Those in the know are aware that the second longest road in the USA is Route 6. It stretches from Massachusetts to California and is also known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway, in honor of Union Civil War veterans.
The Pennsylvania segment of Route 6 passes through eleven northern PA counties. It covers 403 miles, and offers a scenic and historic experience that drivers will love. Most of the route is two lane, and invites slowing down and exploring. From east to west, here are some highlights not to be missed!
Grey Towers National Historic Site
As you cross from New York into Pennsylvania, the first attraction worth seeing is Grey Towers National Historic Site home of Pennsylvania Governor and forestry conservationist, Gifford Pinchot, is a French chateau inspired grey stone turreted mansion set amid views of the forests that Pinchot loved. In 2016, the Mansions Tours are offered from May 28 to October 31. You can also tour the gardens and take forested hikes. A visit to near by Milford and a meal in one of their wonderful restaurants, such as the Waterwheel Cafe or the Village Diner, are musts.
Steamtown National Historic Site
Before there was electricity or gasoline, America was powered by steam. Steamtown National Historic Site. You can tour the railroad museum and ride on an historic railroad in downtown Scranton. Visit the Round-house, turntable, and repair shop. The development of the museum is ongoing so you will probably see some of the construction, and also rolling stock awaiting restoration. There are many old locomotives. The museum is located where the old Scranton yards of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad used to be. Hungry? Go casual at Little Pizza Heaven or POSH at Scranton Club.
Pass north of Scranton and then enjoy a truly scenic drive as Route 6 flirts with the Susquehanna river from Clarks Summit to Tunkhannock. You’ll cross the river at Jeld-Wen, then continue west. Situated in the Tioga River Valley, the small town of Mansfield may make a good pit stop. Reviewers recommend Yorkholo for a hearty meal or refreshments. Or, head onward to nearby Wellsboro to have a meal there at the Penn Wells Hotel, or the Wellsboro Diner.
The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, also known as Pine Creek Gorge, is a forty-seven mile long forested canyon in the middle Tioga State Forest. To enjoy the views from the Route 6 vicinity, we recommend the Colton Point Overlook and the Leonard Harrison State Park Overlook. Take the Pine Creek Gorge trail for a hike or bike adventure, it stretches 30 miles to Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania.
Cherry Springs State Park
If you plan your trip right, you can wait till after sunset go stargazing at Cherry Springs State Park, near Coudersport. This is one of the darkest places in the Northeast after dark, so you get the whole sweep of the starry night. You can get close to the stars, at Astronomy Field, high up on a 2,300-foot mountain. The surrounding Susquahannok State Forest shields any ambient light. The latitude of the park gives a fabulous look at the nucleus of the Milky Way Galaxy and a 360 degree view of the night sky.
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum near Galeton, in Potter County, tells the story of the lumber industry of a century and more ago. The site includes a fascinating, working historic saw mill. There is also a recreated lumber camp. The many exhibits and collections will keep the whole family occupied, as they show you a slice of logging life. For a meal it’s the Brick House Deli or the Ox Yoke Inn.
Drive west through Croudersport and Port Allegheny, then take 219 to go north to Bradford for a zippy side trip. There is a whole culture of Zippo lighter collectors; but even if you are not one of them, you will be fascinated by the Zippo Lighter Museum in Bradford. There is a “Zippo” car and a giant lighter to welcome you to the museum, as well as a USA flag made out of, yes, you guessed it, Zippo lighters. We like the display of the Zippo lighters that still work after they were run over by heavy equipment or other mishaps. The displays of case knives are an added plus. You can even watch employees repairing Zippo lighters. The whole museum is high quality. Eat at Beefeaters, or the Kabob’s at the Option House.
#Rimrock overlook may be the best view of the Allegheny National Forest, and is a favorite during fall #leafpeeping season! #findyouroutsidevoice #takeahike #getoutside #nationalforests #anf #findyourpark #alleghenies #neverstopexploring #pawilds #pennsylvania #wilderness #teampawild #panature #visitpa
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Enjoy a drive from Kane through the Allegheny National Forest. Stop in the quaint city of Warren, with a charming downtown historic district and many shops to explore. Continue west through Union City, Mill Village and Cambridge Springs until you arrive in Meadville, the home of Allegheny College. Take some time to explore the historic campus and the town.
Conneaut Lake Park
Conneaut Lake Park has been an amusement destination for more than a century, since 1892 to be precise. Most folks will tell you it is a great place for families for small children, who want to have a fun but low key vintage amusement park experience. Historic thought it may be, it is very much a lively summer resort and amusement park, today. Vintage roller coaster aficionados come from around the world to ride the Blue Streak, the old wooden roller coaster. For a meal with a great view of the lake from any table, dine at Silver Shores.
Presque Isle State Park
Our final Pennsylvania Route 6 attraction is just north of the highway, where you can tour the USS Brig Niagara at Presque Isle State Park overlooking Lake Erie. The wooden-hulled brig is more than 200 years old, and was the flagship of Oliver Hazard Perry during the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. Period unformed docents offer informative tours. The ship has survived sinking and reconstruction, and is one of two ships of this era still in existence in the USA (the other is the USS Constitution). Check the schedule before you go for your tour. Every swimmer, biker, roller-blader, ice fisher or kayaker will enjoy Presque Isle State Park. It is a totally free state park. Explore the sweeping dunes, dramatic lighthouses, and the blue expanses of Lake Erie. While in the area have an American roadside meal at the Lawrence Park Diner or enjoy the Italian fare at Mi Scuzi.