound good after a day in the sun?  No problem.  Try one of our pubs or bars.  Memories Sports Bar & Grill has award-winning wings, frequent entertainment, and all the best sports!

Even on our main roads, there are treats for your tastebuds!  On Route 45 you’ll find inside-out doughnuts, on Route 26 you’ll find award-winning barbeque, and ice cream treats, on Route 22 you’ll find gourmet candy, and in Huntingdon, you can find pineapple upside down cupcakes!

Yes, everyone has their moments.  Let us make you another one…a Raystown moment…made-to-order.

Dining among local art at Stone Town Gallery & Cafe. Photo by Ed Stoddard.

Dining among local art at Stone Town Gallery & Cafe. Photo by Ed Stoddard.

About the Authors: Luana Lindberg resides in Huntingdon where she enjoys dining out with her husband Erik.  Matt Price works for the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau and lives on a road less traveled atop Warrior Ridge.


Categories: 2013 Visitors Guide, Dining | Leave a comment

Different ways to explore the outdoors: water trails, bicycle tours, geocaching, and more.

By Ed Stoddard


Your perfect day on the water can include a quiet paddle along the shores of Raystown Lake in the no wake zones or a sojurn on the Juniata River. We have the perfect stretches of water just waiting to take you on an exceptional adventure Huntingdon County.


Paddling a quiet cove of Lake Raystown. Photo by Helena Kotala.

In the Huntingdon Area, you can access the Juniata River Water Trail via the Little Juniata River at Barree Rd. west of Alexandria, and at the Rte. 305 bridge just outside of Alexandria. The Frankstown Branch can be accessed at the Alfarata trailhead for the Lower Trail, and near the Main Street Café in Alexandria. The main branch of the Juniata River can be accessed at Warrior Ridge Dam near Petersburg, Portstown Park in Huntingdon, Smithfield Riverside Park, and at PA Fish & Boat Commission Point Access east of Huntingdon.

Officially designated a water trail by the PA Fish & Boat Commission, the Raystown Branch of the Juniata can be explored by canoe year-round. The trail is characterized by slow pools dotted with fast but shallow riffle-style rapids suitable even for novice paddlers. Anglers can float the Raystown Branch and fish for trout, bass, panfish, catfish, muskellunge, and carp.

Please note: The ability to paddle the Juniata varies throughout the year. Peak water flow occurs between February and May and possibly a few weeks in December. Between July and August, the river may be below desired levels. Of course, mid-summer paddling may well be the most enjoyable if you are able to take advantage of the days following a rainstorm.



Bicycling Magazine has named The Alleghenies, the 8 county region that includes Huntingdon County, as one of the top bicycle areas in the country.

Spelunker road bike trail

Huntingdon County has many claims to fame and places to explore. Its historic rivers, scenic valleys, farmlands, and caves and caverns such as Lincoln Caves and Indian Caverns make the Spelunker Tour a hit. This tour begins at Riverside Park along the rippling Juniata River adjacent to historic downtown Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Take in the beauty this area has to offer as you ride through farmland and valleys and explore the quaint small towns and villages as you enjoy the flat to somewhat rolling terrain. You may wish to do a little spelunking yourself to enjoy the full beauty of this tour and the treasures of this region. Length: 45.3 miles; Terrain: Flat to rolling. Pavement quality is good, most roads do not have paved shoulders, posted speed is generally 35 mph to 45 mph.

Time Travelers Path road bike trail

Step back to the past and learn about the unique transportation and industrial history of Broad Top Mountain and Southern Huntingdon County. Journey back to the era of “King Coal” and the steam-powered East Broad Top Railroad which carried freight and passengers between Robertsdale/Wood and Mount Union, once known as the “Silica Brick Capital of the World.” Enjoy the scenic vistas and sweeping valleys where small country hamlets still beckon cyclists to stop and relax along the 72-mile trek of discovery. Visit a coal miners museum, ride a tourist railroad and electric trolley, or just pause to enjoy the beauty of nature. It’s all waiting for you along the “Time Travelers Path.” Length: 72.1 miles (alternate route is 17.3); Rating: Challenging

Fishermans Journey road bike trail

Riverside Park along the Juniata River is the starting point for this excellent ride through the best that Southern Huntingdon County has to offer. The cyclist travels through many quiet and scenic areas while with the opportunity to take a side trip at Raystown Lake Recreation Area and through Trough Creek State Park where activities galore await the cyclist. Fishing, swimming, camping, and boating are among many of the activities that we encourage the cyclist to take advantage of. This 64.8 mile trip through rolling to flat terrain with quality roads and scenic views makes this ride a delight. Length: 64.8 miles; Terrain: Rolling to flat. Pavement quality is good, average posted speeds range from 25 mph to 45 mph. Numerous long climbs throughout.

Road biking in Central PA. Photo by Evan Gross.

Road biking in Central PA. Photo by Evan Gross.



Explore the Pittsburgh-To-Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway™. The Main Line Canal Greenway Geotrail (MLCG) –a series of geocaches tied together by a common theme. Developed as part of the Greenway initiative, the Geotrail is a new, unique way to experience the Greenway and bring focus to its various features, from the land and water trails to the historic canal and Pennsylvania’s heritage.

Geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing) is a growing worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. A geocacher can place a geocache anywhere in the world, pinpoint its location using Global Positioning Technology (GPS) and then share the geocache’s existence and location online. A geocache is any type of hidden container, ranging from a film canister to a small metal box. A GPS device and a free account are necessary to find these caches. Once the account is set up, search “MLCG” to determine the coordinates of the Main Line Canal geocaches and use the GPS device to find them. Locations are rated easy to hard. Once you find the cache, you can trade small items, confirm you were there by signing the book, and re-hide the cache just as you found it.

Completing the geotrail requirements will earn geocachers a commemorative MLCG trackable geocoin, highly prized by veteran geocachers. To earn the coin, finding at least four geocaches in each of the six Main Line Canal Greenway Clusters is required. Before heading out, download The Main Line Canal Greenway Logbook from the Greenway website. At each cache, there will be a code that must be recorded in the MLCG Logbook. More information and the MLCG Logbook can be found at

Check out other geocaches in the area including the ones placed in Seven Points Recreation Area and at Lake Raystown Resort – an RVC Outdoor Destination at



Huntingdon County would like to share our history with you and Scouts. Matt Price, Eagle Scout and Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau Executive Director, worked with local attractions and partners to design a route that covers 100 miles of heritage in Huntingdon County. The trail is especially geared towards exploring the museums, hiking trails, historic sites, and various landmark attractions that exist in our region. The trail is laid out in five segments, each of the segments is designed to be completed in a weekend.

Boy Scouts can earn the 50-Miler award by thru-hiking any three segments of the Scout Out Huntingdon County trail system.

A commemorative patch is available for each scout completing at least one trail segment.  The central patch and a segment for each individual trail can be purchased at the Raystown Reflections Gift Shoppe, the Juniata Valley Council of the Boy Scouts, or at many of the attractions along the trail.

A Scout Out Huntingdon County Trail Guidebook is available for purchase at the same locations. The guidebook features detailed maps, directions, and stories about the trails and sites along them. There are various badges that can be achieved on the Scout Out Huntingdon County Trails.

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

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

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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