In todays digital world you can so easily live in a place your whole life and never experience the greatest treasures that are around you. The grass is always greener especially when you've been stuck looking at pictures on your iPhone with the "Astroturf" of nature. I've lived in Eastern PA for 17 years and not until recently have I even heard of these beautiful sights. I've gotten so comfortable with the same old places that I never went out of my way to explore!
I think that is true of life as well. Too often do conversations stay on the surface and lead to the same old questions over and over again. "How are you?" "What do you do for a living?" "Where are you from?" "How's the family?" We've asked and answered these questions so many times that they've almost lost all of there meaning. We all have our go to answers that we've repeated more times than we can count. You can know someone for years before asking them a question like "What are you most passionate about?", "What are your hopes and dreams?" or "What has the Lord been doing in your life recently?"
It's very easy to know someone your whole life and never experience the greatest treasures that are right inside of them. Coming from a great Catholic family of 6 boys, I can count on one hand how many times I've explored these questions with all of my brothers combined! How can that be? How much are we missing out on by not having the courage to go below the surface and really get to know someone?! Especially someone we care deeply about!
Anyway, thanks for coming to my Ted Talk. Now check out these places that may have been right under your nose for years. Hopefully Philly Frassati will visit each one soon!
Hickory Run State Park's Boulder field
"The trails lead through areas rich in historic and scenic interest. This is especially true from mid-June until mid-July when the mountain laurel and rhododendron are in bloom and again in mid-October at the height of the fall foliage."
Cherry Springs State Park... The Greatest stargazing spot on the east coast!
"The field is at the top of a 2,300-foot high mountain -- the surrounding state forest is relatively undeveloped and nearby communities are in valleys, shielding any light that might affect the park"
The veil between heaven and earth is thin here!
Bushkill Falls, The Niagra of PA... Home of 8 Beautiful waterfalls!
"Bushkill Falls provides families, friends, couples, and nature enthusiasts with an excellent opportunity to experience the splendor and beauty of Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains. It's only a short distance to view the Main Falls from the primary observation deck. Three additional hiking trails provide numerous viewing angles of all eight waterfalls."
Hawk Mountain. Enough said... Buuut... With 2 beautiful views of a gorgeous valley, rare bird species in migration season, and a couple of boulder fields with underground streams you can hear from the surface, this is a must see in PA! A walk in the woods here will refresh your spirit and reconnect you with God through his creation.
Pine Creek Gorge aka The PA Grand Canyon
"The Canyon begins south of Ansonia along US Route 6 and continues for approximately 47 miles. The maximum depth of the canyon is 1,450 feet at Waterville, near the southern end. At Leonard Harrison and Colton Point State Parks, the depth is more than 800 feet. These overlooks offer the most spectacular views."
The Pinnacle... The name describes it pretty well
"Pinnacle Scenic Overlook Nature Preserve provides visitors with a spectacular view from the scenic overlook and offers over 2.76 miles of moderate and difficult network of hiking trails that provide in-and-back, short, day, and loop hiking trails of varying lengths. From Pinnacle Scenic Overlook hikers can access Kellys Run and Tucquan Glen/Pyfer Nature Preserves and beyond via the Conestoga Trail."
Trexler nature preserve... yea that's a Bison... in Eastern PA. No you can't pet it.
"Today, the Trexler Nature Preserve offers residents opportunities to explore and experience nature as General Trexler envisioned. The hills offer spectacular views of the Lehigh Valley. Eighteen miles of trails offer wildlife observation, bird watching, hiking, walking, horseback riding, and mountain biking opportunities for enthusiasts at all levels. Trexler Nature Preserve offers something for everyone!"
Rickets Glen State Park not 8, not 10, not 15, but 22 waterfalls!
"Ricketts Glen State Park is one of the most scenic areas in Pennsylvania. Hike the Falls Trail System to explore the glens, which boasts a series of wild, free-flowing waterfalls, each cascading through rock-strewn clefts in this ancient hillside. The 94-foot Ganoga Falls is the highest of 22 named waterfalls. Old growth timber and diverse wildlife add to the beauty."
White Cliffs of Convoy
"The cliffs are the result of a limestone quarry that once existed up the hill from the cliffs. Once pulled from the ground, the limestone and dolomite were crushed and burned to create a variety of products for local farms and businesses. While the cliffs might not be the most amazing sight along the Susquehanna River, they are certainly a unique attraction for anyone looking to see something completely different from anything else in the region. They also provide a great overlook point for the river below."
Worlds End State Park... The Apocalypse of PA?!?!
"Worlds End State Park is situated in a narrow S-shaped valley of the Loyalsock Creek, just south of Forksville, Sullivan County. Surrounded by the Loyalsock State Forest, the 780-acre park offers visitors diverse recreational opportunities within a pristine environment. The rugged natural beauty coursing through the heart of the Endless Mountains landscape provides many photographic possibilities."
Comment your top 3 or if you think we missed any!
The most important thing to remember is what makes the experience is not the place itself but the people you visit it with and how open you are to what Christ wants to do in your life there. St. Therese of Liseux could find more beauty in a single blade of grass than most people find in the most beautiful thing they've ever seen. So get out of the house, spend some time in these hidden gems with some great people (PHILLY FRASSATI), and bring an open heart with eyes wide open. Beauty is all around us, we're just not looking hard enough.
Peace and Blessings,