We're heading out of the fire, and into the furnace... sort of. Located in Central Pennsylvania, in Huntingdon County, Greenwood Furnace State Park is packed with beauty and history.
Mike Dinsmore, Park Manager, says it was an iron furnace community who's peak operation was the 1860's to the 1880's, and there are still traces of the community today, like the Iron Master's Quarters.
The town church, built in the 1860's is still used for weddings today, and you can take a walk through the blacksmith and wagon shop to see what tools were used, and how they would fix their wagons.
When you visit the park, make sure you give yourself some time to check out the old furnaces. One was reconstructed so you can walk inside and touch history. There were two furnaces that would burn 24/7, lighting up the night sky, covering the town in soot and ash.
Dinsmore explains, "it would have felt like you were in the downtown of an industrial center... at the peak of the operation produced... tons of pig iron that would then be sent to be converted into rod iron at freedom forge. [This iron] would have been made into railroads, cannons and guns that would have been involved in the civil war, so its a big part of the establishment of industry and the evolution of industry in the country."
After you take in the history, you can take in the rest of the park, which is also known for its mountain biking and hiking trails. Standing Stone Trail is an 80 mile backpacking trail, which passes through the park, which won 'Trail of the Year' last year in the state.
The Greenwood Furnace Visitor's Center features the park's lake, which has a beach house and a concession stand--pavillions are available there, as well.
Here is your 'Adventure PA' checklist:
Cost: All day use areas and parking are free, camping rates are very reasonable
No cell service, so write down the directions in case your GPS signal is lost
Space for walk-in tents or RV's
20 miles South of State College, off of State Route 305
There is electric
Modern bath houses
Visit year-round! They have ice skating and cross country skiing in the winter!
Kendra Nichols, Adventure PA