Thankful Thursday: For surprises up the road from home

Trailin' behind

We’ve been fortunate to be able to vacation away from home most summers. They aren’t necessarily “fancy” trips; this summer we stayed with cousins who have 4 kids under the age of 10. (Can you say, “hello, endless slumber party, noise and rewinds of Disney’s Teen Beach Movie“?) We had a lot of fun, and it was nice to get away, but you don’t always have to travel far.

As my first “thankful Thursday” — because I’m not above themes, memes or gimmicks — I’m going to tell you about a lovely time we had in Franklin, PA, just “up the road” from us.

Did you know the first oil well was in northwest Pennsylvania? Yes!

While parts of the region have clearly suffered — as so many do when companies or whole industries pull out — Franklin and nearby Oil City are filled with stately victorians and a lush landscape of wooded hillsides and rivers. Joe and I have been there before, but Saturday we discovered biking and picnicking along the Samuel Justus trail, which runs along the Allegheny RiverIt was so scenic and peaceful. It was also the first time the kids had done any riding outside of our neighborhood – a perfect introduction! Then, we decided to stop into the DeBence Antique Music World museum:

…It’s the country’s largest museum of its type open to the public with more than 100 antique mechanical musical instruments. A few of them are the “last man standing” of their kind.

What’s wonderful about the DeBence Museum is that (1) they give guided tours and (2) you get to hear almost everything you see. These old instruments – one dates back to 1850 — still make music…

This personal collection-turned museum is full of music boxes, phonographs, organs, player pianos, orchestrions (a la the 1915 Wurlitzer band organ playing at the Kennywood Carousel – cover your ears, they’re LOUD!), jukeboxes, radios and other antiques. If you like music, you’ll love this place. If you’re mechanically minded (or like me, can appreciate the mechanics with no understanding of them!), you’ll love it even more.

If you don’t live near Franklin or Oil City, don’t worry. My guess is there’s a surprise right near you — if you’re willing to look.

 PS. A shout out to my wedding photographer and fellow blogger Irene Smith, who lives up there. She’s excellent at what she does and a real pleasure to work with!

PPS. I’m also thankful this Thursday that I didn’t crack my car windows even more than I did ‘cuz it’s raining y’all. A lot. Whoops. What about you?

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