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Things to do in Potter County, PA

Why You Should Visit Potter County, Pennsylvania

This is a guest post by Angela Anderson from AngelaTravels.com.

Need to get away? Not a beach person? Consider heading to Potter County, Pennsylvania, also known as God’s Country, to escape from the hustle-bustle of your daily life. Potter County is a true example of country living. Despite being the eighth largest county in the state, you won’t find any major interstates, subways, noisy cities, malls, or even a Wal-Mart within its borders.

Instead, this peaceful area is made up of rolling hills, streams, wildlife, and certainly no shortage of historical sites to explore.

A beautiful sunset in Potter County's Cherry Springs State Park.

A beautiful sunset in Potter County’s Cherry Springs State Park.

Potter County can often be overlooked because it is not a stop off a major highway, but for just over 18,000 select people it is called home. I have thought long and hard on what keeps me calling this place home after being a non-resident for almost ten years. For me, it is the people, the simplicity, and the mountains that remind me that it’s necessary to step away from city life. With no large hotel chains and only a few franchise restaurants, visitors are truly able to experience a small town way of life.

While you are visiting, stay at a local accommodation, eat at a nearby diner or restaurant, and have a cold beer at a local bar. Take a stroll down the main street in one of the few towns that make up Potter County. Meet the owners as you walk in the door of local businesses. You will be welcomed by a smile and a personal story. Ask friendly shop owners or a passerby what to see or do during your stay.

Downtown Coudersport, Pennsylvania

Downtown Coudersport is full of small shops and restaurants.

You might start your visit with a trip to the Historical Society in Coudersport to learn more of what the county has endured and how it has grown.

Eliot Ness, head of the Untouchables, and the person responsible for the arrest of Al Capone, founded Potter County as a place for retirement. Furthermore, one of the six statues of Lady Justice that isn’t wearing a blindfold can be found within the county courthouse, located in Coudersport, with its replica taking its place to preserve its rarity.

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    Then, take a drive across Route 6, the major “highway,” as it winds along the Allegheny River and through the mountains. Or get lost driving the dirt roads while attempting to spot wildlife such as white-tailed deer or black bears. Potter County is a fisherman and hunter’s delight where the locals hunt to stock their freezers with meat.

    The viewing area for the Coudersport Ice Mine in Potter County, PA.

    The Coudersport Ice Mine is one of the unusual sites in Potter County.

    Before ending your trip, drive to Cherry Springs in the middle of the night to gaze at the Milky Way and see one of the best night skies the East Coast has to offer. Every August brings astronomy enthusiasts with large telescopes to the Astronomy Observation Field.

    Try to plan a trip to Potter County during one of the towns’ many festivals, where you will get a sense of how crafty people can be. With a small tourism infrastructure, start your research by visiting the Potter County Visitor’s Association, where Potter County is described as “Untouched, Untamed, and Unspoiled”.

    So what are you waiting for? Leave your suits and heels in the city and get out there to relax and explore part of the Pennsylvania Wilds region. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

    See map below for other area attractions.

    AUTHOR - Angela Anderson

    Angela is travel blogger sharing how to make the most of vacation days. She enjoys hiking, backpacking trips, and city touring. She was born and raised in Potter County, Pennsylvania and is a small town girl at heart. Follow Angela at AngelaTravels.com.

    35 Comments

    • Dan Jordan

      We are so glad that we were assigned to Park United Methodist church for 6 years. Potter County surely is God’s Country. The people there are some of the very best.

    • Potter County - Angela Travels

      […] out my post here on why you should visit Potter […]

    • Bernard Fowler

      Very nice article promoting Potter County, Pa. I would also recommend seeing the Austin Dam Ruins and E.O. Austin Home/Historical Society while visiting Potter County. Again, thank you for writing this article.

    • Ken McClellan

      I visit Potter County at least 3 times a year. Usually camp at Ole Bull State Park. It’s got a little bit of that “remote” feeling to it. The fishing is also amazing. When I retire, I’m hoping to either reside there or at least have a camp there. It’s a must visit for everyone!

    • Christie Butler

      This is my hometown.. And I still call it “home” my family is still in potter county pa.. I miss them dearly Potter County is for sure a very untouched very quiet place. Shinglehouse is where I actually where I am from love going back to visit! And the stories and history are awesome to hear and know!

    • Elizabeth rooney

      My heart fell reading this. Please post Potter County pictures. My 84yo dad is from Potter County (Cross Fork). We last traveled to his hometown in 2010 when his 99yo mother passed. My heart is still in the deep green forests of those PA mountains and I miss the sound of the creeks, the light sound of falling snow in the late darkness of the night. I’m taking care of my dad through his lymphoma treatment and I would love to show him pictures as the seasons continue to pass…without us.

      • Jim Cheney

        I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, Elizabeth. Potter County does look like a beautiful place and is definitely on my list of places to visit in 2015. Unfortunately, since I haven’t personally visited, I don’t have any photos to share of the county. However, I often share photos from rural Pennsylvania, so hopefully that will suffice in the meantime.

      • Lisa Lipinski

        Elizabeth Rooney, Galeton is close to Cross Forks. They have a Facebook page, so you can look at those photos at least. All you have to do is search for galeton pa and it will come up. Coudersport might have a page too. Good luck!

        • Jim Cheney

          Thanks for the suggestions, Lisa. I’m looking forward to visiting Potter County at some point and getting some of my own photos.

      • Deb Plummer

        Elizabeth — local photographer Curt Weinhold has an abundance of Potter County nature photos at this website: http://www.pbase.com/cwphoto
        He is an amazing photographer and I hope you and your dad enjoy the website.

      • Cindy Stahle

        Elizabeth Rooney………..check Kinney’s site out, I am sure your dad remembers this. http://www.kinneyscountry.com/home.html

      • Bonita Estes

        ‘Ms. Rooney, I do not know when you posted this, but there is a Facebook site called ” Shinglehouse and surrounding areas…remembers when.” People post pictures from all over.

    • Laura Kosht

      My kids and I visited Potter County in 2012. We fell in love. I enjoyed driving through the mountains. My kids loved swimming at Lyman Run State Park. I loved driving on route 44. There are so many breath taking visit as throughout the county. I met some very nice people who take pride in where they live. I just fell in love with the area. I have severe anxiety issues when I have to be around large crowds or driving in heavy traffic. I prefer to vacation in more rural areas. Hopefully we make it up this summer.

    • butch wagner

      Years ago i worked for Talley Wells in a town called Wharton Pa. Beautiful Country!!! Where we worked way up in the hills I see why they call it GODS COUNTRY!!!! Its BEAUTIFUL!!!!

    • Fred Glasgow

      Many Sundays were spent driving the dirt roads in the mountains of Potter County for our family entertainment of looking for wildlife, especially deer. My most fond memories as a child. Pulling off the road and firing up the coleman stove for lunch made the food taste even better. Wish life could always stay that simple and easy.

    • Phyllis Harris

      I grew up in Potter County and still miss the beautiful landscape. I particularly loved the fall foliage. I remember Sunday drives with my Father taking back roads through the hills. I also enjoyed helping a neighbor during the early spring collecting and boiling down maple syrup we had gathered from the “sugar bush”. I still have a brother living there.

    • Michaelle Wilde

      Very nice article, Angela.

    • Angela Elliott

      I lived in Coudersport for almost 10 years… had my 2 children there and met my boyfriend there who is originally from there in 2006… We now live about an hour from there with our 2 boys and have been together for almost 10 years… We also have family that still lives there. It is a nice place!

    • Scott Davis

      I began visiting Potter County when I was a little kid. We visited Galeton several times a year at the hunting camp of our friend, his family and next door neighbor. Back in 1975 my father purchased the Saw and Wedge Tavern in Sweden Valley and my Coudersport experience began. I came to Coudy in the middle of my junior year of high school which is a difficult undertaking to say the least. I was welcomed by everyone in the community and graduated from CHS in 1976. I still visit Coudersport as often as I can and you won’t find better people anywhere. I still keep in touch with several of my classmates have attended several class reunions in the past 40 years. Hopefully I can purchase a camp there soon as I usually go to Coudy for Spring Gobbler every spring and I will keep returning every spring until I finally bag one. Potter County has always held a place in my heart. There’s just something about it that you can’t describe. It’s people, it’s natural beauty, it’s wildlife and it’s lure are unmatched. I thank Potter County for providing me with some of the best memories of my life and I can’t wait to visit again and again. If you have the chance to visit you’ll be glad you did.
      Scott Davis
      Deputy Mayor
      Village of Wappingers Falls N.Y.

      • Susan Mitchell

        Scott, I remember you! And I agree with you on the great people in Coudersport.

    • Curtis Cole

      I grew up in Ulysses . After My service time . I moved to Wisconsin in 78.,but Potter County will always be home .We return when ever We can.

    • Joan Kulling

      My husband is a Physician in the ED Depth in Coudy.

    • Jerry W. Chilson

      Thank you for the memory’s lived there for the first years of my life,my family still has a home there, where my sister still resides, Coudersport God Country, and still home.

    • Tim Wian

      My family has had a camp in Potter County for over 60 years. It is my second home practically. Love the people and area up there and wouldn’t trade my memories for anything.

    • Jerry Chilson

      Been in the Saw Wedge manys times, always good food and good times,it has been years though, my Sister still resides in Coudersport, haven’t been home in quite awhile.

    • Wendy Garman

      I love Gods country.. used to camp in hemlock and go hunting .. seen the damn that burst and walked the woods and seen the stars and the milky way.. what a sight it was ..

    • Linda Brown

      This is a great article! I was raised in Shinglehouse and love Potter county. Go back to visit as often as possible. Still have lots of family and friends there.

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    • Bob Griglock

      Luv that place, truly God’s country.

    • Bob Griglock

      Love that place truly God’s country

    • Carol Cussins Logue

      I was born in the Coudersport Hospital 69 years ago, & raised in the town of Austin, 13 miles south of Coudersport, & wouldn’t live anywhere else! Other towns & cities are nice to visit, but none compare to our area, in my opinion. We have an hour drive to any Walmart, & bigger shopping areas, are 2, 3, or even 4 hrs., but that’s fine too. Great to visit, but no place like home!!

    • Chrissy Piccone

      You have not seen fireworks until you’ve seen a Galeton 4th of July!!!! And I grew up in Philadelphia

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