Whether you live in Penns Valley or are visiting our gorgeous farming community for the first time, we want you to feel right at home!
Our online Business Directory is full of great, hardworking businesses – from mechanics to restaurants. If you’re looking for a specific type of business, the Directory will point you in the right direction. And our Community Calendar and weekly posts keep you up-to-date on Penns Valley’s great events and stories.
But, this is the Bucket List: a handful of local treasures that are – in our humble opinion – things you’ve just gotta do, places you’ve just gotta go, food you’ve just gotta eat, and shops you’ve just gotta visit while you’re in Penns Valley. Enjoy!
The Big Must-Do’s:
* Visit the historic Penns Cave & Wildlife Park. As America’s only all-water cavern and wildlife park, you’ve just got to visit this gem while you’re here. Enjoy the informative tours of the cave and wildlife parks, pan for gems in the sluice, race through Prospector Pete’s Maze, enjoy a meal at the cafe, and mosey through the beautiful gift shop.
* Check out Woodward Cave and Campgrounds. “One of the largest caverns in Pennsylvania, its nickname reflects its five spacious room, one of which, “The Hall of Statues” is 200 feet long. Experienced guides conduct a well explained, easily walked tour offering 50 minutes of nature at its best.”
* Join us for our annual week-long The Great Grange Fair, celebrated every summer for over 140 years! “The Grange Fair is a city within a town, as campers “move into” the Grange Park in Centre Hall to live for more than a week. Come for the concerts, the rides, the amazing food, the games, and the competitions.”
* Eat, drink, and be merry at The Elk Creek Cafe in Millheim. In a charming atmosphere, eat fresh, drink local, and enjoy live music with friends – new and old alike. As you enjoy the chef’s seasonal menu and listen to great tunes, look out the window to watch Amish buggies rolling through town. Be sure to check out their line-up of concerts!
* Attend The Nittany Antique Machinery Show. “For nearly forty years, folks from various parts of the United States have traveled to the Penns Cave grounds to enjoy the large flea market with over 700 vendors where they have found treasures, old and new. They say that if you can’t find what you’re looking for here you probably won’t find it anywhere! The food vendors offer the best eats you’ll ever try. But always, the stars of the show are the over 800 tractors on display, over 800 campers, and more than 40 parts vendors available on the grounds. There’s a little something special for everyone.
You’ve got two shots a year of this goodie: The 41st Annual Spring Show is May 29, 30, and 31, 2015 and The 41st Annual Fall Show is Sept. 10, 11, 12, & 13, 2015.
* Prepare to find treasures at Centre Hall’s town-wide yard sale. Countless yards and garages are full of things to buy! We’ve stocked our kids’ closets with clothes, decorated our mantle, and rounded out our tool shed with findings from this annual event. This year’s massive yard sale is June 26 and 27th.
The Big Must-Sees:
Photograph The Neff Round Barn: This barn is an icon of Penns Valley. (Can you spot it in our GoPennsValley.com header?). Located on Route 45, south of Centre Hall. Drive by or pull over for a photo of this beloved 100+ year old barn.
Appreciate the Sunflower Field at Penns Cave: In the late summer months, this field of sunflowers will take your breath away. A sure photo op on Route 192.
Relax in the Scenic Poe Valley State Park: The sandy beach, beautiful lake, and stunning surrounding mountains make Poe Valley a “must see” on our family’s Bucket List every summer. Take a drive down a long mountain road to enjoy a day in the sun at Poe Valley State Park. You’ll be glad you did!
Stroll Muddy Paws Marsh: We love this beautiful level marshland, located off Route 45 next to Cooke Tavern Bed & Breakfast. Stroll on the boardwalk as well as the grassy trail. Enjoy the seasonal beauties of nature and breathe the fresh air. (Click here for a glimpse of one of our visits.)
Hike Seven Mountains Nature Trail and Big Valley Vista: Boy oh boy, if you’ve got your hiking shoes on, this is the trail to blaze! Upon reaching the top, you will be rewarded with a magnificent view across the Valley. Truly breathtaking! (Here are some photos from one of our hikes.)
The Big Must-Eats:
* Eat, drink, and be merry at The Elk Creek Cafe in Millheim. In a friendly atmosphere, eat fresh, drink local, and enjoy live music with friends – new and old alike. As you enjoy the chef’s seasonal menu and listen to great tunes, look out the window to watch Amish buggies rolling through town. Be sure to check out their line-up of concerts!
* Enjoy a warm drink and delicious lunch at The IngleBean Coffee House at 106 E. Main Street in Millheim. This is one charming coffee house with great eats. It’s the place to go if you want to feel like a local. (Read about our visit here!) Visit their facebook page for their hours and daily offerings.
* Try the Flavor-of-the-Day at Sweet Scoops! Gelato. We love stopping in at this sweet shop on Pennsylvania Avenue in Centre Hall to chat and enjoy some authentic gelato or frozen yogurt. Check out their facebook page for seasonal hours. (Read about our visit here!)
* Locals love Brothers Pizza & Italian Restaurant located on Pennsylvania Ave. in Centre Hall. A clean and classy setting with delicious food. (Have you ever tried their Fettuccini Alfredo? Mmmm…) So, if you’re looking for a special lunch or dinner that won’t break the bank, this is the go-to for you!
* For an eat-and-run, stop by our local Confer’s Country Market on Route 192 in Centre Hall and pick up a container of their homemade chicken salad. Believe me: this chicken salad is a local legend. Grab a bag of rolls or a box of crackers, the fruit or veggie of your choice, and you have a tasty meal! (See our summer picnic here.)
* Pull over for a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich at The Dutch Valley Bakery at 4699 Penns Valley Road in Spring Mills. Locals rave about this fantastic lunch. While you’re there, pick up some fresh baked goods. Their sweets are so delicious. In fact, our friends served their Apple and Pecan Pies in lieu of cake at their wedding reception!
The Big Must-Shops:
* Local art at The Green Drake Gallery & Arts Center. “While most of our artists are right here in central Pennsylvania, we do represent a number of artists from around the country and even overseas. Most of our staffing is by our own artists and we are always happy to help you find the perfect piece for that special spot in your home or office. We also have large selection of pottery, jewelry, wooden items, small musical instruments, and other handcrafted work by local artisans. Think of us when shopping for unique items for yourself or gift-giving.” (from The Green Drake website)
* Americana decor at Steiger’s Americana on Pennsylvania Ave. in Centre Hall is a gem for anyone looking for country decor. You will feel right at home when you walk in the door and you’ll find yourself lingering in the cozy shop as you try to make up your mind… (ask us how we know).
* Amish clothes and goods at Elk Creek Dry Goods Store at 4841 Brush Valley Rd in Rebersburg, will fix you up with Amish doll clothes and cookbooks, country decor, beautiful wood crafted patio furniture, wholesome books, and other gift ideas.
* Antiques at Brookvale Gift Shop: The red barn at the Old Fort Intersection (Route 45 and Pennsylvania Ave.) is full of antiques, crafts, and gift ideas. A wonderful shop to duck into while out and about in the Valley.
* Top-quality everyday goods at Weaver’s Store (108 Market Drive in Spring Mills): Weaver’s is a lovely store with just-about-anything you could need – from home goods to tools, from toys to clothes. Buy your Carhartt Coat there. Try on a pair of sturdy work boots. Pick up a toy tractor for your favorite child-at-heart. We love shopping at Weaver’s.
*Bulk goods and local meat, syrup, honey, etc. at Burkholder’s Country Market : this is where all the locals do their grocery shopping. You’ll appreciate Burkholder’s special features like the unique bulk-food section, the discounted bakery cart, and the many locally raised/ grown/ made products. In the summer, we love to stop by the Cafe’ for huge ice cream cones.
(Do you have a favorite business, event, or site that should be on the Penns Valley Bucket List? If so, tell us all about it in the comments!)