The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

May 6, 2013

This year, try a stay-at-home vacation

— When was the last time you and your family vacationed in the picturesque, history-rich southern Alleghenies? In other words, enjoyed the extensive tourist sites right here at home that leave out-of-towners raving?  

“Road Trip!” is the title of the 2013-2014 visitors guide of the Johnstown/Cambria County Convention and Visitors Bureau. We suspect its meaning is twofold: A reference to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to our region annually to take in top-notch tourist offerings, while serving as a reminder to locals of just what great opportunities we have. 

When did you last ride the Inclined Plane or visit the Johnstown Flood Museum or Johnstown Flood National Memorial? Take in Gallitzin Tunnels or Staple Bend Tunnel, Allegheny Portage Railroad or Horseshoe Curve national historic sites, Seldom Seen Mine, Flight 93 National Memorial or the Que Creek Mine Site? How about Cambria City’s Discovery Center/Children’s Museum and Wagner-Ritter House?

Perhaps you like to hike or ride a bike. Our breathtaking rails-to-trails are among the best.

The list goes on and on, and while our intent isn’t to do the marketing for our visitors center, we believe a lot of area residents are, well, missing the boat.

We suspect few of our readers have seen even half of the above-mentioned, and that’s sad.

“These are unique to us. They can’t be exported,” said Lisa Rager, longtime CVB executive director. “They deserve our investment and support.”

Although her words were spoken during a recent interview concerning our upcoming Thunder in the Valley rally and what visitors will be doing and seeing, they hold true in any discussion about our region’s attractions.

More than 200,000 people are expected to take in the June motorcycle rally, while several thousand will be here for PolkaFest May 31-June 2. Most will venture outside the downtown and Cambria City and find tourist sites few towns in western and central Pennsylvania can match.

We have a lot to brag about and be proud of, but even more to see.

If you haven’t already done it, give the southern Alleghenies a try this summer. You won’t be disappointed.

The 100-page CVB guide can be picked up at the center along Roosevelt Boulevard in Cambria City, or soon at area businesses.

Or information can be obtained by calling 800-237-8590 or visiting www.visitjohnstownpa.com.

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