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Be Happy in Pennsylvania

School is back in session, work is heating up and vacation time is over. Or is it? We in the “DMV” are fortunate to have the “P” waiting to welcome us just to the north.

Pennsylvania is close enough for interesting day trips to historic city sites–where you can be out in the morning and back at night–and big enough for extended stays in scenic countryside that varies from picturesque lake fronts to slow rising mountains.

The scenery amid Pennsylvania’s 46,055 square miles seems to change every few miles: If you make the drive north and a little west from points in D.C. and Northern Virginia, you’ll reach the 51 miles of shoreline with Lake Erie; go east and you’ll get to the 57 miles of shore along the Delaware Estuary.

In between are opportunities to explore the Poconos and the Alleghenies, the Lehigh and Susquehanna Valleys, as well as, of course, the history, arts and cultural offerings of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Need ideas for destinations and activities? There is the handy “Happy Traveler” guide created by the Pennsylvania Tourism Board that catalogs the Keystone State’s highlights as well as some of the attractions off the beaten path (a trip along Dutch Country roads, anyone?). Download it at this address.

Meanwhile, consider some of these day trips that are an easy drive from D.C. and NoVa and start making plans for one- to three-day weekends this fall.

  • York: Explore Colonial history at the York Heritage Center.
  • Pittsburgh: Celebrate the city’s 200th birthday (born: 1816!) at the Senator John Heinz History Center.
  • Hershey: Hmmm. Let’s think. Oh, right, chocolate. Explore the candy at Hershey Chocolate World.
  • Bethlehem: Speaking of candy, did you know PEEPs were invented in Pennsylvania in 1953? Get the facts at the PEEPs Company Store.
  • Nazareth: Speaking of inventions, C.F. Martin built his innovative Martin guitars here. Visit the museum and factory here.

And we didn’t even get to Gettysburg yet.

The preceding post was sponsored by Pennsylvania tourism and written by Buzz McClain

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