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La Festa Italiana

Labor Day is upon us and for most of us it marks the unofficial end of summer, but it also means an annual tradition is about to begin. On Sept 5th, 6th and 7th, La Festa Italiana will setup on Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton.

Over 60 vendors will line the streets for this three day block party, offering up some of the best Italian fare this side of the Atlantic.

There will also be continuous entertainment provided by over 25 local music and dance groups on various stages around the square.

Also available this year is a shuttle from La Festa to the Steamtown National Historic Site where they will be holding Lackawanna Railfest on Sept 5th and 6th. Using the theme of “The 1940s” the event will take visitors on some behind-the-scenes tours and special excursions out on the rails.  A full schedule of events can be found at their official site.

Hours for La Festa Italiana are noon to 11pm on Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 9pm on Monday. If you are planning to attend I recommend checking local weather reports as this is an outdoor event.

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New Feature! PAontheGo Calendar of Events

PAontheGo.com is proud to announce the launch of our newest feature, the Calendar of Events. We have integrated Google’s powerful calendar tool into our site and have configured it in such a way that makes finding an event in your area very easy! With this new tool we will be able to better update events, and make incorporating them into the site seamless.

By utilizing Google Calendar, PAontheGo gives it’s users a quality product as well as many powerful features they can use to keep track of upcoming events they may wish to attend. Each region page features a calendar specific to that region, this makes finding things to do in your area effortless. We also provide a comprehensive calendar which contains all of the regional calendars, events are color coded by region to make it easy to differentiate them.

Not only can you now find events on our site easier, but you can even add our events to your own Google Calendar! Add a single event, a regional calendar or our entire calendar to your calendar to stay informed of upcoming events.



Boulder Field in Hickory Run State Park

Boulder Field can be found in Hickory Run State Park and can be reached via car or the 3.5-mile long Boulder Field Trail from the parking area on SR 534.

The field is 16.5 acres in size and is made up of boulders of all sizes. A stream runs underneath the rocks and often can be heard when standing on the rocks, especially after it has rained recently. The boulders extend off a path leading from the parking lot nearby, the tops of the rocks are almost level with the ground, the soil below them being compressed about 12 feet from the weight of the stones.

Creating a field of boulders:

20,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age a massive mile thick glacier covered a large part of North America, including Pennsylvania. The ice caused temperatures in the region to plummet to below freezing for most of the year and the ground was frozen year round.

As the glacier moved south it unearthed rocks embedded in the soil. These rocks became attached to the ice and were pushed along its course. The rocks are made up of sandstone and conglomerates.

When the glacier receded billions of gallons of water from the melting ice formed the large valleys you can see today. The large amounts of water also carried the rocks from the surrounding hills and those attached to the glacier into the valley, thus forming Boulder Field.

Today, you can still see the rocks, some of which are pebble size and some that weigh as much as a small car. Boulder Field’s size alone is stunning but it’s story is equally as interesting.

Visitors to the park are encouraged to read about the field at the informational boards that are available as you approach the field. Many visitors also enjoy walking the field, jumping from rock to rock.

Boulder Field was designated a National Landmark in 1967. Please help preserve this natural wonder!

Important Note:

Please be careful on the rocks! Many rocks are unstable and will shift under your weight. Rocks can collapse under you if you step on them the wrong way and the uneven surface can cause you to fall, possibly resulting in injury.

Also, snakes often sun themselves on the rocks and spiders can be found in the crevices between the rocks. Do not harass these animals as they could be poisonous.

Medical facilities are not at hand if you should be injured, seek the attention of a Park Ranger immediately if you are hurt.



RiverFest 2009 at Wilkes-Barre’s River Common

RiverFest, an annual event celebrating the Susquehanna River and “Rivers Month”, turns 10 this year and will do so in style at the newly revitalized River Common in Wilkes-Barre. Nearly $30 million was spent on the project which will officially open on June 19 after Luzerne County officials hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the event. The River Common now features a 750-seat amphitheater, two fishing piers and a paved walkway which stretches from the Courthouse to the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center a few blocks away. The ribbon cutting will kick off RiverFest, which hosts a whole weekend of festivities around the River Common and in nearby Nesbitt Park.

RiverFest will commence at 4 p.m. on Friday June 19th and will run though Sunday evening. The event will feature food and performances by the Wyoming Valley Concert Band at 6 p.m., Bobby Bath at 7 p.m. and finally Don Shapelle at 8 p.m on Friday. Other activities around the RiverCommon include a free fishing clinic by the Fish and Boat Commission, kayak demonstrations, mural painting by DCNR and the Keystone Active Zone Passport Station presented by the Wyoming Valley Wellness Trails.

The music and fun will continue to liven up the river with shows on stages at Nesbitt Park and the River Common on Saturday. Performances on the River Common stage will start with the NonRefundables at 12:30 p.m., Nowhere Slow at 2:15 p.m., the SW!MS at 4 p.m., Woody Browns Project at 5:45 p.m. and finally George Wesley at 7:30 p.m. Appearing on the Nesbitt Park stage will be Charles Havira at 1 p.m., K8 at 2:30 p.m., George Wesley at 4:15 p.m. and Don Shapelle at 6 p.m.

Music is just a start of all the activities there are to be had at RiverFest on Saturday! Nesbitt Park will be full of things to do throughout the day, including Story Telling by the Osterhout Free Library, rock climbing, tie-dye t-shirt making and lots more. See www.rivercommon.org for more details and a full list of all the activities available.

In addition to all the great exhibits and activities you can also sign up to paddle down the Susquehanna River. Enjoy the beauty of the Susquehanna River from a whole new perspective! You can expect to see lots of wildlife including river otters, bald eagles and other large and small birds. The paddling trips are 4 hours long on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday the trip will run from Harding to Wilkes-Barre and on Sunday the trip will depart Wilkes-Barre to arrive in Hunlock Creek.

Kayaking rentals are available from Endless Mountain Outfitters, Susquehanna River Adventures (570-328-4001), and Susquehanna Kayak and Canoe Rentals (570-388-6107). Costs range from $40 to $60 depending on size plus $17 to participate. A mandatory safety training will be provided to all participants by the PA Fish and Boat Commission, shuttle service is also included.

PAontheGo.com is a free resource for all things travel and tourism across Eastern Pennsylvania. Visit us at http://www.PAontheGo.com today for more information.



Holy Heatwave!

Today is the last of what has been an early heat wave across Eastern Pennsylvania, with record highs in the 80s and 90s over the last several days. A cold front will be moving through this evening, bringing more seasonable temperatures in the 60s and 70s.

Along with packing away the jackets, sweaters and long johns, now is the time to jump on one of the hundreds of great travel deals being offered in the tourism industry. Many hotels, airlines, rental car companies, etc. are offering huge discounts to bring in your travel dollar. Those deals come to those who book early, so don’t wait too long to see whats out there.

Not sure where to go? We have hundreds of listings on our website, www.PAontheGo.com. From the Pocono Mountains to the Delaware Valley and everywhere in between. Take a weekend, and make it great without breaking the budget by visiting all of the great destinations in your own backyard. Or, if you are from outside the area, consider a trip to Eastern Pennsylvania, where the prices are great, the scenery breathtaking, and the options for recreation endless.

Stay tuned to our blog, as we’ll be introducing a new series of articles soon, all about how to save time and money when travelling in Eastern Pennsylvania (and many other places, too!)

PAontheGo.com is a free resource for all things travel and tourism across Eastern Pennsylvania. Visit us at http://www.PAontheGo.com today for more information.



Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
April 8, 2009, 9:11 am
Filed under: America, History, PAontheGo, Pennsylvania, Tourism, Travel

The Mount Hope Estate and Winery isn’t only open during the summer months for the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. Throughout the year the site features all manner of indoor and outdoor entertainment. From February through April you will find several shows such as “Comedy in the Pub” and “Pyrate Feaste in the Swashbuckler Pub”. In May there’s the annual “Great Green America Fest”, an environmentally focused event featuring food and wares, information and entertainment. During June, visitors are to the estate are taken on a tour of Scotland and Ireland during the “Celtic Fling and Highland Games”, which features food, merchants, music and merriment.

From July through October the grounds of the estate are transformed into a 16th century town and market for the “Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire” which lasts a total of 12 weekends, some with themed events. With the Queen and her Royal Court holding events throughout the shire, entertainers performing on 13 stages, merchants and tons of food prepared by her majesty’s chefs there is more to do than any one can see in just one day.

In August and September the Victorian style Mansion on the grounds also opens for “Friday Knights at the Improv”. Here cast members of the Renaissance Faire join together to perform off the cuff comedy, creating some of the funniest skits around and no two are ever alike. Throughout November Edgar Allen Poe’s works come to life in “Edgar Allen Poe Evermore”. And finally in December “A Dickens of a Christmas” and “Charles Dickens Victorian Christmas” gets you in the spirit with holiday trimmings and cheer.



The Archbald Pothole

Patrick Mahon, a coal miner, discovered the Archbald Pothole in 1884 when he was extending a mine shaft. He placed an explosive charge and when it was detonated water and stone poured into the mine shaft. He and the miners he was with escaped the mine fearing a collapse. Later Edward Jones, the manager of the mining company, came to investigate what had happened. Jones directed the men clear the debris, almost 1,000 tons of small rounded stones. Once the debris was cleared it was realized there was a vertical tunnel which was responsible for the falling water and stone. The shaft was actually a large pothole, a natural rock formation that is formed where water forms a circular current. Water spins quickly and causes sand and small stones to circulate, eventually causing a circular hole in the bedrock below. The Archbald Pothole, as it was named, is 38 feet deep and 42 feet wide at its maximum length. The pothole cuts through layers of sandstone, shale, and coal.

The Archbald Pothole was formed during the Wisconsin Glacial Period, when water from the melting glacier probably poured through a crevasse to the bedrock. The falling water created enough force to form the pothole, which was discovered almost 13,000 years after it was created.

The pothole served as a ventilation shaft for mining operations and was fenced in by Colonel Hackley, the owner of the land, so he could allow visitors to look at it without the risk of falling in. Edward Jones also led public tours to the site.

A small trail follows the path the coal mine tram would have taken when the mine operated.

The Archbald Pothole was turned over to the public in 1914 when the widow of Colonel Hackley donated 1 acre of land that surrounded the pothole to the Lackawanna County Historical Society. Then in 1940, Lackawanna County gained ownership of the pothole as well as 150 acres of the surrounding land. It remained a county park until 1961 when the land was transferred to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

In the 1990s a $170,000 renovation project was initiated to repair the aging facilities of the park. It reopened in 1997 but despite the improvements trash and attendance remained an issue. In 2002 the State Legislature approved more renovations to the park to include soccer fields, a basketball court, tennis court, walking trail, playground, roads and parking lots.

Hunting in the area is permitted in certain designated places however the killing of groundhog is not permitted and hunters must follow State Game Commission Rules and Regulations.