Order the annual Pennsylvania Travel Guide, as well as a copy of the free quarterly magazine Pennsylvania Pursuits, from the Pennsylvania Tourism Office, Commonwealth Keystone Building, 400 North St., 4th Fl., Harrisburg, PA 17120 (tel. 800/VISIT-PA; www.visitpa.com).
The state has 15 Welcome Centers located at various points around its perimeter; they're staffed daily from 7am to 7pm and stocked with information on lodging, directions, and sites of interest. Also, all the centers have an accommodations service that will make reservations for you.
By Plane -- In 2002, the old WWII-era buildings of the Harrisburg International Airport were torn down and, in their place, a new modern airport rose from the rubble, as well as a new Amtrak rail station that you can access through a climate-controlled walkway from the main terminal. The new Harrisburg International Airport in Middletown (tel. 888/2-FLY-HIA; www.flyhia.com) has free wireless Internet access, a food court, and several restaurants. In the southwestern portion of the state, there's Pittsburgh International Airport (tel. 412/472-3525; www.pitairport.com); and in the southeast, Philadelphia International Airport (tel. 215/937-6937; www.phl.org) recently doubled in size after two new terminals opened, and two of its existing terminals began a $200-million renovation in 2006. Also, regional flights, as well as flights to Mexico and Canada, go in and out of Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown (tel. 800/FLY-LVIA; www.lvia.org).
By Train -- Train lovers take heart: Amtrak (tel. 800/872-7245; www.amtrak.com) offers nine different lines that swing through the state of Pennsylvania: the Capitol Limited line, which runs from Chicago to Washington, D.C. and makes stops in Connellsville and Pittsburgh; the Lake Shore Limited line, which runs between Chicago and New York and stops in Erie; the Chicago-to-New York Cardinal line, which stops in Philly; the Acela Express between Boston and Washington, DC, with stops in Philly; the New York-to-Charlotte Carolinian line, which stops in Philly; the Crescent line with a Philly stop between New York and New Orleans; the Metroliner line, which runs from New York to Washington, DC, and stops in Philly; the Pennsylvanian, which runs between New York and Pittsburgh making stops at Philadelphia, Paoli, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Lewistown, Huntingdon, Tyrone, Altoona, Johnstown, Latrobe, and Greensburg; and finally the Keystone, which runs between New York and the state capital of Harrisburg, making stops in Cornwells Heights, Philadelphia, Ardmore, Paoli, Exton, Downingtown, Coatesville, Parkesburg, Lancaster, Mount Joy, Elizabethtown, and Middletown.
By Car -- From east to west, I-80 begins in Pennsylvania on the New Jersey border and cuts through the center of the state, exiting into Ohio. I-76 also picks up at the New Jersey border in the southeastern section of the state, runs by Harrisburg, and then twists northwest, exiting into Ohio. From north to south, I-79 in the western section of Pennsylvania picks up on the state's border with Lake Erie and runs south through Pittsburgh and out into West Virginia. I-81 enters from New York and runs through Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Hershey, and continues south into Maryland.
Ever feel like you're doomed to repeat the same day over and over? Well, maybe only if you're Bill Murray or Punxsutawney Phil, the famed Pennsylvania rodent who's shadow-spotting was made even more famous in the movie Groundhog Day. But this is not merely a trick of Hollywood entertainment -- you too can watch this waddling woodchuck find (or not) his shadow at Punxsutawney's Groundhog Day (www.groundhog.org), which is really an old-fashioned 4-day festival full of hay rides, tours of pretty Punxsutawney, food, and, of course, all things groundhog.
The largest indoor flower show in the world (yup, the world -- it's 10 acres' worth) is held in March in Philly. In 2007, the Philadelphia Flower Show (www.theflowershow.com) will focus on Irish gardens, as well as have tons of other floral exhibitions, demonstrations, classes, and stuff for sale.
The city of Bethlehem has always had a pretty good music scene, so it's no surprise to find one of the more exciting music festivals in the state held here. Musikfest (www.musikfest.org) is held over 10 days in August and features hundreds of established and upcoming performers, like Carrie Underwood, Melissa Etheridge, and Chris Smithers.
Also fittingly held in Bethlehem, the Christkindlmarkt (www.christkindlmarkt.org) is a 3-week-long holiday fair modeled after the traditional open-air markets found in Germany during Christmas. You'll find 75 artisans from all over the country making handcrafted specialties, such as quilts, jewelry, and fine art, as well as some amazing ice sculpting, a special kids' market, homemade sweet treats, and, of course, Santa Claus.