Pennsylvania has no lack of places to see and explore! On a recent trip to Northeastern PA, I ventured to one of the state’s most iconic parks. No trip would be complete if I didn’t also seek out some local breweries, as well! If you are looking for ideas for a weekend trip, read on to discover what you can do in and around the Susquehanna Valley region.
Ricketts Glen State Park was the first destination. Located in Columbia, Luzerne, and Sullivan counties within Pennsylvania, Ricketts Glen is 13,050 acres of forest that became a National Natural Landmark in 1963. The park’s name derives from the land’s original proprietor, Robert Bruce Rickett, and the land became a state park and open to the public in 1943. The park includes three glens, Glen Leigh, Ganoga Glen and Ricketts Glen. It is home to an old growth forest, 24 named waterfalls along Kitchen Creek and a wide variety of plants & animals. Falls Trail was built by R. Bruce Ricketts along the banks of the waterfalls and 22 of the waterfalls were named by Ricketts himself.
Falls Trail is a moderate-level trail, that is great for hiking, trail running and site-seeing. It is best to wear sufficient footwear, such as hiking boots, due to the trail being slippery from water run-off. I also recommend you begin this hike early due to the increase in foot traffic during the afternoon. The hike itself was beautiful! The free-flowing waterfalls looked majestic, cutting through the rocky clefts. The 24-named waterfalls all range in height, with the tallest standing at 94 ft., Ganoga Falls. If the goal of your trip is great photography, you will find there is no lack of picturesque views.
After a great hike, I decided to head to Colonel Ricketts Hard Cider Winery. Located less than 15 minutes away from Ricketts Glen State Park, Colonel Ricketts Hard Cider Winery is a family-run business that uses locally grown Pennsylvania apples to hand craft every bottle. They produce new flavors each year depending on the types of apples available and growing conditions. My personal favorites were the Delicious Red and Fuji Fanatic, both being semi-sweet and delicious!
If it is beer that you seek after your hike, then look no further than the River Rat Brew Trail. Located in the Susquehanna River Valley, the River Rat Brew Trail includes 12 local breweries and a cidery. During the weekend, I visited 3 of the trail’s breweries; Berwick Brewing, Old Forge Brewing Company, and Selin’s Grove Brewing Co.
With close to 25 beers on tap, you will be hard-pressed to not find at least one beer that you love at Berwick Brewing. The oldest operating brew pub in Columbia County, all of the beer is carefully crafted on-site in the German tradition. Known for its great beer selection, it should be noted that Berwick produces some amazing pizzas, as well! Be sure to try out the white curd and kielbasa or the white curd and Jager pizzas while enjoying your beers in the Bier Garten overlooking the Susquehanna River.
Old Forge Brewing Company, located in Danville, is a local brewery that prides itself on its craftsmanship. Their hand-crafted beer is made in small batches to ensure quality and peak freshness, and the menu has ingredients sourced from local farms and markets. Try Old Forge’s Overbite IPA or Endless Summer Ale while you sit outside on a warm summer night.
Selin’s Grove Brewing Co. is a unique brewery indeed. It is located in a beautiful federal style 200-year-old stone mansion completed in 1816 by Pa.’s third Governor Simon Snyder. The building is on the National Historic Register and remains intact. With an ever-changing tap selection due to the small batches that are created, Selin’s Grove will keep you on your toes with the selections you can sample on your trip. I tried a tripel and a cherry kriek on my visit and I was not disappointed!
Whether you are going for a day-trip or an entire weekend, there is so much to see and do around the Susquehanna River Valley. Enjoy your trip!