Experience Bedford County’s Great Outdoors
By Kellie Goodman Shaffer
With a world-class resort and unique restaurants and shops, Bedford County is a popular destination for visitors, for a relaxing weekend getaway or a fun day-trip. And once they arrive in Bedford County, travelers find beautiful forests and rolling farmlands, as well as fourteen historic covered bridges and three state parks.
Shawnee State Park in Schellsburg had been named the State Park of the Year (2017) by the Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation (PPFF), among more than 120 state parks and conservation areas in PA. “It’s awesome!” said Park Manager Dorothy Krupa. “To be singled out as the cream of the crop is just tremendous. It’s gratifying to see the work that the staff does day in and day out to take care of the park recognized, and I also give big credit to the Friends of Shawnee, because they’ve helped us expand our programming.” The Friends of Shawnee is a local chapter of PPFF, committed to promoting the park, and encouraging more people to use the local resource.
The chapter’s signature event is the Fireworks on the Lake. The exhibit celebrates the outdoors through the eyes of local artists in media ranging from pen and ink to paint to wood carving and more. The Park is a favorite spot for picnics and fishing, and many enjoy walking or running around the 3-mile Lakeshore Trail. The Park is also the start/finish location for the Bedford County Outdoor Challenge, a first-of-its-kind, “triathlon” invites outdoor lovers to paddle, cycle and walk/run over three days.
Just a few miles from the park is one of Bedford County’s most unique farms and tourist attractions. The Bison Corral, located along the historic Lincoln Highway just West of Schellsburg, offers families the chance to see the Bison roam, a living piece of American history. Spring is baby time. And guests love to see the bison calves. “You can’t see them anywhere else,” said owner Ann Darrow. “They are a beautiful cinnamon color, and they’re much smaller than people realize.” Bison meat is available for health-conscious consumers at the gift shop. The store also features jewelry, dream catchers, carvings, pottery, knives and much more. The Bison Corral also has two guest houses for rent, perfect for a farm-style getaway.
Whether you’re interested in forests or farms, springtime is the perfect time to visit Bedford County.