Best Buds: You loved the Pa. ‘Ice Cream Trail,’ now here’s the Pa. ‘Garden Trail’ | Thursday Morning Coffee

June 10, 2021 7:05 am

Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

In 2019, state tourism officials pretty much broke the Internet when they rolled out three — yes, three — state-sanctioned ice cream trails.

Now, with pandemic restrictions lifted, and the state’s masking requirement just weeks away from being rescinded, tourism officials are once again hoping to capture lightning in a bottle with three, newly unveiled “Garden Trails.”

The idea, is to plant the travel bug in restless Pennsylvanians who are itching for an excuse to get out of the house and back into nature.

“We designed our newest trail to highlight Pennsylvania’s impressive collection of gardens, from Philadelphia and beyond,” Carrie Fischer Lepore, the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Deputy Secretary of Marketing, Tourism & Film, said in a statement. “Gardening and caring for house plants have become popular pastimes over the course of the pandemic, and with some of the finest gardens in the country, this trail supports consumers’ ‘budding’ passions.”

Officials announced the new, 21-stop trail during the Philadelphia Flower Show. It includes a different itinerary for three of Pennsylvania’s regions: the Greater Philadelphia region, Central Pennsylvania, and Greater Pittsburgh.

Each trail includes some familiar stops such as Longwood Gardens, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and Hershey Gardens, as well as such “worthy detours” as the Penn State Creamery and Troegs Brewery.

Other stops along the trail include:

  • Bartram’s Gardens
  • Shofuso Japanese House and Garden 
  • Mount Assisi Gardens
  • The Allegheny Arboretum
  • From Slavery to Freedom Garden

“As excitement for travel continues to build, we know travelers are actively seeking unique outdoor activities. We wanted this road trip to capture the commonwealth’s greenery and blooming beauty while introducing new sights and unexpected treasures across the state,” Lepore said.

You can find a full itinerary for “Best Buds: A Garden Trail” here.

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller.)

Our Stuff.
With election reforms on the GOP’s radar, Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative Democrats are drawing a red line on voter ID and other proposed restrictions, Stephen Caruso reports.

Even though it’s facing a guaranteed gubernatorial veto, the Republican-controlled state House still passed a bill mandating the disposal of fetal remains at health facilities. Republicans say the burial or cremation, paid for by parents, provides an opportunity for healing in cases of abortion or the death of a fetus. Democrats say the bill would mandate how families mourn. Marley Parish has the story.

And fresh off a successful push to limit Gov. Tom Wolf’s emergency powers, the state Senate has approved legislation that would limit the powers of Pennsylvania’s health secretaryMarley Parish also reports. Wolf has promised to veto the bill.

Here’s what you need to know first: The Pa. Farm Show is returning in-person in 2022. Cassie Miller talks to Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding about that, and how the state’s biggest industry is rebounding from the pandemic.

The state House has advanced bills aimed at helping military families; stimulus funding for state veterans programs are still pending, Stephen Caruso reports.

Welcoming two new legislators Wednesday, the 50-member Pennsylvania Senate is back to full complementMarley Parish reports.

A $547 billion transportation bill authored by U.S. House Democrats includes funding for dozens of projects in PennsylvaniaCapital-Star Washington Reporter Laura Olson and I run down the details on the bridges, buses, bypasses, and other projects as earmarks make their return to D.C.

An activist from suburban Philadelphia and other local leaders appealed to Congress Wednesday to move faster on regulating the ‘forever chemicals’ in water known as PFASCapital-Star Washington Reporter Ariana FIgueroa writes.

Educator Jason Wingard has been named the first African-American president of Temple University, our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune report.

On our Commentary Page this morning: Tax avoidance strategies aren’t illegal. But are they unethical? A University of Nebraska/Omaha expert is just asking, y’know, for some billionaire friends. And rather than standing up to Donald Trump’s madness, GOP legislatures and governors fearful of angering him and his worshipful followers are dutifully making it harder to vote, columnist Bob Lewis, of our sibling site the Virginia Mercury, writes.

Image via Flickr Commons

“Dissidents” on the PSERS board are lobbying their colleagues to fire the retirement fund’s leaders and set a new investment strategy, the Inquirer reports.
The prominent Black attorney who was the subject of retaliatory action by Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala is demanding an apology from the Democratic prosecutor, the Tribune-Review reports.
PennLive’s John Baer has some thoughts on the push for an audit of Pennsylvania’s presidential election results (paywall).
Employees at Lancaster General Hospital are pushing back against a mandatory COVID vaccine policyLancasterOnline reports (paywall).
With pool openings on the line, Allentown is boosting its pay for lifeguards, the Morning Call reports.
Luzerne County is the in the market for an interim county manager, the Citizens’ Voice reports.
The York Daily Record has some tips if you’re having trouble with the state’s unemployment computer system (paywall).

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

Philadelphia will lift its indoor mask restrictions and 11 p.m last call starting Friday, WHYY-FM reports. takes a look at the push to tax digital advertising.
Roll Call explains how former President Donald Trump’s endorsements could shake up some key races for U.S. Senate — including Pennsylvania.

What Goes On.
The Senate comes in at 9 a.m.; the House comes in at 11 a.m. for an unusual Thursday session. The Joint State Government Commission meets via a Facebook live stream at 10 a.m.

Gov. Tom Wolf
 heads to Philadelphia for a 2:30 p.m. newser with allies and advocates, on the anti-abortion rights legislation that’s moved through the Legislature this week.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
Sen. Ryan Aument, R-Lancaster
, holds a 6 p.m. reception at the Mount Hope Estate & Winery in Manheim Township, Pa. Admission runs from a merely offensive $1,000, all the way up to a truly awful $25,000.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to longtime Friend O’The BlogMelissa Walters, of Philadelphia, who celebrates today. Congratulations and enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s an old favorite from Coldplay to ease you into the penultimate day of the working week. From 2011’s ‘Mylo Xyloto,’ it’s ‘Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.’

Thursday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link.
Ooof … well that’s gonna leave a mark. Baltimore got crushed, 14-1, by the Mets on Wednesday night.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.