Oil Country

Bus Tours:


Leaf-Peeping

 

Leaf-Peeping Tour Description

Leaf-Peeping Tour Locations

Leaf-Peeping Tour Itinerary

Leaf-Peeping Tour Map


Leaf-Peeping Tour Description

According to the PA State Tourism Bureau, Pennsylvania has 127 varieties of trees, each turning its own unique color at the beginning of autumn. One can observe yellow and orange sugar maples, brilliant red dogwoods, stunning red maples, purple-tinged ashes, yellow elms, and brown oaks. Pennsylvania's moderate climate and rolling terrain provides some of the best growing conditions on the east coast. With more than 70 wineries throughout the Commonwealth’s seven wine regions, visitors often partake in a wine-sipping tour. Early fall is the perfect time to take a leaf-peeping tour. The fall foliage is at its most colorful stage, so visitors can take a tour of an area winery while at the same time enjoying the beauty of a Pennsylvanian autumn day. This particular tour takes visitors to observe wildlife at a wildlife refuge, enjoy the serenity of a lakeside park, tour a reknowned winery, and stay at a beautiful, historic inn, located along the ecologically valuable French Creek.

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Leaf-Peeping Tour Locations

 

Conneaut Cellars Winery
Erie National Wildlife Refuge
The Riverside Inn
Presque Isle State Park

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Conneaut Cellars Winery

Description: Founded in 1982, Conneaut Cellars Winery makes its award-winning wine traditionally, in a leisurely process from the turn of the century. See old-fashioned presses gently squeeze grapes into stainless steal tanks, French oak barrels, and American oak barrels, and taste the distinctive, naturally fermented, oak barrel-aged wines! The winery offers a broad spectrum of tastes from the simple pleasures of the American farm wines through the more sophisticated French-American hybrids. Conneaut Cellars Winery is situated on a lake resort area, and offers free tasting, tours, and a gift shop.

 

Contact Information
Phone:

(814) 382-3999; Toll Free: 877-CCW-WINE

Address: 12005 Conneaut Lake Road
Conneaut, PA 16316
Hours: Open all year (except New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Guided tours are given 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the hour.

Fee: nominal fee

Links: Conneaut Cellars Winery

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Erie National Wildlife Refuge

Description: Erie National Wildlife Refuge is a wonderful place to see many different kinds of wildlife. You may see a bald eagle, northern saw-whet owl, Henslow's sparrow, black tern, or upland sandpiper and also many duck hatchlings. Many species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and wildflowers can be observed from the trails that are open to public use.

Environmental Issues: Due to declining waterfowl habitat throughout the United States, the Erie NWR was established in 1959, where there are over 2,500 acres of choice wetland habitats. The refuge is dedicated to preserving a variety of habitats to support a broad diversity of species including ones that are of special concern due to their scarcity. In fact, nine of Pennsylvania's 13 endangered and threatened bird species have been observed on the refuge. Birds are not the only type of endangered species on the refuge. The refuge has a five-acre wetland area of special concern called Mohawk Run Fen, a rare natural community in Pennsylvania, classified as critically imperiled. Shrub fens are important because they contain certain water and terrain features that are necessary to support uncommon plants. The shrub fen community is also an ideal habitat for bog turtles, a reptile that has been declared a federally threatened species.

 

Contact Information
Phone: (814) 789-3585
Address: 11296 Wood Duck Lane
Guys Mills, PA
Hours: Open year round, popular months to visit are March and April when the spring migration is at its peak, fall migrations happen in November. Two of the refuge's trails are open in winter for skiing and snowshoeing.
Fee: none

Links: Erie National Wildlife Refuge
Endangered species

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The Riverside Inn

Description: Situated on the banks of French Creek, The Riverside Inn of Cambridge Springs has been in continuous operation since 1885. Originally a health spa (one of the first of its kind), the Riverside Inn & Hotel offered Therapeutic "installations," including all kinds of baths such as seasalt and mineral. A summary of Riverside Inn's history reads that the inn was built "to accommodate wealthy patrons during the exciting 'mineral water boom' of the late 1800's and early 1900's. Today, individuals can continue to enjoy The Riverside Inn for its picturesque location, charming eating and resting quarters, and fascinating history.

Contact Information
Phone: 1-800-964-5173 -or- (814)398-8161
Address: 1 Fountain Avenue
Cambridge Springs, PA 16403
Hours: Lunch is served by reservation from 11:30 to 2:00
Fee: see lunch menu

Links: Sustainable agriculture

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Presque Isle State Park

Description: Presque Isle State Park is a 3,200-acre sandy peninsula that arches lakeward into Lake Erie. Notably, Presque Isle contains a greater number of the state's endangered, threatened and rare species than any other area of comparable size in Pennsylvania, making Presque Isle a National Natural Landmark. This state park is also a major recreational landmark, offering numerous recreational opportunities, such a boating, hiking and swimming, which attract about four million visitors each year. Birdwatchers also enjoy visiting Presque Isle, particular the park's most dynamic, yet most fragile 319-acre area known as Gull Point. Declared a natural area, a location for scientific observation of natural systems, Gull Point offers a safe haven and resting spot for nesting and migrating birds. Nonetheless, major seasonal natural attractions of Presque Isle during the Fall season include: waterfowl migration, monarch butterfly migration, fall foliage (best in the second week of October), and the frequent sightings of ospreys and bald eagles.

Trails of interest:

Gull Point Trail: This trail begins at the kiosk at the east end of the Budny Beach (Beach 10) Parking Lot and makes a loop through the Gull Point Natural Area. At the southeast end of the loop, a trail leads to an observation platform. The platform, located at the edge of the Special Management Area, provides a view of shorebirds. (1.5 miles)

Recreational Trail: This paved Multi-Purpose Trail, designated as a National Recreation Trail begins at the park entrance, follows Presque Isle Bay shoreline and ends at Perry Monument. This trail is popular with bicyclists, joggers, roller skaters and is wheelchair accessible. During the winter, the trail is plowed from the entrance to the park office for hikers. For cross country skiers the trail is left snow covered from the park office to Perry Monument (5.8 miles).

Environmental Issue: Presque Isle contains more of Pennsylvania's endangered, threatened, and rare species than any other area of comparable size in the state. The peninsula is an ideal stop over location for migrating birds during their annual migration. The ecologically fragile Gull Point is a favorite place for migrating birds to stop. Some 320 species of birds have been identified on the peninsula. In addition to the many birds that pass by Gull Point, many rare plants also make it their home. To help preserve and protect the many species of plants and animals residing on Gull Point, the eastern portion is closed to the public from April till November, the time during which most of the park's four million annual tourists visit the park.

There are seven distinct ecological zones on Presque Isle, including Lake Erie, the bay and shoreline, sand plain and new ponds, dunes and ridges, old ponds and marshes, thicket and sub-climax forests, and climax forest. Each zone has distinct plant and animal communities. Records of ecological succession, the gradual change in an ecosystem over time to a more stable climax form, can be traced through each zone. At the park, wildlife such as muskrats, beavers, turtles, frogs, deer, and opossums are frequently seen. A patient observer may even catch a glimpse of a coyote, raccoon, or skunk as dusk approaches. During the winter, visitors will find many animal tracks in the snow on the beach. More than 600 plant species have been recorded here and many are found nowhere else in Pennsylvania. At least 60 of these plants are listed on the state's list of species of special concern.

 

Contact Information
Phone: (814) 833-7424; For general State Park Information: 1-888-PA-PARKS
Address:

Presque Isle State Park DCNR P.O.Box 8510 Erie, PA 16505 presqueisle@dcnr.state.pa.us

Hours: open all year, dawn to dusk
Fee: none

Links:

Presque Isle State Park

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Leaf-Peeping Tour Itinerary

 

See the tour schedule...
  • • Directions to each site
  • • Cost Estimates
  • • Travel times
View the Itinerary!

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Leaf-Peeping Tour Map

 

See the tour route...
  • • Location of each site
  • • Major roads
  • • Topographic relief
  • • Streams and lakes
View the Map!

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