Autumn Slopes

Jay Lloyd / KYW Newsradio

Getaway Guide to fall on the Pennsylvania slopes

September 26, 2018 - 3:12 pm

By Jay Lloyd

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- As a cool breeze begins to sway silent ski chair-lifts, the Pennsylvania slopes swing from summer to fall. Sips by a fire pit, Halloween frights and wine festivals compete for attention with scenic lift rides. And for the young and young at heart, a promise of wintertime jobs that come with free lift tickets. So, what's happening and where? Here.


What happens at Spring Mountain when the sun goes down and darkness shrouds the untraveled back slopes? Some believe the ghosts of 19th century quarrymen who worked this hill roam free. Every weekend beginning Oct. 5 until Oct. 27, you can walk and ride in their path. The traditional Halloween haunting takes over. Ghostly hayrides, chairlift rides and walks will liven the night in the heart of Montgomery County. Then enjoy a cold beer by a warm fire pit.


If mountain biking is your kick, check in at Bear Creek Mountain in nearby Berks County. Cross-country trails offer scenics and challenge with a lodge full of amenities at the base. Starting at noon on Sunday, October 21, lift a glass at the Harvest Wine Festival. Sip and nibble your way to happy hour with samples from local wineries and creators of craving inducing flavors. You might want to stay overnight to avoid the drive home. Great food and drink at the Grille. Suites at the rustic motif lodge are available for about $180.


Take to the skies on a scenic chair lift ride this weekend at Blue Mountain, just a short hike up the turnpike. It's time for the second annual Oktoberfest. That means beer, wine and the taste of fall set to the sound of an Oom-Pah band. When was the last time you danced a Polka? Try it. It's fun. Then, if you're ready for that dream full or part-time job with skiing perks, show up at Blue on October 18 or November 10 for job fairs that put you on desks or slopes. You might get an offer on the spot.


In days past the Pocono Mountains would echo to the shout of "TIIIIM-BER" as tall trees were felled by the woodsman's axe. Now, when Lumberjacks gather at Shawnee Mountain for the annual Timber Festival, you'll hear the buzz and rip of chainsaws, carving amazing designs in logs and totems, the new craft of the Lumberjack. The festival runs for two days on the weekend of October 6 and 7. It's accompanied by base to summit chair lift rides, barbecues, wine, beer and music. Go for a day or stay for two. Plenty for the kids as well.


Set your GPS for Scranton and Montage Mountain. You can see the slopes from the turnpike. This Saturday the mountain hosts a broad collection of wines from the vineyards of Pennsylvania. The wine tastings are accompanied by uniquely crafted tasting plates to match the color and character of the wines. There'll be music till the last glass is drained. For an overnight stay, I like the Hampton Inn, closest to the mountain. And they have a shuttle.


High in the Endless Mountains of northeast Pennsylvania, Elk Mountain, with its challenging trail system, rises above the southern valley. On October 6 and 7, foods of Autumn, craft beer, wine and music highlight Elk's annual Fall Festival. Local art and crafts will be in focus. The weekend offers a chance to see the scope of the mountain, the slopeside view from the upper deck of the sun brightened Winter Garden Restaurant and find out what's new for the coming ski season. For an overnight stay, the comfy Stone Bridge Inn is in the shadow of the mountain. The lodge holds a friendly rustic tavern and a restaurant that roams between familiar fin, fur and feather creations with a nod to those who nosh on veggies.

Elk Summit
Jay Lloyd / KYW Newsradio

It's a time to head for the foliage changing hills and raise a glass to the appearance of a new season - the bridge between summer and skiing.