If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to spend the night at the historic Penn Wells Hotel in Wellsboro, you’re in the right place!
I had a chance to stay there in October while photographing fall foliage at nearby Leonard Harrison State Park (AKA the PA Grand Canyon), and I’d like to share with you some of my photos and experiences from that visit.
I’ll also briefly touch on the history of this fabulous old hotel, because for me that was one of the primary motivations for staying there.
History of the Penn Wells Hotel
Originally opened in 1870, the Penn Wells Hotel has been welcoming visitors to Tioga County for more than 150 years.
The first hotel visitors were involved primarily in the lumber and coal industries which thrived in the area in the late 1800s.
Tourism later became the prime motivation for people to visit the hotel, as Wellsboro rebranded itself as “The Gateway to the PA Grand Canyon.”
Refurbished in 1926 (at the height of the “Roaring Twenties”), the historic façade features Art Moderne-style architecture, a close relative to the Art Deco style of architecture that swept through the nation in the 1920s and 1930s.
The high ceilings, mahogany woodwork, and beautiful tile work throughout the hotel give the place a timeless, classic feel.
Famous former guests include actress Joan Crawford and actor/comedian Groucho Marx.
The lobby of the hotel doubles as a sort of mini-museum, with glass display cases featuring memorabilia from both the hotel and the PA Grand Canyon.
A one-of-a-kind “glass ball flag” hanging on another wall in the lobby was designed and constructed by employees of the Wellsboro Division of the Corning Glass Works in 1946, to honor its returning World War II veterans.
Everywhere you turn at the Penn Wells Hotel, inside and out, you’re remined of the historic lineage of the property, which to me personally makes staying there far more attractive than staying at a “modern” hotel.
Accommodations at the Penn Wells Hotel
So aside from the fact that the Penn Wells Hotel has a great vintage vibe to it, is it actually a nice place to stay?
Yes it is!
I stayed in a King suite on a weeknight in October and paid $183.20 for the night, that’s including all taxes and fees.
In addition to the large, comfortable bed and a great view of Main Street, the bedroom had a nice-sized desk to work at and a television.
The adjacent sitting room had a sofa, recliner, a second television, and its own bathroom.
The master bath had the same vintage tile theme you see throughout the rest of the hotel.
The shower had plenty of hot water and good pressure (not always the case in “vintage” hotels).
The free/included breakfast buffet is served in the hotel’s dining room, where the walls are covered in old photos and paintings documenting the history of the hotel and Wellsboro in general.
The breakfast presentation itself was rather elegant, a welcome change from the bagged/prepackaged breakfasts at many “modern” hotels I’ve stayed at recently.
There’s also a nice outdoor patio area for dinner and drinks in the warmer months.
The location of the Penn Wells Hotel couldn’t be more convenient – it’s literally in the heart of everything in Wellsboro.
Right next door to the hotel is the Arcadia Theatre, built in 1921 and the first small town theatre north of the Mason-Dixon Line to show “talking pictures” (1929).
The Wellsboro Diner, a fixture in town since 1939, it also right down the street.
The beautiful Tioga County Courthouse is located 2 blocks away from the hotel.
And The Green, a public park replete with statues and a fountain, is located across the street from the courthouse.
Final Thoughts on Staying at the Penn Wells Hotel
If you’re a nostalgia buff like me, looking for a comfortable place to stay while visiting the PA Grand Canyon region, the Penn Wells Hotel is the perfect destination!
With plenty of vintage charm combined with modern amenities (reliable Wi-Fi, free on-site parking, free breakfast), I felt like I got great “bang for my buck” staying here.
For more information on staying at the Penn Wells Hotel, visit their OFFICIAL WEBSITE.
The 10 Best Roadside Attractions Near Wellsboro shows you some more of the great spots to visit near the Penn Wells Hotel.
Exploring Leonard Harrison State Park in Tioga County is a guide to visiting the eastern rim of the PA Grand Canyon, closest to the Penn Wells Hotel.
Exploring Colton Point State Park in Tioga County is your guide to visiting the western rim of the PA Grand Canyon, opposite Leonard Harrison State Park.
Barbour Rock Overlook is a fantastic PA Grand Canyon vista, close to Colton Point State Park.
Bradley Wales Scenic View is an exceptional roadside vista on the west rim of the PA Grand Canyon.
Experience a PA Grand Canyon Winter Road Trip shows you what it’s like to visit the Wellsboro area when the snow starts to fly!
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