Punxsutawney Phil and other Pennylvania Peculiarities – #29

Every year on February 2nd, a groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania makes an appearance (or not) to predict the weather for the next 6 weeks.  In October, I was camping a few miles from Punxsutawney and decided to see where Phil, the groundhog, hangs out. 

punxsutawney sign

It was surprising to see the influence that Groundhog Day has over this quaint town.  I saw Groundhog Lanes, Groundhog Plaza, Groundhog Lube and Oil, and many other businesses with Groundhog in their names. 

All around town were these cute figures of groundhogs representing whatever business they were planted next to.  My favorite was the US Postal Service groundhog.

A few miles away is Gobbler’s Knob, the actual site of annual Groundhog Day festivities.   It was deserted the Sunday afternoon I visited. 

In fact, I went right up on the platform and looked into Punxsutawney Phil’s house.  When Groundhog Day events make the news on February 2nd, I’ll know exactly where they take place!

What is a groundhog, anyway?  It’s also known as a woodchuck and is a member of the squirrel family.  German immigrants brought the groundhog story and tradition with them when they came to America.

Leaving Gobbler’s Knob, I was soon in Amish country, as evidenced by this sign.   I saw a buggy up ahead of me on the narrow, curving road.  There was an endless double yellow line which meant I couldn’t pass.  So I slowed down to a horse trot and enjoyed the scenery until there was a place to go around the buggy carrying a young Amish couple.

buggy sign

Driving around this part of Pennsylvania, I scanned the area radio stations.  That’s how I stumbled onto WKHB, AM 620 in Pittsburgh and Frank Powaski’s Polka Festival.  It was kinda fun listening to upbeat polka music while meandering the backroads.  

polka dance

Arriving back at my campground, I thought about having some ground hog (a hot dog) but decided that a bowl of chili on a rainy fall day sounded better.



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