An Amish buggy

Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

Jay Lloyd's Getaway: Highways and byways

January 11, 2019 - 4:00 am
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — If you were looking for an excuse to avoid getaways powered by the Pennsylvania Turnpike, here's one. 

Turnpike tolls have just gone up an average of 6 percent. In the scheme of things, it may not be a lot of cash out of the getaway budget, but it is an excuse to get off the flyway and detour on the slower, scenic roadways that define the Pennsylvania heartland — the villages, mountains, forests and attractions that create an environment worthy of an eye-filling ramble. 

One of my favorite rambles that parallel the east-west turnpike for a day trip or a multi-week meander across the state is Route 30. 

Coatesville

In it's heyday, the borough of Coatesville was a hub of the American steel industry. It provided the steel that built skyscrapers and ocean liners.

Today, the memory is kept alive at the National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum

It's an ideal stop on a day drive or a weekend visit to Pennsylvania Dutch Country further down the road. The museum traces the steel forged for machines and buildings as early as America's railroading journey westward, and as modern as the ill-fated World Trade Center. 

On display are tridents, forged in town that survived the Trade Center collapse. 

For a unique lunch, drive 15 minutes south to a classic English pub, The Whip Tavern. It's pure country fare that includes classic fish and chips, Scottish eggs, and barrels of British beer.

World Trade Center trident
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

Pennsylvania Dutch Country

You can meander along Route 30 or jog off to Route 23 for a leisurely drive through Amish farmland and share the road with horse-drawn carriages and farm wagons. 

See fields and silos without the distraction of utility wires. Stop at Shady Maple for a Pennsylvania Dutch smorgasbord. Take a ride on the preserved Strasburg Railroad (during limited winter days) or catch a concert at the American Music Theatre just outside Lancaster. Then, drive on into history.

Gettysburg 

You might say that Gettysburg is the second-most historic city in all of Pennsylvania, right after Billy Penn's Green Town. It saw the pivotal battle in a war between the states and was the backdrop for Abraham Lincoln's clear definition of American values in his Gettysburg address. 

The sites of each element in the Gettysburg Civil War saga have been faithfully preserved. Stay at the Revolution-era Dobbin House, which also served as a way-point for the Underground Railroad. Dining in one of the Dobbin's period rooms from a mid-18th-century menu is a passage in time. 

But the visit isn't just about history. Bring your skis and snowboards for some runs at Liberty Mountain, about 10 miles west of Gettysburg.

Note: The Gettysburg National Military Park is closed during the government shutdown.

The Gettysburg battlefield
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

Allegheny Mountains

Meander west along the Lincoln Highway (Route 30) passing through a pair of thickly wooded state forests and head for the Allegheny Mountains. 

When you get near Somerset, jog south and stop. There are three must-visit sites in the Pennsylvania wilderness. One represents American determination in challenging moments; the second brings us to a study of unique creativity; the third is just plain fun. 

Outside of Somerset, you'll find Shankesville, Pennsylvania. No one heard of the town until Sept. 11, 2001, when determined passengers fought off terrorists on a United Airlines flight and brought the plane down before it could reach it's target in Washington. 

A Flight 93 memorial at the crash site is a reminder of the day and the deed. 

Then travel onto the visual and architectural wonder of Fallingwater. The marvel of Frank Lloyd Wright's imagination is a unique home, modern for its 1930s design, and built over a pristine waterfall and fast-flowing stream. Visitors arrive from around the globe for riveting tours of the multi-level house and property. 

And finally, haul out those skis and snowshoes again for a visit to Seven Springs, one of Pennsylvania's largest all-season resorts. Ski the upper elevations of the scenic Laurel Highlands. Then dine in an array of restaurants from a top-tier buffet to fine dining and piano bar cocktails at Helen's.

Note: During the government shutdown period, check Flight 93's website for accessibility.

Fallingwater
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

On a personal aside, we've enjoyed the Allegheny portion of this trip on four-day winter and fall getaways and always wished we had taken more time. A week would be ideal. 

So get off the Pike, pick a destination, and plan your alternate route to see Pennsylvania at its most dynamic.