National Get Outdoors Day is officially upon us. On June 8, 2019 everyone is encouraged to get outdoors and play. In the Allegheny National Forest of northwestern Pennsylvania, over 600 miles of hiking trails invite you to explore on foot, bicycle or ATV. A second kind of trail - a shopping trail - will take you by the Schoolhouse Village Shoppes full of wondrous retail items, as well as to the premier artisan event of the year - Art in the Wilds. Or relax at the Wilderness Camp, where you can admire the beauty of the outdoors as you spend a week camping under the stars. Each and every day in the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) is a great day to Get Outdoors!
THE FOREST IS MAGICAL
In June, explore the stunning sight of a carpet of pink blossoms as the mountain laurel begins to bloom in the Allegheny National Forest. The Longhouse National Scenic Byway, a 27-mile loop around the Allegheny Reservoir, is one of the best places to view this rite of spring. The Forest transforms from the mundane colors of winter through the pastels of spring into a lush, mystical green, below and above you as nature works its magical powers of transformation and renewal.
Bring your RV or tent to the ANF, which offers more than 1,000 sites on over 15 various campgrounds. Campsites for tents and RVs are available in shaded forestlands, near hiking trails and along the shoreline of the Allegheny Reservoir. Willow Bay Recreational Area offers boat launches for both motorized and non-motorized boats along with kayak and canoe rentals. Or stay in one of the rustic cabins available with amenities ranging from full service with electricity and showers to primitive. Camp rustic at one of the forest’s primitive campsites or in the luxury of your RV; both offer opportunities to build a campfire and roast marshmallows while listening to the sounds of music, laughter and families having fun. Reservations for cabins and campsites in the ANF can be made at recreation.gov.
While camping, do not miss the opportunity to explore over 600 miles of all types of trails for hiking, biking, birding and watching wildlife. Which trail you traverse is up to you; choose an easy stroll around scenic Marilla Reservoir or strap on the backpack to do a multi-day backpacking trip on Bullis Hollow Trail.
MARILLA TRAIL SYSTEM
For miles of trails offering a distinctive hiking experience, travel five miles west of the City of Bradford along Route 346 and you will come upon Marilla Reservoir. Greeting visitors to this pristine recreation area and trail system is the Eric Benjamin Bridge - a wooden covered bridge which runs over the cascading waters of the Marilla Reservoir spillway. At this scenic watershed location, not only are there miles of hiking trails, visitors can also enjoy free public access along with fishing, kayaking and canoeing opportunities.
The Marilla Bridges Trail begins at the Eric Benjamin covered wooden bridge and loops around the reservoir. This one-mile, crushed limestone trail is an easy traverse and very family friendly with a delightful gazebo located at the southwest corner of the trail; the perfect spot to enjoy a family picnic.
This forest shaded trail is picture perfect with three rustic wooden trestle bridges. One of the best locations for a photo of the Eric Benjamin covered bridge is from the far side of the reservoir. There are several trails which connect into this trail, ranging from easy to moderate in difficulty.
Nearby and marked by blue diamonds is the Marilla Rocks Trail. Accessible from Route 346, this 2-mile loop trail begins on an old logging road and leads to a huge rock city with countless rock formations covered with moss and ferns, before looping back to the logging road. This traverse is rated moderate in difficulty.
After exploring the water and forest vistas of Marilla Bridges Trail and the rock formations hidden along the Marilla Rocks Trail, follow the White Pine Trail upstream to view the towering, old growth white pines. The entrance to the White Pine Trail is at the confluence of Marilla Brook and Lean-to Run along Marilla Bridges Trail. visitanf.com/marilla-reservoir
A DESTINATION SHOPPING LOCATION
The scenic vistas of the Marilla Trail system are not the only beautiful sights to be seen in the ANF; the Treasures of the Forest Shopping Trail features local, handcrafted, artisan wares and made-in America collectibles. Traveling along the Treasures of the Forest Shopping Trail, visitors will find the Schoolhouse Village Shoppes located in Eldred, Pennsylvania.
The Schoolhouse Village Shoppes house over 100 different vendors and artisans in an 8,000 square foot refurbished school building. This is where you will find unique furniture, handwoven throws, handcrafted signs and wreaths. For example, Greg Jedrosko, an expert craftsman in reclaimed furniture, buys vintage pieces at local auctions and reimagines them in new colors with alternative uses before displaying them for sale. Vic Fosmer, another Schoolhouse Village Shoppes artisan, uses reclaimed wood to design unique porch furniture, such as a potting bench, which is featured at the store now. Not to mention the amazing dining and coffee tables fashioned from barnwood by Artisans Francine and Lynn Perkins.
As you enter the door, visitors are greeted by a hallway brimming with flower arrangements, wreaths and decorative accessories beautifully displayed. This area is the Garden Shop - only one of the multiple themed shops displaying one-of-a-kind treasures. Each former classroom is now a themed village shop located along a painted cobblestone street.
Following two months of remodeling, the Schoolhouse Village Shoppes now features Farmhouse Splendor, a remodeled Cabin Room, a Primitive Room, and the newly added Kids Village. A new Wellness Village shop offers bulk teas, grass fed meats, gluten free products, vitamins, supplements and organic juices along with biofeedback, massage therapies, reflexology and ever-increasing educational classes.
Remodeling was undertaken to add the most recent design trends. Trends in home design include farmhouse décor such as farm tables and reclaimed furniture pieces which have been upcycled and distressed. White and black painted furniture, neutrals, light green and blue are trending.
Shoppers will find must-have items to decorate their cabin, lake house, condo or apartment. Each of the individual themed shops feature one-of-a-kind items which are functional, beautiful and affordable - from antiques, furniture, florals, rugs, wall art, home accents, old fashioned and educational toys, jewelry, handbags and candles.
The Schoolhouse Village Shoppes is located at 109 Indian Creek Road in Eldred, Pennsylvania. For more information about individual rooms, vendors or artisans, visit visitanf.com/the-schoolhouse-village.
ART IN THE WILDS AT EVERGREEN PARK
While the Schoolhouse Village Shoppes may be a gem in the woods, it is not the only venue for local artisans to showcase their creations within the ANF Region. Art in the Wilds, a juried fine art show, has been bringing together community and creativity in the ANF for over 12 years.
Art in the Wilds was named “one of 11 must-attend shows for artists and craftspeople” by Sunshine Artist Magazine. The 13th annual Art in the Wilds will again be held in the scenic and lush Evergreen Park in Kane, Pennsylvania on Saturday, June 22 from 10am-5pm and Sunday, June 23 from 10am-4pm.
Acclaimed as the premier artisan event within the geographic region of the Pennsylvania Wilds, the show will feature artworks created with acrylics, oils, leather, wood, watercolors, glass, jewelry, drawing, pastels, clay, porcelain/ceramics, fabric/fiber, photography and more.
Artisans participating in the event will hold demonstrations on Sunday. This family-friendly event also hosts a student art exhibition, displaying artwork completed by high school aged students from six different counties in the surrounding area.
A variety of food and drinks, along with comfortable resting places within the park, make this a fun, unique art show to attend. Admission and parking are free. For additional information call 814-837-7167 or go to artinthewilds.org.
GETAWAY IN COMFORT AT CAMP WILDERNESS
With the copious amounts of outdoor and indoor activities throughout the Allegheny National Forest, visitors may find they need extra time to explore the multitude of hiking, biking and ATV/UTV trails; not to mention the shopping trails.
If RV or tent camping is not within your comfort zone, visitors can escape to Camp Wilderness. This woodland style getaway home sits on 600 acres of land on the side of a hill, high above the valley below, with breathtaking views from the covered porch.
Located at 450 Wildner Lane in Shinglehouse, PA, the newly constructed cabin easily sleeps up to eight guests. The fully stocked kitchen has new appliances, a gas range, refrigerator, woodstove, and microwave along with dishware. The cabin also comes equipped with WiFi, Direct TV and air conditioning with individual temperature controls in each room. The living room is furnished with extremely comfortable oversized leather sofas, a hand-carved coffee table featuring a nature scene, with the woodburning stove in the corner adding to the ambiance.
The first floor of this getaway cabin features one queen bedroom, a second bedroom with two twin beds and a sparkling clean bathroom. An amazing hand-carved wooden ladder leads to the second floor sleeping loft which includes a futon.
Outside this relaxing getaway cabin, visitors can take advantage of the fire pit in the evenings. During the day, escape into a new book on the scenic covered porch or explore over 15 miles of trails for hiking, ATV or horseback riding. For more information or to reserve Camp Wilderness today, go to visitanf.com/camp-wilderness.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
To receive a useful, convenient, free travel guide full of maps, attractions, restaurants and other things to see and do in the Allegheny National Forest Region, please call 800-473-9370 or go to visitANF.com.