Spring 2013 Travel: Centre County, Pennsylvania
You may have dropped your kids off at Penn State University countless times. But if you’ve never made the surrounding area a deliberate destination for recreation, you’re about to get schooled.
Drive time: 3 hours, 30 minutes.
Stay and eat here:
Carnegie Inn & Spa
Recently remodeled to resemble a Scottish country manor home, this boutique hotel situated in the woods and overlooking a golf course is gracious in both style and service. A full breakfast is included, and an on-site fine-dining restaurant and full-service spa make this the total package.
At the restaurant, relax over a selection from the 1,600-bottle wine list and complimentary hors d’oeuvres in the library while you peruse the menu. Be sure to try the signature lobster bisque and giant prosciutto-wrapped tiger prawn in house-made barbecue sauce. Rooms $139-$179. 100 Cricklewood Drive, State College; (814) 234-2424, carnegieinnandspa.com.
Elk Creek Café + Aleworks
A microbrewery, an art showcase, good food, lively company—it’s no wonder this place is a local favorite. Sandwiches run $7-$9, entrées $21-$26. 100 W. Main St., Millheim; (814) 349-8850, elkcreekcafe.net.
In May and June, millions of mayflies hatch. That means a feast for the trout and a festival for fly-fishing enthusiasts. Penn’s Creek and Fishing Creek are the hot spots. Rent a guide from TCO. Half day for two anglers $275, full day $325. 2030 E. College Ave., State College; (814) 689-3654, streamconditions.com, centralpaflyfishing.com.
At Carnegie Inn & Spa’s ESSpa Kozmetika, treat yourself to a two-hour, head-to-toe spa sampler package ($200) or a couple’s side-by-side massage with private four-course, candlelit dinner, champagne and roses ($399). (814) 380-9772, esspa.us.
About 10 minutes east of State College, two-century-old Boalsburg is an architectural charmer and home to Boal Mansion. The eighth-generation home of the Boal family contains original furnishings, including Christopher Columbus’ desk and other artifacts. $10/adults, $6/kids. 163 Boal Estate Drive; (814) 466-6210, boalmuseum.com.
While you’re in Boalsburg, visit jewelry artist Staci Egan at her Contempo Artisans Boutique to check out her nature-inspired designs. She may even be offering a class. 109 S. Church St.; (814) 769-9398, contempoartisanboutique.com.
It doesn’t take much imagination to see the “Statue of Liberty” and other fabulous formations sculpted by nature at Penn’s Cave. Take a one-hour, guided motorboat tour on the limestone cavern’s underground stream. $16.95/adults, $8.95/kids. 222 Penns Cave Road, Centre Hall; (814) 364-1664, pennscave.com.
For thrifty types:
Six-hour rentals at the Bicycle Shop start at $15. 441 W. College Ave., State College; (814) 238-9422, thebicycleshoppeinc.com.
Over on the Penn State campus, the focus of Palmer Museum of Art’s collection is 18th century to contemporary American, plus medieval to modern European. But the real surprise is the extensive variety of art, representing more than 60 other non-Western cultures. Free. Curtin Road, University Park; (814) 865-7672, palmermuseum.psu.edu.
Geared to children ages 2-12, Discovery Space of Central Pennsylvania is a hands-on play-and-learn center that gives kids a chance to reach for the stars, be a broadcast meteorologist, build an earthquake-proof house, and make and race a sailboat. $6. 112 W. Foster Ave, Suite 1, State College; (814) 234-0200, mydiscoveryspace.org.
Be sure to stop at Ye Olde College Diner for a crispy, gooey, cinnamony “sticky” pastry. 126 W. College Ave., State College, (814) 238-5590.
At Berkey Creamery on the Penn Sate campus, budding pros learn the craft of ice cream making. Its 100 flavors demand more than one scoop. 119 Food Science Building, University Park; (814) 865-7535, creamery.psu.edu.