It was exciting to read my colleague Marjie Stromberg's first person account about Black Friday shopping in last Saturday's Sentinel. She traveled to a number of stores in the Juniata Valley and interviewed a variety of shoppers seeking bargains on Black Friday.
What I found to be exciting - and pleasantly surprising - was her report about a group of people who traveled from Lock Haven to the area just to shop at the small stores in Big Valley.
I, too, am a big fan of those small stores and others like them around Mifflin and Juniata counties, but that is not the reason I was so interested in that group of people.
Jane Cannon Mort
What got my interest was that a group of people from out of the area found out about the little shops that are among the Juniata Valley's gems, and cared enough about them to travel here on what's probably the busiest shopping day of the year.
Gems like these are the area's best kept secrets.
The notion of best kept secrets is stuck in my mind these days because the newsroom staff is beginning to work on stories and photos for the 2011 edition of the Juniata Valley magazine. The theme we developed weeks ago is - you guessed it - "Best Kept Secrets of the Juniata Valley."
We're seeking out the area's little publicized, but interesting and/or unusual places, people, events and sites that maybe not too many people know about, but are dear to the hearts of the people who do.
I've known since my college days many, many years ago that the area is full of best kept secrets. My college friends were from all over the country, and mostly urban areas- Washington, D.C., Long Island, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis. They liked to visit because this area was so very different from their home towns.
My favorite place to take my friends was the top of Belleville mountain, where you can see for miles and miles in two different valleys.
Scenic views like that will be a part of the Juniata Valley edition, along with stories about people, places, events and organizations that make the area special and unique, but may not be too well known.
While we have developed an interesting list of stories for our readers to enjoy, I'm interested in what you think are the area's best kept secrets.
Please send me your own version (and photos, too) of the Juniata Valley's best kept secrets for possible publication in our special edition. The deadline is Dec. 31. Send your ideas to: Jane Cannon Mort, The Sentinel, P.O. Box 588, Lewistown, PA 17044, or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane Cannon Mort is The Sentinel's lifestyles and special projects editor.