Little by little, inch by inch, and bloom by bloom, spring will soon be bustin’ out all over! If you’re stuck inside on a rainy or snowy day, it’s the perfect time to plan a trip in your Winnebago RV for the whole family. The wildflowers will be blooming in no time!
Pennsylvania is home to hundreds of native wildflowers, including the official state wildflower, Jacob’s Ladder, and our state parks and roadsides offer beautiful backdrops to explore and photograph these natural wonders.
Here’s a tip: for the best of the best, start with Raccoon Creek State Park and its Wildflower Reserve Interpretive Center. This state park offers the perfect setting for maximum RV enjoyment with scenic campsites, hiking trails and more.
The Pennsylvania Native Plant Society is also a great place to learn more about where to find your favorites. Check out Wildflowers of Western Pennsylvania for a delightful and educational intro to these beauties. Or visit the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve and have fun exploring.
For all you amateur shutterbugs longing to get up close and personal with some long-spurred violets and have the beautiful shots to prove it, try these photo tips from the pros:
- You’ll get your best photos on a cloudy day.
- Experiment with using your flash and decide which photos you like best.
- Don’t be afraid to move in close on your subject.
- Photograph early or late in the day to avoid harsh shadows.
And most importantly, when you’ve set off in the PA motorhome but spot a vista where you just have to pull over and capture a photo, don’t forget these rules:
- Watch your step.
- Watch for traffic. It’s easy to get distracted and forget to watch for oncoming traffic when you’re crossing the road or opening your vehicle door.
- Check the area for insects and snakes before you plop your child or grandchild into the flowers for photos.
- Don’t trespass on private property.
- Don’t trample the flowers.
Hooray for spring! Let’s keep our parks and open spaces blooming for years to come!
As the temperatures are headed toward warmer pastures, many Philadelphia RV owners are contemplating the next big trip. Spring is perhaps the most beautiful time of year to be hitting the road. The blossoming of flowers and the reappearance of migratory birds welcome back a fresh feeling to the environment. There might be no better view or way to enjoy it yourself than to be at peace on a mountain side. Not just any mountain will do, one that is full of trees and activities will be just right. With that being said, we’d love to introduce, Green Mountain National Forest!
Just over 5.5 hours northeast in Vermont lays the lush land of Green Mountain. There are over 416,000 acres in which to explore so there is no time to waste! While you’re out, you’ll notice a vast array of protected animal and plant life by the USDA Forest Service. This national forest may seem optimized for spring but there are plenty of winter sports such as skiing and snowmobiling.
There are three nationally recognized trails, which are just as inviting as they sound. Appalachian Trail, Long Trail, and the Robert Frost National Recreation Trail have a lot to offer, especially in the way of learning one’s head. Could you imagine being inspired by the view like Mr. Frost had?
There’s gold in them hills! On the grounds of the forest, panning for gold is permissible! The only stipulations are; the panning must be for your own use without selling, and the act must be done by hand. The same goes for mineral and crystal collections.
Have you had your camper in the hills of Green Mountain? Feel free to share your favorite thing to do and joys with us as well as other RVers in the comments below!
As the San Francisco 49’ers and the Baltimore Ravens make their way to New Orleans on February 3, are you starting to make your Super Bowl XLVII party plans? You’ve probably picked your favorite team, but here are the real questions: are you going to do a little tailgating in your Jayco RV? And, what are you going to eat? Super Bowl Sunday will be here before you know it, and these quick and easy delicious recipes can help you plan your RV menu in no time!
Do you like your queso hot and spicy and made with no fuss? Just toss the Velveeta and Rotel in a crockpot, add some sautéed chorizo if you’re feeling adventurous, and your sports fans will love it. Or how about some Dutch-oven nachos? Layer whatever ingredients you prefer, like shredded beef or chicken, cheese, jalapenos and black beans. Use 18 coals (arranged with half on top and half on bottom to reach 375 degrees) and cook for about 15 minutes.
Of course, there’s still the big game to actually watch in between all the munching, and you’ll want to stay warm and comfy. If you’re a die-hard Eagles fan, shop the NFL cold weather gear and grab an official Eagles jersey or hoodie. You can also check out season ticket options for next season online. It’s never too early to hope for a better season next year! No matter who you’re pulling for, make Super Bowl Sunday a cozy and fun night spent with your family and friends!
November is Native American Heritage Month, and it’s a great time for those of us who pack up our Pennsylvania RVs and set out to explore this great nation to take an extra moment to appreciate all the ways Native Americans have influenced our shared American experience, whether it’s through food, art, music or crafts.
The President recently issued this proclamation: “This month, we celebrate and honor the many ways American Indians and Alaska Natives have enriched our Nation, and we renew our commitment to respecting each tribe’s identity while ensuring equal opportunity to pursue the American dream.”
Whether your next Jayco RV road trip takes you across the country or across the state, we found several resources to help us all learn more about the rich, varied, triumphant (although sometimes heartbreaking) history of American Indians.
Around the country:
- The National Park Service has created a special list of park sites called “Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary: Places Reflecting America’s Diverse Cultures” not only for sites of Native American significance but all cultures of the Americas.
- The National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, DC, is not to be missed.
- Visit The Native American Heritage Program, which showcases the history of the Lenni Lenape, or Delaware Indians, through cultural heritage programs, workshops, and educational exhibits for children and adults.
- Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Farmington, Pennsylvania: the site of the first battle of the French and Indian War.
- Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The park and its associated sites offer many opportunities to view the past through the lenses of ethnicity and race.
Did you know?
The original inhabitants of the area that is Pennsylvania included: The Erie tribe; The Iroquois tribes (especially the Seneca and Oneida); The Lenape tribe; The Munsee tribe; The Shawnee tribe; The Susquehannock tribe.
Halloween is coming. And even though we have a blast camping out in our Jayco RV, carving pumpkins and dressing up as ghosts and goblins, it’s also a tough time of year for batty public relations. We thought this would be a great time to set the record straight with a few fun facts about bats from Bat Conservation International:
- Centuries of myths and misinformation still generate needless fears and threaten bats and their habitats around the world.
- The more than 1,200 species of bats. They range from the world’s smallest mammal, the tiny bumblebee bat that weighs less than a penny to giant flyig foxes with six-foot wingspans.
- A single little brown bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in a single hour, while a pregnant or lactating female bat typically eats the equivalent of her entire body weight in insects each night.
- Almost a third of the world’s bats feed on the fruit or nectar of plants. In return for their meals, these bats are vital pollinators of countless plants (many of great economic value) and essential seed dispersers with a major role in regenerating rainforests.
- About 1 percent of bats eat fish, mice, frogs or other small vertebrates.
- Only three species, all in Latin America, are vampires. They really do feed on blood, although they lap it like kittens rather than sucking it up as horror movies suggest. Even the vampires are useful: an enzyme in their saliva is among the most potent blood-clot dissolvers known and is used to treat human stroke victims.
According to BatManagement.com, Pennsylvania has 11 species of bats, which range in size from the hoary bat (length, 5.1-5.9 inches; wingspread, 14.6-16.4 inches; weight, 0.88-1.58 ounces) to the tri-colored bat (length, 2.9-3.5 inches; wingspread, 8.1-10.1 inches; weight, 0.14-0.25 ounces). They are insect eaters, taking prey on the wing or eating insects gleaned from vegetation. Often they feed over water, and some species occasionally land and seize prey on the ground. A bat can consume more than its body weight in insects in a single night.
Just think where we’d be without bats helping out with the pest control! So this Halloween, help spread the word! Bats are the good guys!
Stargazing remains one of our all-time favorite pastimes to do on our trips in our Jayco RV. And in November, if you find a nice dark campground, you’ll have a chance to not only tour the constellations, you’ll have a front-row seat for the Leonid Meteor Showers. This year, the meteor showers will peak late on November 16 and continue until dawn on November 17.
The famous Leonids radiate from the constellation Leo; and this year, with a waxing crescent moon setting early in the evening, the sky will become a dark stage for the meteors’ spectacular performance.
In Pennsylvania, the ideal stargazing experience starts at Cherry Springs State Park. Certified in 2008 as an International Dark Sky Park, Cherry Springs is one of the few places on the eastern seaboard where exceptionally dark skies attract professional and amateur astronomers alike. The park consists of 48-acres with RV camping areas on site, and it’s surrounded by the 262,000-acre Susquehannock State Forest. You’ll find the Night Sky Viewing Area located north of Rt. 44, along with information kiosks.
Enjoy the meteor showers. And until then, keep an eye on the sky, and never miss a chance to wish upon a star!
For every Pennsylvania RVer on the road, you’ll find at least one strong opinion about what makes a great hike, and where to find the most amazing scenery. For some of us, fall is prime time for hiking, so we thought we’d share a few lists that highlight some of the best hikes in the U.S.
In its article describing the 10 Best Hiking Spots in the U.S., the Discovery Channel pondered why we hike at all. Ultimately, they wrote, “Vistas and waterfalls, giant redwoods and granite mountain faces aren’t typically visible from the interior of your car. And even when they are, it’s not the same as feeling the earth beneath your feet and standing on the edge of the cliff.”
If you’re traveling the country in your Jayco RV, there’s a great hiking spot not far from your destination. USA Today published a list of 51 hikes – one in each state plus the District of Columbia. Not surprisingly, many of the best hikes are found in the National Parks, and National Geographic created a list of its picks for the 20 best trails.
Pennsylvania offers a few spectacular hikes of its own, including sections of the Appalachian Trail. While most people think of the Appalachian Trail as a 2,184-mile trek from Georgia to Maine, there are some short stretches that offer inspiring scenery with a fraction of the exertion. In fact, the most popular hike in Pennsylvania is called “The Pinnacle,” which lots of Appalachian Trail hikers describe as the most scenic along the Pennsylvania segment of the trail. It’s only 8.7 miles long, and you can read about this and 19 other popular Pennsylvania trails at Trails.com.
Finally, here are a few safety reminders. Before you head out on your hike, be sure someone knows where you’re headed, and when to expect you back. Take a backpack with supplies that make sense for the length of your hike, and the terrain you’ll encounter. Even for a short day hike, you’ll want to take plenty of water, a few snacks, a first aid kit, rain gear, and an extra jacket. The weather can change with little warning and it pays to be prepared.
What’s your favorite hike? We’ll see you on the trail!
Theodore Roosevelt designated Florida’s Pelican Island as the nation’s first wildlife refuge in 1903. Since that time, the National Wildlife Refuge System grown to include 553 refuges and 38 wetland management districts that conserve America’s diversity of fish, wildlife and plant species.
There’s at least one refuge in every state, and the refuges are home to an estimated 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 250 reptile and amphibian species and more than 200 species of fish, which means that the refuges offer countless nature tourism opportunities for Pennsylvania motorhome travelers.
During the week of October 14 – 20, we’re celebrating National Wildlife Refuge week, and thought we’d share a few events happening in our neck of the woods. Pennsylvania has three National Wildlife Refuges, and events are planned at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum in southeastern Pennsylvania. The refuge was established by an act of Congress in 1972 to protect approximately 200 acres of tidal marsh – the largest remaining freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania. The refuge is now home to more than 300 species of birds, along with fox, deer, muskrat, turtles, fish, and frogs.
During the National Wildlife Refuge week, kids ages 8-14 can explore the refuge and learn more about trees, and kids of all ages can participate in The Big Sit, a birding event. From dawn to dusk birders will be identifying birds and logging them in to see how many species can be seen from one spot. Everyone is welcome, from beginners to experts, and may spend as little or as much time as desired.
And, if your PA RV travel plans take you further afield next week, you can visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife site to find a refuge on your route, and search for upcoming events all over the country.
Chances are, any time you’re on the road with your Jayco RV from Fretz, there’s a flea market nearby. What’s your favorite treasure? From collectible Scooby-Doo lunch buckets to velvet Elvis paintings, America’s flea markets have it all.
Where will you begin your flea market adventure? The Travel Channel put together a list of what it considers the world’s best. The most intriguing one for Pennsylvania RVers is likely the 127 Corridor, which runs from Gadsden, Alabama all the way to Jamestown, Tennessee. For three weeks every August, more than 2,000 vendors line the road and welcome the adventurous shoppers.
CBS profiled the top markets in Pittsburgh, and Trader Jack’s topped the list (www.traderjacksfleamarket.net) topped the list with everything from candles to gold jewelry. For even more flea market listings, visit American Flea and start planning your next flea market road trip. While almost any flea market can help you add to your favorite collections, some also offer some great foods and local music while you shop. Let us know if you find a good one! What’s your favorite flea market to take your new PA RV to?
Some birders are hard core. They’ll jump on a plane in a heartbeat at the mere hint of an opportunity to check one more bird off their life list. Others are more relaxed, content with the birds of any feather that happen to flock to their own backyard. No matter which type of birder you are, fall is prime time for birding. And when you’re traveling in your Winnebago or Jayco RV this fall, you can discover even more gorgeous and unusual species, including migratory birds.
If you’re in the mood for a road trip in your new or used Jayco, check out the 8 Great Places suggested by the National Wildlife Federation. From the Sunrise Coast in Maine to the Sky Islands of Arizona, these are places recommended by some of the top birders in the nation.
And, if you’re looking for an RV excursion a little closer to home, Pennsylvania is home to more than 400 species. To get started exploring the amazing birds in Pennsylvania, check out the Pennsylvania Birding and Wildlife Trail. The trail’s online guide includes more than 360 locations that take you through wetlands, ridge tops, forests, and grasslands as you discover everything from ducks to hummingbirds.
If you’re especially fond of raptors, fall is the time to see the hawk migration as well. Bill Streeter, with the Delaware Valley Raptor Center, described the migration as a rite of passage for young hawks making their first migration south for the winter.
“During the fall migration it is not uncommon to see I5 species of raptors,” writes Streeter. “In September you are likely to see Broad-winged Hawks, American Kestrels, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Bald Eagles and Ospreys. In October, Sharp-shins, Cooper’s Hawks, Northern Harriers, Red-tailed Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, Merlins, Peregrine Falcons, and Turkey Vultures move through in their greatest numbers.” How many species will you see?