The Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau (EMVB) Executive Director Jean Ruhf (right) and staff members at the Endless Mountains Visitors Center think that residents of Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties should fit at least one “Stay-cation” into their summer schedules.
Many families put ample time into planning for that one big vacation a year to a new or exotic location. But what about those extended weekends between the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays when travel would cut into the quality time sought at an overcrowded destination?
“Why not see the Endless Mountains as if you were a visitor from outside the area?” suggests Jean Ruhf, Executive Director of the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau (EMVB). Ruhf related how surprising it is to her that some local residents have never visited the county adjacent to them. “When is the last time you walked a trail at Salt Springs State Park, visited Eagles Mere Museum, pet and alpaca, or went to a local winery?”
Embarking on a “staycation” is the perfect way to think inside the box, even if just from one corner of it to the other. The four-county Endless Mountains region – Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, and Wyoming – is home to a bounty of unique historic and recreational sites, museums and cultural centers, farm markets and specialty boutiques, and restaurants and bed & breakfasts that attract tourists and vacationers from outside the area every year.
An easy-to-plan day trip can lead to delights and surprises without traffic snarls or delays at the airports, and the best place to start is the Endless Mountains Visitors center on Route 6 west of Tunkhannock or online at www.EndlessMountains.org. Leaf through the 2014 Calendar of Events, and let your imagination run wild.
Start your day antiquing or kayaking and relax later at one of the area’s many wine or arts and music festivals. Hike a trail once tread by Native Americans or ride a bike on a growing number of restored “rail trails.” Shop all afternoon and then treat the family to a traditional home-cooked or an authentically ethnic dinner. And don’t forget to stop along the way at the region’s many historic overlooks, which provide vistas that stretch for miles to the horizon.
“Think about the things that you like to do on a vacation or how you act on a vacation,” said Ruhf, noting that one does not have to go far from home to try a new hobby and meet interesting people.
“Take a class to learn how to paint, make pottery, or dance. Connect with people and discover new things. Get out and explore,” said Ruhf.
The official start of the summer season is just around the corner, and there are numerous events geared to get people out the door and on their way to a good time.
For outdoor recreation, local outfitters are geared up to get people out of the water in kayaks and canoes or skydiving throughout the summer.
The NEPA Bluegrass Festival in Wyoming County is set for the following weekend – May 29 to June 1. And Salt Springs Park will host the Endless Mountains Farm Fest on Saturday, May 31.
Most of the area’s county and state parks were opened and fully staffed by Memorial Day Weekend. In addition to “must-stop” eateries with long-standing traditions, there are also a growing number of new restaurants in the region with seasonal or evolving menus. There are now wineries and breweries in each of the four counties in the Endless Mountains.
Give yourself a break from a stressful vacation that can require more work to get there than there is time to play this summer. Invite your friends and family from out of town to join you at a festival or fair and do some discovering together. You need only to look over the next mountain or around the next river bend to find something that you might have missed before.
For a free copy of the Endless Mountains Calendar of Events, readers may call the visitors center at 570-836-5431 or 800-769-8999, go to the website or email email@example.com.