Quality Beats Quantity In The I-99 Corridor
Discover life outside the nearby urban hubs in Pennsylvania's I-99 Corridor that offers lush outdoor activities, family friendliness and a rich history.
As an oasis for outdoor beauty and recreation, an easy place to put down roots, and an arts and culture scene that rivals nearby metropolises, the Pennsylvania I-99 Corridor creates a desirable place to live and work that’s just outside major urban hubs.
With limestone waters, caverns to explore and trails to traverse, the I-99 Corridor region has many outdoor recreation opportunities for adventures in the open air near the Alleghany Mountains.
For water lovers, the region is host to the Juniata River Water Trail, a component of the Pittsburgh-Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway, with 142 miles of flat easy waters that welcome canoeing, kayaking, camping and fishing throughout the year.
The I-99 Corridor is also home to the Main Line Canal Greenway Geotrail, a unique geocaching experience that allows trail-goers access to treasures hidden by other visitors through a Global Positioning Technology (GPS) device.
Not far away in Centre County, the Black Moshannon State Park covers 3,394 acres of forest and wetlands, including the Black Moshannon Lake that gets its name from the tea-colored water. And for more adventurous types, the Coral Caverns in Manns Choice, Penn., in Bedford County feature the only fossilized coral reef cavern known to exist and includes fossilized sea animals buried over 400 million years ago.
The I-99 Corridor is known for its welcoming nature, especially to those new in the area. The family-friendly region offers residents many choices when it comes to high-quality education and low congestion – all while keeping the cost of living affordable – but the area is also known for its amusement options for locals and visitors alike.
One of the region’s landmark attractions, the Omni Bedford Springs Resort & Spa, is built around eight mineral springs first used for their healing powers by Native Americans in the region.
Today, the resort includes a 30,000-square-foot destination spa, one of the few in the country utilizing natural spring water in all of its treatments. The 2,200-acre resort complex dates to 1806 and is a designated National Historic Landmark.
“The region is known for its family fun, value and variety, most notably in the areas of family outdoor recreation, shopping and dining,” says Explore Altoona’s executive director, Mark Ickes.
Visitors can peruse breweries, wineries and distilleries on the Central PA Tasting Trail, with stops at the Robin Hood Brewing Co., Big Springs Spirits and Happy Valley Vineyard & Winery in Centre County, enjoy the fruit grown at Ridgetop Orchards in Bedford County or explore the Revolutionary War replica of Fort Roberdeau in Blair County.
A unique attraction is the National Coverlet Museum in Bedford, the first independent museum dedicated to American woven coverlets.
The signature Horseshoe Curve in Blair County boasts a railroad curve that spans 2,375 feet around Kittaning Point at the base of the Alleghany Mountains.
In Altoona, the Railroaders Memorial Museum is a hands-on, interactive museum that displays the area’s rich history and involvement in America’s Industrial Revolution.
“This is only place a visitor can witness a train traversing in a horseshoe,” says Ickes. “It’s an amazing engineering feat and attracts train lovers from all over and really identifies the area’s rich history.”
The arts expand further in the region with area festivals that cover many aspects of art and music, such as the Blair County Arts Festival, a 49-year tradition held in May, and the Remington Ryde Bluegrass Festival held in May in Centre County. Other notable museums and performing arts centers in the region include the historic Altoona Community Theater, The Palmer Museum of visual arts located on Penn State University Park campus in Centre County and the Bellefonte ART Museum for Centre County.