BY REGINA GARGANO
Happy New Year, everyone!
A new year, a new decade, a blank canvas and limitless potential; this is the magic 2020 holds in its hands. Some of that magic can be found in your own backyard. There’s a lot more to Schuylkill County than what meets the eye. Why not make a resolution to explore it this year?
Now, we know most people don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions. In fact, 92% of all New Year’s resolutions are broken with 80% of them broken by February, but we feel this is a resolution that can be kept, and we’ve created a Skook New Year’s resolution list to help!
We’re confident that even though this list is a drop in the bucket of what you could do, it will definitely inspire and assist you. We back up the list with lots of other resources on www.schuylkill.org, including the Schuylkill County Outdoor Recreation Map, the brand new 2020 Visitors Guide, trails directory, our Pour Tour craft beverage trail, an awesome events calendar with our partners at www.skoocal.com on our events tab, our blog, plus lots of hardcopy resources like the Northeast Pennsylvania Hiking and Biking Trails Map, Schuylkill River Trail Map, and Weiser State Forest Map & Recreation Guide at the visitors center. We know that with all of this at your disposal, you’re definitely going to enjoy everything Schuylkill County has to offer in 2020!
• Gather some friends and challenge yourselves at The Art of Escape at Made in PGA
• Take a painting, pottery or drawing class at Tamaqua Community Arts Center, Mud & Maker, The Arts Barn or Walk In Art Center.
• Try your hand at something new at Alchemist’s Cove Games & Comics
• Find your “mindful” spot at Yoga on the Mountain at Hawk Mountain.
• Consider turning one of your talents or hobbies into a business as a vendor at The Marketplace.
• Step back in time at Jerry’s Classic Cars & Collectibles Museum.
• Buy a pass and check out more than 20,000 acres with more than 600 mapped miles of trails for outdoor adventures for both motorized and non-motorized vehicles at Famous Reading Outdoors
• Enjoy delicious fresh fruit and vegetables every week at the Hometown Farmers Market or Stone Mountain Wine Cellars.
• Make someone’s day with flowers from Forget-Me-Not Florists
• Hit the completed sections of the Schuylkill River Trail or make tracks with Schuylkill On the Move.
• Treat your taste buds to Brandon’s innovative weekly specials at The Washington Hotel
• Delve deep (1,800 feet deep to be exact) into our anthracite mining heritage and go on the Pioneer Tunnel’s mine tour.
• Experience some of the incomparable “pizza genius” going on at Roma with its Peppa Pig, Wiz Cheesesteak, Firecracker, Special Crispy Sicilian, Old-School Artisan Pepperoni, Taco, Mac and Cheese pizzas, as well as a complete line of wood-fired Pizza Napoletana
• Elevate your camping game in a yurt at Tuscarora State Park.
• Take a summer Saturday tour at Hope Hill Lavender Farm. Details are on their website at hopehilllavenderfarm.com.
• Take your kids (or grandkids!) to experience the fun and truly hands-on atmosphere of The Nature and Discovery Store in New Ringgold.
• Take in a free concert during Tamaqua Chamber’s Summer Concert Series at the historic 1874 station while dining alfresco at Tamaqua Station Restaurant.
• Learn more about the remarkable and inspirational life of American professional boxer, activist and philanthropist, Muhammad Ali by taking a tour at Fighter’s Heaven.
• Test your competitive eating mettle and enter the Skook Grilled Cheese Challenge at Wheel Restaurant or the pierogi eating contest at Yuengling’s Oktoberfest.
• Treat someone you love to an indulgence from Lewis’ General Store, C&C’s Candies and Momma Millie’s, the sweetest bakery in Pennsylvania.
• Kick up your heels, in a jig or a reel, at the annual Girardville St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
• Be amazed at a Gabriel Chamber Ensemble concert.
• Improve your putt with a round of mini golf at Heisler’s Dairy Bar.
• Embrace our community’s eastern European roots with the many delicacies the three “Kielbasi Kings” have to offer at Kielbasi Fest on May 16 in Shenandoah.
• Plan for some fun at Coal Region Night at the Reading Phillies.
• Explore Lithuanian heritage at the 106th annual Lithuanian Days (the oldest ethnic festival in the USA) at Catalpa Grove at Lakewood Park.
• Experience incredible fireworks with The Crackerjacks Inc. at the Valley View Park.
• Take off into blue skies on your own tour with the good folks at the Schuylkill County airport.
• Celebrate Pennsylvania’s strong history of brewing by taking some friends on the tour at America’s Oldest Brewery.
• Enjoy wicked good food truck fare and the German biergarten atmosphere of Stoker’s Brewing Company, and fill a growler to take home, too!
• Learn some innovative ways to improve your health and overall well-being with interesting foods and ideas from Peace Frog Natural Foods and Healthy Habits Market.
• Unplug yourself in nature and take a hike on the Appalachian Trail.
• Start training for the 2021 Yuengling Light Lager Jogger race and register in early October!
• Grab your kayak and do a day (or the whole week!) of the Schuylkill Sojourn.
• Find your inspiration in 20,000 square feet of awesome at Vintage 61 Storehouse.
• Treat your palate to the fabulous libations found at The Brickhouse Grill or the Crimson House.
• Try the small batch flavored moonshine, whiskey and rum at Spring Glen’s Jack Azz Distilling.
• Gather your family (your well-behaved dog, too) and take a ride on one of the special event excursions on the WK&S Railroad.
• Gain an understanding of the life and culture of our anthracite mining history by taking a tour of the No. 9 Mine & Museum in Lansford.
• Take a relaxing break with java and crepes at Pressed Coffee & Books.
• Create your very own pour tour on our craft beverage trail at http://schuylkill.org/pour-tours-and-more.
• Discover our unique collective history and volunteer at the Schuylkill County Historical Society.
Gargano is executive director of Schuylkill County Visitors Bureau.