If you’re a lover of history, you might find a journey to Central Pennsylvania worthwhile this fall.
The Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau has organized a Summer Heritage Passport that takes participants to 14 different historical stops in the region. The goal for some? Collecting passport stickers in hopes of winning one of five impressive prize baskets. Others find that the historical “scavenger hunt” and the history learned at each incredible stop is the ultimate treasure in itself.
Some of the most unique trail stops are sure to delight adults and youth alike. Bill’s Old Bike Barn is a veritable emporium of antique motorcycles, toys, old advertising signage, collectibles, vintage cameras, Mickey Mouse memorabilia, license plates, war items and much more. The Pioneer Tunnel takes visitors on a journey through area coal mining history with an immersive tour deep into a real anthracite coal mine on antique mine carts. Visitors to the mine can also climb aboard the “Henry Clay” for a scenic train ride on the narrow-gauge steam locomotive. The Knoebels Carousel Museum is located inside America’s largest free-admission amusement park, and after a day of fun on the rides, visitors can explore the historical carousel museum and check off another stop on their passports.
Knoebels has the distinction of having the No. 1 wooden roller coaster in the world, the No. 1 carousel in the world, and the best park food in the world, named by “Amusement Today’s” 2018 Golden Ticket Awards. At the Eagles Mere Air Museum, visitors can witness more than 30 vintage aircraft from 1908-1940, which is often referred to as the “golden age of flight.” Every plane in the museum is still able to be flown. Weather permitting, planes are often flown on weekends to the delight of museum attendees. Just next door, the Eagles Mere Auto Museum showcases more than 75 pristine antique cars from the 1950s and 1960s. At the same time, each of the nine other stops boast something special that definitely makes the whole trail worth traveling.
While the passport kicked off in May at a Civil War reenactment weekend at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds, there’s still more than a month left for travelers to hit the old dusty trail in pursuit of the various stops. To be considered for the prize baskets, participants must visit at least 10 of the 14 stops, and their passport must be postmarked by Oct. 12. Each basket contains several hundred dollars in prizes, including restaurant gift cards, historical books about Central Pennsylvania, locally bottled birch beer, tickets to Knoebels Amusement Resort and more. As an added bonus, all trail-goers who visit at least five stops will receive a free commemorative embroidered patch that indicates their participation in this year’s program.
There is no cost for the passports; simply pick one up at the first stop on the trail and get started! All participating locations as well as the local visitors bureau have supplies of passports. For those looking to get a copy of the passports in advance, you may request to have a passport mailed to you for free by visiting the Visitors Bureau’s website: iTourColumbiaMontour.com/request-a-brochure.