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Want to Take a Day Trip this New Year? Here are 10 Places to Visit

Patch columnist Kathleeen Sauers spent 2011 traveling close to home. Here are 10 ideas for trips to take this year that are only a short drive away.

1. 

McConnells Mill State Park is only about an hour north of the Ross Township-West View area and is a great place to spend a day hiking, rock climbing, white-water rafting, having a picnic or just simply relaxing and enjoying nature. 'The World's Coolest Toy Store' is also a quick drive from the park.

2. 

Indiana County is home to nearly 300 Old Order Amish families — and their food and crafts.

3.

Cherry Springs State Park's relatively remote location on top of a 2,300-foot high mountain and surrounding undeveloped state forest lands mean it has incredibly dark skies. In particular, the park's coordinates at 41.6501 degrees north and 77.8164 degrees west provide a great view of the Milky Way Galaxy.

4. 

Designated as a National Historic Landmark town, Harmony recognizes and honors the Native American, Harmonist and Mennonite settlers of the area.

5. 

Author Dan Eldridge highlighted Millvale as a hidden Pittsburgh treasure worth visiting in his new Pittsburgh guidebook.

6.

Elk Scenic Drive in Benezette, PA is 127 miles away and comprises three state game lands and 23 state forests. It's one of the best places for elk spotting.

7. 

The wineries play host to thousands of visitors every year who come to visit the beautiful area and enjoy Lake Erie, but the weekend of the wine fest draws visitors from all over the country and Canada.

8. 

The Nature Inn, which is about 35 minutes from State College, is an incredibly beautiful lodge on a hillside overlooking the park's lake.

9. 

You can choose one of the three driving routes, which is what Patch columnist Kathleen Sauers did, or one longer trip. Each segment is about three hours, but the duration of the tour varies with how often you choose to stop.

10. 

More than 5,000 first-class relics are at the North Side chapel.

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