There’s more to the Williamsport area than baseball.
Sure, many head to the city for the international Little League World Series championship series, this year set for Aug. 14-24, or they visit the World of Little League Peter J. McGovern Museum, www.littleleaguebiglegacy.com/Anniversary_Tribute/Virtual_Museum.
But other hits include the stately mansions of Millionaires’ Row, riverboat rides and a blues festival.
At the museum, baseball fans can learn about the history of Little League from its 1939 start as a three-team league in Williamsport to its present popularity around the globe.
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Completely renovated in 2013 to celebrate Little League’s 75th anniversary this year, the museum features such displays as artifacts from the original teams, bats signed by all the past championship squads and baseball items that belonged to Carl Stotz, Little League’s founder.
Among the museum’s treasures are vintage jerseys belonging to famous Little Leaguers and an 1868 baseball that could be the oldest one in existence.
The Hall of Excellence commemorates notable past Little Leaguers, such as Vice President Joe Biden, former President George W. Bush, ESPN basketball broadcaster Dick Vitale, stock car racer Kyle Petty and several former Major League players.
In addition, the museum includes films and interactive displays such as one that tests patrons’ reactions as though they’re playing shortstop in Little League’s Howard J. Lamade Stadium. The Global Connections Touch Table, resembling a giant iPad, allows users to learn about Little League baseball around the world and send messages to any league.
The museum is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on major holidays. General admission is $5.
For a live spectacle, check out the annual Grand Slam Parade and Festival, www.vacationpa.com/grandSlamParade, on Aug. 13 through Williamsport, then welcome to the 16 Little League World Series teams vying for the championship.
While you’re there ...
• From May to October, the Hiawatha paddlewheel riverboat,www.ridehiawatha.com
, churns the Susquehanna River on leisurely excursions that start in the Susquehanna State Park. The boat’s namesake was a steam-driven sternwheeler that took families to picnics.
• Millionaires’ Row recalls Williamsport’s opulence during the Victorian era, when lumber barons built mansions that are now architectural landmarks.
One has become the Rowley House Mansion, www.preservationwilliamsport.org, whose original owner, E.A Rowley, was one of Pennsylvania’s wealthiest men of his time. Another that belonged to a lumber baron is now the Peter Herdic House Restaurant & Inn, www.herdichouse.com, one of Williamsport’s finest restaurants.
• The Peter Herdic Transportation Museum,www.phtm.org
, documents the transportation history of the Susquehanna Valley from Indian birch bark canoes to modern means. Its collection includes one of the two remaining 1949 Pennsylvania Pullman parlor cars. In June, July and August, a museum ticket includes a free trolley tour of Williamsport.
• The Community Arts Center,www.caclive.com
, opened in 1928 as the Capitol Theatre, a grand movie and vaudeville palace. Today, it’s a restored, elegant venue for concerts, plays, dance performances, films and other entertainment.
• The Billtown Blues Festival,www.billtownblues.org
, annually brings national and regional blues artists to the Lycoming County Fairgrounds. This year’s festival takes place June 8.