Eat, Play, Live

A great place to eat, play and live

With big-city amenities and a small-city feel, Centre County truly is a great place to eat, play and live.
With big-city amenities and a small-city feel, Centre County truly is a great place to eat, play and live. Centre Daily Times, file

Editor’s note: This story is part of the Eat, Play, Live special section.

Centre County has been my residence since the fall of 1999. For 17 years I have been proud to call this area home, but my love affair with “Happy Valley” goes back much further.

My father graduated from Penn State in ’79 and my mother, an Indiana University of Pennsylvania grad, lived here while he finished school. Together they filled our childhood with stories about the train station, dinners out of town at the Mount Nittany Inn, working at Howard Johnson’s and life on campus.

Twenty years later, everything looked very different but in a way stayed the same. I had the opportunity to create my own bank of stories during my four years at PSU. Today, my husband and I often find ourselves sharing those with our two kids.

One of our greatest joys about being able to live and settle here, post graduation, has been exploring everything the county has to offer beyond the Blue and White, and continually adding to that story bank as a family.

I hear this frequently from fellow residents. Our big-city amenities with small-city feel are appealing to those young in age and those young at heart. Our area is rich in history and has an abundance of outdoor space and natural beauty. We’ve got dining choices to tempt even the most discerning palate and our arts and entertainment are second to none.

Beyond the great dining and entertainment, we have access to world-class health care, education and craftsmanship. We are rich in the amenities that are available, but our sense of community is even richer. This is a community full of hard-working, innovative and passionate people.

There are so many hidden gems right here in our backyard that we wanted to take an opportunity to celebrate them. Eat, Play, Live is that opportunity.

Our annual Users’ Guide has become a staple in the community, but with 17 years in print, it was time for a change. We started with feedback from our readers and used that feedback as we worked on the redesign.

You will still find some of the directories and resources residents find so helpful, but you will also discover new profiles, lists and snippets, highlighting the rich culture and resources we have at our fingertips.

Among the many highlights of our first Eat, Play, Live: A look at a fun ’50s eatery in downtown State College, a real insider’s look at the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg and a glimpse at a piece of history with Philipsburg’s historic Old Mud Church.

The guide is designed to be a yearlong resource to help you plan your dining, recreation and life in Centre County. We also have the content on our website,, and I encourage you to check it out and let us know what you think.

These stories and profiles are unique to us and come together to connect us as a community. As I read them, I look forward to making more memories at some of my favorite spots, as well as experiencing the new adventures we have ahead.

I hope you will feel the same. Through this process we learned a lot about Centre County. No doubt with a community this strong, we will have many more great stories to tell!

Janet Santostefano is president and publisher of the Centre Daily Times.