Editor’s note: This story is part of the Road Trips special section.
There are certain key phrases that form the backbone of their respective industries, be that food service, professional wrestling or the local barbershop.
As the executive director of Centre County Historical Society, Mary Sorensen hears certain things a lot.
The words “I’ve driven by but I’ve never been inside,” are sort of the “just take a little off the top” of the heritage industry, usually uttered by a random passer-by who just happened to be cruising past the Centre Furnace Mansion at any given moment of the day.
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I think that a lot of us, me included, who maybe haven’t been to every one of these sites will find it as a road map.
Sorensen can sympathize. There’s no shortage of historical sites around Centre County — and not even she has been to them all.
That deficit could wind up being addressed through the Centre County Explorers program, a CCHS initiative that will pair adventurous locals with an itinerary of historical hotspots spread throughout the community.
“I think that a lot of us, me included, who maybe haven’t been to every one of these sites will find it as a road map,” Sorensen said.
Another apt description would be “passport.” Interested parties can pick one up free of charge at the Centre Furnace Mansion.
It gives you a challenge. It encourages people to get out on the weekend.
The memento in the making will help explorers keep track of all of the places they’ll visit courtesy of a stamp that can be applied at participating locations.
“It will have a little space for journaling so that people can write their notes down about the places they’ve been,” Sorensen said.
She’s hopeful that the project, while simple, will encourage people to become better acquainted with their own backyards.
“It gives you a challenge. It encourages people to get out on the weekend,” Sorensen said.