I need to begin this post by saying that I was born and raised in Bellefonte and have lived in the Bellefonte area for all but about 1 1/2 years of my life. I guess you could say I'm a bit biased! I admit it! I'm a small town girl - always have been and always will be. I enjoy visiting the cities - Harrisburg, New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and beyond - but I always come home with the thought in my head of why I like to live in Bellefonte, Centre County.
A little geography lesson for those not familiar with Centre County, Pa. Bellefonte is the county seat - State College (about 15 minutes away) is the home of Penn State University so is by far the largest populated area in the county. Since the mid to late '80's new construction has been booming in the State College area. Now that buildable land is becoming more scarce, the constuction of highways to make commutes easier, and buildable land in the Bellefonte area is less expensive, we are finding developers setting their sights on the Bellefonte and surrounding areas for their new neighborhoods. I'm OK with that - not just because I'm in the real estate business - but also becaese I know what it means for the area. More homes, more communities, more families means an expanded tax base for the area. It means the things that are needed, i.e. bigger & better schools, parks and recreational facilities and municipal services, can be expanded and the cost spread out over more of us living in the area.
Back to Small Town Living - Even with all this growth and the struggles that take place with growth - Bellefonte is still maintaining is small town image! While we will soon have a much larger grocery store as Weis Markets is going to be building in a new location at the Rt. 220/Bellefonte Interchange, we also still have two home town pharmacies with the same family ownerships since I was a little girl - the one even still has the service bar which sells the actual "old time" fountain drinks and some of the elders of the area gather for a cup of coffee in the morning.
Events which happen each year include: an Arts and Craft's Fair every August. Not one of those fairs or festivals that have grown so large you can't walk without bumping into someone or their carriage every two steps and items are so expensive that no one but the elite can afford to buy - this is one of those home town fairs where even the kids can go home with something for not much money out of their pocket! Each summer there are free concerts in Tallyrand Park overlooking Spring Creek. Visitors can feed the large fish or watch the ducks play!
Also in the summer is a great event called "The Last Cruise"! This began as a remembrance of one of those wierd traditions which began back in the 70's of teenagers and young 20's "lapping the block" around the downtown area in their cars. Long story short, it went on for years, as drivers got bolder began clogging up traffic and Bellefonte became know for it for miles around. As you can imagine the town council didn't appreciate being known for this kind of event so changes were made to traffic patterns - one way streets, ordinances put in place, etc. - so this could not occur. Over the years it was left in the memories - Well, as those teens and twenties got older and more mature they went about it a different way - It was made into an event to celebrate - so for 2-3 days over the summer, people come to town for an antique and old fashion car show, food, music entertainment, usually a sock hop of some kind and of course, lapping the block.
Bellefonte's most famous event, however, is Victorian Christmas. Bellefonte is home to many beautiful victorian homes located mostly in the Linn and Curtin streets area but you will also find some gorgeous Victorian and other vintage style homes on Allegheny, High, Bishop, and Howard streets just to name a few. Each December the entire town is decked out in Victorian type decorations, tours of homes are scheduled, musical concerts are given at the Court House and a Victorian Holiday Ball is thrown. This is just a snippet of the things that happen at such a special time of year.
However, the things that add the most to this small town living - is that when you walk down the street - most, if not all the time, people will look you in the eye and greet you with a "hello" whether they know you or not, traffic slows or stops to let pedestrians cross the street, and if you want to catch up on what's happening around town just take a trip to the grocery store! If you so desire, there is almost always someone you know in each and every aisle willing to stop and chat about what's up! Bellefonte even has a great movie theatre, the Garmen Theatre, which brings back memories so thick I need to wipe them from in front of my eyes! Yes, it shows popular movies of today and no, it's only one screen not those giant complexes you find today. But it's an old fashion theatre with the old seats, the ticket booth with the window in front with the round hole you talk through, and balconies we remember from when we were young.
As I stated earlier, this is just a snippet of what Bellefonte has to offer. In the future, I'll talk about our Train Station, and some of the historical signficant of Bellefonte - like how there are seven governors (5 Pennsylvania and 2 other states) who are all from Bellefonte....... Hope you come to see us soon and, of course, if you have any real estate or other topic questions, you can always give me a call!