Cara Aungst

Cara Aungst

Fun Guide Managing Editor

43 articles

Comfort Suiites Sunset Exterior Photo

2022 Inspiration Guide

Book Your Fun in the Valley

The Comfort Suites is the area’s only all‑suite hotel, and one of the top in the nation, while the Sleep Inn also provides all the features, benefits and amenities for those on a budget for less! Here’s what you need to know about Happy Valley’s top ranking hotels.

Goot Essa cheese

2022 Inspiration Guide

Goot Essa, Good Eating

Discover Happy Valley’s Amish-made, cave-aged artisan cheese at Goot Essa. All of their cheese is made by hand, in small quantities, giving each one their individual attention.

IMG 9120


“The Best of the Best Come Here:” Skateboarder Tommy Ries Gives Us a Tour of Camp Woodward and Penns Valley

Like most kids who grew up living and breathing skateboarding, Tommy Ries knew about Camp Woodward — the elite skills-building camp for aspiring athletes — he just didn’t know where it was. “I don’t think I’d ever even been in the state of Pennsylvania before I visited,” he recalls. By 2012, he’d made the drive (albeit one that included a speeding ticket right around DuBois on I-80). And as soon as he took the Pleasant Gap exit and headed up over the Centre Hall mountain, he fell in love.

BEAR LODGE front view

2022 Inspiration Guide


Bear Lodges, three non‑traditional B&Bs located in Pennsylvania Grand Canyon country, offers a unique, remote, peaceful grownup getaway. “Bear Lodges are not just accommodations… they’re the destination,” says owner Jim Meade. “Anniversary couples, rail trail bicyclists, birders, dark skies and other outdoors enthusiasts wanting to access wilderness, enjoy this getaway.”

Fritz Smith happy valley

Happy Valley Agventures

Ahead of the Curve: Fritz Smith on Why He Relocated to Happy Valley

Before moving to Happy Valley in 2019 — and becoming President and CEO of the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau — Fritz Smith served in leadership in tourism with Visit Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). Over the years, his career took his family from New York City to Philadelphia to Baltimore to Washington, D.C. And when he and his wife Leslie decided on a move, he says that they were drawn to Happy Valley as a chance to slow down and enjoy a life that he says was “a bit less hectic, less expensive, less loud and dirty.”

Rowland Exterior

Arts & Culture

“The Rowland Theatre, Of Course:” Take a Tour of Philipsburg with Rebecca Inlow

Local author and historian Rebecca Inlow wants to tell you about Philipsburg, and specifically about its movie palace The Rowland Theatre. A longtime volunteer for the theatre, Inlow has authored the book “The Rowland Story: Beauty from Ashes,” a labor of love that took 3 ½ years to complete (you can buy a copy at the theatre, or at Shindig Alley on the corner of Front and Pine in Philipsburg). She says it was worth it all to discover “little pieces of history that you can find around every corner.”

Pink Sky RE Farm Café

Food & Drink

RE Farm Café: Where You Can See Our Farm From Your Table

Duke Gastiger has been part of the Happy Valley food landscape for more than 50 years. His culinary footprint started when a friend asked him,“If you could buy any bar in State College, which one would it be?” “The All-American Rathskeller, of course,” he answered, and when he found out it was for sale, he bought it. In the years after that, he also debuted Spats Café and Speakeasy on College Avenue, then in 2019, he and his wife Monica pioneered a new culinary experience: RE Farm Café.

The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau cannot stress enough that we believe in responsible and safe travel. We do encourage visitors planning business or leisure travel to Happy Valley to refer to the following resources for reliable information and updates regarding COVID-19. Please keep in mind that some articles on this blog were written in a different age pre-virus. Please refer to the individual business websites for current status and hours available. HVAB links to business and other appropriate pages at every opportunity.