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Desirable Destinations: Cherry Springs – Stargazing Sweet Spot

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Cherry Springs State Park is a beautiful remote 82-acre park surrounded by the Susquehannock State Forest that’s a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Located 3 hours north of Harrisburg and 1.5 hours from Williamsport, Cherry Springs is a certified International Dark Sky Park found in Potter County, PA. With a nearly endless list of ways to enjoy yourself in the area, it’s hard to know where to get started, check out the list below to get the most out of your trip.

 

Food

No trip is complete without exploring the tasty local food; luckily there’re plenty of places to get your grub on near Cherry Springs State Park.

  • Potato City Country Inn – anything with the word ‘potato’ in it instantly has my attention. This inn offers fantastic food and accommodations to meet your needs for your trip. Known as “The Hub of Potter County” this location offers an expansive menu for dinner and offers discounts with their other restaurant the Sylvania Inn for breakfast.
  • Waldheim Bar and Restaurant – The Waldheim is a Potter County tradition, located less than 10 miles from Cherry Springs this location is perfect for stopping in for a hot meal. Locals frequently visit Waldheim, so it’s the perfect place to get inside information about the area and find out all the best activities to do and places to visit while you’re in town.

 

Daytime Activities at Cherry Springs

Don’t let the Dark Sky Park certification trick you into thinking that’s all there is, there’s still plenty of ways to enjoy this park during the daytime.

  • Picnicking is always a great way to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors; there’s even a historical landmark in the picnic area — a log pavilion built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1939 which features fireplaces. There’s an old apple orchard where picnic tables and charcoal grills are available for those interested in cooking out.
  • Hiking is a perfect option for enjoying the beauty of nature and exploring the park on your own. The Cherry Springs Working Forest Interpretive Trail is one mile of easily hiked terrain; you don’t have to be athletic to enjoy this one!
  • The annual Woodsmen Show features lumberjack contests such as tree-felling, log rolling, springboard chopping and chainsaw events. The first Woodsmen Show in 1952 drew a crowd of 4,000 people and had been a popular event ever since.

 

Stargazing

Finally, down to one of the best aspects of this park. The sky over Cherry Springs is magnificent at night! Away from unnatural light sources, the sky can be enjoyed freely.

  • Give yourself a minimum of 15 minutes to allow your eyes to adjust to the night sky. You can view the sky through a telescope, with binoculars, or with the naked eye — there’s no wrong way to enjoy the stars.
  • Be careful to avoid bright white lights, cover your flashlight with a red lens or red cellophane to avoid disrupting your night vision.
  • The most popular binoculars for stargazing are 7 x 50 power, but a more standard 7 x 35 power will work just fine to get you started.
  • The park offers special programs during August to view the Perseids Meteor Shower, adding falling stars to the excitement of stargazing!
  • Visible constellations can be seen from Cherry Springs and change with the seasons. There’s a ‘clear sky chart’ to help you pick the best times for gazing. Star-hopping will help you find your way through the skies and identify constellations.
  • Being atop a mountain and surrounded by largely undeveloped forest shields this area from light pollution that might affect the park,
  • The location of the park offers an incredible view into the center of the Milky Way Galaxy!

 

Whatever your plans are for your visit to Cherry Springs there’re plenty of ways to enjoy yourself. This little historical area is a perfect place to chow down on some good local food and enjoy all the best of nature that has been largely untouched by man.


 

headshot-megannicholsNow that you know a little bit about  stargazing, consider learning more about astronomy. Post written by blogger Megan Ray Nichols.

 

 

 

 

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