Dalia had a cheerleading event in Indiana, Pennsylvania. On the way, I saw a sign saying we were only about 20 miles from Punxsutawney, so I dragged the family to the nearby town. Fun fact about Punxsutawney, the name is from the Lenape Indians and it translates to either “Town of Sand Flies” or “Town of Mosquitoes”, either way, not a lot for the tourism bureau to work with, I guess that is why they resorted to the Groundhog.
Punxsutawney also bills itself as the weather capital of the world, I am going to say that this is a bit of a stretch claim. In any case, the town is upon hard times and has seen steadily declining population over the past 100 years. Lots of vacant boarded up building and a large confederate flag in front of a home off main street.
The library has a nice den with big glass windows where you can observe the famous Groundhog (Phil) and his spouse (Phyllis), the kids & I were pretty excited to see the celebrity rodents. After checking out the town and procuring groundhog souvenirs, we ventured to Gobblers Knob where you can get on the platform and check out where the Super Bowl of weather predictions takes place. On Groundhog’s Day, it is pretty mystical and carnival like, on this cold Spring day, the abundance of vandalism carved into the wood made its biggest impression on me. The stump from which Phil is extracted each February 2nd is covered in initials and crude scrawling.
It wasn’t all bad though, happy to check Punxsutawney off the list, there is magic still swirling around the town, but the Town of Sand Flies could use more than an annual influx of tourism to get it back to what I bet it once was.