If you go: Kinzua Bridge State Park


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Getting there: Kinzua Bridge State Park is just north of Mount Jewett in McKean County. It's about 145 miles (and three hours) northeast of Pittsburgh. We took Interstate 79 North to Interstate 80 East to PA Route 66 north (exit 60) to U.S. 6 East through Kane. In Mount Jewett, take PA Route 3011 north into the park. Admission to the park (open daylight hours) and skywalk is free. Info: tinyurl.com/kinzuapa or 1-814-965-2646.

Where to stay: Kane Manor Bed and Breakfast (kanemanor.com; $59 and up) has 11 guest rooms with period furnishings in a turn-of-the-century national historic landmark. Breakfast is served in the sunroom.

In Westline, you'll find brass beds, no TVs and tongue-and-groove wall paneling in the tiny Westline Inn's simple rooms, but hey, there's a really cool bar downstairs ($80 and up; westlineinn.com). The upscale Mansion District Inn in Smethport (mansiondistrictinn.com; $105 and up), located in a 19th-century Queen Anne-style Victorian mansion, offers both bed and breakfast rooms, and self-catered suites; its Sky Walk package ($276) includes a two-night stay with a gourmet breakfast each morning, a craft beer tasting and a bottle of wine upon arrival. Mountain Laurel Inn in Bradford, built in 1894, has seven guest rooms with private baths; some also have working fireplaces (mountainlaurelbradford.com; $85 and up).

Require more fabulous digs? See the facing page to read about the Lodge at Glendorn in Bradford.

Where to eat: We enjoyed terrific sandwiches and a decent craft beer selection at Corner Pizza Co. in Smethport (437 W. Main St.; 1-814-887-7755), and also had a great pork barbecue lunch in the Westline Inn's cozy pub (1 Westline Road, Westline); starting at 5:30 p.m., there's also fine American and French dining in the formal restaurant. Kaffe Sol, a charming Swedish cafe in Mount Jewett (1 West Main St.), serves delicious coffee, sandwiches, homemade breads (don't leave without trying the sweet rolls or rye bread). Breakfast and lunch only. Also worth a try are the hot dogs or the souvlaki dinner at Texas Hot Lunch in Kane (24 Field St.), which has been in business since 1914. Beefeaters in Bradford (27 Congress St.) is known for, what else? -- its ribboned roast beef.

If you're looking for a treat to take home, stop by Bell's Meat Market in Kane (401 N. Fraley St.). This quaint country story sells 2,000 pounds of gourmet sausage each week, including alligator (from Louisiana and Florida), tasso and Korv (a Swedish pork sausage). Read more about Bell's at post-gazette.com/food.

Museums/Historic sites: Old house lovers will want to spend an hour or two exploring the Smethport Mansion District. During the town's heyday in the late 1800s, vast fortunes from the gas, lumber and railroad industries flowed into this tiny community. Wealthy inhabitants built dozens of mansions and ornate public buildings, many of which have been restored. A self-guided walking tour brochure is at smethportpa.org.

There also are several museums to explore. The most famous is the Zippo/Case Museum in Bradford (free; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat. and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun). Made popular by GIs during WWII, thousands of Zippo lighters and Case knives are displayed here.

Smethport's Old Jail Museum offers stories of law enforcement from the pioneer days, and who knows -- you might just see a ghost. It's reputed to be Pennsylvania's sixth most haunted place. ($5 adults/$3 seniors; 1 to 4 p.m. Tues. and Thurs.) The Eldred WWII Museum in nearby Eldred commemorates the sacrifices and stories of local heroism during World War II. ($5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tues.-Sat. and 1-4 p.m. Sun.)

The Kane Depot & Train Museum at the junction of U.S. Route 6 and PA Route 66 (www.kanedepot.org; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun.) is a beautifully restored 1800s train station, with local Kane and train memorabilia. It also houses Art Works at the Depot, an artists' cooperative gallery selling fine art and crafts from the region.

Crook Farm Historical Farmstead in Bradford includes a fully restored 1847 farmhouse, schoolhouse, blacksmith and carpenter shops and a barn. It's open by appointment only through September (1-814-362-3906 or bradfordlandmark.org).

Great outdoors: Allegheny National Forest has fabulous biking and hiking. The Kinzua Trail starts at the Westline Inn and travels along Kinzua Creek, one of the best trout fishing streams in Pennsylvania. The Blaisdell-Emery Trail follows an abandoned railroad bed between South Bradford and Lewis Run. For serious bikers, the Longhouse Scenic Drive offers a 29-mile loop with lots of hills (not for the faint of heart!)

Even more strenuous -- if you go the entire distance -- is the 96.3-mile-long North Country National Scenic Trail. It's the longest trail in the Allegheny National Forest. Hike it, and you'll see vistas of the Allegheny Reservoir as it weaves through rock outcroppings, open hardwoods, old-growth forests and stands of hemlock.

Fun and games: For a bird's-eye view of the bridge and Allegheny National Forest, take a ride in the open cockpit of a vintage biplane. Pilot Bruce Klein of Klein Aircraft Services (1-814-642-9486 or brklein@hughes.net) will take you up in his restored 1943 Boeing Stearman. A 20-minute ride, which leaves from Bradford Regional Airport, costs $80. Rather relax on the links? Play 18 holes of golf atop the mountains at Kane Country Club in Kane. Just $30 Mon.-Thurs. ($39 weekends) and that includes a cart (kanecountryclub.com). At Pine Acres Country Club in Bradford, you'll pay $25 for 18 holes walking (pineacrescc.com).

Tastings of local wine are offered at Flickerwood Wine Cellars in Kane (flickerwood.com), which has rockin' live music on weekends, and Allegheny Cellars in Sheffield (alleghenycellars.com). It opened in 2007.

Festivals: The 18th annual Kinzua Bridge Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 21-22 at the Sky Walk and includes live music, arts and crafts and food vendors. In a nod to local lore, there will be a Bigfoot calling contest at 3 p.m. Sept. 21. The elusive creature with the famously large feet is said to roam the wilds of Allegheny National Forest, prompting Animal Planet to film an episode of "Finding Bigfoot" in Kane last year.

More info: visitanf.com or 1-800-473-9370.

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