A long standing bucket list item, my friend Kate and I vowed we were finally going to make the four hour trek from Washington, DC to Punxsutawney, Pa. to see Phil's forecast with 10,000 of our closest friends. To-date it is the most bizarre, but fun, 16-hour trip I've had yet.
Travel Tip: Plan Early!
Compulsive over planner could be my middle name. So naturally, I started planning for our 2016 Groundhog Day adventure in October 2015. I thought, four months, plenty of time—WRONG. Apparently Groundhog Day is a very big deal in Punxsutawney and every hotel within 20 miles (which is like ten total) was booked. Our closest option was a hotel 30 minutes south in Indiana, Pa. There were a few cute bed and breakfast options in Punxsutawney, but many are booked a year in advance, so make those reservation early.
8 Hours Round Trip
Kate and I opted to instead drive overnight, leaving DC at 10 p.m., wait for Phil's prognostication at 7:30 a.m. and then head the 200 miles south to DC the same day. It's a loonngg drive, and some of the back roads we took were straight out of a horror movie. But we made it—ready to celebrate in the weather capital of the world!
Parking is available at the Wal-Mart on Route 119 south of Punxsutawney. From there we hopped on a bus ($5/per person) and made our way to Gobbler's Knob.
22 Degrees and Ready to Party
Gobbler's Knob opens at 3:00 a.m. and when we got there at 3:30 it was packed! It's definitely a party atmosphere and I was surprised at the amount of people there from far and wide, many dressed in their craziest Phil-themed attire. Clearly it's a popular bucket list item. We headed straight for the hot chocolate stand and then the bonfire to warm up.
Just before sunrise there were fireworks that we thought reviled any we'd seen on 4th of July. It was almost time for Phil!