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North Hills Monthly

Beaver, PA Offers Visitors Unique Entertainment Year-round

Apr 30, 2015 02:42PM ● By North Hills Monthly magazine
By Valentine Brkich

Western Pennsylvania is fortunate to be dotted with dozens of charming small towns, each with its own unique history and character. High along a plateau overlooking the Ohio River, you’ll find the Borough of Beaver—a delightful hamlet that offers the perfect day-trip destination.

Founded in 1802 on the former site of Fort McIntosh, a Revolutionary War-era fort, Beaver is rich in character and heritage. Along its wide, tree-lined streets are homes in an array of architectural styles, including many from the Victorian period of the mid- to late-19th century. A large part of the town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Flat, spacious, and pedestrian-friendly, Beaver’s avenues offer the perfect place to run, bike or just take the dog for a walk. There are four parks, or ‘squares,’ on the corners of the town (three with playgrounds) and four more in the center of town, one of which is the site of the Beaver County Courthouse. Another park running a mile and a half along River Road offers striking vistas of the river below. 

“There’s a reason we call Beaver someplace special,” said Beaver Mayor Thomas Hamilton. “The people here are so friendly; the town itself is so beautiful. We’ve really got a little something for everyone.”

Third Street (Route 68) runs right through the center of town, and is a thriving business district that has become a popular dining and shopping destination in recent years. Visitors can start off with a delicious breakfast or baked goods at local favorites like Kretchmar’s Bakery, Cafe Kolache, and Waffles INCaffeinated, and after that, peruse the many quaint and unique shops and boutiques lining both sides of the street, like Castle Toys & Games, Split Personality Consignment, and Sapling & Sons-Snail Mail Supply Co., to name but a few. 

For lunch and dinner, Beaver has a number of delectable options like Biba Cocina, Yama, Mario’s Woodfire Pizzeria, Heirloom, BeauCo Bistro and more—just make sure to BYOB because Beaver’s a dry town. Then, after dinner, stop over at Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop or Sincerely Yogurt for a tasty treat.

Depending on what time of the year you visit, you can enjoy one of the many events and festivals that Beaver has to offer. For weekend treasure hunters, the Town Yard Sale (May 9) turns the entire town into one big yard sale. The Garrison Day Show and Sale (June 13), held in Beaver’s central squares, features hundreds of arts and crafts and antique vendors, as well food and entertainment, drawing more than 10,000 visitors annually.

During the summer, you can play at the town carnival (June 15-20), or if antique and vintage autos are your thing, you’ll be blown away by the Hot Summer Nights Car Cruise (August 1). One of Beaver’s more popular events, the annual Town Scavenger Hunt (August 15), is a fun way for families to race around town competing for prizes. Beaver County BookFest (Sept. 12), a brand-new event this year, will bring more than 50 local and national authors into town for a literary celebration.

With the arrival of fall, wine lovers can sample their favorite vintages at the Wine Festival (Sept. 19) along the town’s main street. October brings the Fall Festival (Oct. 3) and Halloween Hop and Parade (Oct. 24), and then of course there’s the annual Light-Up Festival (Nov. 27), where the entire main street is closed for a giant holiday celebration that ends with an amazing light show by Zambelli Fireworks. 

All year long you can also enjoy Beaver’s Third Thursdays events, where local shops stay open late and offer special sales and activities.

“There’s just so much to see and do here,” said Paula Johnston, head of the Beaver Area Chamber of Commerce and co-owner of Generations Photography and Gifts. “People are coming up to me all the time and telling me they never knew what a charming little town Beaver is. It’s really become a popular destination spot for people in the Greater Pittsburgh region.”

Just a short 40 minutes or so from the North Hills, Beaver’s definitely worth a visit this summer.

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Valentine J. Brkich is a freelance writer living in Beaver, PA. Visit him online at