This morning, the eyes of the world were on Pennsylvania, and a celebrated rodent named Punxsutawney Phil. Our beloved groundhog emerged from his burrow, saw his shadow, and proclaimed there will be six more weeks of winter. Coincidentally, the calendar says the same thing! The Raystown Lake Region has been experiencing an unseasonably warm winter so far, exemplified by the last two days with temperatures near 60 degrees. Let’s assume that Phil is right, and that the winter weather is still to come. We at the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau say: “bring it on!”
Most people think of our area in terms of summer, when our number one activity partaken by visitors is swimming. Others really enjoy the fall when the leaves reveal their dramatic colors, and temperatures cool slightly for enjoyable hiking and biking. Still others look forward each year to the redbud trees in bloom in the spring, and the advent of fishing seasons. But winter can be just as fulfilling and refreshing in our little niche of The Alleghenies.
When the snow falls, our area is perhaps at its most beautiful, whitewashed with brightness. A clear, moonlit winter night with snow on the ground is a great time to experience the trails in the area without need of a flashlight. Many of our privately-owned vacation rentals are open year-round, giving you the opportunity to rejuvenate cuddled up by the light of a fireplace after a day of sled riding, shopping, snowball fighting, snow fort making, etc. And as a bonus, winter produces the least crowded conditions at our restaurants, shops and recreation areas.
Here are a few suggestions of things to do during a winter Raycation:
- Ride a Bike! We’re not kidding, and neither are the folks at Rothrock Outfitters. Rothrock Outfitters rents and sells a line of Fatbikes with wide, low PSI tires that are perfect for riding on snowy trails, lake ice, frozen streams and more. Layer up and ride! It’s also likely that one of the employees will ride with you if you’re a little tentative at first.
- Throttle Up! Bring your snowmobile out for riding on about 200 miles of legal roads and trails. Download a map of the main trails in Rothrock State Forest, or of Rothrock’s Trough Creek Wilderness trails, and get your motor running. If you’re on your motorsled in the area of Whipple Dam State Park, we recommend a stop at Doan’s Bones Award Winning Barbecue for a warm-up lunch or dinner.
- Warm the heART! Take a ride through the area on the Route 22 heART of the Alleghenies Artisan Trail, or the Art Thrives on 45 Artisan Trail. These two driving routes through our region feature unique artists, galleries, and marketplaces to buy from local artists. Huntingdon’s 4 and More Cultural District is an emerging cultural arts colony in the downtown area with unique programming at a variety of venues.
As always, you can plan your Raycation at our website: www.raystown.org, or give us a call at 888-RAYSTOWN (888-729-7869)
Happy Groundhog Day!
Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau