It's leaf-peeping season, and that means that those of us who live on the East Coast are hopping in our cars and hitting the road to find the most fabulous displays of color around. Even if you don't have a ton of time to go traveling, I would highly recommend you make the time for an extended weekend in Pennsylvania's Cumberland Valley, where the views are amazing, whether you're standing at the top of a trail in Pine Grove Furnace State Park, or enjoying an evening on the historic, tree-lined streets of Carlisle, PA.
I was lucky enough to visit in early October of last year, and I'm still kind of surprised that I didn't wreck the car on the way. I stopped a ridiculous amount of times just to take in the beauty; while you can make the trip in three hours on the Turnpike, I highly recommend following Route 30 for the majority of the drive, which for most of its length is also the Lincoln Highway-not only will you enjoy breathtaking vistas, but you can also stop to check out the barn-sized highway murals and oversized statues that used to promote different attractions for those brave enough to venture along America's first coast-to-coast highway in those early road-tripping days.
It's easy to get an up-close look at all that nature has to offer in the Cumberland Valley, with more than 200 miles of trails spread over its 54,000 acres. This includes the Appalachian Trail, which runs through Pine Grove Furnace State Park, which is considered about the halfway point of the 2,189-mile walk. There is a wonderful museum at the site, which shares the history of some of the trailblazers who first popularized the hike, including Grandma Gatewood, who first hiked the trail in 1955 at the age of 67, and Earl Shaffer, who in 1948, became the first person to hike the trail in just one trip. One of the half-dozen shelters that Shaffer built between 1959-61 is even on display inside; it was dismantled by 40 volunteers and reconstructed inside the museum in the hiker's honor.Read the full article here.