The Surprising Charm of Wellsboro, PA
Shortly after my husband and I married his parents started a new life in Wellsboro, PA. We have made the 4-5 hour drive northwest of Philadelphia every Christmas since. The most I ever saw of the area during our quick visits was their very large log cabin, turned bed and breakfast. I only caught a glimpse of the town as we drove through late at night with nothing but a soft pillow and a warm bed on my mind.
The whole area was quiet, sometimes too quiet, but at least there was a Dunkin Donuts in town. I couldn’t comprehend why anyone would choose to live so far from a major city and all of its benefits. Didn’t they get bored? Didn’t the silence drive them insane?
This past August we finally made it out to Wellsboro when the weather was good. We didn’t arrive in the dead of night. We strategically scheduled our drive around naptime. This seemed like a great plan. Of course Dek fell asleep a half-hour before we arrived. Typical.
As we drove through downtown (all 5 blocks of it), my opinion of this once scoffed at (by me) small town started to transform. Families walked down the quiet sidewalks window-shopping for quilting supplies, home décor and memories. Non-chain restaurants dotted the landscape, including a diner in what looked like an old train car. A metal frog sat outside of a soda shop. The more I saw, the more I wanted to get out of the car and explore.
I got my chance on a clear, sunny afternoon. We took a wander down Main Street with Dek’s grandparents. I started to get the feeling that this town wasn’t as off the beaten track as I had thought. In fact, this area was thriving. My mother-in-law was turning guests away because they were always booked up. Festivals filled the calendar. Biking, hiking and kayaking lured weary city dwellers to cleaner air and cooler temperatures.
During the first week of August when we visited, the annual Endless Mountain Music Festival was taking place. Musicians wandered around with violin cases and trumpets slung over their shoulders. An amazing cellist serenaded us each morning as we woke up at the B&B. Trust me, I had to get our “reservation” in at grandma and grandpa’s well in advance to make sure we could get a room for our visit.
I couldn’t help but relax when this peaceful small town and easygoing attitude towards life surrounded me. Maybe living in the middle of nowhere (to me) wasn’t so bad. My in-laws certainly love it and have never looked back. They now have a refuge for their city-dwelling children to come to and unwind. Their grandchildren are able to see rolling hills, herds of cattle and hear sheep bleating in the next farm over, all from the comfort of their front porch. When I get desperate I know the donut shop and movie theater (only 2 movies at a time of course) are just a short drive to downtown. I can live with that…for a little while at least.
A Dickens of A Christmas– Talk about a crowd pleaser. This 1-day Charles Dickens festival takes place at the beginning of December and should not be missed. Vendors dressed in Victorian garb line Main Street. Carolers encourage a sing-a-long in front of the Arcadia Theater. Horse drawn carriages, a Santa Express Train Excursion and a live production of “A Christmas Carol” are just a few of the festival highlights. What’s not to love? Sadly we have never made it to Dickens, but I am hoping we can head out East for Thanksgiving one year and catch it.
NOTE: My in-laws have closed their B&B in 2015. There are still plenty of wonderful places to stay in the area.