Here come those lazy days of summer. We’ve found some great new ways to add some sizzle. Check out our top tips and tricks to make these hot months your coolest ever in the Allegheny National Forest Region of Pennsylvania.
IF YOU ARE A NATURE LOVER …
Willow Bay in the Allegheny National Forest offers rustic cabin rentals, hiking trails, fishing, kayaking and canoeing. Picture perfect, you will experience beautiful lush green forests with scenic vistas of the blue waters of the Allegheny Reservoir. Willow Bay is only a short one-hour drive from Ellicottville, NY.
The Allegheny National Forest is known as the “Land of Many Uses” … you and your family will have fun deciding which of the many activities offered that you would like to enjoy. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent in a variety of very affordable packages: 4 hours for $25, 8 hours for $40, weekend rate of $80, or a weekly rate of $100, plus tax. (Prices include life vests.) The boat launch with nearby parking makes it very easy to access the water.
Willow Bay is a protected water area away from the main motorized boating areas of the Allegheny Reservoir and provides still waters for those wanting to try kayaking for the first time. A pavilion at Willow Bay is available for rent; this makes a great family or friend gathering spot for an outdoor picnic. Pick a time to meet after kayaking or canoeing to share stories and exchange news over hot dogs on the grill.
Cabin rentals are available along the shoreline or beside Willow Creek. These charming, rustic cabins offer a front porch with swing, fire pit for roasting marshmallows, and electric. Showers and bathroom facilities are close by in the shower house. Rental prices for the cabins start at $45 a night. During the busy weekends, a series of on-site interpretive programs are offered for those interested in learning more about their environment and nature. Campsites for tents or RVs are also available, including some “boat-to-only” sites for those seeking a true back-to-nature experience.
If you would like to try fishing, tourist fishing licenses are available for 1, 3 or 7 days. Locally, many of the stores such as the Sportsmen Outlet (500 Chestnut Street, Bradford) or Field Street Feed & Boots (18 Field Street, Kane) can also assist you with a tourist license. Field Street Feed & Boots also has 24-hour live bait at their location. You can order your tourist fishing license online at www.fish.state.pa.us.
(If ordering online, allow 7-10 days to receive your license.)
Multiple trails are accessible from Willow Bay in a variety of difficulty levels; all provide an enjoyable escape into nature. Maps are available at the information center at Willow Bay, or they can be downloaded at www.visitANF.com
into your smartphone before leaving home. Reservations for a cabin or campsite can be made by calling 877-444-6777 or by visiting www.recreation.gov
. For canoe, kayak, or pavilion rentals, call 814-368-4158.
Willow Bay, 4001 West Washington Street, Bradford, PA 16701.
SUMMER RITUALS … TAKE THE FAMILY TO THE DRIVE-IN
Experiencing an outdoor family drive-in theater is one of the many rituals of summer. The Family Drive-In located in Kane, PA shows movies the old-fashioned way - on a big screen in the outdoors with people watching from their cars. You will think you have taken a step back in time to the 1950’s. Pile the kids, family and friends into your car, drive to the theater, pay for your ticket, and then pull in your car, tune in the sound, and enjoy a current movie on the big screen. Nowadays digital projection insures a bright picture and clear sound.
Established in 1952, the Drive-In Theater in Kane is celebrating its 61st birthday of providing great family entertainment. General admission is only $7 for those 13 years and older, seniors over 60 receive a discounted price of $3, children 6-12 are $3, and kids under 5 in age are admitted free. Gates open at 7:30pm. For some fun before the movie, enjoy the mini-golf course, only $2 per person to play. With these prices, it is cash only, so leave your debit card at home.
Of course, part of the tradition of any drive-in theater is a trip to the snack bar. Snack on some delicious drive-in popcorn, then choose from all the traditional favorites: hotdogs, cheeseburgers, French fries, mini-tacos and chicken wings. Follow up with a delicious milkshake, hot cocoa, an Oreo-cookie flurry or a good old-fashioned root beer float. This is summer! The upcoming movie schedule can be viewed at www.kanefamilydrivein.tripod.com
or phone 814-837-9760.
Family Drive-In, 6627 Rt. 6 East, Kane, PA 16735.
SUMMER CONCERTS ON THE LAWN
To truly enjoy the summer, nothing beats an outdoor concert on the lawn. Bring your lawn chair or blanket to the Town Square Gazebo in Port Allegany, PA during the months of June, July and August; concerts start at 6pm every Thursday night. It’s family time or date night with entertainment by local talent and professionals. Musical selections vary by the week and include jazz, classical, big band, acoustical, country, golden oldies and folk music. Beverages and food are available for purchase, or pack a picnic dinner to enjoy on your blanket.
The gazebo is located within the Town Square in Port Allegany, along scenic Route 6, and parking is free and readily available. Admission to the weekly summer concerts is free! (No rain dates.) For additional information, and for the weekly schedule of performers, visit www.TownSquareConcerts.com
A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME EXPERIENCE
Skydiving is a sure way to push your adrenaline into overdrive. Freefall Oz Skydiving Center offers skydiving for first-time jumpers, students, spectators and experienced skydivers. If you are ready to take the leap, you will have a fun, memorable, and totally enjoyable experience working with Ashley Easdon-Smith. Ash and his wife, Celeine, operate the Freefall Oz Skydiving Center along with the fly-in Bed & Breakfast, Oz Home Stay, located in Ceres, along NY Route 417.
The nickname for Australians is “ausies” or simply “oz”, in reference to Ash’s homeland, Oz is incorporated into their business name. Ash has years of experience with tandem jumps and training skydivers. He also has a delightful sense of humor and truly enjoys sharing his passion about the sport of skydiving. All skydivers receive personalized individual attention, insuring that jumpers will have a thrilling, memorable and above all safe experience.
All first time jumpers at Freefall Oz must do a Tandem Skydive. In a Tandem Skydive, you enjoy the thrill, but have the advantage of wearing a harness attached to an experienced, licensed USPA (United States Parachute Association) tandem rated instructor who is with you every step of the way.
Plan to spend a half-day at Oz for this adventure. Invite your friends and family to accompany you to the jump site where you will receive your training, which is located at the Ceres Airport beside the Oz Homestay B&B. There are large outside decks from which spectators can watch.
The tandem jump is $270 and must be scheduled in advance. Participants must be at least 18 years old and weigh less than 210 lbs. You also have the option of having a video production made, which includes the footage of your entire canopy ride, set to music … a great keepsake of this thrilling adventure. The cost for the video is $90. To book a tandem, visit www. freefallozskydiving.com or call 716-378-2211.
Of course you don’t have to skydive to enjoy Oz Homestay Bed & Breakfast. The lodge has a warm, woodsy, sit-back-and-relax, put-up-your-feet feeling. Each room is decorated in a unique style with custom made, handcrafted furniture by Ash, fashioned from wood harvested on the property. Your breakfast will feature amazing food, and on-site there are a host of outdoor activities from which to choose, including canoeing or fishing. In the evening, the saltwater hot tub and Finnish sauna are the perfect places to hang out.
The location of Oz Homestay, situated in a picturesque green field surrounded by the mountains of the Alleghenies, makes it perfect for family reunions, small weddings or an annual get together with classmates or friends. Maybe it is time you treated yourself to a girls getaway, or an all-guy get-together. You can just relax, curl up on a couch with a good book, or mingle with a group outside on the porch with a refreshing cold beverage.
The warm Australian hospitality of your hosts, great food, and great company makes this a one-of-a-kind Bed & Breakfast, which you will want to visit again and again. Of course, for pilots, you can fly-in, park the plane and walk to the lodge. Overnight rates start at $119 per night. For driving directions, type in Ceres, NY, as this property is located right along the Pennsylvania/New York state line. (The mailing address and physical address are in two different states.) For reservations at Oz Homestay visit www.ozhomestay-huntinglodge.com
or call 716-378-221. To book a tandem, visit www. freefallozskydiving.com or call 716-378-2211
PLAN YOUR TRIP
To enjoy your summer, make the planning easy by booking your lodging reservation early. Lodging choices include cabins and campsites, hotels, bed & breakfasts, and Glendorn, a four-star resort. A wide variety of locally owned restaurants and retail shops will provide places to explore during the hot days of summer. And for those rainy days, museums offer the perfect activity for all ages. The full range of ideas of what to see and do can be viewed at www.visitANF.com
. To order a FREE visitors guide with map, please call 800-473-9370.