Pennsylvania is one of the United States’ most historically significant places. Located in the northeastern United States, its borders encompass 46,055 square miles of land, making it the nation’s 33rd largest state. Pennsylvania’s significant relationship with American history, as well as several other factors, draws in millions of tourists and generates more than 30-billion dollars for its economy every year.
Pennsylvania is most notable for its largest city: Philadelphia. This iconic city is home to the Independence National Historic Park; this monument to American freedom houses Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and Congress Hall, and has stood to witness the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the United States Constitution. Philadelphia is also the home of several museums, most notably the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Museum, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, Eastern State Penitentiary, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Pittsburgh is another important Pennsylvanian city. Today, it is a metropolis that is difficult to identify with its past as a town built on the backs of coal miners; however, a glimpse into the history of the city can be seen with a guided tour of the Pittsburgh Coal Mines. The city also has its own collection of museums, including the Andy Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Carnegie Science Center. One of the United States’ largest fountains is also found in the city, located at the point where the Ohio River begins: Point State Park.
The state’s capital of Harrisburg also sports beautiful sights and sounds for travelers. The city is home to Reservoir Park (so named because of the massive underground water reservoir beneath it), which houses the National Civil war Museum. As well as numerous parks, architectural marvels, and museums, Harrisburg also sports one of the oldest operating farmer’s markets in the U. S.
Outside of the cities, travelers can still find many attractions in Pennsylvania. Valley Forge National Historical Park, located in Montgomery County and Chester County, is the site where George Washington camped with his forces throughout the winter of 1777 to summer of 1778. The park spans 3,466 acres, and has numerous sights such as Washington’s Headquarters, reconstructions of log cabins, National Memorial Arch, and various recreational spaces and trails.
Pennsylvania is also home to the town of Gettysburg, where the infamous battle took place. Today, the site is called the Gettysburg National memorial Park, and pays homage to the 46,286 Union and Confederate casualties of the three-day battle.
Finally, Pennsylvania is home to a number of villages with unusual names. The villages of Blue Ball, Paradise, and Intercourse for example, are popular for their suggestive names, but are also famous for having preserved old traditions such as those of the Amish, Hutterites and Mennonites. They have their own assortment of museums, and have businesses that specifically cater to tourists. Interestingly enough, most of the villages didn’t actually start with the unusual names; rather, they had the names of the villages changed as a result of an iconic landmark in the area. The village of Intercourse in particular, has multiple ideas on how the name was acquired, although there are generally accepted theories.
Regardless of which places a traveler wishes to visit in Pennsylvania, he/she is almost guaranteed to be immersed in an atmosphere of rich history that intertwines with some of the most important events of American history. In contrast to some places where the “tourist trade” really is a trade focused on generating income, what one finds in Pennsylvania is more genuine; more natural. In Pennsylvania, it is a trade meant to keep the past alive in the modern world.