Backyard Tourist Columns - February 2014

By Andrew Miller

Hello neighbors!   February is the month of love.  No matter what you love – people, art, music, history or being outdoors - February will make your life sweeter in the Susquehanna River Valley.

The Heart of Lewisburg Ice Festival – January 31st through February 2nd -  kicks off the month with fun, a Frosty 5K, ice sculptures, The Frosty Kettle Chili Cook-Off, the infamous Polar Bear Plunge, an Acapella on Ice performance, the Chocolate Festival Tour throughout downtown Lewisburg, the Chocolate Festival Ball and a free showing [new clothing donations of hats, gloves or socks suggested to support the Clothes Sharing Program] of the digitally remastered Wizard of Oz at the Campus Theatre.

One cannot mention February without St. Valentine’s Day.  If you’re not quite sure what to do this Valentine’s Day, be sure to check out our web site under  the “Shopping” bar on our landing page.  Click on “In Store Holiday Promotions” and it will provide you with a variety of suggestions.  Romantic dining specials can be found at The Victoria House, The Watson Inn and The Pine Barn Inn.  Before your romantic dinner, stop by Fero Vineyards and Winery to sample their pairing of wine, Purity Candy chocolates and a free rose!  And if chocolate is your weakness of choice, you won’t want to miss the Chocolate Dinner at Vic’sPub/The Victoria house on the 27th!  Find unique gifts from the heart at such specialty stores such as Colonial Candlecrafters, Graci’s Flowers & Gifts in Selinsgrove, The English Garden in Riverside, and you can never go wrong with chocolates or sweets from Purity Candy in Allenwood, Good Wil’s Restaurant, Bakery and Creamery, or the Lickety Split Diner.  What goes better with sweet treats than wine?  Check out the Wine & Truffle Pairing at Shade Mountain Winery the 8th and 9th or be sure to surprise your loved one with wine from Spyglass Ridge Winery, Four Friends Vineyard & Winery or Hunters Valley Winery.  For a flying high romantic adventure, good through the end of the month, enjoy a Valentines’ Day romance package that includes a rose, a candle, a bottle of wine and a half-hour plane ride at Heritage Aviation. 

Music lovers will be thrilled with the wide variety February offerings. The Destination Blues Music Festival showcases artists on February 7th and 8th.  County Cupboard hosts the True Heart Dinner Concert on February 8th.  The Campus Theatre hosts Grammy-nominated blues artists Ruthie Foster and Eric Bibb on February 12th.  The Venice Baroque Orchestra will play at the Weis Performing Arts Center on the 21st.  The hypnotic Gypsy music of Romano Drom will play at the Campus Theatre on the 26th.  Vic’s Pub will host a High Tea and Performing Quartet on the 19th and Bucknell University’s Acapella group, Beyond Unison, on the 21st. 

Art lovers will enjoy the Photography Exhibit at the Northumberland County Council for the Arts and Humanities Fine Art Gallery in Shamokin. Running through February 21st, this exhibit showcases the photography of Ranshaw native Larry Deklinski, plus vintage photos of Shamokin taken by the late Paul and Myron Thomas Studio.  Give a hoot and view the magnificent “Only Owls” exhibit at the Ned Smith Center for Nature & Art, through March 15th.  Only Owls" brings together artworks in pencil, charcoal, ink, watercolor, and woodcut drawn from the Woodson Art Museum's collection. Each artwork provides insight into the fascinating world of owls and demonstrates a variety of stylistic approaches by thirty artists. 

And speaking of owls, owl lovers will not want to miss February 7th’s “Whoo Gives a Hoot? Nature Presentation and Walk” at the PPL Montour Preserve in Washingtonville.  An evening of fun for the entire family, you’ll gather inside for a discussion about owl habits and species, followed by a walk outside for all to try their best to calling out an owl.  If a fan of all birds, you will not want to miss February 14th’s Annual Great Backyard Bird Count at R.B. Winter State Park.

Dedicated winter warriors will enjoy snowshoeing, winter mountain biking, cross-country skiing at R.B. Winter State Park and enjoy their Annual Snowfest on February 9th that offers these activities plus snowmobiling, ice fishing, broomball [kinda like volleyball but with brooms and in the snow], ice skating, geocaching, plus food and a trail race.  Ice skating enthusiasts can also enjoy the ice skating rinks in Lewisburg and Sunbury.  You can even learn more about how trees survive the winter at a Winter Botany Hike at R.B. Winter State Park on the 27th and a Winter Walk at PPL Montour Preserve on the 15th.

February is full of fun and love for children.  Feel free to take the kids to Batfest at Lincoln Caverns on February 15th, or sign up for Lambing-time Slumber Parties at Owens Farms, beginning February 21st.  Register your child for classes in gymnastics, Jujitsu, beginning robotics, Lego & clay animation or have them enter Reptiland’s “Paint the Dino” coloring contest [the last day to register is February 14th - the winner will also receive a one-year Reptiland membership for a family of 4 and a fossilized dinosaur artifact].

Wow – who would have thought that so much is going on in chilly February that I’m running out of space?  For complete details, times, prices and information on these and other events in the Susquehanna River Valley, go to VisitCentralPA.org; sign up for our weekly e-newsletter; call us at 1-800-525-7320 or stop by our Visitor Center on Route 15. Get our Mobile App for your smartphone at VisitCentralPA.org/mobile that includes our Calendar of Events plus information on shopping and dining, plus mapping capability to get directions fast.  Don’t let “cabin fever” get the best of you. There’s too much to do… right here at home!

Andrew Miller is the Executive Director of the Susquehanna Valley Visitors Bureau.