Pine Creek Rail Trail
There is a 62 mile cycling trail along the bottom of the valley, from the curiously named town of ‘Jersey Shore’ to the gem of a little town, Wellsboro at the northern end. Being an old rail line it is flat and well surfaced and along the way there are several little towns to stop in or even to park when doing part of the trail.
And of Course, The Trees
Whilst New England is famed for its Fall Foliage this lesser known region and its Canyon was near perfect when the sun shined, when we were there in the first half of October. The Leonard Harris State Park provides a relatively popular set of overlooks which do enable great views of the colors from the crest of the valley.
The Grand Canyon!
It was with some surprise that I discovered The Grand Canyon was in north, central Pennsylvania! A Covid19 trip was possible to the nearby State of Pennsylvania and did not involve quarantining. So off we set, bikes on the back of the car.
The whole region is, apart from a handful of small towns, very rural with isolated hamlets and houses. This area grew around lumber (Williamsport claims to have been ‘The Lumber Capital Of The World’ a 100 years ago) and had associated, commerce, railways……..and jobs. Today, some of the area is desolate and poor and it being just before a Presidential Election littered with largely Trump signs and just a few Biden ones. Some of the towns, e.g. Wellsboro, have changed and thrive with none of the empty shops that blight much of the region, instead, substantially orientated around tourism and the Pine Creek Canyon activities, it has a vibrant main street.
The southern end of the Pine Creek Trail is the somewhat more struggling town of Jersey Shore and with little in the way of accommodations. So, we stayed in the nearby regional center of Williamsport. A town with a ‘well to do’ past, it has several interesting buildings, an optimistically named Millionaires Row, some grand housing and a more recent point of note. It being the birthplace of The Baseball Little League in 1939!
Set on the broad Susquehanna River surrounded by trees (it was after all, the lumber capital)it has several museums sadly closed thanks to Covid when I was there, murals, walks on both sides of the river and more.