Backyard Tourist Columns - January 2014

By Andrew Miller

Happy Holidays and “Almost” New Year! I hope everyone has had a holiday filled with family, friends, love and laughter. Right around the corner is the New Year…Yikes! The years fly by faster and faster but they also bring a clean slate; new goals, and a things to do in the Susquehanna River Valley. And even though we’re in the beginning of winter, I encourage all you Winter Warriors to get out and explore what January has to offer.

The most adventuresome warriors will want to get outside and enjoy how the snow and cold changes the terrain and offers a variety of things to do that can only be found during this time of year. R.B. Winter Park offers 5 miles of park trails that provide easy access to skiing and snowshoeing with connecting trails and roads on surrounding state forest land. Don’t have a pair of snowshoes? No worries – R. B. Winter State Park offers free snowshoes. Did you know that R. B. Winter State Park allows registered snowmobiles to use their designated park roads which lead to over 300 miles of roads and trails in the Bald Eagle State Forest? Ice fishing is also available at R. B. Winter State Park but be sure the ice is 4 inches thick and be sure to carry safety equipment!

Weiser State Forest in Northumberland County offers cross-country skiing and snowmobiling with eighteen miles of joint-use roads and seventeen miles of shared-use trails on the Haldeman and Greenland tracts of the State Forest. In addition, an eight-mile connector trail has been established across State Game Lands 210. Cross-country skiing is permitted on joint-use roads, as well as on 25 miles of shared use trails.

And we can’t talk about winter recreation without mentioning ice skating. The Sunbury Ice Skating Rink and the Lewisburg Ice Skating Rink are open for fun and exercise.

Care for a little indoor recreation? Theater lovers – and those who may or may not have survived Catholic School – will enjoy the touring company of “Late Night Catechism”, January 22nd through the 26th, complete with the “interactive Sister” who doles out glow-in-the-dark rosary beads for correct answers! Williamsport’s Community Arts Center offers a wide variety of performances for all ages that include the famous Blue Man Group, January 7th-8th, the Tony-award winning, “Million Dollar Quarter”, inspired by the electrifying true story of the famed recording session that brought together rock ‘n roll legends, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins on January 16th; children will love the “Dinosaur Train LIVE” – from the popular PBS Kids series and performed by the Jim Henson Company on January 22nd; an acoustic evening with Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt on the 26th and the State Ballet of Russia performs Cinderella on the 31st.

In January, the Weis Center for the Performing Arts offers the amazing Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal on the 24th and the amazing musical strings of the Szymanski Quartet on January 31st. Did you know that the Weis Center also hosts FREE yoga classes with live piano music? Their January class is on the 16th from noon to 1pm so get ready to do your sun salutation to music in the stunning lobby of the Weis Center.

Now if you’d like to see a performance from one of our most famous historic figures, be sure to attend the Twelfth Day at Joseph Priestley house Museum in Northumberland on January 5th for a day filled with games, prizes and demonstrations – by Joseph Priestley himself! Not to be outdone, Queen Victoria – the “Inventor of the Tea” – will be hosting “Afternoon Tea at the Abigail House” in Danville on January 26th. The Abigail House in the stunning, restored home of Abigail Geisinger. Tickets to the tea include a light meal, plus scones, desserts, finger sandwiches, assorted teas, and a surprise “something” to take home.

Are the children in your life getting cabin fever? Look no further than our on-line calendar of events for things they’ll be sure to enjoy. January programs at the Children’s Museum include “Science Club” and “under 2 Club” on Tuesdays; “After School Art Class” and “Winter Wednesdays” on Wednesdays, plus Science Saturday on the 11th and “Plants & Animals of Winter” on the 25th. Treasure Castle Playland in South Williamsport offers making party hats and the 2014 Big Castle Party on the 3rd; painting on the 10th; mask making on the 17th; making piggy banks on the 24th and a pajama party and snack-making on the 31st. The Buffalo Valley Recreation Authority in Lewisburg offers a wide variety of children’s programming that includes Lego and clay animation and beginning robotics, just to name a few. Head to Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland on Saturdays & Sundays at 1:15pm and you can witness a dragon feeding!

Check out the Calendar of Events on our web site for more information on these and other January events in the Susquehanna River Valley. And be sure to mark your calendar for early February events such as the Lewisburg Ice Festival; Polar Bear Plunge, and Chocolate Lover’s Festival, plus the play, “Same Time Next Year”, at the new Courtyard Theatre in the Susquehanna Valley Mall.

And it’s still not too late to make New Year’s Eve plans. Check out our web site for NYE celebrations in Sunbury, the Front Street Station in Northumberland, the Pine Barn Inn in Danville and a listing of holiday hours for restaurants in the Susquehanna River Valley!

For more information on all August events in the Susquehanna River Valley go to VisitCentralPA.org; sign up for our weekly e-newsletter; call us at 1-800-525-7320; stop by our Visitor Center on Route 15, or download our Mobile App.

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