Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Schuylkill County Holiday 2020


One of the biggest items on everyone’s holiday to-do checklist is shopping. The time crunch is real and so is the frustration. We can’t help you with the time crunch but we’re definitely on board with a remedy to the frustration associated with shopping and Explore Schuylkill’s Holiday Spirit list is your anecdote! Our local holiday shopping scene offers relaxing, festive, enjoyable experiences at cool places like The Arts Barn, The Nature and Discovery Store, Leesport and Hometown Farmers Markets, Lewis General Store, Alchemist Cove Games & Comics, Murphy Jewelers, Pressed Coffee & Books, and Schaeffer’s Harley Davidson and Motorsports just to name a few.  Why not treat yourself to some truly unique holiday shopping experiences in Schuylkill County this year? Our community’s holiday spirit list is centered on celebrating the season in small unique settings throughout the county that will provide you with a memorable and enjoyable experience. We’re absolutely sure of it!


Maybe you’re seeking handcrafted beverages, delicious foods, art, pottery, outdoor recreation gear and accessories, or education and fun children’s toys? No worries; we’ve got you covered.  Whether you’ve got foodies on your list, adventure seekers, history buffs, curious kiddos, stressed moms, or beer-loving dads; we’ve got that. Maybe you have no idea what that special gift will be but just need a festive experience to get you motivated? No problem; we’ve got those too. 


Hope Hill Lavender Farm’s Holiday Open house on December 5th will enchant and delight you. Named number 3 of Travel Channel's most beautiful lavender farms you can visit in the US, Hope Hill Lavender Farm in Pottsville has a beautiful farm store stocked with the highest quality lavender beauty and culinary products, friendly animals, and unsurpassed scenic beauty. They’ve also come up with a creative “ticketed” shopping experience to ensure everyone’s safety with details available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/9th-annual-holiday-open-house-tickets-126664732625. 


Vintage 61 Storehouse in Orwigsburg is a one-of-a kind mother-daughter owned business with an affection for all things vintage and antique turned new again housed in a cool warehouse specializing in refinished furniture, CeCe Caldwell Chalk & Clay Based Paints, Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paints, refinishing classes, repurposing all types of items to usefulness, and a full line of gift items as well. Vintage 61 Storehouse is known for quality, innovation, and their outdoor marketplace weekends complete with food, beverages, and tons of creative vendors.  Plan to come to A Very Vintage Christmas on December 12th and check them out for yourself.


Schuylkill County Council for the Arts’ Chriskindlmarkt on December 5th and 6th will enthrall and delight you with a traditional German holiday market set in the historic Yuengling Mansion in Pottsville. Elaborately decorated for the holiday, this fine example of early twentieth century Tudor-Jacobethan Revival architecture provides the perfect setting for the plethora of craftspeople and artisans who’s unique handmade gifts await you. The Walk In Art Center in Schuylkill Haven is another unique venue for holiday shopping. Their outdoor holiday market on December 5th promises to be replete with handmade gifts, treats, and good cheer. 


Our community consistently ranks high in Pennsylvania for Christmas tree production and at Pioneer Evergreen Farms in Orwigsburg they offer beautiful trees and an abundant assortment of gifts and decor neatly packaged with excellent customer service. While Christmas carols fill the air, friendly staff will greet you and be sure you know exactly where to go. The folks at Pioneer Evergreen invite you to bring the family out and plan to cut your own Christmas tree this year. They offer free baling and trunk drilling, convenient on-site parking, and hot chocolate to complete this old-fashioned yuletide experience.


Wineries, distilleries, and breweries abound with holiday cheer and delicious hand crafted gifts. A stop at Yuengling Brewery, Stoker’s Brewing Company, Long Trout Winery, or Main Street Moonshine, will provide an opportunity to relax and unwind a bit during your shopping trip and grab some handmade holiday spirits everyone will love! 


If you’re looking to maximize safety while shopping this season plenty of our small businesses and organizations offer online shopping options as well to provide you the opportunity to spend local, shop local, and support local from the convenience and safety of your own home. Another big win! If you go to www.schuylkill.org, you’ll find some videos on our unique shopping venues as well as pour tour and foodie videos, a local shopping section, and events calendar. We’ve got the resources to help you have an authentic, warm, wonderful, locally-sourced and supported holiday and we hope you’ll join us in Schuylkill County this holiday season

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Enjoy Everything Schuylkill County has to offer is 2020!


Happy New Year, everyone! A new year, a new decade, a blank canvas, and limitless potential; this is the magic 2020 holds in its hands. Some of that magic can be found in your own backyard. There’s a lot more to Schuylkill County than what meets the eye. Why not make a resolution to explore it this year?

Now, we know most people don't keep their New Year's resolutions. In fact, 92% of all New Year's resolutions are broken with 80% of them broken by February, but we feel this is a resolution that can be kept, and we've created a Skook New Year’s resolution list to help! We’re confident that even though this list is a drop in the bucket of what you could do, it will definitely inspire and assist you. We back up the list with lots of other resources on www.schuylkill.org including the Schuylkill County Outdoor Recreation Map, the brand new 2020 Visitors’ Guide, trails directory, our Pour Tour craft beverage trail, an awesome events calendar with our partners at www.skoocal.com on our events tab, our blog, plus lots of hardcopy resources like the Northeast Pennsylvania Hiking and Biking Trails Map, Schuylkill River Trail Map, and Weiser State Forest Map & Recreation Guide at the visitors’ center. We know that with all of this at your disposal, you're definitely going to enjoy everything Schuylkill County has to offer in 2020!
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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Top 10 Things for Kids in Schuylkill County


Jerry’s Classic Cars & Collectibles Museum - https://jerrysmuseum.com/

Ranked as the #2 attraction in Pottsville by Trip Advisor, Jerry’s Classic Cars & Collectibles Museum is a journey back in time to the age of hopscotch, playing jacks, pinball machines,  
394 South Centre Street Pottsville, PA 17901, 570-622-9510
Roadmaster wagons, roller skates, penny candy, drive-ins, rock & roll, and classically designed cars. Inside you’ll find a car showroom, barbershop, millinery, soda shop, kitchen, drive-in theater, bandstand, library, auto parts store, and a fun pinball machine that really works! May through October Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays, 12 Noon to 5 PM.



Pioneer Tunnel & Coal Mine - http://www.pioneertunnel.com/

Pioneer Tunnel is a horizontal drift mine 1800 feet straight into the side of the Mahanoy Mountain. You make the trip in comfort, riding in open mine cars pulled by a battery-operated mine motor. The temperature inside the mine averages 52 degrees, so a sweater or jacket is recommended.

Travel back through time on an old-time narrow gauge steam locomotive, the Henry Clay. Built in the 1920s, The Henry Clay takes you on a scenic three-quarter mile ride around the side of Mahanoy Mountain to show you another kind of mining called strip mining at the Mammoth Stripping. GPS: 2001 Walnut St. Ashland, PA, 17921. Call 570.875.3850.





Founded in 1934, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is the world's first refuge for birds of prey and an international center for raptor conservation. Their 2,600-acre mountaintop preserve offers incredible scenic overlooks, eight miles of trail, a Visitor Center, native plant garden, and the Acopian Center for Conservational Learning.

Hawk Mountain is open daily from 9am-5pm year-round, has a 900’ ADA accessible Silhouette Trail, offers corporate meetings and retreats, provides engaging educational programs, and is home to awesome events including eco-tours, Birds & Brews, and their Arts Tour and Sale.  1700 Hawk Mountain Road, Kempton, PA 19529. Call 610-756-6961.



Fighter’s Heaven: Muhammad Ali Training Camp



In 1972, the great Muhammad Ali began preparing for his biggest fights at a training camp in rural Deer Lake, PA, called Fighter's Heaven. Today, through the preservation and restoration of the Training Camp, we're creating a destination that will, for decades to come, remind some, and educate others, about the remarkable and inspirational life of Muhammad Ali. Our Public Opening is being planned for June 2019. Hours will be from 10:00am-5:00pm on Saturdays & Sundays. Visits/Tours can be arranged for weekdays by contacting us with a day and time that works for you. 58 Sculps Hill Road, Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania, 17963. Call (570) 968-2961.


Sweet Arrow Lake County Parkwww.sweetarrowlake.com

The Sweet Arrow Lake property is located in Washington and Pine Grove Townships, Schuylkill County. Major access routes include Sweet Arrow Lake Road along the northern border of the lake and State Route 443, which provides access to the southern portion of the site via

Clubhouse Road. The park is 183.47 acres and comprised of roughly 60 acres of water and 123.47 acres land.

Open to the public daily, you can enjoy hiking, fishing, kayaking and boating, disc golf, picnic pavilions, a playground, and more!  

The park has monthly events and programming, along with boat, kayak, and disc golf rentals. Open daily, year-long.

108 Clubhouse Road, Pine Grove PA. Phone: 570-527-2505



Mama Millie’s Bakery & Something Sweet Candy Shop- Find us on Facebook

Sometimes you just gotta indulge! Why not go all the way with a trip to Momma Millie’s Bakery and Something Sweet Candies?

Momma Millie’s Bakery is a family owned bakery open daily from 8 – 5 that offers an array of goodies guaranteed to please every child. Cupcakes, pies, muffins, cannoli, baklava, an array of cookies, and the ever-popular whoopee pies are just some of the treats you’ll find! 216 N Centre St., Pottsville, Pennsylvania 17901. Phone: (570) 622-1022

Something Sweet Candies- Whimsical & bright, this family-owned business offers a large assortment of candies. They’ve got old-fashioned hard candies, penny candy, gummy candy, novelty treats, chocolates, fudge, sodas, sugar free candies, and more! They offer custom gift baskets, candy trophies, candy bouquets, & customized candy buffets for weddings, showers, birthdays, graduations, or any celebration. Everybody deserves a little Something Sweet! 300 N Centre St., Pottsville, Pennsylvania 17901. Phone: (570) 728-2960





The 3,520-acre Swatara State Park consists of rolling fields and woodlands situated in the Swatara Valley, between Second and Blue mountains. The scenic Swatara Creek meanders the length of the park and is surrounded by forests and wetlands that support a diversity of wildlife. Suitable for hiking, biking, mountain biking, kayaking, fishing, XC skiing, wildlife watching, and fossil digging.

That’s right, fossil digging! The bedrock of Swatara State Park is predominately sedimentary rock formed during the Middle Devonian Period, about 375 million years ago. The area was a shallow, sunlit seafloor where mostly filter-feeding organisms thrived in gentle sea currents. Today, we find these concentrations of shell and skeletal matter exposed as rock.

An Upper Mahantongo Formation that contains significant marine fossil beds is exposed at a site along Bear Hole Trail. It provides excellent opportunities for fossil collecting, including the state fossil Phacops rana, a type of trilobite.


1450 Suedburg Road, Pine Grove, PA 17963. Phone: 717-865-6470



Pioneer Evergreen Farms Fall Festival - https://pioneerevergreenfarms.com/fall-festival-activities/


Enjoy a beautiful fall foliage hayride in the east-central mountains of Pennsylvania. Over 25 festival attractions include: Obstacle Course, Bounce House, Water Balloon Launcher, 200' Mountain Slide, Pumpkin Patch, Cow Milking Contest, Caterpillar Crawl, 60' Tube Slide, Bucking Bronco, Corn Crib, Pedal-Car Go-Karts, 3-Acre Tree Maze, Ring-A-Duck, Gypsy’s Gem Mining, Petting Zoo, Horse & Pony Rides, Pioneer Express Train Ride, The Chalk House, and more! Peruse our extensive array of flowers, plants, arts, crafts, and gifts.  Enjoy delicious food including Apple Dumplings, Barbecue, Hot Cocoa & more! There’s something for everyone to enjoy. Open Fridays 5-9, Saturdays 12-9, and Sundays 12-7. Buses welcome with reservations. And parties, too! Please call Kenny @ 570-366-2619 to schedule. Reservations recommended. Easy to find, located right off of route 61. 159 East Adamsdale Road, Orwigsburg, PA 17961. Phone: (570)-366-2619




The Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern is a small tourist railroad located in Kempton, Pennsylvania. The railroad runs on three and a half miles of track that were once part of the Schuylkill & Lehigh branch of the Reading Company system. The Reading Company was known as a mighty coal hauler, but the S&L was a rural, agricultural branch sometimes called the “Slow & Lonesome.” 

The branch was perhaps best known for the “Berksy,” a local passenger train that carried students to and from the only area high school at Slatington.

Although not super big, the WK&S is largely unmatched in terms of authenticity and scenic diversity. Passengers are treated to rolling farm fields including an orchard and often a pumpkin patch. There are forests, fills, cuts, tree-covered hills, a bridge over scenic Ontelaunee creek, and the two old-time towns of Trexler and Wanamakers. Passengers even get a good view of their own train thanks to some sharp curves along the line. With special excursions including the Bow-Wow Express, Story-time with Mrs. Claus, Kid’s Fun Weekends, Harvest Moon Specials, Pumpkin Patch Trains, Santa’s Express, and so much more, you’ll make the trip again and again! 42 Community Center Dr., Kempton, PA 19529. 610-756-6469.



Orwigsburg Kite Festival - Find us on Facebook

The Orwigsburg Kite Festival is Saturday July 13th 2019, from 11-3 at Blue Mountain Recreation Commission, 669 Red Dale Road, Orwigsburg, PA 17963. This festival is great for anyone who’s young at heart! Admission is free and activities include a free kite (while supplies last), face painting, games & prizes, arts & crafts, super bubbles, photo booth, music, ice cream, & more! Sponsored by State Farm Josh Rex Agency and The Arts Barn. Info at 570-366-3800.

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Top 10 things to do in Schuylkill County


Nestled in the mountains of east central Pennsylvania, Schuylkill County is a cultural heritage destination like no other!  There’s something for everyone; from the great outdoors, to history, to America’s Oldest Brewery and everything in between!  Here is our top 10, in no particular order.


Hawk Mountain- www.hawkmountain.org
Founded in 1934, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is the world's first refuge for birds of prey and an international center for raptor conservation. Their 2,600-acre mountaintop preserve offers incredible scenic overlooks, eight miles of trail, a Visitor Center, native plant garden, and the Acopian Center for Conservational Learning. 
Hawk Mountain is open daily from 9am -5pm year-round, has an 900’ ADA accessible Silhouette Trail, offers corporate meetings and retreats, provides engaging educational programs and is home to awesome events including eco-tours, Birds & Brews and their Arts Tour and Sale.  1700 Hawk Mountain Road, Kempton, PA 19529. Call 610-756-6961.


Pioneer Tunnel Coal Minewww.pioneertunnel.com
Pioneer Tunnel is a horizontal drift mine 1800 feet straight into the side of the Mahanoy Mountain. You make the trip in comfort, riding in open mine cars pulled by a battery-operated mine motor. The temperature inside the mine averages 52 degrees, so a sweater or jacket is recommended. 
Travel back through time on an old-time narrow gauge steam locomotive, the Henry Clay. Built in the 1920s, The Henry Clay takes you on a scenic three-quarter mile ride around the side of Mahanoy Mountain to show you another kind of mining called strip mining at the Mammoth Stripping. GPS: 2001 Walnut St. Ashland, PA, 17921. Call 570.875.3850.


Yuengling Brewery - www.yuengling.com/visit-us/
Come and tour Yuengling, America’s Oldest Brewery, in historic Pottsville, PA. Unique, free
tours, where you can experience nearly 200 years of American brewing history are offered daily and on special weekends at this National Historic Landmark. Discover our famous hand-dug caves that were used for beer fermentation before refrigeration and our iconic brew house with its breathtaking stained-glass ceiling. Enjoy a free sample, and check out how we survived Prohibition at our adjacent creamery business and current gift shop & tasting room.
5th & Mahantongo Streets, Pottsville, PA 17901. Call 570.628.4890.





Locust Lake - Known for its popular camping area, Locust Lake State Park nestles on the side of Locust Mountain. The 52-acre Locust Lake is located between two campgrounds and is surrounded by beautiful forests. Hiking and fishing are popular activities in the 1,772-acre park. Park also features camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, boating, playground and interpretive programs. Accessible from I-81, Exit 131 and Routes 54, 61, and 209. Call 570-467-2404.
Tuscarora - When viewed from the lake or the day-use area, Locust Mountain seems to drop right into the southern side of Tuscarora Lake. The scenic picnic area plays host to many day trips and family reunions, and the lake is a popular fishing spot. 

The 1,618-acre park is home to the park office and visitor center for Tuscarora and Locust Lake state parks. Visitors are welcome to gather information about the parks, the environmental education program, and local attractions. Locust Lake State Park is nearby. Located in Rush and Ryan Townships, and accessible from I-81 and Routes 54, 209 and 309. Call 570-467-2404.


Dine alfresco at Tamaqua Station Restaurant – Find us on Facebook
Take a step into the past as you enter Tamaqua’s authentically restored 1874 Philadelphia & Reading Railroad. Saved from the brink of demolition and restored to its Victorian grandeur, the Tamaqua Railroad Station now serves as a county Visitors Center, as well as a cultural and economic hub in Historic Tamaqua. 

Chef/Owner John Ross invites you to delight in burgers, wings, and fresh salads.... plus salmon, steaks, crab cakes, and so much more. Enjoy approachable casual fine dining in the beautifully restored Tamaqua Train Station or its covered outdoor deck. You will quickly discover that this is “your stop for fine food and spirits”! Open 5 days a week, including Sunday Brunch, and reservations are strongly suggested. 18 North Railroad Street, Tamaqua, PA 18252. Call (570) 668-3800.


Fighter’s Heaven: Muhammad Ali Training Camp fightersheaven.com
In 1972, the great Muhammad Ali began preparing for his biggest fights at a training camp in
rural Deer Lake, PA called Fighter's Heaven. Today, through the preservation and restoration of the Training Camp, we're creating a destination that will, for decades to come, remind some, and educate others, about the remarkable and inspirational life of Muhammad Ali. Our Public Opening is being planned for June 2019. Hours will be from 10:00am-5:00pm on Saturdays & Sundays. Visits/Tours can be arranged for weekdays by contacting us with a day and time that works for you. 58 Sculps Hill Road, Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania, 17963. Call (570) 968-2961.


Tap a pint at Stoker’s Brewing Company – Find us on Facebook
Stoker’s Brewing Company is conveniently located at 36 Mauch Chunk Street (Route 309 N) Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, and is a “must stop” coal region destination. The charm and character of original hardwood floors, exposed high ceilings, and abundant natural light combined with the bold contemporary elements of a prominently displayed gleaming microbrewery provide dramatic
testimony to patrons that the beers enjoyed on-site are being handcrafted in small batches just steps away from where they sit. Authentic German biergarten tables imported from Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, wooden barrel tabletops, and backyard biergarten create a casual, friendly, and sociable atmosphere conducive to the enjoyment of good friends and freshly brewed local craft beer.
Twelve distinctive styles of small batch handcrafted beers are available on both a regular and seasonal basis. Feel free to bring your own food with you, or order in from local restaurants; menus are available on-site. Cheers!
Hours. Thursday 4p-9p, Friday 4p-10p, Saturday 1p-10p, Sunday 1p-7pm


Disc golf at Long Trout Winerylongtroutwinery.com/site
Experience a unique bohemian wine boutique with peace signs, tie dyes, and bell bottoms, flower rings of baby’s breath and daisies, headbands and halter tops, yellow subs and blue meanies, beads and weeds, ‘60s music veiled in smoldering incense, and clean, crisp homemade style wines like everyone’s Grandpa used to make at Long Trout Winery. We are an unequaled slice of time and tradition where being “different” is what it’s all about!
Disc Golf - The 18-hole, par 3 course, was skillfully designed by Ed (Skeeter) Hoffman, owner of Acehole’s Inc., a Disc Golf sporting goods business. The 4,500 ft. course offers diverse terrain including woodlands, an open meadow, elevations, water, and a soon-to-be renowned classic barn shot into a Hanging Basket (which is 1 of the 4 hanging baskets currently known). Long Trout Disc Golf is listed with the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA). Tournaments are held regularly. Please visit our Events page for more info. The course can be played free-of-charge, during Long Trout Winery’s normal business hours: Wed. 6 PM – 9 PM, Sat. 12 PM – 6 PM, & Sun. 12 PM – 5 PM.  84 Fork Mountain Road, Auburn, PA 17922, Phone: 570-366-6443


Hope Hill Lavender Farmwww.HopeHillLavenderFarm.com
Recently named number 3 of Travel Channel's most beautiful lavender farms you can visit in the U.S., Hope Hill Lavender Farm has a beautiful farm store stocked with the highest quality lavender products, friendly animals, and unsurpassed scenic beauty. 2375 Panther Valley Road, Pottsville, PA 17901. (570) 617-0851
2019 Hours: May, Every Saturday: 10am - 3pm, June: Every Saturday & Sunday: 10am - 3pm; July, Every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday: 10am - 3pm; August, Every Saturday & Sunday: 10am - 3pm; September 7th & 21st: 10am - 3pm; October 5th & 26th: 10am - 3pm; November 2nd, 23rd, & 30th: 10am - 3pm; December 7th, 14th, & 21st: 10am - 3pm.
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Friday, February 1, 2019

Good Things are Happening


It’s February. It’s freezing. It’s still winter. It won’t be spring for six more weeks no matter what the ground hog says tomorrow. These are facts, folks. There are good things happening all over Schuylkill County. That’s a fact, too.

That’s right, I said it’s a fact, and it is. Working for the visitors’ bureau affords me a lot of opportunities to witness these good things happening all over Schuylkill County firsthand. Whether it’s Shenandoah partnering with Penn State for their innovation center project or Sweet Arrow Lake County Park making improvements on the pavilion project and boat docks, positive progress is all around us.

Schuylkill County’s Vision always has positive things going on around our community. They’ve nurtured the Schuylkill County Youth Summit that engages and empowers an incredible group of young people to make an ongoing impact in the county for seven years now. They’ve expanded Healthy Schuylkill Communities with programming in Mahanoy City, Shenandoah, and Schuylkill Haven that ranges from cooking classes, walking groups, indoor and outdoor yoga, to community gardens. And that’s just a tiny fraction of the positive contributions Schuylkill County’s Vision makes.

Another valuable organization investing in philanthropy in our community is the Schuylkill Area Community Foundation. They work to meet critical community needs and support local causes in the areas of arts and culture, education, environment, community, health and wellness, and human services. Their work continues to grow, benefitting citizens and organizations throughout our county.

The arts are growing and thriving all over Schuylkill County. We currently enjoy five organizations dedicated to providing our community with the full complement of benefits that the arts bestow. They include Walk In Art Center in Schuylkill Haven, Schuylkill County Council for the Arts in Pottsville, Tamaqua Community Art Center in Tamaqua, The Arts Barn in Orwigsburg, and Mud & Maker in Pottsville. Additionally, the Walk In Art Center is home to our partnered regional folk art center covering Schuylkill, Berks, and Carbon counties.

Community revitalization, albeit a slow process, is expanding throughout the county. In Pottsville, their continued progress project began with self-funding a consulting firm to provide a full-scale strategic revitalization plan with an action matrix that is currently being executed, a hotel study, two large, successful public events, new businesses opening, more exciting changes on the way, and most importantly, positive people getting involved and working together. Companies like Hydro in Cressona and Sara Lee in Highridge Industrial Park are building, expanding, and creating new jobs. A new hospital, with new jobs, is taking shape on route 61 in Orwigsburg thanks to collaboration between Geisinger and St. Luke’s. Comfort Inn & Suites in Barnesville won the Choice Hotel 2018 Platinum Award for operational excellence and superior customer service. Tamaqua is in its 4th year of successful implementation of the CRIZ program which is a city revitalization and improvement zone program designed to invest community tax dollars as financing to grow community businesses and stimulate economic development. Fifteen Fortune 500 companies now have facilities in the county. The Schuylkill County Airport continues to expand, investing in facility improvements that enable a larger variety of aircraft, both corporate and otherwise, to serve our community businesses and industries. It’s a fact, folks: we are experiencing growth, and good things are happening.

All around the county, exciting and innovative small businesses are cropping up like Pressed Coffee and Books in Pottsville and Alchemist’s Cove, a comic book and gaming store in Schuylkill Haven. Small businesses are so important to revitalization that Penn State University chose Schuylkill Haven as one of a few locations in the commonwealth to establish an Innovation Hub and Lion Launch, a community-based entrepreneurship program that provides funding and mentorship to start and grow businesses. In recent years we’ve experienced growth in nano breweries, distilleries, wineries, and restaurants in communities across the county. Famous Reading Outdoors, yet another newer business in Schuylkill County is making big investments in their outdoor recreation area including over 650 miles of mapped trails. Our regional neighbors, Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area made the news recently for undertaking a hotel study due to their incredible growth.

Outdoor recreation is a vibrant part of the quality of life we enjoy in Schuylkill County. In this category, good things are happening everywhere. I’ve already mentioned Famous Reading Outdoors’ expansions and improvements. The Schuylkill River Greenways Association is investing heavily in and working diligently to complete more areas of the Schuylkill River Trail in Schuylkill County and has made our county a top priority in their work. The Valley View Park continues to increase amenities and add events and programming to their schedule. In recent years, Hawk Mountain made improvements to trails that increased handicapped accessibility. They are also partnering with Ecology Project International to offer high school students a once-in-a-lifetime experience working with the National Park Service on ongoing research at Yellowstone. The Schuylkill Headwaters Association and their partners will be offering the Acts and Impacts watershed program this summer. Acts and Impacts is a week-long watershed expedition in the Schuylkill River watershed. The application for students can be found at schuylkillheadwaters.org with a deadline of March 22nd.

But wait, there’s more! This year is Yuengling Brewery’s 190th Anniversary! 190 years of brewing, outliving both prohibition and the demise of the regional brewery is quite a feat, and they’ve decided to celebrate with a summer concert celebration that will bring people and their money to our community to celebrate a core piece of our heritage. Muhammad Ali’s training camp, Fighter’s Heaven, in Deer Lake is being restored and can provide information and tours to students and teachers about the American boxer’s time here. Tamaqua invested in providing a recovery-friendly environment by opening Hope & Coffee, an organization that supports and normalizes recovery from addiction, provides job opportunities for people in recovery, as well as a recovery-positive environment for people to socialize. The Majestic Theater recently invested in building a new, bigger, and safer stage. The Henry Clay, one of the last anthracite locomotives in operation, whose home is Pioneer Tunnel and Coal Mine, underwent a full restoration last year and is in fine fettle and ready to serve for years to come. Lakewood Park is building their brand new Catalpa Grove event venue with a campground scheduled to follow. The Schuylkill County Fair continues to thrive and grow for 36 years and counting. At the visitors’ bureau we continue to invest in video projects and marketing plans designed to bring visitors and their dollars to Schuylkill County, thus growing tourism’s economic impact. The list goes on and on.

So the next time you’re out and about and someone says to you, “Nothing good ever happens here,” or “When is it going to get better around here?” you can give them the facts.