Wellsboro is one of those little towns along scenic Route 6 in North Central Pennsylvania that transports visitors back to a simpler age. Its historic district, listed on the National Register, sports Victorian homes, gas lights line Main Street, tree-shaded boulevards, quaint storefronts and a family-owned department store exude small town ambiance. An old fashioned dining car circa 1939 boasts the title, “The World Famous Wellsboro Diner.” Architecture dating back to 1835, a 1914 train station and a restored art deco movie theater add to the flavor of Wellsboro. Not only a tourist attraction itself, Wellsboro is home base to many nearby attractions. (A slideshow of my travels to this area is attached here.)
Wynken, Blynken and Nod Statue: In a community park in the center of Wellsboro, home to memorials dedicated to veterans and prominent locals, stands perhaps the most delightful town square statue I’ve ever seen. A cast bronze sculpture of “Wynken, Blynken and Nod” graces the center fountain. A plaque containing the entire children’s poem was added in 1976 by the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital. There is only one other statue of its kind, in Denver, Colorado, home of Mabel Landrum Torrey, the sculptor.
Pine Creek Gorge (“Pennsylvania Grand Canyon”): Once you’ve seen the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, you’ll return over and again to this six-million-year-old wonder carved by prehistoric ice glaciers. The edge of the gorge offers breathtaking vistas, and the canyon floor provides leisure opportunities for bikers, hikers, equestrians, boaters and fisherman. Century-old hardwood forests and scattered old-growth stands cover the gorge, and huge rock outcroppings and waterfalls can be seen along the sixty miles of trails. History buffs can explore remains of Civilian Conservation Corps era buildings in the forests. The area teems with black bear, deer and coyote, bald eagle, heron, osprey and wild turkey, beaver and river otter.
On the canyon’s East Rim in Leonard Harrison State Park is a visitor’s center with educational materials, gift shop and modern facilities, and several viewing areas of the 1,400 foot descent. A more primitive view can be seen from the West Rim on the Colton Point State Park side of the gorge.
Lumber Heritage Museum: The Lumber Heritage Museum in Galeton is a must-see. Half an hour down Route 6, the museum provides a detailed history of Pennsylvania’s lumber industry, dating from Williams Penn’s arrival. A 1912 Shay-geared logging locomotive, a Barnhart Log Loader and a Brookville locomotive are on display on the museum grounds. See how loggers lived by touring a restored CCC cabin and replicas of a bunk house and mess hall. Learn how lumber was processed by touring the sawmill, log-holding pond, blacksmith shop and other lumbering era facilities.
Canyon Wagon Rides: Wagons drawn by Percheron draft horses follow the Pine Creek Trail, with guides providing tales of local history and pointing out wildlife. We were breathless at the sight of a male and female eagle roosting in the same tree. Visit the Mountain Trail website for more details.
The Tioga Central Railroad of Wellsboro: From Memorial Day weekend through the end of October, the Tioga Central Railroad of Wellsboro takes riders on a 34-mile train excursion. The excursion trains date from the 1920s to the 1950s. The circa 1984 Car 54 now serves as the gift shop and crew office. Birthday parties, holiday themed rides, dinner rides and group charters can also be scheduled.
Wellsboro’s “Dickens of a Christmas:” On the first Saturday of December, Wellsboro and its residents take up Dickensian garb and transform the town into an “Olde English Marketplace.” Food and drink and a plethora of gift items are proffered by more than 175 food and craft vendors. Refreshments include homemade bread puddings, soups and chowders, hot beef sandwiches, baked potatoes, apple dumplings, fresh roasted peanuts and kettle corn, all of which you can wash down with hot cider. Strolling musicians, singers and dancers and street-corner thespians provide lively entertainment. Visit the Wellsboro Calendar of Events for more activities throughout the year in and around Wellsboro.
Visit Wellsboro’s Chamber of Commerce website for tips on planning the perfect trip to one of Pennsylvania’s most enchanting year-round vacation locations.