Blair County has always been a genuine mountain community with shared experiences, events and activities unique to this part of the world. It is what brings people to our town and what they enjoy about it. The future is bright and inspiring.
“Blair County is a cycling destination with classic climbs, side roads and views of the valley around every corner. Over the years several cycling clubs have been created for riders of all abilities and interests.”
Mark Ritchey, Curry Rail Services
While our mountains presented an obstacle for the first pioneers, now they are a big reason more and more people are treking in.
Our road cycling season generally kicks in March to November with hundreds of miles of well-paved and quiet roads. If cycling climbs are your thing, head to Locke, Blue Knob, Wopsy and Frederick mountains. If your group suggests you meet “Henrietta,” we warn you she is relentless.
Mountain biking and trail running are pretty much a year round thing. Your kayaks go best during “mud season” between March and May but our lakes and major rivers provide a year round float option. The new kids on the block are finding our “power line” hikes and runs quite rewarding.
When the snow flies in early November, things get crackling at the higher elevations. Blue Knob, Tussey Mountain, Seven Springs, Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain are among the highest in the state and offer some back country stashes when the snow pack permits.
Whatever your outdoor flavor, we serve it up. Get out there, stay safe and enjoy what our “Peaks and Valleys” have to offer.
“Each year more and more people are attracted to our many mountain main streets. Destination retail, unique local eateries, and coffee shops and robust programming provide year-round attraction.”
Christie Jordan, DiVersity Salon
Don’t be surprised if you bump into everyone you know on any of our mountain main streets. Stories abound of that 15 minute quick stop turning into all day front porch gathering. It’s just that kind of place.
What do you need to know? Altoona is our biggest city, home to Penn State Altoona and an ever growing arts and music scene. Hollidaysburg is the County Seat and offers the largest traditional neighborhood historic district. Tyrone is our northern most main street and serves as the gateway to our friends at University Park Penn State. And when you think of those iconic small towns with one-of-a-king retailers, folk art and bakeries, you just thought of Williamsburg, Martinsburg, and Roaring Spring.
At all points during the year these main streets may be filled with events, music and seasonal celebrations. At times that may even require you to park or walk a block or two away.
“Eat local. Our growing foodie scene connects farm to table flavors unique to central Pennsylvania. New innovative takes on traditional comfort foods make every meal here a special event.”
Bill Sell, Bill Sell’s Bold
The regular crowd shuffles in to Railroad City Brewing. Hopheads and Pilsner lovers alike seem to find common ground here. The food scene has expanded for sure in recent years. Locally grown and served is the thing in many of our unique eateries. The Clay Cup, Bill Sell’s Bold, Black Dog Cafe, Allegheny Creperie and Mamies Cafe & Bakery are just a few of the favorite coffee haunts. Surveys consistently put the US Hotel, Al’s Tavern and the Argonne Cafe as the bar food go-toos. The difference is history. Every one of our local villages, towns and cross-roads have their own unique eatery experience. Map them out. Take a tour. Decide on your favorite. The valley is full of them. Prost!
“Home to the Altoona Curve, a Pittsburgh Pirate AA affiliate, Blair County offers big-league action in a small-town venue that is consistently ranked among the best stadiums in the country.”
Derek Martin, Altoona Curve
If you aren’t a sports fan, better reevaluate. Here, amongst our mountain peaks, sports’ calendars mark the change in seasons and people’s vacation schedules. Yes, this is West-Central Pennsylvania, so high school sports are a rallying cry for Friday nights (and every other day of the week for that matter). We have them all.
Altoona is also home to The Curve, the Pittsburgh Pirates AA affiliate, so you can see the up and comers at PNG Field. And for the club enthusiast, frisbee golf, kickball, the moonlight ski league and “whatever they think up next” activity provides everyone over the age of (you pick the age) to come home sore and tired. And don’t even get us going about organized runs and triathlon events. Trust us, there are many. Ready, set, go…
“There are few performance venues in the country with such a rich and valued history than the Mishler Theater, home to the Altoona Symphony Orchestra and the arts community.”
Maestra Cheung, Altoona Symphony Orchestra
Any mountain town worth their salt must claim a vibrant arts and culture scene. Count us in. Our venues date back to when vaudeville was king and the biggest stars of the day came through on the Pennsylvania Limited. Now those same stages and galleries are claimed by next generation artists and performers of all ages and backgrounds. The Mishler Theater is our marquis performance venue. The Allegheny Ballet Company is grooming and has produced talent that now performs on Broadway (and they come home now and again to give the hometown a real treat). Our cultural districts are providing homes for those starving and not so starving artists. Their wares are on display at our many festivals, galleries and events held from spring through mid-fall. What can we say, we make things here. Art. Music. It’s in our blood.