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Armstrong offers an eyeful of fall foliage

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Monday, Oct. 11, 2010

Though cooler weather has taken hold of Armstrong County, that doesn't mean hibernation just yet.

There are plenty of ways to enjoy the annual display of colors on local trees and fall's harvest of pumpkins, as well as some frights toward the end of the month.

The county offers a variety of events, tours and rides, which tourist bureau director Miranda Shoemaker said can provide a different view.

"It really is a nice way to see the county," she said of three tours the bureau is offering this week.

Fall leaf colors should be peaking for the next two weeks, according to the Farmers' Almanac. There are several ways for local residents to slow down for a couple hours.

Take a train

Leaves and possibly some wildlife can be seen from the windows of trains traveling the Kiski Junction Railroad. Superintendent of operations Martin Schulte said the train offers rides three times a week -- as well as special fall jaunts two weekends this month -- along the Kiski River from Schenley in Gilpin Township to Leechburg.

"We have on occasion seen a bear," he said, and an eagle has been a character on the trips in the last few weeks.

The train rides last about an hour.

"Most of the time we have a narrator," Schulte said. "We don't go more than 10 to 15 miles per hour."

Travel by van

Van tours this week will provide a unique look at various spots throughout the county. The tourist bureau has planned three tours with vans from Byers Taxi in Vandergrift, and Shoemaker advises anyone interested to contact the bureau soon so meals and transportation can be planned.

Wednesday's tour will take passengers to an East Brady overlook across the Allegheny River from Bradys Bend Township and Armstrong County. Then, the trip will move on to the Mahoning Dam for a tour provided by the Army Corps of Engineers, Shoemaker said.

"It's worth it to go to the dam," she said.

Thursday evening's jaunt will take participants through East Brady, Distant, Dayton and Rural Valley. The final event Friday will be a shopping venture, including stops at Crooked Creek Lake, Cochran Mills Mercantile, Our Country Home and More, and Graff Gourmet & Specialty Foods in Leechburg.

All of the tours include a meal, either provided by Subway or at the Olde Tyme Diner in Dayton.

"All of the tours last about three and a half hours," Shoemaker said.

The old-fashioned way

Sisters Silk and Annie trot down rural roads in Sugarcreek Township under the direction of Flavius and Denise Brinsfield of Dragon Run Forge & Livery. The black Shire horses pull a touring surrey or passenger wagon for eight-mile fall tours along wooded roads.

"We do a limited amount of trips," Denise Brinsfield said. "Everybody likes it."

The rides last between two and a half and three hours, she said. Moving three miles per hour allows riders ample time to soak in the scenery "right around home."

Additional Information:

Things to do

Things to do

• Kiski Junction Railroad fall leaf rides:

Oct 16, 17, 23 and 24

The train departs the Schenley station at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Regular rides held Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays until Oct. 30

The train departs at 2 p.m.

Tickets cost between $7 and $9

For details, visit here or call 724-295-5577

• Dragon Run Forge & Livery horse-drawn fall leaf rides through Sugarcreek Township

For details, visit here or call 724-543-3367.

• Armstrong County Tourist Bureau fall foliage tours

Wednesday and Friday departing at 10:30 a.m.

Thursday departing at 5 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to 25 and include a meal

Call 724-543-4003 or visit here .

• Movies in the Park, Sunday at 7 p.m.

Kittanning Riverfront Park amphitheater

Free admission, prizes for costumes

'The Ghost and Mr. Chicken'

• Brosius Haunted Woods, Madison Township

Oct. 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30

Tickets go on sale at 7:15 p.m.

For details, visit here

• Renshaw Family Farms Pumpkin Fest

Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.


• Cochran Mills Mercantile - Witches Night Out

Oct. 30, 7-9 p.m.

$8 entrance fee will be donated to a Kittanning domestic violence shelter

For details, visit 724-845-6731 or here

For additional fall events, visit the tourist bureau's calendar here .

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