Pennsylvania, geographical center of the nation's 13 original colonies, is known as the Keystone State. From the Delaware River to the western Allegheny Mountains and Lake Erie, travelers can explore national landmarks such as Independence Hall, Valley Forge, and Gettysburg. The state likewise overflows with bucolic natural beauty and big-city bustle.
A top attraction is Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, where visitors walk the timeworn cobblestone streets that America’s founding fathers walked. Viewing Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, visitors can imagine the excitement on Chestnut Street in 1776 when the First National Congress signed the Declaration of Independence. A lunch break calls for the city’s world-famous Philly Cheesesteak—sliced rib-eye and cheese whiz on a roll—served with local flavor at restaurants like Gino’s Steaks and Pat’s King of Steaks.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike begins outside of Philadelphia and branches westward through Pennsylvania Dutch Country. In Lancaster County red barns dot rolling farmland and property is outlined with white picket fences. A drive through the countryside provides glimpses of Amish century-old traditions, including families in horse-drawn buggies sharing country roads with modern travelers.
In Harrisburg, the state capital located 100 miles west of Philadelphia, vendors at Broad Street Market, a few blocks from the Susquehanna River's water front, sell Amish baked goods, meats and produce. On city’s west side, history buffs explore the National Civil War Museum’s collection of over 4,000 artifacts, including Robert E. Lee’s battle map and Lincoln’s leather hat box. Just ten miles outside the capital city in Hershey, chocolate lovers enjoy their favorite confections at Hersheypark where they can tour the world-famous chocolate factory and ride roller coasters and water rides in the amusement park.
Top attractions in the southwestern region include Gettysburg National Military Park, home to 20 museums, and Civil War battlefields such as Little Round Top and Big Round Top. To the west and perched on a waterfall in the Allegheny Mountains is Frank Lloyd Wright’s multilevel stone house Fallingwater. A legendary architectural wonder built in 1939, the house is open to the public and features Picasso’s artwork.