Finding Peace in Pennsylvania: 6 Mental Health Getaways
By Jennifer Scott
When I sense stress building and my patience wearing thin, I know it’s time to take a step back and tend to my mental wellness. While I’m a big proponent of mental health days, I think people do themselves a disservice by spending them indoors in front of the television. Since living in Pennsylvania situates us in some of the most beautiful parts of the country, why not take advantage of that fact and spend your next mental health day soaking up the state’s unique heritage? Here are six Pennsylvania sites that are perfect for your next mental health getaway.
Need to escape the demands of home and work for some relaxing alone time? Across the state, you’ll find peaceful retreats where you can let everyday worries wash away. When you want to rest, relax, and bask in the serenity of nature, reserve a stay at one of these tranquil locales.
The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle
Located in the heart of Bald Eagle State Park, this cozy bed-and-breakfast overlooks the 1,730-acre Foster Joseph Sayers Lake and offers convenient access to the Pennsylvania Wilds, a unique natural area where visitors will find plenty of bird-watching and stargazing to enjoy.
Himalayan Institute Retreat Center
People seeking spiritual guidance on their path to mental wellness can find inspiration at the Himalayan Institute Retreat Center. A stay at the center includes daily yoga classes, access to a meditation room and wellness center, and ample time to explore the 400-acre campus. For a more immersive experience, guests can sign up for a multiday wellness retreat.
Sometimes the best way to relax is by getting active. According to the American Psychological Association, exercise is effective at improving moods, reducing anxiety, and alleviating depression. If getting moving is your preferred stress-busting strategy, pay a visit to one of these sites the next time you feel anxiety mounting.
Presque Isle State Park
Pay a visit to the 9,910-square mile Lake Erie, and you’ll forget you’re in Pennsylvania. Rent a kayak at Presque Isle State Park and spend the day exploring lagoons, or take a bike ride along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail before resting up in one of Erie, Pennsylvania’s quaint bed-and-breakfasts.
The Ranch at Pocono Manor
If riding through a forested landscape on horseback is your idea of pure serenity, look no further than The Ranch at Pocono Manor. With rides that range from flat terrain suitable for beginners to hilly routes that meander past waterfalls, the ranch is perfect for a day trip to the Poconos.
When you’re mired in stress from the small details of life, like laundry piling up or a nosy coworker at the office, zooming out can be a great way to get some perspective. Pennsylvania is full of interesting historic sites where you can learn about American history dating back to the nation’s independence and forget about what’s weighing on your mind.
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Immerse yourself in the story of the Continental Army’s harrowing encampment at Valley Forge, where soldiers fought freezing temperatures and famine during the winter of 1777-78. After a tour, visitors can explore the nearly 20 miles of hiking trails and absorb the site’s history.
Eckley’s Miners Village
Learn about life in a 19th-century coal-patch town with a visit to Eckley’s Miners Village in Luzerne County. This historic site is located on the site of a former coal mining company town and features a museum, guided tours, and living-history reenactments.
These sites are some of my favorites, but they hardly encompass all the beauty that Pennsylvania has to offer. Take a look at this list for ideas you can try no matter where in the state you live, and share your own favorites with family, friends, and coworkers. You never know when someone you care about might be struggling, and your tips could make a difference.
Jennifer Scott shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at SpiritFinder. She runs SpiritFinder to provide information for people with mental illness.