The Susquehanna Valley

Photo by Lynda Z
View from the Horseshoe Curve- Photo by Lynda Z

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. e.e.cummings

It doesn’t get any prettier than the Susquehanna Valley in beautiful tree- laden Pennsylvania. Jim and I took a small road trip last weekend with friends and visited Susquehanna University and the surrounding valley, including the famous Horseshoe Curve.

The Church at Susquehanna University
The Church at Susquehanna University

We began at the University which has a long history. It was started in 1856 by Benjamin Kurtz as a Lutheran based missionary institution. It sits on 325 acres, is well tended, and has many historical buildings. There is a large church with a sweet sounding bell which tolls every fifteen minutes and on the hour.

At 6pm on Saturday, the bells rang out in song for a few minutes. I stopped my walk to sit and listen, the lovely melody carrying up through the evening sky.

Next we visited the famous Horseshoe Curve. Five minutes after we arrived, the Funicular was ready to take us up to this designated landmark. Yes, the funicular. I found out this was an incline plane designed to carry passengers from the visitor center up the hill to the curve. It is much like the Duquesne incline we have in Pittsburgh. We also could have walked the landscaped 194 steps but we chose to use them later to go down!

Within five minutes of our arrival, we were lucky and blessed to see a very long train of containers go by. The conductor blew his train whistle at us and we waved him on. What an exciting moment for us (really, truly!) and especially for Jim who loves trains.

Jim and the Train
Jim and the Train

We hung out another twenty minutes and then saw a smaller passenger train and waved to all those travelers, wherever they may have been going on their journey.

The Horseshoe Curve apparently changed history in the 1850’s. Here’s an interesting tidbit from the Railroader Memorial Website: By 1852, trains could cross the state but were still dependent on the Allegheny Portage Railroad, which didn’t operate at night. With the addition of the Horseshoe Curve in 1854, passengers could travel the entire route by rail, and the time was reduced to an average of 15 hours. 

And yet another amazing statement: The construction of the Curve was done by about 450 workers, many of them from Ireland. The work was done entirely by hand, and workers were paid 25 cents per hour for a twelve hour day.

All I can say is the view from the curve is simply breathtaking. The huge blue sky and gorgeous Pennsylvania mountains all around just make you stop and sit still. We saw some eagles soaring (I wish I had a picture for you!); what a bonus!

Have you ever been to a place of great green beauty? Where is your favorite place?


Join me on my graceful journey.

13 Replies to “The Susquehanna Valley”

  1. I love Horseshoe Curve! My dad worked for the railroad and I went there many times when we lived in Altoona! I have traveled on the rails through Horseshoe Curve also. Don loves trains and we visited there a few times on trips to visit friends. It is very pretty in that part of PA…well most of Pa! Living in the suburbs for the past 17 years, any place that is green is beautiful to me! I plan on making a trip to Colorado to visit my niece, so I probably will have a new place to love very soon, haha!

    1. Wow, you are going to have to talk to Jim about your Dad someday! He will love to hear about that! We did visit the museum in Altoona and I honestly never realized how important railroading was to business in that era! xo Joanne

  2. Growing up in New Jersey, I remember the sound of church bells actually ringing. I can understand your desire to immerse yourself in their distinct sound…they have an ability to charm one into quietness.

    Joanne, the scenery is exquisite! What a beautiful picture of the green mountains and meadow. And I can imagine the beauty during the Autumn! It sounds like all of you had a wonderful time, which makes me smile to think of it. Thank you for sharing your outing…as always, a lovely post.

    I’m experiencing a very mean upper respiratory infection, so I think I’ll go lie down for a while.

    Blessings for a wonderful day,
    Marianne xo

    1. Marianne, so glad you love the scenery! Yes, it was VERY beautiful and I could have stayed there for hours just enjoying it….
      Please take care of yourself and get over your infection- Blessings, Joanne xo

  3. Joanne, the e.e. cummings quote is a splendid fit with your opening picture…and all of this post. Some journeys make us so thankful for swaying trees, brilliant skies, kind people and overall goodness.
    A beautiful post! Thank you.

  4. Hi Joanne, sounds like it was a great weekend! What an awesome story! . The picture taken from the Horseshoe Curve is beautiful. You can certainly see it is springtime with all the lush green landscape surrounding the pretty blue water and blue sky!. I almost feel like I visited there after reading your post.!

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