When Oil Was $3 a Barrel … Go Back in Time to the Birthplace of Oil on One of PA’s New Summer Road Trips

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 22 /PRNewswire/ — CNN is talking about it; Bloomberg News is too. Now the Pennsylvania Tourism Office? Crude oil prices are setting a new record high. Come to Pennsylvania, and see where the first oil well in the country was drilled, and oil was sold for $3 a barrel! Hit the road on one of Pennsylvania’s new road trips and discover one of many unique small towns like Titusville, where Colonel Edwin Drake drilled the first oil well in 1859.

Experience the nation’s oil heritage and history by visiting the Drake Well Museum and Park, with its full-size replica of Edwin Drake’s first successful oil well – a vivid story of Pennsylvania’s oil boomtown. Ride the Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad that runs passengers on a guided tour of the “valley that changed the world.”

See the region the way many did in the late 1800s by sleeping in a caboose at the new Caboose Motel. Twenty-one authentic cabooses have been restored and turned into sleeping quarters, with all the amenities found at any motel. Located at Perry Street Station in Titusville, the cabooses were purchased and preserved by the historical society.

“The Oil Heritage Region, part of Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region, has so much to offer travelers looking for a truly unique and authentic experience, but the region’s history and heritage also stands in stark contrast to the amazing outdoor resources and recreational activities in the area,” said Mickey Rowley, deputy secretary of Tourism in the Department of Community and Economic Development. “Come for the history and stay for the great fishing, hiking, biking, boating and more.”

How to Get There

Located in the Great Lakes Region of Northwest Pennsylvania along Route 8, midway between Interstate 80 and Route 6, Titusville can also be accessed from Interstate 79. Most attractions in the area are within a few miles of these highways.

Along the Way

Meadville: David Mead arrived in the area in 1788, where his log cabin on the banks of French Creek marked the first permanent settlement in all of Northwestern Pennsylvania. Today visitors can tour a replica of the Mead cabin. Much less primitive but equally historic is the Baldwin-Reynolds House Museum, a stately four-story mansion that was home to a US Supreme Court Justice and two former mayors of Meadville. The Meadville Market House is the oldest continuously operating market house in the state.

Erie: The Bayview Commons at Port Erie offers countless opportunities for shopping, dining and sightseeing. The US Brig Niagara calls Erie home. This flagship of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a re-creation of the vessel that Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry captained to victory in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Although the Niagara sails to other cities as a floating museum and ambassador for Pennsylvania, visitors are welcome to tour the ship when it’s docked in its homeport. The Erie Maritime Museum and Bicentennial Tower are other must-see attractions.

Presque Isle: This state park has been designated as a National Natural Landmark. The 3,200-acre peninsula stretches out into Lake Erie offering an extensive multipurpose trail and a 13-mile driving loop. In addition to seven miles of sandy beaches, the park boasts a historic lighthouse, legendary sunsets and is one of the top US birding spots with over 428 species spotted. Presque Isle is listed by Field & Stream Magazine as one of the top 20 family fishing destinations in the country.

Oil City: Titusville’s neighbor, this oil town’s primitive settlers were finding and collecting oil about the time Columbus discovered America. Now the Victorian homes and antique shops represent the memories of the era. Several museums offer something for everyone, from the “Black Gold or Black Magic?” exhibits at the Venango Museum in downtown Oil City, to the unique Tyred Wheels in the country, which features more than 5,000 die-cast miniature cars, old toys and bikes, and a collection of antique vehicles.

Summer 2005 Events

July 21-24: 27th Annual Oil Heritage Festival in Oil City honors the area’s rich heritage that resulted from the discovery of petroleum and the “oil boom” that occurred along Oil Creek in the mid-1800s. Since oil fueled the Industrial Revolution and the modernization of America’s transportation industry, the region is frequently referred to as “the valley that changed the world.”

More information on new summer road trips and other exciting itineraries, including the road trip to Titusville, can be found on http://www.visitpa.com/, http://www.visitpa.com/mediaroom or by calling (800) VISIT PA.

The Pennsylvania Tourism Office is dedicated to fulfilling the needs and aspirations of travelers by presenting them with the information and resources they need to plan and enjoy the activities, attractions and destinations that are uniquely Pennsylvania. For more information about Pennsylvania’s tourism industry, go to http://www.visitpa.com/ or call (800) VISIT PA.

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