Open yourself up to new experiences across Northeast Pennsylvania.
The region boasts a rich history, not only in terms of natural wonders but also of history, architecture and more. And while you might have already hit up many of the area’s major attractions, plenty of lesser-known spots are ready for you to explore.
French Azilum Historic Site Inc.
Where: 469 Queens Road, Asylum Twp., Bradford County
Details: 570-265-3376 or theFrenchAzilum.com
As the French Revolution raged in 1793, this property was set aside as a refugee for Queen Marie Antoinette. The royal met the guillotine instead and never made it to NEPA, but French Azilum thrived for many years. At its apex, more than 200 residents lived in over 50 homes in the village that also featured a town square, shops, a theater, a school and more.
During normal operations today, visitors can tour the Laporte House and participate in numerous cultural events throughout the year. French Azilum Historic Site also is available to rent for events such as weddings and family reunions.
Those traveling on Route 6 can pull over for a birds-eye view of the property and Susquehanna River.
Roebling’s Delaware Aqueduct
Where: Scenic and Delaware drives, Lackawaxen Twp., Pike County
Details: 570-685-4871 or nps.gov/upde
Part of the National Park Service’s Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River area, the aqueduct, aka the Roebling Bridge, is the country’s oldest existing wire suspension bridge and a National Historic Landmark and National Civil Engineering Landmark.
John A. Roebling, who later engineered the Brooklyn Bridge, designed the bridge, with construction beginning in 1847. At the time, the span was one of four suspension aqueducts on the Delaware and Hudson Canal, and it later turned into a private toll bridge before becoming part of the NPS. Today, visitors can walk across the bridge, crossing from Pennsylvania into New York.
Where: 812 Main St., Honesdale, Wayne County; additional platform at 100 Main Ave., Hawley, Wayne County
Ride on historical rail cars through the wilds of Wayne County on the Delaware Lackawaxen & Stourbridge Railroad Co.’s scenic railway.
The train takes its name from the Stourbridge Lion, a pioneering steam engine that made its trial run in Honesdale on Aug. 8, 1829.
While the coronavirus has put rides on hold, normal operations include trips from Honesdale to Hawley and beyond through the Lackawaxen River Valley, with several themed rides scattered throughout the year.
Downtown Scranton Walking Guide
Where: Several downtown Scranton neighborhoods, Lackawanna County
The Electric City has many notable pieces of architecture, and Lackawanna Heritage Valley has created a guide to help the public find them.
Those interested can download a PDF of the guide on LHV’s website and then head out on a self-guided tour. The guide divides downtown Scranton into several categories, including National Register Properties, the Commercial District, the Gothic District and the Industrial Corridor. It also includes maps plus details about the history of each property.
LHV estimates that each walking loop takes about 20 to 30 minutes to finish.
Pike County Historical Society at the Columns
Where: 608 Broad St., Milford, Pike County
Details: 570-296-8126 or pikehistorical.org
The museum hosts a wide range of exhibits with local ties in addition to holding special events and offering resources for genealogical research.
But the real star at the Columns is “The Lincoln Flag,” a bloodstained, 36-star American flag that was at Ford’s Theatre when President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. The flag’s ownership traces back to a family of actors present at the theater that night, and their descendant, V. Paul Struthers, donated the flag to the museum in 1954.
While the coronavirus has temporarily closed the museum, it normally is open Wednesdays through Sundays from July 1 to Aug. 31 with reduced hours the rest of the year.
BicyclePA Routes L and Y
Route L: Northern terminus, Damascus Road, Harmony Twp., Susquehanna County; southern terminus, Delaware state line, 0.5 miles south of Cossart
Route Y: Eastern terminus, New York state line at Roebling’s Delaware Aqueduct, Lackawaxen Twp.; western terminus, Ohio state line at the Pymatuning Reservoir, 1 mile west of Espyville.
Bicycle route L runs from the Pennsylvania-New York border in Susquehanna County south to the Pennsylvania-Delaware border in Chester County. The east-west Route Y, meanwhile, follows Route 6 as it cuts through northern Pennsylvania from the New York to Ohio borders.
As most BicyclePA routes do not have dedicated bike lanes, the route is recommended for cyclists 16 or older with years of road cycling experience, or licensed drivers.
If that sounds a little too challenging, May is National Bike Month, and this Friday, May 15, is National Bike to Work Day. If you’re not working from home, grab your bike, and don’t forget your helmet.
Mormon Monument and Priesthood Restoration Site
Where: 27832 Route 171, Oakland Twp., Susquehanna County
Details: 570-335-9580 or history.churchofjesuschrist.org
This site holds historical significance for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the place where church leader Joseph Smith translated most of the Book of Mormon while living there with his wife, Emma, in 1828 and 1829. Church followers believe John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, Smith’s scribe, in nearby woods, and the two men also baptized one another in the Susquehanna River.
Open to the public, the site includes monuments, reconstructed homes and a visitor center with exhibits and artifacts. Nearby is McCune Cemetery, the final resting place of the Smiths’ first child and Emma Smith’s parents.
The site is closed temporarily because of the pandemic, but it normally is open daily with hours depending on the season.
Where: Off Routes 92 to 171, Lanesboro, Susquehanna County
Spanning Starrucca Creek, this bridge built mainly from native bluestone in the 1840s for the Erie Railroad was estimated to cost more than $300,000, making it the most expensive stone-arch bridge in the country at that time.
Clocking in at 1,040 feet long and 90 to 100 feet high, today is the largest bridge of its kind in the world and is a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
Little Rocky Glen Preserve
Where: Off Lithia Valley Road, Clinton Twp., Wyoming County (park at the lot near the concrete bridge)
Details: 570-945-6995 or countrysideconservancy.org
Nestled between Tunkhannock and Factoryville, Countryside Conservancy’s 26-acre property open to the public from April through November offers visitors views of waterfalls, rapids and natural potholes from ledges along the Tunkhannock Creek. The cliffs along the gorge are more than 100 feet high, a short hike takes guests along the top as well as through meadows.
For those who prefer attractions closer to the ground, the bottom of the gorge features clear pools and has a picnic pavilion. Don’t bring your bathing suit, though — swimming is not allowed.
The conservancy’s trails remain open during the pandemic.
Top of the World
Where: Tigue Street off Interstate 81, Dunmore, Lackawanna County
This 4.2-mile loop trail in the Dunmore Pine Barrens is on private property near Dunmore Reservoir but is open to the public during the day. Visitors will find natural features include a lake and vistas and can bring leashed dogs. The trail has an elevation gain of about 700 feet.
Caitlin Heaney West is the content editor for Access NEPA and oversees the Early Access blog in addition to working as a copy editor and staff writer for The Times-Tribune. An award-winning journalist, she is a summa cum laude graduate of Shippensburg University and also earned a master’s degree from Marywood University. Caitlin joined the Times-Shamrock family in 2009 and lives in Scranton. Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5107; or @cheaneywest