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Thursday, August 15, 2019 by Lesley Kistner
Whether you are making a return trip to Centre County or planning an inaugural visit, you’ll find plenty of things to see and do – including a plethora of new offerings just waiting to be discovered. Spend time here and you will find enhanced ways to: enjoy the natural beauty of Happy Valley; savor delicious meals from unique farm-to-table dining establishments; quench your thirst with a variety of craft beverage options; choose from innovative cultural offerings; and more. So, pack up the family, grab your friends or that special someone and experience Centre County for the “first time” with these recent additions:
One-part memorable dining experience – with an innovative menu prepared from food primarily grown and raised on-site – and one-part education center, RE Farm Café at Windswept Farms is a must visit for anyone seeking an amazing locally sourced meal in a beautiful country setting. The Café itself is a net positive energy, net positive water facility, ideal for foodies who value sustainability and the natural environment. As the latest addition to Centre County’s farm-to-table dining scene, RE Farm Café seeks to connects people with where their food comes from in a memorable way.
Locating your favorite plants – there are 1,100 species to choose from! – just got easier with the new Interactive Plant Finder Map at the Arboretum at Penn State. The map is accessible by computer or mobile device while you stroll through the picturesque H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens. While the adults are busy identifying flora, youngsters ages 3 to 12 will find enjoyment in the Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden.
Explore wildlife and nature at the Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, which recently re-opened its doors after a two-year, $7.5 million renovation and new construction project, complete with beautiful new enclosures and hands-on exhibits. The new raptor aviary is wheelchair and stroller accessible. The “Meet the Creek” program continues on weekends mid-June through November.
J.L. Farm and Cidery, home of 814 Cider Works, is the latest addition to Centre County’s craft beverage scene. Open the first, third and fifth (if applicable) weekend of each month, the farm-to-glass cidery in Boalsburg offers a variety of hand-crafted ciders. A rotation of popular local food trucks makes it a great casual lunch and dining stop at the base of Tussey Ridge along scenic Route 45.
Employee owned Voodoo Brewery’s new location at The Barn in Lemont offers up flavorful beers – with fun names like 37 pieces of flair, Space Cadet, Big Secret Pizza Party and Good Vibes – in a cool setting. Tucked along Spring Creek, you’ll feel secluded from the hustle and bustle while still enjoying easy, nearby access to I-99 and U.S. Route 322.
Roots Natural Kitchen in State College offers healthy – and filling – menu options. Your well-being isn’t the only thing that will benefit from customizable salad and grain bowls. Your wallet will too, as kids under 12 eat for free all day, every day.
Creative pizza connoisseurs rejoice! Snap Pizzeria brings custom pizza to downtown State College. Whether your taste buds crave chipotle corn with Siracha sauce on a cauliflower crust or a traditional cheese and pepperoni pie – or just about anything in between – you can create it here.
Explore all that historic Bellefonte has to offer at ‘Friday in the Fonte.’ Held on the last Friday of each month, ‘Friday in the Fonte’ features special events and promotions at Bellefonte’s unique downtown shops, dining establishments, craft beverage producers and much more. Shopping options include ladies clothing and accessory boutiques with latest on-trend clothing and accessories, antique and eclectic finds, and four craft beverage facilities, three within walking distance and one not far away.
Speaking of Bellefonte, there is a new bed & breakfast to lay your head after a busy day in the region. The Bellefonte Bed & Breakfast is the new kid on the block. The Georgian style residence was built in 1899 and offers three different rooms for guests to choose from.
3 Dots Downtown raises the “cool factor” for the county’s innovative arts scene. With lounge and gallery spaces open to the public, 3 Dots is a vibrant creative event venue, performance space, art gallery and connection point in downtown State College.
The 10th edition of the Transylvania Mountain Bike Epic returns to Bald Eagle State Park and Rothrock State Forest May 21-25, 2020. With both three-day and five-day race options, the popular event draws mountain bike riders from around the world. If spectating is more your speed, join the cookout in the forest on May 24 and cheer on riders participating in the fourth stage.
Opening in the fall of 2019 and housed at the popular Discovery Space children’s museum and learning center in State College, the Rivet is a fully functional community workshop. From 3D printing to pottery to woodworking, this new makerspace will provide to build and create anything and connect with fellow makers.