Duration: Three days and three nights
Your fall foliage tour couldn't start in a more vibrant place. This is a land of huge, colorful trees and charming villages. And with so much to see around here, there's a lot of nature-lovin' going around. Along the way, you'll encounter cool museums, irresistible countryside wineries, and outdoorsy fun. It's time to celebrate fall.
Start your trip in Bradford's National Historic District with a trip down Main Street for antiques, handmade chocolates, gifts and collectibles showcasing vintage designer clothing, Zippo lighters, and handcrafted jewelry. Bradford started out as a lumber town called Littleton, but when the oil gushed in the late 1800s, little Littleton became big Bradford, the "High-grade Oil Metropolis of the World." Located on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest, you couldn't ask for a better setting for a fall road trip. Tall trees tower over the area like nature's skyscrapers and squirrels scurry about, preparing for the colder days ahead. Breathe in the crisp air and start to explore your surroundings. This is what fall is all about.Read More >
Just on the outskirts of town is a place where fans and collectors from across the globe gather to experience the history of two American icons. The Zippo/Case Museum celebrates the history of America's favorite lighter and toughest knife. It's the only place in the world that sells the complete line of Zippo and Case products. From the impressive 40-foot Zippo lighter with neon flames to kinetic sculptures and the Zippo Repair Clinic, the unique exhibits will get visitors in the learning spirit.Read More >
Just a few miles down the road, your next stop celebrates the accomplishments of PA's oil country. The Penn Brad Oil Museum takes you back to the early oil boom times of the first billion-dollar oilfield. Guided tours are conducted by oil country veterans who volunteer their time to relate exciting first-hand experiences. There's even a collection of various oil-age knickknacks like wind-up clocks, tube radios, and lunch pails to demonstrate the everyday lives of the people from this era.Read More >
Head east for a scenic 20-minute trip through the autumn landscape and you'll reach the little town of Eldred. Eldred was the site of a large British and American munitions plant producing countless bombs, shells, and fuses 24 hours a day. Today, this museum preserves our country's history by commemorating the 40 million Americans who supported the soldiers during the Second World War. It makes for an interesting place to stop before you hop back in the car and get ready to cruise through the vibrant autumn reds and oranges that make leaf peeping the premier autumn activity.Read More >
Just a short trip down Route 446 along the Allegheny River, you'll reach the Victorian village of Smethport. Stretch your legs and take a stroll through the Smethport Mansion District with a self-guided tour of the 30 properties boasting history and architecture and showcasing the luxurious life of Smethport’s past. The first thing you'll notice is the English Gothic architecture of St. Luke's Episcopal Church and the opulence of Henry Hamlin's mansion. In the center of town, you'll see Hamlin Lake. Its cool waters reflect colors of the mountainous surroundings. Get a lakeside seat and enjoy the view or march on to Goosechaser Trail and stroll through the lush hardwood forest along the banks of Marvin Creek. Afterwards, make a detour to the Country Porch Coffee Shoppe, part of the PA Wilds Artisan Trail. There you'll find handmade candles, engraved picture frames, artwork, and other crafty goods.Read More >
Mount Jewett sits just 20 minutes southwest of Smethport. After a drive along Route 6, you’ll take the Kinzua Bridge Scenic Byway (Route 3011) – rated as one of America’s most breathtaking drives. Then a quick 3-mile ride takes you to the entrance of the Kinzua Bridge State Park, home to a gorgeous stretch of virtually untouched land. Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Kinzua Bridge State Park by walking across the sky on the Kinzua Skywalk that extends 625 feet into the Kinzua Gorge with a partial glass floor and a spectacular bird’s eye view. You’ll want to bring your camera as the trees put on their own fireworks display with the awesome colors of autumn.Read More >
Just 15 minutes away from your last stop lies the Flickerwood Wine Cellars, an entirely family built and operated business for more than 20 years. Make a stop here for a quick taste of their award-winning wine. If you have any questions, be sure to ask the experts working there. They'll go out of their way to impress you with their extensive knowledge of the delicious products. Then it's only a half-hour drive back to Smethport as you catch one last glimpse of fall in the daylight hours before you catch some rest. Sleep tight. We have a busy day tomorrow.Read More >
The Log Cabin Inn provides rustic decor for guests to enjoy during their visit. Their menu options range from great seafood entrees to traditional American cuisine.Read More >
In business since 1928, this family-run restaurant is home of the original "Texas Hot," a hot dog with mustard, onions and its famous sauce. For those who prefer more ethnic foods, try the souvlaki, gyros or Mexican-style chili. End a trip to this unique eatery with a specialty pie or sundae for dessert.Read More >
Awaiting you in Smethport is a good night's sleep and small town charm of the Mansion District Inn. You'll be hard pressed to find a better view of the surrounding hillsides vibrant with color than from the comfort of your room. Then, in the morning you'll wake up to gourmet coffee and fresh-baked biscotti.Read More >
The second day of your adventure starts off with a half-hour trip south on Route 46 to the town of Emporium. Make a stop at the Cameron County Artisan Center to see visions of the Pennsylvania Wilds come to life through locally crafted wood carvings, jewelry, quilts and pottery from more than 80 artists. Then hit the road down Route 120 south to Route 555 east, the Elk Scenic Drive. Twenty-three elk viewing sites are being established along the Elk Scenic Drive to promote safe and easy visitation. Keep your eyes peeled for free roaming elk along the way. They’re likely a part of the herd at your next stop in Benezette.
Road trippers will have a unique opportunity to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the elk’s reintroduction to PA in the heart of Pennsylvania Elk Country, a quiet village home to the largest herds of free-roaming elk this side of the Mississippi. From the Elk Scenic Drive (Route 555), turn onto Winslow Hill Road and travel north to the Elk Country Visitors Center and viewing area. Wander the site and take pictures or have an elk guide show you around. The center includes interpretive and interactive exhibits, a multi-sensory 4-D theater, wagon and sleigh elk-viewing rides, wildlife trails and viewing blinds. While at Elk Country Visitor Center, outdoor adventurers can also take a hike on the nearby Quehanna Trail. The trail covers 17 miles in the Elk State Forest in southern Cameron County. Then continue north to Winslow Hill Scenic Overlook Viewing area where you’ll get an even better view of the land and elk. On your way back down you may want to grab a bite to eat at the Benezette Hotel. Or if you can wait, a 40-minute drive north takes you to Gunner’s in St. Marys. Before you know it, you’ll be at the next destination – the Allegheny National Forest, a perfect backdrop to experience Pennsylvania’s fall foliage.Read More >
This next destination, the Allegheny National Forest, allows visitors to interact with fall foliage firsthand and experience Pennsylvania’s great outdoors. From Benezette, travel northwest to Route 255 through the town of St. Marys and onto the Longhouse National Scenic Byway (Route 321), arguably one of the most scenic roads in Pennsylvania, with plenty of breathtaking overlooks for great picture taking. Continue on to Route 59, which takes you through the Allegheny National Forest and onto our next set of destinations. Peaking in early October, the fall foliage season in the Allegheny National Forest features a brilliant autumn display. Visitors can hike hundreds of acres of trail ways, ranging from short birding trails to the challenging North Country Trail, or take an open cockpit bi-plane ride in a vintage 1943 Boeing Stearman.Read More >
Follow Route 59 to the Rimrock Overlook and give yourself one of the most amazing views of the forest below. It's a pretty popular destination for hikers, nature lovers, and gawkers. And just a short walk down a rock staircase will take you past a narrow crevasse, scenic cliffs, and giant boulders. You couldn't ask for a prettier picture.
Continue on Route 59 and stop at Jake's Rocks Overlook and smell the fresh air from 2,000 feet above the Allegheny National Forest floor. Numerous trails weave through the area. And all of them make for a pretty picture as you check out the multi-colored foliage. On your way back down, you'll find lots of picnic space to stretch out and relax.
Head back on to Route 59 for about 5 minutes between the dam and the Kinzua Marina and you’ll find the Kinzua Point. It’s a great place to end your expedition through the colorful forest canopy. The information center is open on the weekends during the fall, so be sure to stop by and pick up a map or kick back with an afternoon snack. No matter what you do, the view is spectacular.
As you head into Warren, we recommend checking out the Blair Museum. Built to celebrate the New Process Company for 100 years of operation, the museum honors John L. Blair and the dedicated employees who have served Blair customers for an entire century. Within the museum are letters from President Roosevelt, notes from John L. Blair, official documents and historical artifacts and archives, all attesting to the important role the company played in PA’s history. This is your last stop after a busy day on the road, but get ready for another beautiful fall day in PA.Read More >
Authentic Italian cuisine in a friendly atmosphere. What more could you ask for? Stop by for some pasta, a family-style salad bowl, or a perfect steak.
For those who like to stay active, hop on Route 6 and head west to visit Erie’s Presque Isle State Park for a display of many beautiful autumn colors along the shore of Lake Erie. Discover the magnificence of this 3,200-acre peninsula as it curls into the lake offering a wide variety of fall experiences. For an offshore foliage experience, take advantage of the “Lady Kate,” a 65-foot Great Lakes vessel that ventures out onto the waters of Lake Erie for a 90-minute tour and an incredible view of the shoreline. Riders can relax while learning about the area’s ecology, history, nature and more with the boat’s knowledgeable guide.Read More >
For the next stop on the tour, drive down the street to the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC). An educational center at heart, the TREC is dedicated to teaching visitors about the unique 3,200 acres of Presque Isle and the many different forms of life that inhabit the peninsula. TREC also serves as a center for research, contributing to conservation efforts and promoting environmental awareness, helping to preserve the unparalleled beauty of Presque Isle.Read More >
For a sweet stop, drive downtown to Erie’s esteemed chocolatier, Pulakos Chocolates. George Pulakos brought his handmade candies to Erie in 1903 where his passion for crafting Old World chocolates from the freshest ingredients led him to open the flagship store on the town’s State Street. To learn more about the rich history of the candy store, you can tour the factory on Parade Street for a unique behind-the-scenes look into the molding operations, kitchens and production centers. With sponge taffy and chocolate-covered treats, you can pick up some sugary snacks for the road before heading to the next destination.
Take US-20 E and make your way to the town of North East. The Lake Shore Railway Historical Museum should be your first stop in this quaint town. This is where Pennsylvania celebrates its railroading roots. The museum preserves a historic collection of railroad and transportation artifacts that span the decades. When you're done walking around, stop by the shop for some cool train-related souvenirs.Read More >
Make a quick trip up the road and head over to the South Shore Wine Company. It was more than 100 years ago when this land was first cultivated for grape growing and winemaking. Today, you can step down into the stone wine cellar now home to the newly re-established sister winery of Mazza Vineyards. A trip full of rich tastes and history, you will be able to sip a unique selection of wines while appreciating the grandeur and silent history within the stone walls. Enjoy a delicious lunch or glass of wine before hitting the road at the winery’s patio café.Read More >
For those who want to experience more of the wineries that Northeast PA offers, the Erie Wine Trail is approximately 40 miles long and runs amidst 30,000 acres of vineyards along Lake Erie in western New York and Pennsylvania in “America’s Grape Country.” The well-drained, gravel-loam soils and the moderating effect of the lake on spring and fall temperatures combine to create the perfect growing environment for healthy vineyards and premium wines. Twenty-three wineries produce award-winning wines, including vinifera, ice wines, fruit wines, and specialty wines, such as brandies and ports.
This inn offers a wonderful glimpse of the history of this area in North East, PA. From the moment you arrive, you'll be greeted with a world of vintage craftsmanship and charming service. Innkeepers Peggy and Dave know what it takes to keep a weary roadtripper happy and comfortable.Read More >
Deemed the “most luxurious accommodations in downtown Erie,” the Boothby Inn offers lodging on Millionaire’s Row. Equipped with private baths, cable television, wireless free internet and individual room controls for heat and air conditioning, you will forget you are staying in an 1888 Victorian home in the heart of Erie’s historic district. Continental breakfast is provided to weekend travelers and all guests receive one free off-street parking spot. Rest your head after a long day on the road at Erie’s most prestigious accommodations.Read More >
Once you're down from the trees, there's a whole lot to learn about Lackawanna's mining history right here in Scranton. Fortunately, the Lackawanna County Coal Mine Tour is here to teach you all about it. Journey 300 feet beneath the surface with your tour guide as they take on a trip into the tunnels and shafts of this 150 year old coal mine. You'll see just how dangerous this old profession really was and how brave those miners had to be.
Straub Brewery is a friendly place. So friendly in fact, that they're inviting you in for a free tour. They've been serving beer for decades and are experts when it comes to making, discussing, and drinking the stuff. So stop in and pick up a free pint of your favorite brew from their Eternal Tap.
Nestled along the edge of the Allegheny National Forest, this small town comes with one impressive past. Here you can enjoy the crisp autumn air as you stroll along the beautiful downtown streets and stop in the local shops and take in the mansions built from the lumber trade.
This newly opened winery sits atop the Red Hill Summit at the gateway to the largest elk herd east of the Mississippi. These folks pride themselves on their wide selection of reds, whites and fruit wines. A stop at the tasting room and gift shop isn't just recommended. It's an absolute must. Once you pick up your delicious wine, have a seat at the lounge or rear deck for fantastic views of the valley below.
Almost 50 miles long and 1,450 feet deep, the Pine Creek Gorge is known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania and features a brilliant fall display in early October of deep reds, yellows and purples in early October. Some of the best full views of the canyon can be found at Leonard Harrison or Colton Point State Park. The historic Pine Creek Rail Trail is a gem of the Pine Creek Gorge and offers a tremendous way to view fall foliage. Voted by USA Today as one of the "10 great places to take a bike tour," this 60-mile trail travels through the Gorge for an up-close and personal look at foliage for hikers, bikers or equestrians.
Named for the large black cherry trees in the park, Cherry Springs State Park is known for having some of the darkest skies on the eastern seaboard and boasts a 300 by 600 foot observation field with a 360-degree view of the sky set atop a mountain. Under ideal conditions, visitors can see more than 6,000 stars blanketing the sky from horizon to horizon, as well as satellites and the planets and moons of our solar system. Thirty cabins are situated nearby, making this park an ideal place for stargazing. For added adventure, the neighboring Susquehanna Trail offers 85 miles of backpacking and hiking.