History buffs will love exploring the coal-mining and steam train heritage of Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, a fascinating and top value weekend getaway.
In scenic Lackawanna County, PA, not far from Wilkes-Barre and within a two-hour drive of New York or Philadelphia, your family can plunge into another era — the Industrial Revolution. Note that most of the region’s attractions operate daily in summer, and on weekends in June, September and October. Many re-open for sightseers around the Christmas season.
Coal Was King & Rails Ruled the Road
From the days when “Coal was King”, you can tour the impressive but non-functional Historic Scranton Iron Furnaces (570/963-3208) and the restored 19th-century “patchtown” where miners lived at the Museum of Anthracite Mining (570/875-4708) in Ashland.
Tour an actual coal mine by steam train at the Ashland Pioneer Tunnel & Coal Mine (570/875-3850), or descend to tunnels 300 feet below the surface on Scranton’s Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour (800/238-7245).
The Rails ruled, too, as evidenced by the powerful locomotives on display at the Steamtown National Historic Site (570/340-5200). This place is a huge favorite, especially with young boys, and participating in the many special events and educational programs can take up a full day of your vacation. Two hour rail excursions are offered from Memorial Day through late October. Seasonal and weekend tours are also offered by the Stourbridge Rail Excursion (717/253-1960) in Honesdale.
Sleeping With History
The glorious, gilded Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel (570/342-8300) is the place to call home. Built atop Scranton’s beautifully-restored 1908 train terminal (the 2nd and 3rd floors were actually station offices converted to hotel rooms), it’s sure to delight all train buffs. Babysitting is available with advanced notice.
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