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• Monday - Welcome • Tuesday - Welcome • Thursday - County FAM •
*Explore Altoona will be pleased to offer transportation from the University Park Airport for any writers flying into State College for the Marketplace. Transportation will depart from the Airport at 1:30 p.m.
Check in at Wingate by Wyndham Downtown/Medical Center
Depart the hotel for Baker Mansion
Explore Baker Mansion History Museum
As the headquarters of the Blair County Historical Society, this is one of the most architecturally significant structures in the Alleghenies and is the only Greek Temple style home in PA. This 19th century masterpiece was built in 1849 and was the home of ironmaster Elias Baker and his family. The mansion has undergone an extensive interior renovation and features compelling rotating exhibits. Its picturesque grounds add to the sense of the mansion’s grandeur.
Dinner at the US Hotel Tavern’s Liberty Hall
The US Hotel Tavern is the only restaurant in Blair County housed within an historical property. Since its initial conception in 1835, the business accommodated westward travelers along the Pennsylvania Canal and the Allegheny Portage Railroad.The establishment was reconstructed in 1886, having been destroyed by fire in 1871. The hand-carved mahogany back bar, beveled silvered mirrors, hand leaded stained glass windows and a brass foot rail, under which is a fresh flow through spitoon, are original to the 1905 design of the bar. This spitoon is a pre-Prohibition relic that can be found in a limited number of bars in the United States.
Dessert Reception at the Everett Railroad Depot
This reconstructed vintage-style train depot is the home of the Everett Railroad Company which offers scenic, themed train excursions throughout southern Blair County. The Railroad features such themes as ice cream excursions, holiday excursions, fall foliage excursions with fun for the whole family!
Breakfast at Tom and Joe’s Diner
Start our walking tour of downtown Altoona with a hearty home-style breakfast at a classic, high-energy diner which has been an Altoona favorite since 1933.
Explore the Mishler Theatre
This elaborate Beaux-Arts theatre was built in 1906 and has been continuously restored since the 1960s. A regular stop on the Vaudeville circuit, the likes of W.C. Fields, Harry Houdini, and Al Jolson performed here. Featured on the National Register of Historic Places, the ornate venue is host to frequent theatrical, musical, and dance productions by regional, national, and international performers and performing organizations, including the Altoona Symphony Orchestra which is the longest continuously performing community orchestra in the U.S.
Visit the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament
This Roman Catholic cathedral is the mother church of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and serves as the seat of its bishop. Ground was broken in 1924 and the cathedral was formally opened in 1960; it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. The cathedral’s main exterior feature is its dome which rises to a height of 198 feet, reflects an academic interpretation of Italy’s early Renaissance cathedrals and actually serves as an informal signature of downtown Altoona’s cityscape. The main facade features an entrance portico with six Ionic columns and the cathedral’s nave is divided into three sections by six large piers. The cathedral was a recent architectural designee within the Blair County Arts Hall of Fame.
11:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Explore the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art
Operating as the nation’s longest-running museum satellite system, the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art is a community museum founded in 1976 and has five facilities in southwestern PA. Having started with a collection of about 100 objects, the museum system currently maintains a permanent collection of more than 7,500 works of local, regional, national, and international artists. The system offers award-winning education programs, special events, and approximately thirty to forty exhibitions annually. The Altoona museum consists of three unique galleries housed in a beautifully upgraded space formerly occupied by a local department store.
Lunch at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art
Seated lunch within a window gallery at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art; lunches to be individually selected from the menu of Allegheny Creamery and Crepes. This unique eatery lives by the following three principles: Rooted in French cuisine and technique. Blended with inspired features from world fare. Created with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Travel to DelGrosso’s Park and Laguna Splash
A Quick Stop at DelGrosso’s Family of Companies
Get a quick glance at America’s only Italian-themed waterpark, its sister amusement park, and hear about America’s oldest major family-owned manufacturer of pasta sauce at DelGrosso’s Park and Laguna Splash.
Depart for State College
Transportation for those who arrived through the University Park Airport will be provided by Explore Altoona to State College hotels.
Travel to Altoona
Explore the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum
As America’s only interactive railroaders museum, the Railroaders Memorial Museum houses three floors of exhibits and tells the story of hardworking railroaders who built the city of Altoona and influenced the nation’s commerce beyond the Alleghenies. The museum seeks to preserve this historical, technical, and cultural fabric of Pennsylvania railroaders and the communities they built by remembering and interpreting their legacy. Exhibits include artifacts, interactive environments, and immersive tableaus. Films present a colorful context of the people and lifestyles that composed this city’s railroading community.
Travel to the Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark
Explore the Horseshoe Curve
The World Famous Horseshoe Curve was built by hand by 400 Irish immigrants hired by the Pennsylvania Railroad over a period of three grueling years, opening in 1854. It was built as a streamlined way to traverse the vast Allegheny Mountains and replaced the Allegheny Portage Railroad. Over the next century-and-a-half, this crucial site became a key component in America’s westward expansion, a primary east-west artery of railroad travel across the nation, a target of Nazi spies during World War II and an international visitor destination.
Travel to the Allegro Restaurant
Lunch at the Allegro
This premier restaurant opened in 1978 and specializes in award-winning veal dishes, succulent steaks, and homemade pastas and desserts. As the Taddei family says, “fine cuisine is not just our profession or hobby….it’s our way of life!”
Travel to Gardners Candy Store and Museum
This vintage candy store, unique candy museum, and old fashioned ice cream parlor is more than a return to yesteryear. Gardners Candies was founded in 1897 by a sixteen-year old entrepreneur, James “Pike” Gardner, who is credited in the confectionery industry for inventing the idea of heart shaped boxes of candy for Valentine’s Day. Gardners features the finest homemade chocolates including the original Peanut Butter Meltaway.
(Bus Round-Trip: 5 hours including time at destinations)
Return to Happy Valley OR Start Farewell FAMs
Transportation for those who arrived via the University Park Airport will be provided by Explore Altoona to respective State College hotels.