Today marks the one-year anniversary of launching my Pennsylvania travel blog, UncoveringPA.com. The site has quickly become the most read travel blog about Pennsylvania, reaching over 8,500 unique visitors last month.
While researching for the site, I’ve traveled extensively throughout the state, visiting 35 different counties and writing more than 115 articles. During that time, I’ve come across many things I never knew existed before starting.
Sure, I knew that Philadelphia had amazing American history, that Lancaster was home to the Amish, and that Gettysburg had one of the US Civil War’s most decisive battles. However, there were so many amazing things that I had no idea existed in Pennsylvania. Here are five of my favorite unknown destinations in Pennsylvania:
Located about an hour south of Pittsburgh, near the West Virginia border, is one of Pennsylvania’s most surprising destinations: Meadowcroft Rockshelter.
Discovered in the 1950s, but not excavated until the 1970s, Meadowcroft Rockshelter has proven to be the oldest known site of human habitation in America. In fact, while it was once thought that humans crossed over into the Americas during the last ice age, roughly 13,000 years ago, Meadowcroft has shown evidence of human habitation dating back 16,000 years.
How a site that has completely altered science’s understanding of human migration to the Americas can fly under the radar is beyond me. To find out more about this amazing site, check out my full review of my visit to Meadowcroft Rockshelter on UncoveringPA.
If the thought of a museum full of body parts creeps you out, it might be best to skip this one.
Okay, for those of you with me, a visit to the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia is a must. Housed inside the museum are cabinets full of over 20,000 human skulls, medical mysteries, and odd specimens. Highlights of the museum include pieces of Albert Einstein’s brain, a tumor removed from US President Grover Cleveland, and even the arm of a Civil War soldier with a bullet embedded in the bone.
All of your life, you’ve probably taken gravity for granted. After all, what goes up, must come down, right? What if that wasn’t always the case? What if you could go up without coming down?
That’s the very question you’ll be asking after a visit to Gravity Hill in rural Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Here, cars roll uphill, defying all logic. Is it an optical illusion or are other forces at play here? You’ll have to decide for yourself after a visit to Gravity Hill.
Drake Well Museum
In today’s world, oil is a huge commodity. Wars have been fought over it and thousands upon thousands have died to secure the world’s supply of oil. However, did you know that the commercial oil industry started in Pennsylvania?
Located in northwestern Pennsylvania, just outside the aptly named Oil City, is a small clearing on the outskirts of a Pennsylvania state park. It was on this land that Edwin Drake first dug for oil in 1859 and created the world’s first oil boom. It’s hard to imagine that the world’s most powerful commodity got its start in this tiny corner of Pennsylvania.
Click the link for more information about visiting the Drake Well Museum.
Punxsutawney Phil for Groundhog Day
It’s very likely that you’ve heard of Groundhog Day, and you may have even heard of Punxsutawney Phil. But did you know that this weather-predicting rodent hails from the small town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania?
That’s right, every year since 1887, Punxsutawney Phil has emerged from his burrow on February 2nd and predicted whether we will have an early spring or six more weeks of winter. Each of his predictions is met by tens of thousands in a spectacle that you have to see to believe.
I was fortunate enough to get to visit Punxsutawney this year for Groundhog Day and absolutely loved the ridiculousness of it all. Click the link if you’ve always wanted to visit Punxsutawney for Groundhog Day.
And, if you want more travel information about the state, follow UncoveringPA, Pennsylvnaia’s top travel blog!
Jim Cheney is the creator of Tripologist.com. Having traveled extensively in North America, Europe, and Asia, Jim enjoys sharing his love of travel and some of his favorite places to visit around the world. He lives in Pennsylvania, USA, with his wife and two kids.