Saturday, June 14, 2008

Looking for Punxsutawney Phil

The past two days flew by in a blur. Monday we received sad news, a death in the family, and Thursday morning we left for Punxsutawney PA to attend the funeral. It’s a 297.4 mile trip from Philly and it took us about 5 hours including the delay caused by a tractor-trailer accident on I-80. We stayed in Dubois, 21 miles from Punxy, and a big town by Punxy standards. We barely had time to check in at the Hampton Inn, meet a few family members and grab a bite to eat before attending the viewing.

Friday afternoon following the funeral there was a luncheon at the historic Pantall Hotel, built in 1888 by Theo Pantall. It was renovated in 1970. Undoubtedly their busiest time of the year is February when Punxsutawney Phil makes his appearance.

If you’re remotely interested in the weather you’re already familiar with the groundhog that comes out of his burrow on February 2nd and predicts the weather for the rest of winter. If Phil sees his shadow, there’ll be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t there’ll be an early spring. On that day thousands of visitors gather at Gobblers' Knob and enjoy live entertainment, music and fireworks while waiting for Phil’s appearance at daybreak. The gates open at 3:00 AM.
We had to satisfy ourselves with a visit to the groundhog zoo located in the park across from the hotel. There were two sleepy groundhogs in residence and I only got to see their butts. But we did take some pictures of the 6’ fiberglass models, each an individual work of art and located around the center of town. You can see the rest of the pictures on my website:

All too soon it was time to leave the beautiful rolling hills of Northwest PA. We arrived in Philly Friday at 8 PM. Culture Shock for sure.