Posts Tagged With: lifestyle

“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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Categories: Events, HCVB News, Lifestyle, Things to Do, Tourism Industry | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Huntingdon Lifestyle as defined by Webster’s

Publisher’s Note: This article first appeared in the 2008 edition of the Raystown Lake Region/Huntingdon County Visitors Guide.

 By Lisa Roth

Webster’s defines the noun lifestyle as a way of life or style of living that reflects the values and attitudes of an individual or group. Prior to 1993, I would have to say my husband’s and my own style of living reflected packrat values coupled with a lazy nomadic attitude. In other words, when it became impossible to ignore the need to spring-clean it became entirely possible to move. So move we did, every two or three years thanks to our educational needs, and we averted many a spring-clean as a result.

Then came our move to Huntingdon with a toddler and dog in tow. That move, coupled with having our first child, was the beginning of a whole new level of “expensive toy buying years.” John and I bought our first car, then another, our first home, then another one, two, three kids arrived, and more pets. One day I looked up and 15 years had passed.

We had been so busy growing a family, a career, a zoo-like atmosphere that we never stopped long enough to realize we had also grown roots. Strong, powerful roots. The years had passed and we hadn’t moved, like clockwork, to another place. Why didn’t we?

Huntingdon had ceased to be our stepping stone and instead became our destination. While it is neither the fastest nor slowest paced place in which I have lived, I love it. In 10 minutes, I can be anywhere downtown on foot and anywhere in town by vehicle. Driving time in this county IS driving time, not sitting in traffic time.

Here I am surrounded by natural beauty; cradled by gently sloping hills, ridges, and Tussey Mountain and lulled to sleep by meandering streams, creeks, and Juniata River. My heart soars with the birds of prey overhead and pounds at the sight of majestic bald eagles nesting at Raystown Dam.

We enjoy good food, good neighbors and friends, in a quiet, small town atmosphere. The county is rich with history, architecture, and wildlife and we enjoy many outdoor activities afforded us by its landscape. It is still a great place in which to raise a family.

Webster’s sociological definition of roots is the condition of being settled and of belonging to a particular place or society. John and I have now lived in Huntingdon longer than anywhere else, over our entire lives. Whatever your reason for visiting Huntingdon, make it a point to look around, try something familiar, and also something new. Breathe, relax, enjoy, maybe you’ll grow roots too.

Lisa Roth is a Development Specialist for College Advancement at Juniata College.

Webster’s is a dictionary.

Categories: 2008 Visitors Guide, Lifestyle, Retirement | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Economic Impact of Tourism on Huntingdon County

Those of us who have the good fortune to call the Raystown Lake Region home understand that we live in an area that draws a lot of visitors.  In fact, Huntingdon County averages more than 1.6 million visitor-days per year.  For the record, our definition of a visitor is someone who travels beyond their normal travel zone to reach his/her destination.  A visitor-day is one person in the area for 24 hours, or 4 people in the area for 6 hours, etc.  From that, we can say with a fair amount of certainty that we entertain more than 2 million visitors per year in Huntingdon County.

Huntingdon County Tourism Direct Sales 2009-2010

Visitor spending in Huntingdon County 2009-2010

Those 1.6 million visitor days brought with them to Huntingdon County $144.1 million in 2010 in visitor spending at local businesses, an increase of 11.6% from 2009.  Visitors spend money on the obvious things: lodging ($10.1 million), food and beverage ($32.8 million), retail ($25.1 million), recreation and entertainment ($27.3 million), and transportation ($48.8 million).

Huntingdon County Visitor Spending and Employment Trends 2005-2010

Visitor spending and tourism industry employment trends in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania 2005-2010

Our tourism industry is made up of businesses and employees that have direct contact with those visitors, for instance hotels, restaurants, convenience stores, retailers, campgrounds, museums, etc.  However, we only count an estimated portion of these businesses’ employees based on what wages/salaries could be supported by visitor spending.  In other words, if John Doe’s Diner employs ten people, and 80 percent of the Diner’s revenue is from local residents, then only two employees (20%) would be estimated to be part of the tourism industry.  Additionally, if a campground only has employees four months of the year, it would take three employees during those four months to equate to one employee for the statistic.  In 2010, Huntingdon County’s tourism industry consisted of an estimated 1,273 employees, a growth of 1.6% over 2009.

Huntingdon County Tourism Industry Impacts 2009-2010

Impacts of visitor spending, tourism industry employment and taxes generated by Huntingdon County’s tourism industry in 2009 and 2010

Employment wages and salaries is not the only financial impact of visitor spending on a destination.  As visitors spend money in an area, they are also paying state sales taxes on goods and services, local amusement taxes on entertainment, hotel occupancy taxes on their indoor accommodations, not to mention a whole host of taxes on the gasoline or diesel fuel they use to power their car, truck, van , RV,  and boat.  On top of the taxes on visitor spending, the businesses serving those visitors pay taxes on their properties, corporate net income, and a share of wage taxes for their employees.  The employees also pay taxes on their income, local services taxes, etc.  All told in 2010, the tourism industry in Huntingdon County yielded $7.6 million in tax revenue for our state, county and municipal governments, and another $6.8 million in federal taxes.  What this all means is that because Huntingdon County draws visitors and their money to the area, the average household saves $450.34 per year in state and local taxes.

Sources:

Tourism Economics and Longwoods Research: “The Economic Impact of Travel and Tourism in Pennsylvania,” February 2012

US Census Bureau, “Huntingdon County Quick Facts” from Census 2010


Categories: HCVB News | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Retirement in Huntingdon

by Tom Kepple

Over the last couple of years, as Pat and I have contemplated our upcoming retirement we began making a list of things to consider about where to retire. Frankly, the list started out very broad as in “anywhere we wanted.” Pat’s family is in Tennessee and I had spent 22 years there so that was certainly a possibility. And, of course, there were the customary destinations such as Florida and Arizona to consider. But as we continued to add and subtract locations, the one constant was Huntingdon. In truth, it did drift down the list in the winter but in the summer and fall it shot back to the top. And as we refined the list, college towns also remained a constant. We have had first-hand experience living in several college towns and so we are well aware of the wealth of opportunities that colleges bring to area residents. In the end, after much investigation and contemplation, Huntingdon won. Here are a few great reasons why Huntingdon reigns at the top of the list.
Juniata College’s extraordinary offerings are wide-ranging from the performing arts, to terrific NCAA varsity athletics, to free lectures, to inexpensive courses for those who audit them, to library access, and, of course, sports and fitness facilities. Juniata also provides the services of the Sill Incubator for those who might be interested in starting a business or being a mentor to student entrepreneurs. And the College provides the possibility of part-time teaching or continuing research. Pat and I want to keep our minds active and Juniata provides the tools we need to do just that.

  • Huntingdon and Pennsylvania enjoys a relatively low cost of living, compared to many areas throughout the country. An added advantage is that Pennsylvania does not tax retirement income.
  • With J. C. Blair Hospital in town and many nationally recognized regional health centers within easy driving distance, it would be hard to live in a better place for healthcare.
  • Raystown Lake provides a host of recreational activities from boating to fishing to water skiing to mountain biking; and our local golf courses are terrific and inexpensive. There are many walking opportunities at Raystown Lake, in the Borough of Huntingdon, in nearby state parks, and our favorite various rails to trails locations.
  • For those who like to get an occasional city fix, all you have to do is board an Amtrak train and you are hassle free to New York, Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. To venture farther you can drive to four international airports (Pittsburgh, Washington Dulles, Baltimore, Harrisburg) within three hours or less and The ever improving State College airport is just 40 minutes away.
  • There is relatively little serious crime in Huntingdon. After all, with two prisons located here, who wants to get caught burglarizing a prison employee’s home!
  • Huntingdon is large enough to provide the normal professional services retirees require but small enough that those providing the service know your name. There are ample choices for doctors, dentists, banks, insurance companies, investment advisors, lawyers and real estate agents. Shopping is limited but ample for daily needs like grocery stores and pharmacies with a few specialty stores mixed in.
  • Westminster Woods is a nationally ranked full service retirement community and Greystone Manor offers a retirement apartment option.
  • Maybe best of all, volunteer opportunities abound from Habitat for Humanity, to J. C. Blair Hospital, to the historical society, to the local library, to serving as a friendship family for international students at Juniata, just to name a few.

In the end all of these attributes, plus a great group of friends and professional associates, made Huntingdon the right retirement location for us.

About the author: Tom Kepple is the President of Juniata College, and resides in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, where he intends to join his wife, Pat, in retirement soon.

Categories: 2012 Visitors Guide, Lifestyle, Retirement | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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