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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Create Special Memories with Dad in the Allegheny National Forest Region

By Sandra Rhodes
Visitor & Member Services
Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau


It’s been 40 years since Father’s Day was named a federal holiday so it’s the perfect time to explore the Allegheny National Forest Region, located in northwestern Pennsylvania with dad. Surprise dad by building an adventure that will allow the both of you to share the forest by air, on land, or by water.

Vintage Biplane Rides, operated by experienced pilot Bruce Klein, allows you to soar over the amazing Kinzua Sky Walk and the Allegheny National Forest in a beautifully restored 1943 Boeing Stearman. Featuring an open cockpit, a biplane offers a safe, enjoyable and memorable opportunity to fly with some wind in your hair, a little sun warming your face and a lot of joy in your heart.

Flights take off from the Bradford Regional Airport, 212 Airport Road, Lewis Run, Pa., located along Route 59 just southeast of the City of Bradford. Rides are $80 per person; group rates and gift certificates are available. Reservations, which need to be made in advance, may be made by calling 814-642-9486 or 814-558-5376.

If dad’s more of a water guy, then contact Brian Pfister at B’s Canoeing Guide Service for a guided canoe journey on the Tunungwant Creek. Flowing north into the Allegheny River, the “Tuna” as locals call the Tunungwant, is a seven mile scenic water trail that is always smooth and floatable. There’s no need to walk this trail. Adults and children, at least 8 years of age, are welcome. Groups from 2 to 10 can be accommodated per trip. Your canoe trip will include a lunch of sandwiches, potato chips and a white cake made with homemade maple syrup. Guests are asked to bring their own beverages; alcohol is prohibited. To book your trip at $50 per person, call B’s Canoeing Guide Service at 814-598-7348 or e-mail bscanoeingguide@yahoo.com.

The Gateway Lodge in Cooksburg is brewing up something special for dad – or anyone who likes a little beer. The Bed & Brew Weekend will be held June 15-17 this year. The package includes two nights in a luxury suite with breakfasts, a home brewing workshop by Porterhouse Brewshop on Friday; an amazing five-course dinner on Saturday with live music and optional Great Lakes beer pairings. The cost is $499 per couple plus $20 per person for beer pairings. Call 814-744-8017 or visit www.gatewaylodge.com for more details.

There are plenty of things to spark dad’s interest at the Zippo/Case Museum, located at 1932 Zippo Drive, Bradford, including a newly expanded line of outdoor items. Besides Zippo lighters and Case knives, emergency fire starter kits, flex neck utility lighters, water resistant flashlights and a variety of campfire starters are offered in the newly remodeled gift store located within the museum. The museum and store are open seven days a week; admission is free. To create a customized Zippo windproof lighter for dad, go online at www.zippo.com. You simply upload your own photo or use an image from the Zippo Image Library, add your own text and then in just three easy steps have a one-of-a-kind Zippo lighter made just for your dad.

Sportsman’s Outlet located at 500 Chestnut Street, Bradford, is the place to shop for outdoor gear for dad at discounted prices. Surprise dad, with a stop at the store to purchase an Old Town Canoe or kayak in just the right size and color, and then drive just eight miles to the Allegheny Reservoir to launch your vessel on its maiden voyage. Willow Bay, along the Allegheny Reservoir, offers both cabins and campsites for rent. Reservations can be made by calling 877-444-6777 or online at www.recreation.gov. If you don’t have a tent, Sportsman’s Outlet sells those, too!

If dad likes to stay on land, we have him covered there, too, as he can enjoy playing the links on the golf courses on the FORE! Golf Cattaraugus-McKean County Golf Trail. A dozen golf courses within a two- county area in northwestern Pennsylvania and southwestern New York have joined together to provide a visiting golfer with a wide variety of 18-hole and nine-hole golf experiences.

One you will want to try for sure is the Kane Country Club, located at 6654 Route 6, Kane. On Wednesday’s, this course offers the “Steak Special”, where you get 18 holes of golf, a cart and a steak dinner for just $35. Call to reserve your tee time at 814-837-9491 or check out the website at www.kanecountryclub.com. If you want to bring the family or enjoy a guy’s getaway group, Pennhills Country Club offers a package deal that includes golf, dinner and overnight at Heritage Suites in Bradford. Reservations may be made by calling 814-368-6159 or e-mailing krmosher@pennhills.com. For a full range of courses offered, visit www.foregolfmag.com.

To see the area by foot, plan a day or weekend trek on one of the trails within the Allegheny National Forest Region. Downloadable maps of the trails are available at www.visitANF.com. You may also request a free travel guide and map, full of other ideas of things to do, food and beverage stops and overnight accommodations at 800-473-9370.

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