11 Romantic Things to do in Bloomsburg PA and Columbia-Montour Counties

WHY GO: The Things to do in Bloomsburg PA and surrounding Columbia-Montour Counties – what some consider the hinterland of Central Pennsylvania – are not lavish or extravagant.

But you will find, in large concentrations, some of the most romantic natural and man-made attractions you’ll find anywhere: specifically, waterfalls and covered bridges. And, of course, a couple of our favorite romantic inns.

Antique Car Flower display at Retherford's Village PA

Follow along with us to meet a host of interesting and passionate characters who make this getaway one of our quirkiest and eye-opening yet.

Quirky fact: Danville PA, in Montour County, was the site of the first ever rail-trail in America – developed in the mid 1890’s. Seems that at the end of the 19th century, a couple of locals returned from Europe with a newfangled contraption called the bicycle.

Danville officials right away banned cycling on downtown streets. (That ban is still in effect). So, a group of enthusiasts created about a mile of what is now the 3.5 mile Hess Loop Trail from an unused railroad track.

Looking for more places to take your honey in Pennsylvania? Check out these 30+ Romantic Getaways in PA.

Things to do in Bloomsburg PA and Columbia-Montour Counties

Easy path at first to waterfalls at Ricketts Glen State Park PA

HIKE: Waterfall Trail, Ricketts Glen State Park, Benton

If you are a connoisseur of waterfalls, you most likely know about Ricketts Glen State Park. In fact, the park’s Harrison Wright Falls is so impressive, it’s image is one of 12 in the nation chosen by the US Postal Service for a June ’23 Commemorative Waterfall Stamp. 

Steep steps on Waterfall Loop at Ricketts Glen State Park PA

Hiking the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park is probably the most popular things to do in Pennsylvania. And, also, one of the most challenging. Read: it’s not a “walk in the park”.

Sections of the 7.2 mile, 21-waterfall trail are considered “Most Difficult,” so you must wear hiking boots. And if you’re like Boomer me, bring hiking poles. I had my reservations about doing even a short, 3-mile part of it. But I’m very happy I worked up the nerve. The payoff is worth the effort.

Short waterfall with family at Ricketts Glen SP PA

If you only have a couple of hours, you can see three short waterfalls, plus the highest one in the park: the 94’ Ganoga Falls. Plan to start at the Lake Rose Parking Lot, and follow signs to the Falls Trail.

Ganoga Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park PA

While it starts off pretty flat, you’ll soon get to very steep – and sometimes muddy and slick – shale stone steps. These get more intense as you approach Ganoga Falls. You’ll want to climb down, if only for the great shots you can snap at the base.

Lake Jean Beach at top of Ricketts Glen SP PA

If you have more time, do the upper and lower waterfall trails. However, be aware that as of June 2023, part of the upper loop trail was closed due to landslides. Reopening is TBD, so check website for information.

If you’re hot, and there’s time, take a dip in Lake Jean before heading back to your car.

Bills Bike Barn Museum entrance Bloomsburg PA

TOUR: Bills Bike Barn, Bloomsburg

Bill Morris tells me he started the “Motorcycle thing,” with what became his nationally known business, Bill’s Custom Cycles.

He bought out the inventory of 28 going-out-of-business Harley dealers all over the USA and the world – including some in Cape Town South Africa, and the Netherlands – amassing  “The World’s largest inventory of original Harley Parts.”

Bill Morris sitting at 1800s carved French desk at Bills Bike Barn Bloomsburg Pa

And then his collections, of not just motorcycles, but also almost everything else on earth, just got out of hand. So he opened a museum. Bills Bike Barn Museum. “I wanted everyone to come – not just motorcycle people.” And they have. It’s one of the most unique things to do in Bloomsburg PA.

BillVille Main Street at Bills Bike Barn Museum PA

What began as a collection of 200 bikes (oldest, a 1908 Indian), is now a 55,000 square foot emporium, featuring his own personal “Billville” Main Street, lined with small town shops spilling over with assemblages of every kind.

Bills Bike Barn Barber Shop Bloomsburg PA

The Barber Shop belonged to Bill’s own barber. Inside, amongst old-fashioned barber stuff, there’s a one-of-a-kind mechanical Gillette Razor, once used for advertising purposes, snapping open and closed. “This was the only only one made, and the company wanted to buy it from me. But, I’m not selling,” says Bill, who feels that way about most of the objects here.

Oddball Collections

Part of Bills Bike Barn license plate collection Bloomsburg PA

He’s got 10,000 license plates (cleanly arrayed on ceiling beams); 5,000 antique cameras and film projectors; an ornately carved 1800’s French desk that sits in the “Mayor’s Office;” several labeled acrylic skeletons from med schools.

Bills Bike Barn Museum  Beer Store PA

His work-in-progress Beer Store is made from empty beer cans (the top floor has yet to be drank). A white 1951 firetruck (a Mack) was gifted by his home town.

He’s got the only indoor covered bridge (covered itself with thousands of visitor’s signatures); hundreds of Matchbook Cars mounted on pegboard; and the newest – the “Kitty Room” – with over 8,000 cat figurines and other cat art.

spooky Persian cat lamp in Kitty Room, Bills Bike Barn PA

Bill has hosted events, and weddings of course, in this wild place. It’s constantly evolving with ideas spitballed during weekly beer-fueled brainstorming sessions. All you need to see it and meet Bill is $10 and a few hours. You won’t want to miss it.

Paden Twin Covered Bridges Columbia-Montour Counties PA

DO: Covered Bridge Trail

The mid-1800’s were the heyday of covered bridges. Why were they built? First of all, to preserve the underlying infrastructure, normally made of wood. Second, to comfort horses, who were more easily coaxed into a “barn” than over a flowing stream.

Columbia-Montour County PA has the third largest concentration of still-existing covered bridges in the USA (25), after Park County Indiana, and Lancaster PA (29), which is romantic enough. Ambitious  fans can visit all 25 using this Covered Bridge Map as guide.

But, visit the following three pedestrian bridges for the most romantic of all – especially if you come bearing a loaf of bread, wine, and cheese. (And, perhaps an engagement ring?) Each features picnic tables, painted by individual local artists, that make for a lovely lunch spot.

Inside Paden Twin Covered Bridges PA

West Paden and East Paden Twin Bridges

Probably the most popular for covered bridge tourists, the Paden Twin Bridges – the only twin covered bridges in the US – connect a small picnic-perfect creekside park. In 2006, the original West Paden collapsed during a flood, and was reconstructed in 2008.

Stillwater covered bridge Columbia-Montour Counties PA

Stillwater Bridge

The only covered bridge known to have a herringbone pattern floor, the Stillwater Bridge was built in 1849 for $1,129.

Inside Josiah Hess Covered Bridge Central PA

Josiah Hess Bridge

The Josiah Hess Bridge is the most rustic of these three. Built in 1875 for $1,379, it sits in a woodlands setting, and like the other pedestrian bridges, features decorated picnic tables within.  

Bloomsburg Ensemble Theatre (BET) PA

SEE: Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble Production

The small but mighty 364-seat Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (BTE) has an auspicious origin story. It’s founding Director, Alvina Krause, had taught acting at Northwestern University to many of the Bold Faced Names of 1950’s – 70’s Hollywood (e.g. Charlton Heston, Jack Palance, Richard Benjamin, William Daniels, Patricia O’Neil, and dozens more).

After retiring from Northwestern, Krause moved to Bloomsburg, then – and still – home to Bloomsburg University. Over twenty students followed her, forming the original BTE. The tradition of professional summer theatre lives on year round in this space “too small for musicals,” but just perfect for 5-6 superbly acted productions annually.

Retherford's Village Columbia-Montour Counties PA

STOP: Retherford’s Village, Benton

Retherford’s Produce, Antiques Barn Village is worth a stop, especially in Spring when the colorful blooms, and unique displays, compel drivers to pull over.

Retherford's Antique Barn PA

Both a flower market and antiques barn, you can spend a few minutes shooting photos of the creative ways the plants are displayed. And then a few hours scouring the barn for that crusty old, unique object that calls to you.

DO: Kayak, SUP, Canoe, on the Susquehanna

Outdoorsy couples might want to get out on the water, and there are a couple of ways to do so. Join a float trip or rent a kayak from Five Mountain Outfitters in Shickshinny PA. Or take a guided river trip with Riverside Adventure Co. near Danville PA.

DO: Dig for Fossils at Montour Preserve, Danville

The Montour Preserve provides some free thrills for locals and visitors, as well. Dig for “curled up” trilobite fossils – and keep what you find – no fee! Other recreational activities are available – just check the website for what’s on tap.

Best Restaurants in Columbia-Montour Counties PA

Bason Coffee Roasters cafe Danville PA

DRINK/COFFEE: Bason Coffee Roasting, Danville

Pick up a Nitro coffee with or without bourbon. Or, sit and smell the freshly roasted beans at Bason Coffee Roasting. If available, grab a seat inside the vault that once held cold cash when this building was a bank.

Farmhouse Restaurant at Inn at Turkey Hill - plated Honey Bourbon Salmon Bloomsburg PA

EAT: Farmhouse Restaurant at Turkey Hill, Bloomsburg

If you’re looking for an excellent, unfussy yet classy meal in these parts, you’ll find one of the best at the Farmhouse Restaurant at Turkey Hill.

The chef takes pride in sourcing locally. And, even the incredible Honey Bourbon Salmon (pictured) has a local story. Every year, for 20 years, the owners of Bloomsburg-based Wild For Salmon fish shop head to Alaska to “sustainably line-catch” their fish. It’s immediately cleaned, flash-frozen, and shipped to PA.

Wild For Salmon supplies many of the top restaurants in Columbia-Montour Counties, and in the hands of a great chef, the salmon tastes so fresh, it could have come right off the hook. I was certainly hooked on my meal here. I’d deem this restaurant one of the best in Pennsylvania. 

The Little Bakery Bloomsburg PA

EAT: Locals Love

The Little Bakery, Bloomsburg, for traditional Ukrainian “Chimney Cakes.” Brennan’s Big Chill, Bloomsburg, for ice-cream. Marley’s Brew Pub, Pine Barn Inn for American comfort food, and Old Forge Brewing Co. for fresh beer and great Smoked Wings (and other pub grub) – all in in Danville. Shade Mountain Winery, Middleburg, for “Grandma’s Mint Iced Tea.”

Where to Stay in Bloomsburg PA

Elmdale Inn exterior shot Bloomsburg PA

STAY: Elmdale Inn

On the corner of downtown Bloomsburg’s Market Street, what is now the antique-filled Elmdale Inn was a private home until 2020. Built in 1863, it’s a handsome Federal-Georgian style brick house, reflecting the surrounding neighborhood of grand, main street homes. 

In 2020, the energetic and upbeat Deb Shade and Jack Devine, purchased, renovated and, in 2021, opened it as a 4-room B&B.

Shade, who was a Pediatric Oncology nurse in Hershey PA, grew up nearby on her family’s Elmdale Farm (thus the name of the inn). In addition to nursing sick children, Shade ran retreats at inns in the Hershey area for overwhelmed mothers of patients (“Camp Mom”). Now, she sees her role of innkeeper as “an extension of my nursing career,” providing a tranquil safe haven for guests.

Library at Elmdale Inn Bloomsburg PA

First Impressions

Common rooms are draped in the traditional trimmings of a well-to-do early 20th century home. Bookshelves take up one whole wall of a sitting room. Some books above one door date back to the early 1800’s and possibly before.

Floral wallpaper and silver tea sets lend a posh air, but despite all of those rich appointments, the aesthetic is warm and cozy.

Dining Room in Elmdale Inn B&B Bloomsburg PA

The newly renovated kitchen is light and bright. Deb and Jack are proud to show it off. From the kitchen, a door leads out to a new flagstone terrace and backyard complete with a pretty covered arbor, sheltering Adirondack chairs and table.

Elmdale Inn is a special place that invites relaxing and conversation, inside and out.

Elmdale Inn Guest Room Bloomsburg PA

Guest Rooms

Four guest rooms (two with shared bath, two with ensuite) sport Federal-style furniture, hardwood floors, floral rugs, and carved wood beds.

Beth's Bath Bars gift Elmdale Inn Bloomsburg PA

Deb makes her own bath bars and leaves them in a bag for guests to use and/or take home. The two small cakes are shampoo and conditioner. The larger piece, a bar of soap, is imprinted with a small dragonfly: Deb’s “spirit animal.” Brightly colored, they do look edible. “Someone tried to eat them, thinking they were fudge,” Deb said.

Breakfast at Elmdale Inn Bloomsburg PA


The morning meal at Elmdale Inn is delectable, and a joy to behold. Not only is the food good and fresh – but Deb plates it beautifully. It makes for a hearty start to the day.

Inn at Turkey Hill Pond and Fire Pit Bloomsburg PA

STAY: Inn at Turkey Hill

The upscale 23-room Inn at Turkey Hill (on Select Registry), was a family farm until 1984, a year after owner, Paul Eyerly, passed away. It was his vision to convert the old farmhouse into a cozy inn: a vision that has continued to expand down through the third and fourth generations.

Now, Andrew Pruden, and his daughter, Olivia, preside over this charming property that also includes one of the best restaurants in Central PA, and an extremely popular pub.

Rooms, in the farmhouse itself, and in renovated stables, are dressed in Country finery. On cool nights, join other guests around a roaring fire pit that sits just off a pretty garden koi pond and gazebo. It’s blissful place to settle down out in the countryside.

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  • Malerie Yolen-Cohen

    Malerie Yolen-Cohen is the Author of the cross-country travel guide, Stay On Route 6; Your Guide to All 3562 Miles of Transcontinental Route 6. She contributes frequently to Newsday, with credits in National Geographic Traveler, Ladies Home Journal, Yankee Magazine, Shape.com, Sierra Magazine, Porthole, Paddler, New England Boating, Huffington Post, and dozens of other publications. Malerie’s focus and specialty is Northeastern US, and she is constantly amazed by the caliber of restaurants and lodging in the unlikeliest places.

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