The Liberty Bell…Independence Hall…Gettsyburg…Hershey’s chocolate…Pennsylvania is teeming with history and iconic American staples. The Declaration of Independence was signed here, and perhaps it’s time to declare your own independence and set out on a road trip to explore the Keystone State.
Those historic sites serve as a route guide. Learn about the Constitutional Convention in the heart of Philly; Independence Hall is where the framers debated and formed the U.S. Constitution a few years after ratifying the Declaration in the same spot. The Liberty Bell is right next door. Learn about Philly’s most renowned former resident two blocks away at the Benjamin Franklin Museum, where you’ll find a diverse array of exhibits that honor the inventor of electricity and the printing press.
Next, take a break from American history and take a step into culinary lore. Two miles south lie dueling cheesesteak shops that both claim to make the best version of the iconic sandwich. Order steaks from both Geno’s and Pat’s, which are across the street from each other, then be the judge. On your way out of town, work off the calories by doing your best Rocky imitation – run up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum and celebrate when you get to the top.
Now, set course for your next sweet destination – Hershey, where you’ll earn those calories right back. It’s 94 miles from Philly and makes for a decadent detour. Hershey’s Chocolate World is the perfect place to explore America’s best-known chocolate brand; take a free tour, consume the popular treat and buy souvenirs there.
The town of Hershey or the nearby state capital of Harrisburg make for good rest stops before heading an hour south to Gettysburg, home to the most notorious battle of the Civil War. The battlefield is now a national military park dedicated to reverently exploring the war’s bloodiest battle, which resulted in a Union victory that turned the tide of the war. The museum and visitor center will help you get your bearings before you navigate the park.
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the important lessons in store at Gettysburg, bear toward rugged Western Pennsylvania and its crown jewel, Pittsburgh. If you grew up thinking of the Steel City as an industrial mecca, you might be surprised at how clean and high-tech it is; Pittsburgh is thriving after a massive reinvention. If you’re a baseball fan or simply want to gaze at the city skyline for three hours, take in a Pirates game at PNC Park for a stunning view of town. Pop a pierogi as you gaze at the Golden Triangle with the ball game in the foreground, then get an even better view with a trip up the Duquesne Incline, a 19th-century-style cable car that runs to the top of a mountain overlooking Pittsburgh.
To truly feel like you’re above it all, drive a set of Nokian Tyres all-weather products on your trip. They’re perfect for the hilly roads that cross the state, even when rain and snow try to dampen your journey.