Iconic architecture like that of Wyalusing (top), historic structures, and breathtaking river views like the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chemung rivers at Athens (above) will be among the highlights of the first ‘Discovering NEPA River Towns’ bus tour planned for September. The project is sponsored by the Wyoming County Cultural Center with funding from the Endless Mountains Heritage Region.
The Wyoming County Cultural Center at the Dietrich Theater and the Endless Mountains Heritage Region (EMHR) have partnered to develop a school bus tour of communities along the Susquehanna River North Branch. The route from Tunkhannock to Sayre and back is brimming with history ranging from Native American and European settlement to the advances in agriculture and industry that shape today’s landscape and river town culture.
The tour will debut on Wednesday, Sept. 13, with departure from the Dietrich Theater (above) set for 9 am. The trip will include stops at scenic overlooks, Laceyville’s Oldest House, and the Bradford County Historical Society Museum (below), as well as lunch at a popular eatery and an afternoon ice cream break. Five river crossings are planned, as the informative tour passes through at least 22 municipalities in Bradford and Wyoming counties.
Highlights of the excursion will include several spots where Gen. Sullivan’s troops camped during their 1779 campaign through the region (below), sites of famous American Indian villages that preceded modern-day settlements, a county park, homes of famous Americans with ties to the Endless Mountains, iconic architecture, flooding history, and numerous venues and businesses that cater to the many needs of residents in and visitors to the area.
Local writer and historian Rick Hiduk will serve as the tour guide. Spending his childhood years in Bradford County and most of his adult life in Wyoming County, he has an innate sense of the importance of the Route 6 corridor to the rural and river communities that flank the waterway. Last year, he served as a guide for the Historic Tunkhannock Walking Tour and was honored to be asked to conduct this tour from his home county to his “old stomping grounds.”
“It was hard to contain my excitement when I was asked casually at a luncheon if I would be interested in leading this project,” Hiduk stated. Once he embarked on the proposed driving route, his enthusiasm multiplied. “These highways and country roads that I have sometimes taken for granted suddenly took on an entirely new significance. And gaining a deeper understanding of the history of the Athens and Sayre area was icing on the cake.”
“Our Endless Mountains Heritage Region is so rich in history, going back to Native Americans, the Revolutionary War, and agricultural history,” said Dietrich Theater program coordinator Margie Young. “We are anxious to travel the paths of history, hear the stories, and actually live this history on this very special road trip with Rick.”
Portions of the tour will run up and down both sides of the Susquehanna River but, due to time constraints, some duplicative stretches of highway are unavoidable. “When I say, ‘Please pay attention. There will be a quiz,’ I’m not kidding,” Hiduk related. Theater-related prizes such as movie tickets and snack bar vouchers will be given away to some lucky and attentive tour-goers.
Participation in the round trip ‘Discovering NEPA River Towns Bus Tour’ from Tunkhannock to Sayre is free, thanks to a grant from EMHR with funding from DCNR, but space is limited. Riders will need to be at the Dietrich Theater by 8:30 am on Sept. 13 for a briefing and will be returned to Tunkhannock between 5 and 6 pm. To reserve a seat, call Margie Young at 570-996-1500. The tour will be preceded by a presentation at the Dietrich Theater on Sunday, Sept. 10.