Pennsylvania - Abbey Travel, Ireland



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Welcome to Pennsylvania


One of the original 13 colonies to be settled in the United States, Pennsylvania was founded by an English Quaker, William Penn, in the 17th century: hence the name of the state which literally means Penn's Woods'. There are certainly woods in Pennsylvania (particularly in the Allegheny National Forest in the north), but also a great deal more besides in this diverse state, which spans more than 300 miles (483km) from Delaware Bay to the Great Lakes.

Above all else Pennsylvania is the most historically significant state in the nation, particularly its main population hub, the eastern seaboard city of Philadelphia, where America's founding fathers shaped the nation after Independence. The Liberty Bell seldom tolls today, but it draws millions of visitors annually to the city's Historic Independence National Park.

The other main metropolis is Pittsburgh on the western side of the state, where the smoke-belching steel mills of the early 20th century have given way to urban redevelopment highlighting the region's natural beauty.

In between its two major cities, Pennsylvania, bounded by six other states (New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia and Ohio), offers everything from honeymoon retreats, family style resorts, ski-lodges, an eclectic mix of architecture, scrumptious home-style fare, historic treasures, panoramic cityscapes, pastoral pleasure, artists' colonies and country inns. Whatever a visitor wants out of a sojourn in this state, he or she is bound to find. Even chocolate lovers will discover paradise here, for this is the location of Hershey, home of the world-famous Hershey Bar, which offers up its favourite Chocolate World attraction for the tasting.

State capital is the city of Harrisburg in the north, with its exceptionally handsome capitol building and impressive State Museum, covering Pennsylvania's 300-year history, and the National Civil War Museum which focuses on the human side of the conflict.

Information & Facts


Like all other US States lying in the continental zone, Pennsylvania's climate varies according to area and altitude, and though the state experiences the four seasons, each can vary in temperature depending on location. Summers, in general, tend to be long, hot and humid, particularly in the southeast. The mountainous areas are likely to be cooler and although humid, they are usually less so. Autumns are usually moderate and pleasant (a good time to travel to Pennsylvania), while winters are cold with snow, especially in the mountains. The area around Lake Erie usually experiences cooler temperatures, with the lake regulating the change of seasons. July tends to be the state's warmest month, and although temperatures can reach over 90°F (32°C) in the southeast and southwestern areas (near Pittsburgh), average temperatures are usually about 80°F (27°C). January is the coldest time of year, with temperatures dropping to about 23° F (-5°C). Tornadoes and floods can occur.

English is the most common language but Spanish is often spoken in south-western states.

The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.

GMT -5 (GMT -4 from March to November).
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