Everything starts with an idea right? Well I had been blessed with a Road Trip in 2017 where I drove up from Florida, into the East, up into the Midwest and back. It was life changing, and I knew that I had the travel bug, or as my Uncle Curt would say “Wanderlust is strong with this one” meaning me. So when I planned a bigger, longer road trip for 2018, I wanted to plan as much as possible, while still leaving in the dreaming and surprises. One of the stops that I have had on my bucket list for quite some time, was meeting the Groundhog, Phil himself, and getting to see where they host the ever famous “Groundhogs Day” Celebration. So hop in my car with me, there’s room for one more, don’t mind the fast food wrappers and red vines, and let’s head to Punxsutawney.
The day was July 31st, 2018..so about 18 months ago from this post being written. I had just been to the 9/11 area the day before, so I had driven about 3-4 hours to get to Punxsutawney to check-in around lunch. A beautiful hotel, I quickly grabbed the stuff I needed and headed up to the Park (It’s up on a large hill). The Park? Gobblers Knob, which seriously is the best name of a Park by far! I was so geeked out of my mind rolling up to the sign, I couldn’t contain my happiness.
It was a warm day in July, I honestly didn’t expect to see much of anyone or anything because it wasn’t the Season for it. I thought I’d grab some pics, go find lunch, and then chill at my Hotel. But what I found after I drove in a bit farther, was a Man who was greeting myself and others who came in after me, as an almost Council man type figure for the groundhog himself. He brought us all up to the stage where they have the ceremony, and right away I could feel the fun energy in this place. He told us the story of how Phil drinks a special “elixir” every couple of years, which makes him live forever. I loved this part of the story, because it just added that something magical for especially children to believe in. They said that the stump they remove him from for the big reveal moment, at first, Phil had learned to burrow into the ground underneath it and they panicked trying to find him one year. So they had to build a bottom into it, and I believe they said it is heated. They only put him in a couple of hours before the reveal, and then whisk him away right after the celebration. The Council of Men who take care of him and this sacred place are not only very serious about their furry friend, but passionate about the celebration. Honestly it was refreshing to hear someone so love their hobby and somewhat job without sarcasm, just pure joy.
He took my picture on stage, and by Phil’s reveal spot, and told us more about Bill Murray and how he came out one year to watch the Festival quietly in the background so that he wasn’t recognized. It was the year before the movie was made, so he was researching for the part. Also fun fact, the home that is the Bed and Breakfast that you repeatedly see in the movie is in Woodstock, Illinois, where a lot of the movie was filmed. I was surprised at how small this area was, for when you see it on TV, I thought it was a baseball stadium sized area, and it’s more like a public park area.
He handed out coins, stickers, bookmarks, buttons and a brochure about Phil. The coin was my favorite and I put it in a special place in my car that day, and it’s still there today! It’s just one of those things that’s just really cool to look at and remember what a cool day that was. After, I headed into town to have lunch at the infamous “Punxy Phils” which is your normal diner, but while there, you must partake in all that is Phil.
After I had a delicious Chef Salad, I headed downtown to find the furry guy myself. He is kept in the towns library, in a very nice, large habitat. He wasn’t up for autographs or pictures that day, so honestly I probably saw Phil’s butt. Meh, it’s something. I asked him to turn around but he wasn’t having it.
So after meeting Phil’s butt, I headed into the town more, and it’s about the size of every little town you can think of. It’s Main Street had the typical bank, gas station, and McDonalds. Yes, Phil likes his burgers, I can only assume. They had one tiny little gift shop dedicated to Phil, and it was donned with all sorts of Groundhog merch. I bought a magnet because that’s all I felt I wanted there. And that was basically it for my day. The rain started up and I just hunkered down in my hotel room with my laptop and Netflix and streamed the rest of the day while grazing on red vines.
Is it worth it? Heck yeah! It’s cool to see it without the stampede of people there for the Celebration, but I heard its an amazing party if you can make it for the actual day. I also loved being in shorts and not freezing my arse off for it, so you know, you do what you want to do. I hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane with me today, as it is GROUNDHOGS DAY today and he DID NOT see his shadow….early Spring y’all. Yeah it doesn’t affect me in Florida but YAY for everyone else! On a side note, I now know how to spell Punxsutawney over and over again.
Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!