The Penns Valley area stretches across the southeastern edge of Centre County. It is a mixture of forests, miles of Amish farmland, as well as, small towns including: Centre Hall, Millheim, and Aaronsburg. Penns Valley has the best of both worlds because it offers secluded rural villages and neighborhoods located just minutes from State College and all of the amenities State College and Penn State have to offer.
With a total population under 12,000, residents are free to explore open countryside and follow stretches of farmland down through the rural valley. There are over 300 miles of scenic trails in Bald Eagle State Forest to enjoy.
Centre Hall is small farming community and has just over 1,000 residents. Centre Hall’s claim to fame is the annual Grange Fair—an exuberant celebration of the area’s agricultural roots with rides, live entertainment, and exhibitions of local arts and crafts. During the fair, many families camp in tents that are passed from generation to generation, with the waiting list for new “tenters” growing every year!
Grange Fair is a great end of summer tradition for the Centre Region. Checkout our coverage of the the Centre County Grange Encampment & Fair
Millheim is located east of Bellefonte along Elk Creek, and is a known as the “Home of the Mills.” According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.3 square miles, all of it land. The town was named for having a millhouse situated along Elk Creek, the town still features the mill's raceway which flows through the downtown area. Millheim also boasts a weekly farmer's market that is stocked by local farmers in this quaint, rural community.
Aaronsburg was founded by Aaron Levy in 1786, and named for him, Aaronsburg is the first town in Pennsylvania (and probably in the United States) that was laid out by and named after a Jew. The town's orderly planned and aligned streets were designed that the town might one day be the county seat. This, however never occurred due to the lack of water. The current county seat is Bellefonte.
With a population of only approximately 500, Aaronsburg offers small-town living off the beaten path. However, in 1949, Aaronsburg became the center of attention when national and world leaders met there for a reenactment of the town's founding, as well as a day-long celebration of religious and racial tolerance. When the town was founded Aaron Levy presented the town's residents with a pewter communion set as a gift. This unusual gesture inspired many, and 50,000 people descended upon Aaronsburg to commemorate it.