Pennsylvania has some of the worst, most convoluted alcohol sales laws in the country. Only the state owned liquor stores can sell wine or hard liquor, and they are not allowed to sell beer. Luckily the no-beer on Sundays rule changed recently. Don't even think about buying beer in a convenient place like a grocery store or a convenience store.
Of course you can buy beer in a bar, but licenses are limited per capita, so they cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Furthermore, bars can sell beer for take out, but only in 6-packs with a limit of two per customer. If you take the two 6-packs out to your car, you can walk back in and buy two more! No cases or kegs can be sold at bars, though.
So PA has an oddity called beer distributors that handle sales of beer in cases and kegs. Mind you, sales of quantities smaller than a case are prohibited, that specialty is reserved for bars and restaurants! Even funnier, most of the older beer distributors in Western PA are located in small warehouses, usually set up with two doors and drive through service. Makes the whole transaction seem sneaky when they close the door behind you before they throw a case of cold ones in your trunk.
The state is considering allowing beer distributors to sell 6-packs. Even this small victory would be seen progress for the consumer.
Growing up in Lucinda, this was always one of my favorite pastimes. My dad always had a bunch of beagles and the woods around our house was full of rabbits. In the fall, I'd often get home from school, grab a gun and a dog, then head into the woods until dark. Those were the days!
Each year Pennsylvania has between 800,000 and 1,000,000 hunters take to the woods, mostly to hunt deer, but many also bag bear, rabbits, squirrels, snowshoe hare, elk, grouse, pheasant, waterfowl, and other animals.
Pennsylvania used to boast of a host of breweries - and distilleries - but very few survived the years of the Prohibition. There are some fine microbrewers that have sprung up in recent years - witness Downington’s Victory Brewing - but good beer can be hard to find in the state on the whole. Add to that the arcane alcohol sale practices - here, Utah comes to mind - and the situation can get a bit bleak for a microbeer afficionado for the Northwest. I did visit Lancaster Brewing - in Lancaster - and Penn Brewing - in Pittsburgh - to find that not all is lost in the Keystone State.
Alexis de Tocqueville stood on this spot and remarked about the Erie and Ohio Canal, but was actually looking at a canal that ran from Portsmouth to Cleveland, not from Erie to Pittsburgh. At any rate, the city erected a pier with an observation tower jutting out into the bay. Early mornings, fishermen line the sides to drop hooks. A river boat sits moored against the pier. When we were there, a wedding was taking place in front of it.
Additionally, many old buildings still dot the city landscape.
If ever in the Pittsbugh area, Overly's Country Christmas is located in Greensburg, PA at the Westmoreland County Fairgrounds. It has a Christmas light display that starts in November and ends New Years Day every year. Started with a few strands in 1956 by Harry Overly, it grew and grew each year at his home. It has been here since 1993 and has over 2 million lights. It's $10 a car load Friday-Sunday and $8 during the weekday. There are usually long car lines at the entrance so be patient. After entering, there were displays of a castle, toy soldiers, train station, barn, windmill, sleigh and even a golfer putting while listening to Christmas music of course!
After parking, you can take a walk through the "village" where there is a model train display and a manger display with "Ditto" the donkey (real), wisemen and sheppards. There is even a bonfire to keep warm since it is all outside. Other parts include a general store, a sweete shop (my personal favorite), kitchen that serves burgers and hotdogs and other food stands that sell snacks, pizza, etc. It is a beautiful display not to be missed at Christmas time!
Pennsylvania is a large state but it has only 67 counties. The counties are roughly associated with the judicial districts.
The oldest county is Chester (made in the 1690s) and the latest is Lackawanna in the 1870s.
The largest area is Erie county and the smallest is a toss up between Philadelphia and Montour counties. There is a ten to one ratio between the smallest and largest.
Philadelphia has the most people and Forest the few; Philadelphia County has 300 times as many people as Forest County.
Pennsylvania is filled with forests of deciduous hardwood trees and cool, crisp fall weather, perfect for spectacular leaves in the autumn. Cool places in the state to check out the leaves are focused on "Pennsylvania's Great Outdoors" -- Clarion, Jefferson, Elk, Forest, and Cameron Counties.
Clarion, which hosts a fun-filled annual Autumn Leaf Festival, bills itself as the "autumn leaf capital of the world." Their annual festival is filled with activities and events such as carnival rides, a 5k run, and is finalized by a great parade which brings an estimated 500,000 visitors to this small town for the week-long festival each year. Clarion's first Autumn Leaf Festival in 1953.
the state motto is: "Virtue, Liberty and Independence"
The State Seal shows a ship, a plow and wheat to indicate the importance of the harbors and farming to the growth of the state. The ship is a favorite symbol for Philadelphia.
The Indian corn on the left side represents the heritage of the land from the Native Americans and the olive branch on the right side represents hope for peace and prosperity in the future.
The state flag is the state seal on a blue field, with two draft horses and an eagle to represent strength and unity with the union of states, and a ribbon with the state motto on it.
the state bird is the Ruffed Grouse.
the state flower is the Mountain Laurel.
the state tree is the hemlock.
the state nickname is The Quaker State (reference to religion of William Penn) or
Keystone State in reference to its prominent position in the 13 colonies.
The Philly Cheese Steak is a bun or an sandwich with sliced pieces of steak and cheese. The Philly Cheese is completed together with grilled onions, green peppers, mayonnaise or ketchup and mushrooms. Okay, it might do not very tasty on the image but believe me, it is! Usually you have to pay four bucks at a street vendor or seven in a restaurant.
When the Civil War broke out (1861-1865) Pennsylvania became a centre of military activity. Because of Pennsylvania's location near the South, it was the scene of several battles. The Union Army won one of its most crucial victories at Gettysburg, which was the bloodiest battle of the war. When the war ended,
Pennsylvania experienced huge economic, industrial as well as population development. Historical sites in Pennsylvania are The Gettysburg National Military Park, Valley Forge National Historical Park, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
Along I-81, it seems there are signs for Pennsylvania-Dutch towns, restaurants, and shops everywhere. The shops all have names like "Deitsch Eck," or Dutch Corner. Apparantly, they're not really Dutch at all, they're actually German.... kinda misleading, huh? :-)
Please be aware, this section of PA is George Bush country. The people here are SUPER conservative and religious. I have nothing against them, but I am from a big city, so I am quite the opposite of the typical mentality here. If you are a liberal, just be aware of who you are speaking to.
In the summer and early fall there are many roadside stands selling fresh produce. We like to pick some for the car ride or to bring home. Homegrown is the best. Support the local farms!
Lopes is short for Cantalopes, one of my favorite fruits!
Pennsylvania's average temperatures in the north range from about 69 F in July to about 25 F in January. Temperatures are several degrees higher in southern Pennsylvania. Annual rainfall averages some 39 inches.
In Pennsylvania Dutch country it is great to see the Amish going around in their little horse-drawn carriages. Another popular mode of transportation is the scooter (push, not motorised). The Amish people I came into contact with were very pleasant. Remember that they do have some very strict rules, and one of those is that they shouldn't be photographed; so avoid photographing them, and if you can't resist it, keep it very subtle, and only publish pictures in which the subjects can't be identified.
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