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Ricketts Glen State Park - Pennsylvania

Ricketts Glen State Park - Pennsylvania

Ahh Ricketts Glen. A shining example of great Pennsylvania wilderness. Ricketts Glenn was the very first place I ever truly hiked. In the past, of course I've walked around, and surely I ventured into the woods a little bit, but I never intentionally went on a 'hike' until my early 20's. I was a late bloomer for a lot of things apparently... This is definitely where the seed was planted. The "I need to get out and explore the outdoor world" seed. Ricketts Glen was the perfect place for that I guess, containing the perfect blend of a balanced hike, decently moderate, with some wonderful and constant waterfall views. Just when you thought you saw the last waterfall, SKLOOSH, another one!

Around the time of my first visit I was listening to the band Pond, quite a bit, quite often. A popular song of theirs is Outside Is the Right Side. Hence, the name of this website, and the beginning of my outdoor hiking itch! Thanks PA DCNR!

Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania is an expansive natural wonder, covering 13,193 acres across three counties: Luzerne, Sullivan, and Columbia. Known for its rich natural beauty, the park offers a diverse array of landscapes, from lush forests to a series of stunning waterfalls, making it a favorite among nature lovers, hikers, photographers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

The Waterfalls: One of the park's most awe-inspiring features is the Falls Trail, a 7.2-mile trek through the Glens Natural Area, which is recognized as a National Natural Landmark. This trail winds through an ancient forest and past 22 waterfalls, ranging from smaller cascades to the majestic Ganoga Falls, which stands at 94 feet. The diverse range of waterfalls, each with its unique shape and character, creates a surreal and picturesque hiking experience. 

The Falls Trail is considered moderately difficult, with steep and rocky terrain in some sections. Hikers should wear appropriate footwear and exercise caution, especially during wet or icy conditions. The trail may be closed during the winter months due to hazardous conditions, so it is recommended to check with the park office for up-to-date information. People have fallen to their deaths, so keep that in mind!

Near National Park Status: Ricketts Glen holds a unique place in history; it was once on the cusp of being designated a national park. In the 1930s, due to its extraordinary natural beauty and geological significance, it was considered for national park status. Though it ultimately remained a state park, this distinction highlights the area's national significance.

Lake Jean: The park's waterfalls are fed by Lake Jean, a 245-acre lake that lies at the heart of Ricketts Glen. This lake not only nourishes the park's extensive waterfall system but also serves as a hub for recreation. Visitors to Lake Jean can enjoy boating, fishing, and swimming, or simply relax by its tranquil shores. The lake adds to the park's diverse ecosystem, supporting a wide range of wildlife and plant species.

The Park’s Ecology and Wildlife: Ricketts Glen is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. The park's varied habitats, from its wetlands to the old-growth forest areas, support diverse wildlife, including species of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Birdwatchers can spot a variety of species, especially during migration seasons.

Recreational Activities: Apart from hiking and enjoying the waterfalls, the park offers numerous other activities. There are options for camping, with facilities ranging from rustic to more modern amenities. Picnicking spots are scattered throughout the park, providing ideal settings for family gatherings or quiet lunches amidst nature. In winter, the park transforms into a snowy wonderland, offering opportunities for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing.

Cultural and Historical Aspects: The park's history is deeply connected to the conservation efforts of Colonel R. Bruce Ricketts, the original owner of much of the land that now comprises the park. His dedication to preserving this natural area is a key reason why these landscapes remain unspoiled and accessible to the public today.

The Falls Trail had a partial close due to rock ledge collapse when we visited in Spring 2023. That certainly added more mileage to our hike, since we had to double back instead of doing the loop (we wanted to hit each falls)

In addition to the Falls Trail, Ricketts Glen State Park offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as camping, picnicking, fishing, boating, and swimming. With its captivating natural beauty and ample recreational opportunities, Ricketts Glen State Park is a beloved destination for visitors seeking to connect with nature and enjoy the great outdoors

A list of these waterfalls with their respective heights:

Mohawk Falls - 37 feet (11.3 meters)
Oneida Falls - 13 feet (4 meters)
Cayuga Falls - 11 feet (3.4 meters)
Ganoga Falls - 94 feet (28.7 meters) - highest waterfall in the park!
Seneca Falls - 12 feet (3.7 meters)
Delaware Falls - 37 feet (11.3 meters)
Mohican Falls - 39 feet (11.9 meters)
Conestoga Falls - 17 feet (5.2 meters)
Tuscarora Falls - 47 feet (14.3 meters)
Erie Falls - 47 feet (14.3 meters)
Onondaga Falls - 15 feet (4.6 meters)
Geronimo Falls - 7 feet (2.1 meters)
Blackberry Falls - 8 feet (2.4 meters)
Ozone Falls - 60 feet (18.3 meters)
R.B. Ricketts Falls - 36 feet (11 meters)
Kitchen Creek Falls - 4 feet (1.2 meters)
B. Reynolds Falls - 40 feet (12.2 meters)
Wyandot Falls - 15 feet (4.6 meters)
F.L. Ricketts Falls - 38 feet (11.6 meters)
Shawnee Falls - 30 feet (9.1 meters)
Huron Falls - 41 feet (12.5 meters)
Harrison Wright Falls - 27 feet (8.2 meters)

Ever Grain Brewing

Ever Grain Brewing

Oh Ever Grain. My second home. My "Third Place". I'm going to miss you when I move. 

An Ever Grain Brewing Masterpiece
Sitting outside at Ever Grain. As Usual

Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, may seem like any other town on the map, but it harbors a gem that beer aficionados and community members have come to adore: Ever Grain Brewing Co. What started as a big dream for co-founders Norm and Larry has quickly grown into a regional powerhouse for craft beer, emphasizing quality, creativity, and a vibrant sense of community.

Space That Breathes Welcome

As you walk into the spacious 10,000-square-foot taproom, you’re immediately enveloped by an ambiance that combines industrial elements with rustic touches. The grand 75-foot bar invites you to discover an array of beers crafted on-site, allowing you to witness the brewing process in the 20-hectolitre brewhouse that shares the open floor plan. Lights twinkle overhead while German-style picnic tables beckon groups to gather. The innovative design includes garage-style doors, transforming the indoor setting into a breezy, sunlit space when weather permits.

DIPAs DIPAs DIPAs Ever Grain Kills the Game
More outdoor Ever Grain IPAs. Nothing Better.


 An Orchestra of Tastes and Aromas

Ever Grain has solidified its reputation for being a brewer’s playground. Each week unveils a new culinary adventure, expertly crafted in liquid form. From Double IPAs infused with fruity aromas to Sours loaded with flavors reminiscent of dessert, it's an endless exploration of what beer can be. Their fruited sour line, Sorbetto, has gained nationwide interest! Beer fans from the west coast scream online of wanting to try new Sorbetto releases. Here, creativity is the cornerstone of the brewmaster’s approach, constantly redefining the conventional boundaries of craft beer.

I was never a fan of IPAs. Ever Grain changed that. They make insanely good hazy IPAs that allowed me to get into the overall style. Now that I broke wall I love IPAs both hazy and non-hazy westies. Thanks Ever Grain!

Beyond Ingredients: A Commitment to Local Produce

But Ever Grain’s journey doesn’t stop at mere brewing. Their commitment to local, Pennsylvania-grown produce led to the 2019 establishment of "Ever Grain Farms." On this farm, the circle of production is completed as they grow not just hops and grains but also an array of fruits, vegetables, and even honey. They're not merely patrons of local agriculture; they’re active participants.

Barrels as Time Capsules

The tranquility of Ever Grain Farms contrasts with the taproom's buzz, providing a sanctuary for hundreds of wooden barrels. These barrels are a living library of the brewery's innovation, each holding a brew that's maturing into what may well be the next sensation to grace their taps.

Social Catalyst

What stands out is the community ethos that pervades Ever Grain Brewing Co. It’s not just a place for a drink; it’s a place for gatherings, celebrations, corn hole tournaments, and other events that elevate the beer-drinking experience into a holistic community event.

A Living, Breathing Dream

To step into Ever Grain Brewing Co. is to step into a living dream. From Norm and Larry’s initial vision, it has become a community pillar that excels in not just brewing but in creating a communal space, a testament to the power of dreaming big and brewing bigger.

In a nutshell, Ever Grain Brewing Co. is far more than a brewery; it’s an institution that embodies quality, innovation, and the essence of community. It's a canvas where each pint is a stroke of creativity, and each sip is an experience, continually evolving but always rooted in its core values.

Pizza Boy Brewing / Al's of Hampden

Pizza Boy Brewing / Al's of Hampden

Pizza Boy Brewing -- 100 taps of beer!
Look at all of those taps! So much beer! They need 8 TVs to show you it all!

 Nestled in Enola, Pennsylvania, Pizza Boy Brewing Company is a mecca for beer aficionados and casual sippers alike. With nearly 100 taps gracing their walls, this exceptional brewery offers an unrivaled exploration of craft beer, every pour promising an adventure in taste.

Their selection, vast and varied, spans everything from the hoppy grandeur of IPAs, the robust allure of stouts, to the tart intrigue of sours, and the timeless appeal of lagers. Each brew is a testament to Pizza Boy's dedication to their craft, a delightful dance of flavors that tells a tale of passion, creativity, and a deep respect for brewing traditions. One of my favorites is to grab a slice of margherita pizza and a pint of Frontside Lipslide DIPA. Heaven.

Unlike many breweries, Pizza Boy Brewing Co. chooses not to offer beer flights. This decision, far from being a limitation, serves to enhance the experience of each patron. Here, each beer is given the stage to shine, encouraging guests to savor every sip, to fully immerse themselves in the unique profile of each selected brew.

But the delights of Pizza Boy don't end at beer. Housed within Al's of Hampden, an adored local pizzeria, the brewery also offers the gastronomic pleasure of perfectly paired pizza. Among their mouth-watering offerings is the Tomato Pie - a dish that has earned its own fan base. Fresh, tangy, and bursting with flavor, it's the ideal companion to their wide selection of brews.

Beyond its brews and bites, Pizza Boy Brewing Co. is a vibrant hub of community and camaraderie. A place where the clink of glasses mingles with laughter, where friendships are forged over shared pizzas and the discovery of new favorite brews.

In the world of craft beer, Pizza Boy Brewing Company shines as a beacon, a testament to the art of brewing and the joy of shared experiences. Whether you're a local, a visitor, a seasoned beer enthusiast, or a newcomer to the craft beer scene, a visit to Pizza Boy Brewing Co. offers a lasting memory and the promise of many return trips.