Traveling Quilter: Needles Quilt Shop in Wellsboro, PA  (May 2012)

By Penny Schmitt

I like to enjoy my quilt shops with a side order of charm. Needles Quilt Shop, at 73 Main Street in Wellsboro, PA, is surrounded by small-town delights that include a venerable hotel with dining, a traditional diner that serves field-hand sized breakfasts, antique shops, a stained glass studio, a book shop well-stocked with used and new books, and Dunham’s Department Store, which has been owned by the same family for more than 100 years. A row of perpetually-lit gaslights marches down a grassy mall in the center of town.

Gaslights burn night & day                          Old-fashioned diner

Wynken, Blynken & Nod” statue in the center square

Needles offers a profusion of lovely batiks and a great collection of 19th Century reproduction fabrics and Thimbleberries prints. Whether you prefer to do contemporary designs or Civil-War-style quilts, this shop will likely have your hearts’ desire. The proprietors, Katie Mader and Mary Ginn, have been enjoying their business for about a decade. The day I visited, I found all the batiks on sale at a 25% reduction in honor of Kentucky Derby Week. The sale corner included some super Christmas-theme fabric bargains too.

Needles at 73 Main Street                                            Stained Glass studio offerings

If you are visiting the Allegheny Mountain area of Pennsylvania, Wellsboro is a very civilized place to stop and shop or enjoy a meal.

But wild lands are nearby!

The surrounding mountains and state forests offer twisty roads and wild scenery as aceciting as anything in West Virginia. Old Bull State Park features an avenue of massive, ancient fir trees that will make you feel awed and small. Along the way, I was lucky enough to see a mama groundhog shepherd her three fat babies across the road and back into the ferny woods.  But nature here also means GEOLOGY. The latest in energy production is already in evidence, as huge trucks laden with pipe and other hydrofracture (commonly called ‘fracking’) equipment thundered down the roads and through the main intersection of town. The charm of natural gas lights is also a sign of furious new development that may bring prosperity and low-cost energy, but carries the threat of various kinds of despoliation along with it.

Catch this little town before the boom gets too much further along!

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