Considered the birthplace of Memorial Day, Boalsburg is a quaint town where history is on full display everywhere you look. In fact, the Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, added in 1977. Quaint shops, plentiful dining options, and abundant, nearby outdoor recreational opportunities make Boalsburg an ideal destination for individuals and families with a variety of interests.
Shop for one-of-a-kind finds
Boalsburg’s historic charm creates the perfect backdrop for an enjoyable afternoon of shopping. A Basket Full’s two levels are filled with boutique clothing, trendy accessories, kitchenware and gourmet food, as well as adorable baby gifts and clothes, and more. Unique home décor and artisan jewelry can be found at Riley on Main. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a treat from Chocolates by Leopold. Pair that chocolate with a bottle (or 2) of award-winning wine from the Seven Mountains Wine Cellars Wine Bar located next door.
Take in local history
History buffs will find plenty of reasons to visit Boalsburg. The Pennsylvania Military Museum is dedicated to Pennsylvania’s military history. While the museum is currently closed due to COVID-19, the grounds contain a number of artifacts, memorials and shrines. It’s a quiet place to walk and appreciate the landscaping throughout, which reflects key military battles. You will also meet Abigail, the museum's resident M4 Sherman Tank. Do plan to return when the museum re-opens.
The Columbus Chapel & Boal Mansion Museum is a treasure trove of historically significant artifacts. As if the centuries-old Columbus Chapel imported from Spain in 1909 – and containing two pieces of The True Cross of Jesus – isn’t enough to pique your interest, the artifacts and provenance of more than 200 years of incredible Boal family history are simply jaw-dropping. It is a must visit. Please note that tours are currently by appointment only. The barn at Boal Mansion is the home of Nittany Theatre at the Barn; the adjacent Shakespeare Garden is a lovely location for an intimate wedding.
The Boalsburg Heritage Museum is another stop for anyone wanting to dig a little deeper into Boalsburg and Harris Township history.
Enjoy the great outdoors
Not far from Boalsburg is the Fun Centre at Tussey Mountain, which features a variety of summertime outdoor activities for a day of family fun. Mini golf, par 3 golf, a driving range, skate park and batting cages are open every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., while gokarts are open from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The pond at Tussey Mountain offers free catch-and-release fishing, where anglers of all ages can try their best to reel in a number of fish species that call the pond home. (Anglers over 18 need a valid fishing license; Tussey Mountain does not rent equipment or bait, so arrive prepared.) Nearby Rothrock State Forest is a popular haunt for hikers, trail runners and mountain bikers. At the Bear Meadows Natural Area, the 2.5-mile Bear Meadows Loop provides an intermediate, relatively flat hike at the edge of the surrounding wetlands. Another quality trail system will soon be available with the completion this fall of the Harvest Fields Community Trails project.
Grab a bite to eat
If you are hungry after a day of shopping, museum hopping or outdoor activity, Boalsburg offers plenty of dining options. Located in a former Texaco gas station, the popular Pump Station Café has been serving up breakfast and lunch – not to mention mouth-watering baked goods made on site – since 2005.
Duffy’s Tavern offers casual and fine dining in a historic setting, including a lovely outdoor patio. Angelo’s Pizzeria is the place for delicious Italian specialties, including Buffalo chicken pizza, winner of the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau’s 2020 pizza taste test challenge. Kelly’s Steak & Seafood is central Pennsylvania’s premiere steakhouse in the casual, mid-priced dining range. The Boalsburg Farmer’s Market features a variety of vendors every Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Military Museum.
Coming this fall, University Wine Company will open its new tasting room and scenic vineyard site on Misty Hill Drive at the base of Tussey Mountain between Boalsburg and Shingletown. The serene location will offer visitors a memorable experience relaxing and sipping wine from UWC, one of the many must-frequent stops on the Central PA Tasting Trail.
The Dispatch "Itineraries" section has plenty of additional inspiration about spending a day or two in Happy Valley's charming communities.