During our time exploring the east coast dog-less we were able to head north into Pennsylvania where we visited my cousin and Grandparents who live near and in Montrose. It was really awesome taking the time to explore such a lovely state, and one that I remember fondly from growing up. Pennsylvania is where I first saw snow! Like most of our trips, we started with a destination and expanded out to see what National Parks were in the area that we could visit or drive through. Luckily, we had both options – Steamtown National Historic Site and Delaware Watergap National Recreation Area. While visiting my family, we drove through Montrose and Nicholson where we saw the Tunkhannock Creek Viaduct.
Steamtown National Historic Site is definitely a place to visit if you are any level of train fan. The site is a railroad museum located in downtown Scranton at the site of the former yards of Delaware, Lockawanna and Western Railroad. What I really liked was the turntable and roundhouse that not only works to this day but was reconstructed from remnants of the 1932 structure. The locomotives and equipment was collected by F. Nelson Blount, who established a non-profit in 1964 to operate the railroad museum and business. In 1986 the museum was turned into a National Historic Site as a representation of American industrial history. It was aquired by the National Park Service in 1995. The museum had a ton of information – enough so that if you plan a quick visit but think you can start reading in the middle, think again. The exhibits are very detailed and include a lot of interesting information. This is definitely balanced out by the trains you can climb around, take pictures next to, and see driving around on the tracks. Set aside a few hours – this is definitely worth a stop along your drive!
Along the way up we detoured through Delaware Watergap National Recreation Area as a scenic route. We didn’t stop off at many areas along the way, it was truly a drive through.I had been to the area a little bit before this time working on a short detail helping out the park. I was able to get out and about a few times, and what was really awesome about the area is the beautiful scenery and the ability to get outside of a city and be one with nature. The park is driving distance to New York City and Philadelphia, and lies between two states – New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Delaware Watergap is where the Delaware River cuts a large ridge through the Appalachian Mountains. In particular, the Blue Mountains in Pennsylvania and the Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey. Even the drive up to the park is stunning and worth the time. If you get the chance, always take the scenic route!
Montrose Pennsylvania is where my parents are from and where my grandparents still live. The town is small and hosts a population of less than 2,000 people. The area is known for beautiful blue stone and gorgeous scenery through the Appalachians. I always enjoyed the trips up north when I was younger! Close by is the Nicholson Bridge. Built by Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (the same ones from Steamtown, if you’re paying attention!) it was ready for use in 1915. Considering the time period it is amazing to think that five hundred men worked 24 hour days with little equipment to create the bridge, it is an amazing feed of engineering. At the time the bridge cost $1.4 million!
It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the “keystone in the early twentieth century modernization of a major railroad.” As the industrial hub of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Scranton, and more specifically Lackawanna Valley, grew when anthracite coal reserves were discovered below the surface in the area. This region would later be defined by historians as the powerful driving force behind the Industrial Revolution. The Nicholson Bridge increased the capacity to ship and receive goods and passengers across the United States. The bridge is still used today by the Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern.
The trip through Pennsylvania ended with another quick trip to Gettsyburg to have lunch with a friend (Hi Andrew!) and his lovely wife before we headed west for our new adventure. Traveling through Pennsylvania was a lot of fun, and definitely worth the time. It was refreshing to read and study history from a time period I haven’t really studied in the past. I definitely recommend that if your travels take you through Pennsylvania remember to study the early colonial history AND the Industrial Revolution. This area has a lot of significant history and culture, don’t miss out!
One of the best things about being able to #TalleyYourAdventure is that you soon discover the large network of family and friends that you’ve created across the world. We may not spend long in one area, but we love the ability to visit friends and family during our trips! ❤