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Lakeside Fun with Antique Charm at Raystown Lake

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RAYSTOWN LAKE | This year marks the 40th anniversary of this 8,000-acre aquatic playground built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The forested shoreline is protected, so it remains pristine. Nearby is Huntingdon, a charming community with a lively downtown district and some unique shopping. 

 

drive time: 3 hours, 30 minutes.

stay here: Filled with antiques and period furniture, the six-guestroom Inn at Solvang is tucked away on 80 acres of forests and lush lawns. Some rooms have whirlpool tubs. Breakfast (included) is elegant, and the overall ambiance is warm and welcoming. Rates are $105-$145. 10611 Standing Stone Road, Huntingdon, (814) 643-3035, solvang.com.

If you can’t bring yourself to leave the water, rent a houseboat from Seven Points Marina. A 40- to 48-foot vessel sleeps four. All are air-conditioned; some have a sliding board and/or hot tub, and are dog friendly. Go Monday-Friday or Friday-Monday for $1,045-$1,795. 5922 Seven Points Marina Drive, Hesston, (814) 658-3074, 7pointsmarina.com

eat here: Whether you’re in the mood for a good burger or something more elaborate, the menu at Mimi’s Restaurant & Martini Bar has it all. Casual fare ranges $5.95-$12.95 (try the Cajun candy-apple sandwich, with grilled chicken, apple, Cajun bacon and Swiss cheese). More upscale offerings ($21.95-$28.95) include specialties like Bourbon Street chicken, shrimp or scallops. Be sure to stop in for a dessert martini in key lime, cheesecake and other flavors. 312 Penn St., Huntingdon, (814) 643-7200, mimisrestaurant.net.

As you might expect, the menu at Top’s Diner is extensive—and what you pay depends on how hungry you are. Dinners come in light (half entrée and one side; starting at $6.95) and regular (choice of potato, vegetable and salad; starting at $7.69) portions. 12151 William Penn Highway, Huntingdon, (814) 643-4169.

to-do list: Rent a pontoon boat for waterskiing or tubing ($125/hour; $400/weekdays, $450/weekends) or a fishing skiff ($50-$90/hour, $100-$250/day) from Seven Points Marina. 5922 Seven Points Marina Drive, Hesston, (814) 658-3074, 7pointsmarina.com. 

For something a little smaller, Rothrock Outfitters rents kayaks ($25/day), canoes and tandem kayaks ($35), and paddleboats ($30). Guided paddling trips available. 418 Penn St., Huntingdon; Seven Points Marina, Hesston; (814) 643-7226, rothrockoutfitters.com.

If you’d rather pedal than paddle, Rothrock also rents bikes ($30) and offers guided rides. A great place for all skill levels is the Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake, a single-track, 33-mile mountain-biking trail system in the hills surrounding the lake. (814) 658-6809, allegrippistrails.com.

Swigart Auto Museum is the only museum of its kind in America. It houses a spectacular collection of antique cars, many from the early 20th century. Horse-drawn vehicles date back to 1876. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for children. 12031 William Penn Highway, Huntingdon, (814) 643-0885, swigartmuseum.com

Give yourself plenty of time to tour Isett Acres Heritage Museum. Generations of lifestyle and work artifacts fill three buildings. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for students. Stone Creek Ridge Road, Huntingdon,  (814) 643-9600, isettacresmuseum.com.

The sign says Grove’s Office Supplies, but beyond the business necessities is a crafter’s paradise helmed by Staci Shuck, who is always happy to offer some impromptu instruction at no charge. Shuck also hosts one-day craft classes. 504 Washington St., Huntingdon, (814) 643-3490, grovesoffice.com

Right across from Grove’s is Stone Town Gallery & Café, where you’ll find the works of more than 50 local artists. 511 Washington St., Huntingdon, (814) 251-2075, stonetowngallery.com.

for thrifty types: Go jump in the lake. Access is at Seven Points Recreation Area, with no beach fees. Don’t miss the water trampoline ($5 for 30 minutes). 6993 Seven Points Road, Hesston, (814) 658-3405.

Boxer’s Café offers good pub fare, lots of sandwiches, and many vegetarian selections. Subs and burgers start at $5; almost everything’s under $7. 418 Penn St., Huntingdon, (814643-5013, boxerscafe.com

Pick up a sub at Boxer’s and take in one of the free musical events or ranger-led environ-mental programs that are part of the free Raystown Lake Summer Amphitheater Series Friday and Saturday nights. 6993 Seven Points Road, Suite 1, Hesston, (814) 658-3405, raystown.org

The last Saturday in April, Huntingdon becomes a time machine for Mayfest, bringing in reenactors and games from five different time periods: Renaissance, Colonial, Victorian, the ’50s and the Woodstock era. Admission is free. (814) 658-0060, raystown.org.