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Destination: Friend of The Purple Heart Highway
Toll Free: (866) 767-1990The Iroquois called it the Karondinah Path. When stage coaches rode its length, it was known as Penn's Creek Path. In modern times, it became PA State Route 45. Then, in 1994, this 100-mile route through central Pennsylvania's Huntington, Centre, Union, Northumberland, and Montour Counties was christened "The Purple Heart Highway" in recognition of its connection to military history.
The Purple Heart was first established by General George Washington to honor soldiers wounded during the Revolutionary War. The Order of the Purple Heart for Military Merit is given to members of the military who either are wounded or killed in combat. It is believed that PA Route 45 received the special recognition due to the large number of Purple Heart recipients who were from that highway corridor. Other strong connections can be found in Boalsburg, a community off of PA Route 45. Boalsburg is home to the Pennsylvania Military Museum and was the first place where the graves of soldiers were decorated as an organized activity -- the birthplace of Memorial Day.
Linking beautiful Spruce Creek to historic Mooresburg, the PA Route 45 corridor is rich in history, geology, agricultural traditions, and recreational opportunities. Marvelous limestone caves are located here: the Lincoln, Indian, and Woodward Caverns as well as the water-traversed Penn's Cave. Both Amish and modern farms are part of the beautiful scenery. The last remaining Tenting Grange Fair is here in Centre Hall, while the latest farming techniques draw large crowds to Ag Progress Days in Rock Springs.
Fly fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, skiing, boating, and camping are all abundant in opportunity here. Perhaps you would rather hunt the distinctive, antique, and handmade? Many communities along the Purple Heart Highway offer gift, antique, and craft shops as well as auctions and festivals. You can also visit the military museums, statues, and shrines along the route. Rustic lodges, delightful bed and breakfasts, and historic inns await to rest your weary bones at the end of a busy day.
It can be said that PA Route 45 crosses through two worlds. Slow down and take time to enjoy the wonders of this multi-faceted corridor. You might just leave a piece of your heart along the Purple Heart Highway.
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