The adventure below is the latest in a series sharing my quest to explore Pennsylvania by visiting each of the sixty-seven county seats and eating a hot dog while in town.
Those who have been following this quest know My Jane and I have special memories in several Pennsylvania Counties. Our destination today, Forest County, holds some very special memories for us as well. The name denotes the county name as well as the appearance of the place. The population of Forest County is only 7,659 making it the third least populated county surpassing only Cameron (Pennsylvania Wilds and The Cabin Kitchen) and Sullivan (Endless Mountains and Griffin’s Grill). I tried to find statistics on how much of the county’s 430 square miles is designated Allegheny National Forest with no success. However, if you look at a Pennsylvania map you will notice that most of the county is situated within the National Forest. The county is known as a hunting, fishing, boating, outdoor adventure place filled with trees.
Forest County is known by My Jane and me because once upon a time this is where we honeymooned. My Jane’s family had a camp near Marienville used for hunting and family get-a-ways. It was the perfect place for two young people with no money to honeymoon. The camp we stayed in burned down (several years after our honeymoon-I heard you!) but another owner built a new camp on the exact same spot.
We are vague on details about places we might have visited but we do remember eating at a restaurant in Marienville and the building in this photo looks like the one we remember. Here is a picture inside the camp a couple of years after we were married.
While we were in Marienville we stopped at the Allegheny National Forest Ranger station to ask directions to Cook’s Forest. Amy was very informative but camera-shy. She allowed me to take her photo from a distance.
The camera shyness in Forest County was epidemic as you will soon see.
We wanted to stop in Cook’s Forest because My Jane’s family has one of those classic stories they tell about once upon a time! The story goes that during My Jane’s first visited to Cook’s Forest she exclaimed, “Where is the forest? All I see are trees! Of course this happened before we meet when she was much younger like 19 or 20 maybe! Oh of course I’m kidding. She was only about 15 or 16! Poor Jane, she is like Rodney Dangerfield and gets no r-e-s-p-e-c-t!
After stopping in Cook’s Forest we traveled on over to Tionesta the county seat. Marienville was the first county seat but the government was moved to Tionesta which was a more central location. We stopped at the visitor’s center where John and Evie gave us directions to Bananas for a hot dog. John and Evie have been married for 48 years and have been manning the visitor center for 33 of those years. These two newly weds also told us about the Sherman Lighthouse down the street near the Allegheny River. The Allegheny is not navigable in this area so the lighthouse is a curious sight. According to Evie and John a Mr. Sherman was a local contractor who liked lighthouses so he built one on a little peninsula in Tionesta. Once a year the structure is loaned to the community as part of an annual fund-raiser.
We found Bananas right were it was supposed to be at the end of the town and shared a few moments with Dan who has owned the place since January. He retired from the Butler Sewer Authority (Butler Hot Dog Shoppe, and Amber who we are trying to make famous). He moved to Tionesta to get away from paparazzi like me. We enjoyed the chili dogs and onion rings Dan served while seating outdoors just a block from the river. We really splurged with two ice cream cones for desert. Once upon a time during our honeymoon a purchase like that would have busted our budget!
We did our best to capture a photo of the courthouse.
As you can see the name Forest depicts this county rather well. There are so many trees you can’t see the forest.
My Jane and I had a wonderful stay in Forest County once upon a time and we enjoyed reliving those memories as we prepare to celebrate our 41st wedding anniversary. Yes, I do believe in miracles.
See you next time.