A Perfect Day in the Grove
Begin discovering Selinsgrove with its little-known gem, the Isle of Que. Only a half-mile wide and five and a half miles long, the isle exudes a mystical quality first recognized by the Native Americans who considered the southernmost tip to be sacred land; it became their burial ground. Today you can still find Indian artifacts there.
When not foraging for arrowheads, you can walk, bike, hike, swim or fish. If you own your own boat, you can ease it into the river at Selinsgrove’s newly-renovated public landing which is equipped with picnic tables and restroom facilities. The designated trophy bass water is great for fishing.
Paddle silently in a kayak to glimpse the local creatures. Because the river islands remain undisturbed, they serve as fantastic nurseries for all kinds of wildlife.
If you love the river than surely no better experience exists than being guided down it by Jim Charles, a native self-described “river rat” who runs Isle of Que River Guides. As you float down the water, he’ll regale you with its history – “At 300 million years old, the Susquehanna is one of the three oldest rivers in the world!” – while he proudly points out nesting bald eagles, geese headed for the low grass bars, green heron flying above and, if you look to the east, a breathtaking view of the sun rising above Mt. Mahanoy.
If you don’t want to pack a lunch and lounge around on the river all day (a great natural play area for kids!), then take a short walk to Market Street where history buffs will want to see Governor Simon Snyder’s mansion and final resting place. Snyder, Selinsgrove’s famous resident and Pennsylvania’s third governor, built an impressive Federal style limestone mansion in 1816. At the old cemetery on Bough Street you can see the towering monument erected in his memory, an 1884 bronze portrait bust of Snyder gazing into the distance.
Step back in time at the Selinsgrove Post Office to view New Deal Art: a stunning 1939 mural painted by George Rickey. Dramatically gracing the northern wall of the lobby and nearly life-size, the painted farmer looks as though he’s ready to walk into the room and join the waiting customers.
For sheer idyllic pleasure, take a stroll on the Susquehanna University campus at dusk. In spring and summer the flowers and foliage bloom and provide cover for all manner of little creatures – rabbits, chipmunks, groundhogs – you name it. Clearly, it’s one of the most beautiful campus’ in the country.
With the Lore Degenstein Art Gallery, the Degenstein Theatre and the Weber Chapel Auditorium, it’s the cultural hub of the town. Throughout the year, you can enjoy eclectic and classical entertainment — concerts, plays, dances, exhibits, readings — many of which are free to the general public.
Hungry yet? Well, in three densely-packed blocks you’ll find almost a dozen restaurants in Selinsgrove’s historic downtown to satisfy your cravings.
The Selin’s Grove Brewing Company is on the ground floor of the Mansion in the governor’s old kitchen. The cozy atmosphere, locally-grown foods and, of course, fantastic micro brews account for why the pub consistently rates as one of the top ten brew pubs in the world by beer aficionados.
Just down the street, BJ’s Steak & Rib House is a veritable institution with its mouth-watering dry-aged steaks and now boasting the only fresh oyster bar for miles.
If you decide to picnic on the river bank, pick up a cheese steak at Philly Cheese Steaks or a pizza at Bella’s Pizza.
The Kind Café bustles with locals anytime of the day. And with its fresh salads and sandwiches, enriching smoothees and foamy lattes, it’s easy to understand why.
Go to Deo’s Latin Cuisine for great latin twists in a laid-back setting, and if you prefer a more raucous college-bar atmosphere (and great food!), head to Bot’s Tavern.
Infused with old-world charm, Isabella’s is housed in the former M&T bank building. The original bank vault sits inside the bar, making it the ideal place to make a “withdrawal” of fried calamari and shrimp fradiavolo complimented by a glass of chardonnay.
On Saturday mornings from mid-May through November, Amish and local farmers sell seasonal fruits and vegetables, sustainably raised meats and cheese, baked goods, plants, honey, jams and jellies at the Selinsgrove Farmers’ Market.
They’re at the corner of Market and Pine Streets, a location that is home of the Selinsgrove Commons, an old-fashioned, beautifully landscaped ‘center of town’ that will host musical performances in the pavilion and will lead you toward the newly-renovated library.
Maybe you want to spend the day shopping the charming and uniquely stocked stores. Antique lovers should check out The Firehouse Market Place which is filled to the brim for those who seek a good find. Little House Antiques is a short trek north. And The Cottage on Pine is surely the most comfortable and adorable antique shop you’ve ever seen!
The Country Squire is just a treasure-trove of unique and interesting home furnishings – from an antique Chinese chest, to cool wineracks and glasses to coveted Lee upholstery. It all reflects the exquisite taste of the owner, Shane, who happily assists.
The old-fashioned comfort characterizing the town is especially evident at D.J. Ernst Books. D.J., affectionately known as Homer, has been sitting behind the counter six days a week for over 35 years. His unique bookshop provides anything from good used paperbacks to surprising and interesting old rarities.
At the end of your enjoyable busy day, kick off your shoes and enjoy a restful night’s sleep at the Selinsgrove Inn, comfy place right on Market.
Eat heartily because you’ll probably want to stay another day!
LOVE THE GROVE!