Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Park The Car - The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle State Park

I love destinations where upon arrival a car is not needed until time to leave, where plentiful activities are within walking distance. Such is the case at The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle State Park. Located in rural Pennsylvania between State College and Lock Haven, my wife and I recently enjoyed a beautiful autumn weekend here with a group of friends.

The Nature Inn enjoys the distinction of being the only lodging facility located within a Pennsylvania state park.

The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle State Park

Situated in a mountain valley and near a fresh water lake, the Inn offers spectacular views.

Nature Inn - View from porch

Foster Joseph Sayers Lake

Visitors are within walking distance of a beach, although during this crisp October morning, nobody was daring enough to embrace the cold water!

Brrr. No beach goers in late October.

Besides swimming and sunbathing, the park also offers fishing, organized nature activities, bird-watching, boating (several launch areas and permanent docks), miles of marked hiking trails, and an abundance of well-maintained rest rooms conveniently located throughout.

A delicious hot breakfast is included with lodging at the Nature Inn. During our stay we feasted on scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, sausages, oatmeal, french toast, and potatoes. Healthy choices include a yummy yogurt parfait, fresh fruit, cold cereal, and OJ. Of course, coffee and tea are also available.

Lunch and dinner are not served at the Inn, but guests are welcome to bring their own food and have free use of the outdoor grilling facilities.

Grilling facility and outdoor picnic area

My friends and I grilled steaks, baked potatoes, and carried in salads and snacks. The Nature Inn also offers boxed meals, but they need to be ordered ahead of time. A great value, I could barely finish my scrumptious ham and cheese ciabatta sandwich. Another option, a local restaurant delivers pizza and subs.

The Nature Inn has been awarded the prestigious LEED gold certification for energy conservation. Their website provides an impressive list detailing many ways the facility is green. Some of the attributes not listed that I noticed in our room are automatic shutoff of room lights, a digital display of energy use detailing the carbon footprint during our stay, bulk liquid body wash and shampoo in shower dispensers (prevents waste from unused soap bars and shampoo bottles), and my favorite: toilet paper rolls without a center cardboard spool.

LEED Gold Certification
The sun sets early during October, so our outdoor activities were curtailed after dark. No problem. We made use of the second floor meeting room   actually a library with an impressive collection of field guides   to play cards and board games. Boring, you think? After a long day enjoying crisp, fresh air, I was eager for sedate activities.

Are there bald eagles in Bald Eagle State Park? You bet. This year while hiking I only caught a glimpse of one as it flew by overhead. During a visit last year, I spent a long time observing a nesting eagle through binoculars in a tree on the opposite shore of the lake.

Interested in visiting? I highly recommend you give it a try, especially if you enjoy nature and peaceful solitude. You'll find a friendly, courteous staff who are eager to please and comfortable surroundings. You can find all of the details at their website:

Park the car. You won't need it.