Sunday, September 10, 2006

I recently read an article from the Bucks County Courier Times outside of Philadelphia, PA. The article was entitled “Head for the Hills” and discussed where a good vacation spot would be if a Philadelphian were looking to take a vacation. Normally this wouldn’t have interested me, however the vacation spot of choice was, you guessed it, Altoona, PA, The Railroad City!

Can you believe it? Most people that live here are trying to get out, and Philadelphians are being encouraged to visit? I had to read on, and while this might surprise you, I found nothing in the article that would make me want to visit here if I didn’t live here.

The article opens up with a beautiful ginormous aerial picture of Racetown Lake, which had to have been edited to reflect crystal blue water and such a vibrant green tree line. The first number of paragraphs pointed out the railroad aspect of the city. Focusing on such features as Horseshoe Curve, a “monument to master builders who tamed the great Appalachian Front for the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad” and the Incline Plane in Johnstown, PA. Altoona is described as “bustling with shopping centers, restaurants and hotels built within the last 10 years or so.” I mean seriously, who really wants to go see that when anyone can get that in his or her own hometown? I-99 was given credit for bringing in outsiders allowing for growth in everything from minor league baseball to (and this is one of my favorite drawing attractions) “any chain restaurant you can think of, from Applebee’s to Uno Chicago Grill.” This is just what I despise about the Railroad City. I’m more into finding small, unknown local restaurants than all the big chains. That I know of, only a few exist that don’t have scary, 8-toothed waitresses working there. Another selling point in the article was the CDs one could purchase at the local Circuit City. Ooooooh buddy!

I will admit that the numerous state parks and outdoor activities do sound interesting, such as activities that Canoe Creek and Wilmore Dam have to offer. However if you live in the area you know that Lakemont and DelGrosso’s Amusement Parks are really a stretch to be called, “amusing.” The author’s favorite aspect of the city is the sheer amounts of antiques one can obtain. A favorite spot was the gigantic Leighty’s Flea Market that any well traveled Altoonian would know spans 29 acres of poor, crowded, gun displaying filth. Somehow the Tea Merchant 101 found a spot in the article. While I have heard of it, but have yet to go there, the article did actually make me want to check it out. If you’re curious you can find it just around the corner of the Comfort Inn near John Stuckey Ford.

While the sheer fact that someone would want to come to this town for vacation just baffles me, the fact that Philadelphians are being encouraged to is even more humorous to me. I mean don’t get me wrong, I enjoy living here, but if I was from a big city and wanted to “head for the hills” it wouldn’t be to the Railroad City, but more towards Lake Tahoe or somewhere like that.

If you have connections, you find the article in the August 12, 2006 edition of the Bucks County Courier Times on pages 1B and 3B. And just incase you found this blog entry even remotely interesting (which I too would find hard to believe), you can find out more information on tourism in the area online at


Lindsay said...

This is the funniest thing I've ever heard. I have always wanted to visit Baker's Mansion, but I wouldn't consider this vacation worthy. Thanks for the laugh!!

mkdecap said...

I agree with Lindsay. As a native Philadelpian, I personally never heard of Altoona before 1996,and would probably would not consider it a vacation spot, although I prefer a beach to mountains for vacation! I never knew what or who Altoona was. I can say that my life in the Altooa area was wonderful. It is where I met the love of my life and my best friend. I had a great life there. It is a wonderful place to live and raise children. (My son thanks me every day for moving him there.) My recent move from the area has left me a little empty. Mostly due to the fact that I miss the wonderful friends I met along the way.

I'm speaking to all the IT geeks and Automations nerds, miss you all very much!!!



DMM said...

Funny...At least it wasn't telling them to come to Johnstown to ride the infamous Incline Plane or take a look at the "flood city" and all it's wonders. I have lived in Johnstown all my life and would not pick that place to vacation nor would I pick Altoona!!

What the hell happened to the week at the beach for vacation?

Jimmy said...

Actually it did say to ride the Incline. It didn't really talk too much about the flood. The author probably figured that would depress people and keep them from coming.