Lately the media focus has been on our charming neighboring town named by a Frenchman because of its pretty fountains (la belle fonte), which to this day, residents still get their water supply from those natural springs.
The trial that has captured the nation's attention is being held a mere 12 miles from State College, here in Bellefonte. I am originally from Lock Haven, and for over 35 years residing in State College, Bellefonte has been so much more than the courthouse that has been overexposed in recent weeks.
Over 40 years ago, when I had my first motorcycle and wanted to 'get lost' in my small town of Lock Haven, I hopped onto a road that I had no idea where it would end up (Jacksonville Rd), and about 30 minutes later, I discovered that it had taken me to Bellefonte.
In high school, after Lock Haven played Bellefonte in football, we would have a dance in whichever home team's gym and those were always a ton of fun. My wife, Katie, and I have had many date nights in Bellefonte, including movies at the Garman Opera House, dinners at the Gamble Mill and walks throughout Talleyrand Park.
Our older daughter, Marykate, attended dance classes from Joan Kennedy at the Kennedy Dance Center. Our younger daughter, Michaela, went to a pre-prom dinner at the Gamble Mill one year and both of them have more recently attended wedding receptions at the Gamble Mill as well.
As a family, we loved Sunday drives through Bellefonte, slowly passing several historic homes, many now renovated for Bed and Breakfasts, to admire their architecture and imagining their past residents. Another fun connection I feel I have to Bellefonte is that the headquarters of the American Philatelic Society (America's Stamp Club) is located in the old Match Factory in Bellefonte, and there are always events, expos, shows, and volunteer opportunities here for everyone from the hobby enthusiast to avid collectors.
Before Penn State and State College became the hubbub of Centre County, Bellefonte was the center of the action- it was the home to five of Pennsylvania's governors and features so many historical buildings and wonderful Victorian architecture.
On a more personal level, even though I feel that State College is a very friendly town, Bellefonte is so cordial to its community members and visitors alike. Just this past weekend, Bellefonte yet again, was the center of all the action, hosting its 24th annual Historic Bellefonte Cruise. There's nothing like the rush of seeing the pristinely kept old cars in a historic town that not only takes your breath away but almost takes you back in time.
Back before the circus of news vans, cameras and reporters saturated this Centre County community, at least in the background of their camera shots and coverage, Bellefonte's Victorian charm and warmth of the community shines through.