My recent trip to Harrisburg reminded me of how much I love this state o’ mine. And I am very happy that Rodale.com is based here—I call our content reality-based news (see reason # 8). But here are the top ten reasons I love living in the Keystone State:
1. We invented cable television. Because of all our beautiful hills and valleys, people had a hard time getting good TV signals. That’s why we invented the cable, to bring all our favorite shows straight into our homes, nice and clear. This is actually my husband’s favorite reason for loving PA.
2. Pretzels. We introduced the pretzel to America, and we are still its biggest producer. We also have the single longest continuously operated brewery in America (Yuengling), but since I don’t drink (anymore!) I don’t really care about that.
3. We have no superiority complex. It’s not like we have any beaches, or huge mountains, or giant cities. And even though the Declaration of Independence AND U.S. Constitution were written here, we don’t rub it in everyone’s faces. We’re just ordinary folk who work hard.
4. Our number one industry is farming. I adore our vanishing farm fields, hedgerows and barns (hex signs included!). Our biggest crops are mushrooms, Christmas trees and chickens—and dairy products, too. Taylor Swift grew up on a Christmas tree farm in Pennsylvania. She’s another reason I love our state.
5. Our state insect is the firefly. If you haven’t seen a late July field filled with fireflies at night, you haven’t truly lived. By the way, the farm has to be organic for the best show.
6. FARM SHOW! It’s the largest indoor agricultural expo in America and it rocks!
7. We never burned a witch. In fact, we practically invented the concept of religious freedom. William Penn, a Quaker, had suffered from discrimination in Europe. So he was adamant about protecting all religions, including witches.
8. You can’t avoid reality here. There is really no such thing as a homogeneous population in PA–we’ve got all sorts of different people all living right next door to each other. It’s not fancy, it’s only occasionally upscale. It’s how people really live and I like it.
9. Polka! Make fun of it all you like, but I dare you to polka without laughing!
10. We’re quirky. Where else are you going to find places like Knoebels Grove, the amusement park that hasn’t changed since 1950. Or Roadside America, the miniature train village where Lou and I went on our first date. We’ve got hex signs, Miller’s Restaurant—home of the Pennsylvania Dutch Smorgasbord—and the quaint Port Clinton Peanut Shop at the base of Hawk Mountain…and that’s just some of the stuff I know of that’s close by.