State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Yes! It's Finally Spring Break!

by on March 10, 2015 6:30 AM

We've given back that extra hour we stole from October and are ready to move right into some fantastic 40-degree weather!

Why, in less than two weeks it WILL BE spring.

In fact, I'll bet you're not even here in Happy Valley right now.

You're probably reading this on your phone while soaking up some rays in a warmer climate by the pool. Or beach. Somewhere in Florida. Panama City. Daytona. Lauderdale. Clearwater. Or maybe, the house the mouse built – Orlando.

Orlando, that would be perfect. Well, let's say you ARE in Orlando. Warmth. Casual day every day. Beaches an hour east, more beaches an hour west. Water, water everywhere. Life is wonderful and the living is easy.

So easy you've probably had the "thought." You know, the "I could live here" thought. Sure all that sun and warm weather can be hypnotic – especially when you just escaped a month where a double digit temperature reading meant a heat wave.

Well, my friend, you know what they say – don't judge a book by its cover. Or in this case an idyllic family vacation spot by its postcard image. As a former Orlando resident, let me take you inside that book (and show you the writing on the back of that picture perfect postcard). I'll help you work up a serious yearning for your Pennsylvania home.

Since it felt to me that the high temperature in Happy Valley during February was 24 degrees, herewith are my 24 reasons that Happy Valley has it all over Orlando.

1) No overusing your golf clubs. You get a solid four months every year to clean, shine and re-grip your clubs without having to worry about your buddy bugging you to get in nine after work.

2) Full skiing opportunities – water in summer, snow in winter.

3) Getting plenty of exercise and supporting the state with your gas taxes by going from grocery store to distributor to state store whenever you have guests over to your place.

4) Knowing that when you flush your toilet all the bad water is going someplace other than your front yard.

5) Never having to worry about whether or not it makes sense to add a pool, sauna and screened enclosure to your back yard.

6) Actually using your home's heat pump for its intended purpose – heat.

7) Knowing that as bad as a freezing cold leather seat is, a searing hot leather seat on bare skin is much worse.

8) Shopping for a new car is simplified – all the nice basic brands are represented. No exotic car names such as Acura, Lexus and Infiniti to confuse your decision-making.

9) Having a lawn that represents real horticulture. You (or someone) put down dirt, planted seeds, watered, tended and grew grass. You didn't lay down tiles of nice-looking weeds as if it were faux wood-flooring.

10) Getting that free day off work every year when you have to give up your car to get it inspected.

11) Having true-to-life amusement parks that require a "trip" to get there and close six months a year to give their employees some time off – Del Grosso's, Knoebel's, & Hersheypark. No antiseptic fantasy theme parks open 365 days-a-year on the other side of town where all the employees are on a first-name basis.

12) Easily hiding winter weight gain with pants, sweatshirts and coats.

13) Shoveling snow is a great character builder for your kids. Or a great alternate exercise excuse for not jogging.

14) Having the third-largest public transportation system in the state and not needing to be in Orlando to ride in Orlando buses – you can ride them right here in Happy Valley.

15) Having historic buildings which have been around long enough to have a history. Not something built in 1970. You know people with fruitcakes and doghouses older than that.

16) Showing your state and local pride by giving up a nice chunk of your hard-earned payroll dollars and paying not only state income taxes, but (you homer you!) local income taxes as well!

17) Walking into any grocery store in Happy Valley and buying gnocchi.

18) Keeping the hot-water pipes in your house clean by constantly turning them on and running them while you wait for the water to get hot.

19) Having all bugs bug-sized. You know, smaller than a quarter.

20) Not needing to keep an extra refrigerator/freezer in your garage for overflow food and drink. Six months out of the year your entire garage is a refrigerator/freezer.

21) Having real trees. Real trees don't stay green all year-round.

22) Hiking that involves real hiking - going up and down. If the tallest hike you have is a highway overpass it's not hiking.

23) Getting to experience the full range of fabric and fill choices in clothing. Especially wool, flannel, denim, fleece and down.

24) Oh, and did I mention the lack of humidity in Happy Valley?


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John Hook is the president of The Hook Group, a local management consulting firm, and active in several nonprofit organizations. Previously John spent 25 years in executive, management and marketing positions with regional and national firms. John lives in Ferguson Township with his wife Jackie and their two children.
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Warmer Weather Finally Arrives, Could Have Positive Psychological Effects
March 10, 2015 6:15 AM
by Michael Martin Garrett
Warmer Weather Finally Arrives, Could Have Positive Psychological Effects
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