Posted January 20, 2010 by Jamie Moore
Chase away winter blues with a super cheap wilderness getaway in the Pennsylvania Wilds, just over an hour from State College. Whether you want to see your first elk or eat your first elk burger, this is the place. Let us introduce you to sweet deals on rustic cabins in the woods, a legendary pub, and a wine trail complete with groundhog.
Parker Dam State Park: Don't let a little snow stop you from roughing it in the Wilds. Reconnect with your inner adventurer in a rustic cabin this January or February, when PA state parks run stay-one-night-get-one-free Cabin Fever deals. The furnishings may be sparse (read: no indoor plumbing) but there is a stove, fridge, wood-burning fireplace, and—maybe most important after a day of tobogganing or tracking elusive coyotes—a gas heater. You just can't beat rates that start at roughly $30 per night, even if it's B.Y.O. sleeping bag for you and your three closest friends.
Denny's Beer Barrel Pub: Both the Food Network and Travel Channel have sniffed out this down-home burger joint. Denny is best known for his 100-pound burger, but his burger challenge has also attracted hearty tourists from around the world. You win prizes and 50 percent off the price for downing the super-sized burgers, from the two-pound challenger ($15.95) to the six-pound grand challenger ($35.95). Should you decide not to answer the call, one of Denny's 20 smaller burger varieties—including elk, a Wilds tradition—will suit you just fine. Bonus: Pennsylvania beer on tap.
Groundhog Wine Trail: This seven-stop Pennsylvania Wilds wine trail twists through elk country, the mountains of Allegheny National Forest, and Punxsutawney, where the world's most famous groundhog makes his annual prediction in February. At one winery, you can sample award-winning varieties in a 1900s-era barn and tour the vineyard or the on-site antique tool museum. Another vintner houses one of the state's largest home-brew shops with supplies for making beer and wine at home. Here's a wine trail itinerary with links to roadside cafes, B&Bs, and other activities.
To search for flights and compare prices to State College, which is home to the Pennsylvania Wilds’ nearest major airport, please use our price-comparison tool.(Photo: Alan Freed)
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