In 1994, Pennsylvania's Route 45, a 100-mile stretch through central PA, was named "The Purple Heart Highway," as it is believed this corridor is home to the largest Purple Heart medal recipients. It's a proud claim to fame for Pennsylvania, but so is the decorated artisan trail this route has become.
Route 45 is one of Pennsylvania's eight award-winning artisan trails, bestowed with NICHE Magazine's 2011 NICHE Honor Award for its cultural tourism program utilizing rural roadways to guide visitors on artistic adventures throughout the state. Need some additional help planning a trip around these trails? We've got three Artisan Ways Roadtrips already created for you.
And if you're not in PA just for the art, that's ok. An impromptu visit to one of these seven artisan trails is just as good.
Cheering on the Nittany Lions this fall in State College? Extend your travels a bit and get ahead on holiday shopping with jewelry, prints, woodwork or pottery from The Gallery Shop, an artists' cooperative in Lemont. Or find a new emerging artist to follow at the HUB-Robeson Galleries right there on campus.
Exploring Amish Country? Find your own Amish quilt when you travel the Pennsylvania Arts Experience Trail along the Route 30/Route 113 corridor.
Nearby touring Gettysburg's battlefields? From hand-weaving to "treeware," Handmade Along the Highway, the artisan trail running along Route 30 and 40, will guarantee a take-home present with its DNA in PA.
Mountain biking around Raystown Lake? After your pulminary-pumping excursion, follow the heart of the Alleghenies Artisan Trail along Route 22 where you'll find everything from woodworking to water colors. Check out Vintage Art Glass for beautiful stained glass and collectibles.
Business in the state capital? If you travel along Route 15 near Harrisburg, you can make stop-offs at 2nd Floor Gallery in Mechanicsburg, 3rd Street Gallery in New Cumberland or Fitzgerald Pottery in Dillsburg.
In the Lehigh Valley area for a performance at ArtsQuest on the SteelStacks campus or a visit with the kids to Historic Bethlehem or the Crayola Factory? The PA Artisan Trails Alliance is currently restructuring the Route 222 PA Glass Trail, but you can still tour artists' studios or check out the galleries, studios, theater and store at Reading's GoggleWorks.
Taking in the fall foliage along Route 6 in Northeast PA? The Northern Tier is ripe with small towns, each dotted with specialty shops and galleries along their main streets such as Blue Heron Gallery in Wyalusing and the ARTery in Milford.
In the PA Wilds to spot the elk during mating season? Towns and villages throughout the PA Wilds sport a collection of craft barns, boutiques, galleries and studios such as the Winkler Gallery of Fine Art in Dubois and Artworks at the Depot in Kane.