Bottoms up

Wine, beer and spirits are flowing in the State College, Pa., area, where groups will find places to grab a craft brew, taste some artisan whiskey and share a locally grown bottle of red or white.

The LEED Gold-certified distillery, Big Spring Spirits, makes whiskey, vodka, rum and gin, and offers private group tours that include a tasting of three spirits and a cocktail. Among the specialty drinks prepared here are pumpkin pie martinis and cinnamon whiskey ciders.  

Situated 10 minutes from State College in Centre Hall, Pa., is the Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery, a picturesque getaway where groups could book a tour and tastings. Nittany Mountain Red and Lion Country Blush are two varietals on the impressive wine list.

Visitors are encouraged to bring food to enjoy with wine at picnic tables near the pond, and events are accommodated (based on availability) in the on-site Vintner’s Loft, a private room with pond and vineyard views.

Wine-loving groups could also swing by Seven Mountains Wine Cellars, a local favorite in nearby Spring Mills, Pa.

“Visiting the winery is a relaxing experience, often with live music, and beautiful wooded views and plenty of space to mingle,” said Shirley Smith, director of sales for the Central Pennsylvania CVB.

Seven Mountains accommodates group tours, including tastings, wine pairings with food and an exploration of the wine cellar, as well as private events in its 2,000-square-foot lounge area.

At State College-based Otto’s Pub and Brewery, groups can order delicious burgers off a locally sourced menu that also includes everything from fish tacos to pasta dishes and pizza. Otto’s beers on tap include Red Mo American Red Ale and Slab Cabin India Pale Ale.

the Field Burger & Tap
The Field Burger & Tap

The Field Burger & Tap, located on-site at State College-based Toftrees Golf Resort, is another option for an amazing burger and cold beer.

The restaurant offers a warm ambience and a farm-to-table menu with items that include local bread, regional bacon and Amish cheeses, as well as a selection of Pennsylvania craft beers and decadent milkshakes made with Hershey’s ice cream.

Latest + Greatest

At press time, the new Boalsburg, Pa.-based Wyndham Garden State College was scheduled to open in September 2018. The hotel, which shares property with Mountain View Country Club, features an 18-hole golf course, 100 guest rooms, indoor and outdoor pools, and 10,700 square feet of event space with eight total meeting rooms that accommodate up to 350 conference or banquet guests.

The $7.5 million renovation of Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center was completed in September 2018 and is now open to the public. Shaver’s Creek offers experiences and programs to over 60,000 people annually. The center upgraded its visitor center, adding a landscaped terrace, outdoor teaching space and a new bookstore as part of the improvements.