Story by Roy Dyckman
To enjoy a day ride through Allegheny National Forest, take Interstate 80 to Pennsylvania State Route 66 North (Exit 60) toward Shippenville and Kane — in the heart of the world’s finest hardwood forest. The route also runs close by Cook’s Forest State Park, which is home to fine strains of ancient timber and the third-tallest tree in the United States. There are several other state record trees are located in that region, too.
After following SR 66 to the town of Leeper, you can turn right on Pennsylvania Route 36 and ride by the park’s headquarters about six miles down the road. If you stay on Route 66, the approach to Marienville offers a splendid view of the Allegheny highlands — miles of gently rolling terrain. Within the region is the southern trail head for the 96-mile North Country National Scenic Trail. The trail passes through the Allegheny National Forest, and the crosses Muzette Road about two miles west of Marienville. When it’s completed, the trail will be part of the longest continuous footpath in the United States — about 4,600 miles from Crown Point, N.Y., to North Dakota.
If you stay on SR 66 to Kane, Pa., you can visit the Kane Memorial Chapel and the Kane Depot. Don’t forget to stop by Bell’s Meat & Poultry — an old-fashioned grocery store that has recently been remodeled. The store features fresh produce, meats and cheeses, including some sausage made from family recipes like Swedish corn sausage and bigfoot sausage. Other local businesses to check out are CJ’s Spirits — a craft distillery — and Flickerwood Wine Cellars and Cocktail Lounge. Flickerwood is an award-winning winery that also features a deli menu.
If you’re looking for a good breakfast joint, look no further than Grandma Bair’s Family Restaurant and Catering. My favorites there are the variety of huge three-egg omelets, and the eatery also has tasty fish dinners and chicken dinner buckets.
Kane also serves as a central location from which to explore the forest region over a weekend, and The Spoonwood Inn is a great place to find lodging for the night. The family-owned inn motel was recently remodeled and features free wi-fi, cable TV, complimentary breakfast and a hike and bike ride from your room.
Another local establishment to sample is Texas Hot Lunch / 4 Sons. Opened in 1914, the restaurant is home of the original Texas hot and specializes in Souvlaki, Greek and American cuisine. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is open seven days a week.
Hope to see you down the road.