Packed with assets both natural and historic, Columbia in Lancaster County is a town in transition, rebounding after decades of struggle. Local residents and organizations have put a fresh focus on recreation and infrastructure, revamping downtown, luring a brewpub, launching a new river trail, and spotlighting the town's inherent charm. The key to Columbia's future is also the source of its past prosperity: the Susquehanna River.
The inaugural PA Urban Parks & Recreation Exchange, held in Allentown, spotlighted how Pennsylvania cities large and small can improve their communities through thoughtful design and increased access to parks and playgrounds.
In September, Reading hosted the 2017 PA Greenways and Trails Summit, an opportunity to celebrate and advocate for the state's growing network of trails. These assets not only help Pennsylvanians get out into nature, they also spur economic development in adjacent communities.
If you own a bike and haven't gone for a ride in a while, the excuses just won't cut it anymore. The region is blessed with hundreds of miles of non-motorized, recreational bike paths, including plenty of flat rail trails.
Every year, almost a million people head to the Lehigh Valley for the country's largest free music festival, staged in the shadow of Bethlehem's iconic steel stacks. At this year's event (running August 4 through 13) you can check out performances by Santana, LIVE, Toby Keith and many more. When your ears need a break, there's plenty of hoppy brews, tasty eats, local art and outdoor adventures to be had in this rich PA region.
Happening June 9-11, the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival will bring thousands to the birthplace of the original Jeep. There will be street fairs, exhibits, rugged trails, and plenty of accessories and gear for sale.
In Philadelphia, Lancaster and Pittsburgh, thousands have embraced Open Streets events -- that's a day of car-free fun and community engagement. All three places have at least one festival happening this summer so get ready to hit the road.
For generations, folks have traveled to this pastoral county to witness Amish life, drive over the rolling hills, and fill their cars with handmade furniture and jars of chow-chow. You can -- and should -- still do all that, but add to your itinerary creative restaurants, local breweries and wineries, a scenic bike tour, a deep dive into Lancaster City, an afternoon on the river and much more. If you get off the beaten path, this Pennsylvania county will never stop surprising you.