Tourism Industry

‘Travel is __________.’

Raystown Lake is often called "8,300 acres of fun" -- there is a lot of water to enjoy! Photo by A.E. Landes Photography www.aelandesphotography.com

Raystown Lake is often called “8,300 acres of fun” — there is a lot of water to enjoy! Photo by A.E. Landes Photography http://www.aelandesphotography.com

Celebrating What Travel Means to the USA,
the Raystown Lake Region and You

Going on an adventure. Relaxing. Meeting new business partners. Learning. Supporting local businesses and jobs. These are just a few examples of what travel means to people and to communities.

This year, to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) 2015, May 2-10, the tourism and hospitality industry is underscoring how travel affects us all with the theme: “Travel is ___________.”

Travel is vacationing. Travel is making memories. Travel is essential to the U.S. economy. Travel is a job creator. No matter how you complete the sentence, the bottom line message is that travel is vital to our country and our lives, and it has meaning for everyone.

There are many studies out now that tell us we all need time “away”. It is important to decompress, de-stress and de-light in life…for your well-being! Go visit somewhere new. In the Raystown Lake Region or elsewhere – go have some “moments” and make some memories. Studies show that you’ll be glad that you did.

National Travel and Tourism Week is the perfect time to celebrate what travel means to you. Through nationwide events— from rallies to media outreach to proclamations from local governments—NTTW champions the power of the tourism industry for this week and beyond. Travel and tourism professionals, from communities small and large, come together to promote the incredible contributions their markets and travel-­related businesses make to strengthen the economy and our workforce.

The theme “Travel is __________.” customizes the unique impact of the U.S. travel industry on the fabric of America. Destinations, including ours here in the Raystown Lake Region of Pennsylvania, are defining travel as it specifically contributes to our local economies, businesses and lives.

We encourage you to comment with your thoughts and take part in NTTW by sharing what “Travel is __________.” to you during May 2-10, 2015. You might choose to write a guest column for your local newspaper. Contact a member of Congress. Or just follow along on social media, via @USTravel and #NTTW2015. Remember to tag @Raystown_Lake or use #Raystown (if it fits with your posts) … because your conversation is important to us.

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A tribute to a friend

Photo by Ed Stoddard

Rob Schrack at the helm of Expect a Miracle

I learned this morning of the passing of a dear friend of mine and of Huntingdon County’s tourism industry. Rob Schrack was well-known in the area for his real estate brokerage, but also for is generosity. A leader in the community, Rob engendered a spirit of camaraderie, and was always willing to answer the call to serve a greater purpose. Whether it was professionally in real estate or auctions, civically in service to boards and committees, spiritually in service to his church, or personally in his many friendships and most of all to his family, Rob always joined shoulder to shoulder with others and shared the load of whatever the task-at-hand was.
One of my first real experiences with Rob was accompanying him on his houseboat, “Expect A Miracle,” on a tour of Raystown Lake. He shared with me that there was nowhere he would rather be, than at the helm of that boat on Raystown Lake. He tirelessly championed Huntingdon County as a wonderful place to visit, live, and raise a family.
For the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau, Rob was always willing to pitch in. Even before his service on the board of directors, Rob was a fantastic volunteer, helping to found and grow a very successful Wake Up Reception series that has become a cornerstone of visitor and member services for the Bureau. When we needed tents for an event, Rob not only delivered tents, but also showed up with an army of volunteers to erect them. When the AmTrak service to Huntingdon was threatened, Rob brought and ran the sound system on a cold March morning rally to show local support for the service.
For me personally, I will miss my friend’s wise counsel. I could always rely on Rob for sound advice when faced with a delicate issue.
All of us at the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau are saddened by the loss of our friend, and our hearts go out to the Schrack family and his coworkers. For many of us, the miracle he told us to expect was embodied by Rob himself.

Happy sailing, my friend!

Sincerely,
Matt Price
Executive Director
Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau

Categories: HCVB News, Tourism Industry

Farewell, Dr. Mowbray.

Publishers note: This was received as an email from the Rockhill Trolley Museum to its members by its president, Joel Salomon. Dr. Mowbray was a great friend of the Museum.  I had the pleasure of working alongside him at a large outdoor and travel show promoting the Raystown Lake Region to potential visitors.  In the day I spent with him, and the brief interactions since at the Museum, Dr. Mowbray made a lasting impression.  He will be truly missed. -Matt Price
Dr. Jack Mowbray

Dr. Jack Mowbray at the controls at the Rockhill Trolley Museum

It is with great sadness that I must tell you that Jack Mowbray passed away early this afternoon at Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore surrounded by his wife Natalie, and daughters Marjorie and Jana.

The museum sends its sympathies to the Mowbray’s with Jack’s passing. Personally, Jack was a great friend to me. He and I had many special and great times together over the years. Jack had many friends at the museum and we will all miss his presence at the museum. It’s hard to think that we will not have his laughter, humor, guidance and wisdom at the trolley museum anymore.

Jack had been a member of Railways To Yesterday Inc. (Rockhill Trolley Museum) since its earliest days, holding Membership #11.  He was most recently Chairman of the Board. A native of the Lehigh Valley, Jack was one of the organization’s few remaining members who had first hand memories of the Lehigh Valley Transit Company, which he rode to school in his youth.

In lieu of flowers the family has asked for donations to be made to the Rockhill Trolley Museum, specifically Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 315, Jack’s favorite car at the museum. The car is under restoration, but returned to operation in 2012, with Jack being the first person to operate the car in many years. For me personally, it was one of my happiest days at the museum, to see Jack operate his favorite car once again.
I’m sorry to have to give this news to you as I know some of you knew Jack for many years. Rest in peace dear friend Jack, you will be sorely missed!
Joel Salomon
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Vote Now for the Juniata River to be Pennsylvania’s 2013 River of the Year!

The public again is invited to vote online for the 2013 Pennsylvania River of the Year, choosing from among six waterways nominated across the state.

Photo by Matt Price

Mapleton’s Riverside Park will be the starting point of the 2013 Juniata River Sojourn on the Main Stem of the Juniata River, a candidate for River of the Year.

They are: Juniata River and Swatara Creek in south central Pennsylvania; Kiskiminetas River and Monongahela River in the southwest; Lackawanna River in the northeast; and Schuylkill River in the southeast.

Vote here!

“Individually, each of these waterways showcases unique natural resources and recreational potential,” said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard J. Allan. “Collectively, they demonstrate just how blessed Pennsylvania is with its wealth of rivers and streams.”

Nomination of the six waterways was based on their conservation needs and successes; as well as well as celebration plans should the nominee be voted 2013 River of the Year. Visithttp://pawatersheds.org/vote to read the nomination statement for each and to vote. Voting ends Friday, Jan. 18, 2013.

“This is the third year that our selection process is through public voting,” said Allan, “and we know the spirit of competition rallies community support around our waterways and puts deserving rivers and streams in the limelight.”

DCNR and the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, or POWR, administer the River of the Year program. Nominations were made by local groups.
Pennsylvania’s River of the Year is an honor designed to elevate public awareness of specific rivers and recognize important conservation needs and achievements. River of the Year designations have been presented annually since 1983.

“We are excited to partner with DCNR for a third year of public voting on River of the Year,” POWR Executive Director Janie French said. “The River of the Year program is a great way for us to highlight the opportunities and challenges facing the state’s waterways. As part of the larger river sojourn program, the River of the Year helps connect thousands of Pennsylvanians to the water.”

After a waterway is chosen, local groups implement a year-round slate of activities and events to celebrate the river, including a special extended paddling trip known as a sojourn. These water-based journeys for canoeists, kayakers and others raise awareness of the environmental, recreational, tourism and heritage values of rivers.
The Pennsylvania Sojourn program, jointly run by DCNR and POWR, is a unique series of a dozen such trips on the state’s rivers. For more information about the sojourns, visit http://www.pawatersheds.org.

POWR and DCNR also work with the local organization to create a free commemorative poster celebrating the River of the Year.
Pennsylvania’s 2012 River of the Year is the Stonycreek River, flowing through Cambria and Somerset counties.

To learn more about DCNR’s Rivers Program, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us (click on “Conserve,” then “Waterways”).

Download this press release (Word document).

Photo by Matt Price

Paddling is a favorite pastime on the main stem of the Juniata River in Huntingdon County.

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Corps confirms Raystown Lake Dam, Pa., is prepared to perform during storms

Raystown Dam courtesy US Army Corps of Engineers

Aerial photo of Raystown Dam from the US Army Corps of Engineers website.

BALTIMORE – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has notified emergency management officials that the dam at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon, Pa., is prepared to perform during the storms connected to Hurricane Sandy.

The dam and reservoir has been functioning as designed – to store significant volumes of water and thus reducing downstream flows and delaying possible flooding over the next few days. The project is monitored daily and there are no indications of any problems. The dam will continue to function as designed and is prepared to hold the maximum amount of water if needed.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction on the dam in 1962 and it was completed in 1988 at a cost of $77 million. The project has prevented $269,616 million of flood damages through fiscal year 2011. The dam protects all areas along the Juniata River downstream of Huntingdon.

The project is an earth and rockfill structure with a maximum height of 225 feet and a top length of 1,700 feet. There is a two-bay gated spillway with two tainter gates, 45 feet wide by 45 feet high, to control flood flows. The overflow section is cut through rock at elevation 812 mean sea level, and has crest length of 1,630 feet in the spur of Terrace Mountain. The spillway and overflow section
have a combined discharge capacity of 301,000 cubic feet per second. The project encompasses 29,700 total acres. On April 3, 1993 the lake reached its pool of record at elevation 802.89 NGVD which was 67% of its storage capacity.

For current information on Baltimore District dams and reservoirs, go to their home page, www.nab.usace.army.mil.

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“Summer’s over, things must really slow down for you. Right?”

Source: US Army Corps of EngineersAfter Labor Day weekend, I and my staff at the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau hear this a lot from friends, family,  neighbors, and other community acquaintances: “Now that summer’s over, you get to relax.  Right?”  While it is true that the part of our job that includes serving visitors on-site at the Raystown Lake Region Visitors Center does slow down a bit after Labor Day, we still expect to serve around 3,500 visitors over the counter during September and October (compared to just over 10,000 during July and August).

But visitor services is far from all that we do.  In the late summer and fall, the focus of our staff shifts partially from serving visitors to recruiting businesses into the association, planning and selling advertising for the 2013 Huntingdon County/Raystown Lake Region Visitors Guide, updating the look, feel and functionality of our website at Raystown.org, and mapping out strategies for advertising and promotion to attract new visitors in 2013.

September and October weekends are also jam-packed with events in the Raystown Lake Region.  Starting this weekend with the Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering, and continuing with fantastic festivals, craft fairs, historic interpretations, harvest activities, and Hauntingdon events, and more through Halloween!  This is prime-time to come visit us.  The water and daytime temperatures are still warm enough for water sports, and the nights are cool enough for cuddling up by a campfire or fireplace, and getting a good night’s sleep, and best of all, if you can make it mid-week, you’ll feel like the entire 8,300 acre Raystown Lake belongs to you and you alone!

So have a great fall!  We’ll be “relaxing” at the office, ready to help you have a great Raycation! 😉

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Free Visitor WAKE-UP Reception July 3

The HCVB Visitor Wake-Up Receptions continue each Tuesday morning from 9:30-10:30 a.m. through August 14, 2012, at the Raystown Lake Region Visitors Center in the Seven Points Recreation Area.

The Wake-Up Reception series is a great place to learn all about the fun things to do and great places to visit in the Raystown Lake Region. The series continues with special events planned each week on Tuesdays through August 14.

Each visitor reception typically includes 14-22 displays and door prizes from area attractions, eateries, and shops; free snacks while supplies last, a door prize drawing for a free pass for two to take Seven Points Marina’s Sightseeing Tour aboard the Princess Lake Cruiser on Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday, July 3:
  • Special guest poet Gabriel Welsch reading from his book
    “The Death of Flying Things”
  • Food sponsor Standing Stone Coffee Company
About “The Death of Flying Things”
Welsch’s third collection of poems, The Death of Flying Things moves through three seasons in Pennsylvania’s breathtaking center. Within, read what it feels like to ride the oldest roller coaster in the world (located in Altoona), hear the roiling tensions at the bar near Malcolm Cowley’s birthplace (in Cambria County), consider the threat and fragility of flowers, hear what smoke means in November in Pennsylvania, and note the unlikely combination of black walnuts and baseball.

Upcoming Wake-Up events:

Tuesday, July 10 

Special guest TBD
Food sponsor: Walmart of Huntingdon
Tuesday, July 17
Special guest artist Leah Davis Dell of Vintage Art Glass and The Foxy Grape with “Stained glass treasures of Huntingdon County”
Food sponsor Hoss’s Steak & Sea House Huntingdon
Tuesday, July 24
TBD

Tuesday, July 31

Special guest Standing Stone Coffee Company discussing “Coffee from bean-in-the-field to cup-in-your-hand”
Food sponsor TBD
Tuesday, August  7
Children’s Book Author Amanda Jenkins with her book “The Italian Hand Story”
Tuesday, August 14
Special guest TBD
Food sponsor Fairfield Inn & Suites Huntingdon Raystown Lake
Categories: Dining, Events, HCVB News, Shopping, Things to Do, Tourism Industry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Few Words About Our Partners

Although the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau is the lead agency for promoting the Raystown Lake Region to tourists, we certainly don’t do it in a vacuum.  We are a small agency with only three full-time, one part-time, and two seasonal part-time employees.  We work cooperatively with a number of organizations that deserve recognition for what they do for us!

The Brand USA and their website designed to promote the United States of America to foreign travelers,  DiscoverAmerica.com is a new partner for the Raystown Lake Region.  The mission of Brand USA is to encourage increased international visitation to the United States and to grow America’s share of the global travel market. In doing so, they aim to bring millions of new international visitors who spend billions of dollars to the United States, creating tens of thousands of new American jobs.

The Pennsylvania Tourism Office within the Department of Community and Economic Development is our state marketing partner at VisitPA.com.  While the state funding for this office has been drastically cut over the last five years, VisitPA.com and it’s social media affiliates, as well as the state travel planner and Pursuits magazine are still great resources for all things tourism in Pennsylvania.

The Alleghenies Tourism Council is a nine-county tourism region in south-central Pennsylvania, and is administered by the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission.  This region has two websites promoting its tourism assets.  TheAlleghenies.com is targeted toward the individual outdoor enthusiast with lots of great resources for hiking, fishing, boating, bicycling, motorcycle riding, winter recreation, ATV riding, and more.  TourAlleghenies.com is an itinerary planning tool targeted toward groups large and small that are interested in experiencing the region.  A “group” could be as small as a single family, or as large as a convoy of buses.

Within Huntingdon County, we are involved with another promotional alliance called the Huntingdon Area Information Partnership.  This group, consisting of the Visitors Bureau, Huntingdon County Chamber of Commerce, Huntingdon County Business and Industry, Huntingdon County government, J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital and Juniata College, works together to provide reliable information about the county, and provides a central virtual gateway to that information at HuntingdonArea.info.

There are dozens more organizations and media outlets that we affiliate with or buy into, but those listed above are our true partners in promoting the Raystown Lake Region as a destination for tourists.

Thank you!

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Rockhill Trolley Museum to Continue Operating in 2012

The Rockhill Trolley Museum has been associated with the East Broad Top Railroad and the Kovalchick family since 1960. It was in October of that year that Johnstown Traction Company # 311 was moved to Rockhill Furnace and became the first trolley in what is now known as the Rockhill Trolley Museum.

During 2012, the trolley museum will continue to operate on its normal schedule of weekends only, starting Memorial Day weekend through the end of October. The winter holiday events will take place in late November and early December. Additional special events will be held throughout the year. Please check our website at www.rockhilltrolley.org for a complete listing of all of our 2012 events.

While associated with the EBT Railroad for over fifty years, the trolley museum is a separate non-profit corporation operated by Railways To Yesterday, Inc. The Rockhill Trolley Museum is deeply grateful for the many years of support from the East Broad Top Railroad and the Kovalchick family. We are looking forward to many more years of mutual help and cooperation. The trolley museum is staffed entirely by volunteers that are responsible for all aspects of the museum. We are deeply disappointed to hear that the EBT will not operate during 2012. The Rockhill Trolley Museum looks forward to the operation of East Broad Top Railroad in the future.

Rockhill Trolley Museum photo by David Schwartz

The Rockhill Trolley Museum will continue normal operations on weekends Memorial Day Weekend through the end of October 2012, as well as special holiday events in late November through December! (photo by David Schwartz)

Categories: Events, Group Travel, HCVB News, History, Things to Do, Tourism Industry | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

High Iron Hiatus

We learned late last week that the East Broad Top Railroad will not be operating in 2012.  The historic narrow-gauge railway has been in operation for around 140 years, including the last five decades as a tourist railroad.  Operating a tourist attraction using century-old equipment in century-old buildings, on a century-old right-of way presents a unique set of challenges.  We don’t know all of the details of the decision why not to operate this summer, but we know that some significant investments are needed to keep the steam operation running smoothly and safely for the general public.

Railroad officials have stated on their Facebook page, that they still hope to be back up and running full-steam in 2013.  There are several organizations who support the East Broad Top Railroad, its preservation and promotion, including the Friends of East Broad Top, Broad Top Area Coal Miners Historical Society, East Broad Top Preservation Association, Railways To Yesterday (operators of the Rockhill Trolley Museum), and the Kovalchick family, who have owned the railroad since 1956, just to name a very important few.

Tours of the railroad shops in Rockhill will continue to be available to groups of 20 or more people this summer.  These tours are amazing in and of themselves.  The twin communities of Rockhill and Orbisonia will continue to hold their homecoming and Christmas in Our Hometown events, and the Rockhill Trolley Museum will continue its weekend operations beginning this Memorial Day weekend.

In other words, there is still a lot of history and activity to be explored in the Rockhill-Orbisonia area.  Please don’t let the absence of steam excursions keep you away!  If you’d like help planning your trip, give the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau a call at 888-729-7869.

Categories: Events, Group Travel, HCVB News, History, Things to Do, Tourism Industry | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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