1. We have Fallingwater.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s home on a waterfall is located just south of Pittsburgh. Built for the Kaufmann Family in the late 1930s, Falling Water is a National Historic Landmark now owned by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Note that no matter how hard you try, they will not let you get in the water — even though that is clearly what Frank intended.
2. We are home to the most amazing schools, like: Penn, Carnegie Mellon, Pitt, Temple, Duquesne, Lehigh, Villanova, St. Vincent, Bucknell, Drexel, Swarthmore…
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And, of course, Penn State — where 1 of every 8 Pennsylvanians attends school, and 3 of every 8 Pennsylvanians drunkenly tries to ride the Nittany Lion.
3. We have not one, but two major cities.
Pittsburgh has one of the best views in the country from Mt. Washington. Plus, there are sandwiches in both of these places. Hoagies and cheesesteaks in Philly, Primanti’s and fish sandwiches in Pittsburgh. Hell yeah.
4. In a relatively small space, we still have 18 national parks and 120 state parks.
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Ohiopyle State Park has a classic waterfall and yearly whitewater festival. Point State Park is located in Downtown Pittsburgh at the confluence of the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio rivers. Hickory Run State Park in the Poconos has National Natural Landmark Boulder Field, which to the untrained eye looks just like rocks. And we have a huge chunk of the Appalachian Trail.
5. We have the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.
Okay, it’s not quite the regular Grand Canyon, but it does have the Pine Creek Rail Trail and wagon rides.
6. The Pennsylvania Dutch live here.
You can thank the PA Dutch for funnel cake, scrapple, and massive whoopee pies. The Amish Village in Lancaster is where you can go to learn about all this.
7. America was basically created here.
The Constitution was signed in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia was our nation’s first capital city. PA is the 2nd state of the Union, and you know what they say — first is the worst (Delaware), second is the best (Pennsylvania) and third is the one with the hairy chest (New Jersey). Rings true.
8. We have the best smell.
It’s like a delicious combo of pine, apple pie, and mushrooms. We say the mushroom smell permeating certain parts of the state is worth the agricultural benefit to PA’s economy. Many, many, many more would argue not. However, we all love apple picking in the fall, and chopping down our own Christmas trees in December, just like Jesus did.
9. We have the most powerful Civil War monument.
Gettysburg has miles of battlefield and an annual reenactment of the battle is done every summer by truly dedicated nerds.
10. If something exists, we have a museum for it.
Of course, we’ve got the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Carnegie Museums, Andy Warhol Museum, and the Franklin Institute. But we also have a ton of other lesser known ones like the Mütter Museum featuring medical oddities, the Eastern State Penitentiary featuring creepy jail cells, the Mercer Museum featuring weird artifacts from the 18th and 19th centuries, and the Crayola Factory featuring CRAYONS.
11. We won’t turn our noses up at junk food.
It’s actually a miracle that everyone here isn’t an adult-sized Augustus Gloop, because PA makes everything delicious — Hershey, Godiva, and Sarris. Also, Peeps are made in PA. Then we have Utz, Snyder’s of Hanover, Wise Foods, Herr’s, Auntie Anne’s, and the most delicious, Tastykake. If “snacktacular” was a word in my vocabulary, I would use it.
12. We also make a pretty damn good beer.
D. G. Yuengling and Son is the oldest operating brewery in the country, and there’s the big brewers like Iron City and Lions, but the smaller craft places rock too like Sly Fox, Yards, Victory, Weyerbacher, Tröegs, Penn, and East End.
13. We have some of the darkest skies in the world.
Especially at Cherry Springs State Park, which maybe has the best conditions for stargazing in the eastern half of the United States plus one of the best places to see the Milky Way (and aliens???). I give it a rating of 100 billion out 100 billion stars.
14. It would be a horror fan’s dream to live here.
Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978), The Blob, My Bloody Valentine (3D), The Silence of the Lambs, The Sixth Sense, Sorority Row, and Monkey Shines were all fully or partially shot in PA. We’ve also got Centralia here, the near-abandoned town sitting on top of a huge underground mine fire that has been burning since 1962, which was inspiration for the film adaptations of the Silent Hill video games. Finally, among other creepy things, Pennsylvania is the last resting place for H.H. Holmes, widely considered to be America’s first serial killer.