Hoping to capitalize on the Pennsylvania roots of both President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, the Biden Trail was launched by the Pennsylvania Tourism Office in hopes of making the Keystone State a mecca for Biden fans. The Biden Trail is a self-guided tour that features 14 stops highlighting the first family’s ties to the Keystone State.
Carrie Lepore, Deputy Secretary of Marketing, Tourism, and Film in Pennsylvania’s tourism office, said the Biden Trail was the right move for the state’s tourism industry.
“President Biden has great pride in his Pennsylvanian roots; his first chapter was written here,” Lepore continued. “We are celebrating the birthplace of President Biden and the First Lady Jill Biden, who charted many of their achievements here.”
The stops include the president’s childhood home in Scranton’s Green Ridge neighborhood, where Biden spent his first 10 years. While the property isn’t open to the public and is privately owned, it shouldn’t prevent anyone from taking a picture.
In 2008, while campaigning for vice president, Biden wrote on his childhood bedroom wall, “I Am Home. Joe Biden, 2008.” Fast-forward to 2020, he left an optimistic message on the living room wall: “From this house to the White House with the Grace of God. Joe Biden – 11.3.2020.” This hopeful message became a reality once he was inaugurated in January.
Other stops in Scranton include Green Ridge Little League, Hank’s Hoagies, Manning’s Dairy Farm, and St. Paul’s Grade School & Church.
First Lady Jill Biden spent the first 20 plus years of her life in the Philadelphia suburban counties of Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery.
Rachel Riley, Senior Director of Communications for Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board, explains why the Biden Trail will bring more tourists to the state.
“Anytime there is the opportunity for visitors to explore the history, or even politics, in an area, that can draw visitation,” Riley added. “People want to know and see where those they follow, admire, or are interested in grew up, lived, worked, and went to school.”
Riley said that it’s too early for speculation on what the financial impact of the Biden Trail will involve.
“Unfortunately, I just think it’s too soon to tell the kind of impact this will have on our area,” Riley continued. “A lot may also depend on travel restrictions and guidelines.”
Jill Biden’s Pennsylvania story begins in the Delaware Valley, specifically in Willow Grove in Montgomery County. She attended Upper Moreland High School in the 1960s and was involved in many activities from the senior prom committee to cheerleading.
The tour also suggests visits to Villanova University, West Chester University, which are the first lady’s alma maters, and restaurants Parc & The Dandelion Rittenhouse.
The Biden family also has many ties to the University of Pennsylvania, a renowned institution to visit while following the Biden Trail. Their daughter Ashley Biden received her master’s degree in social policy and practice there in 2010 and most recently, granddaughter Naomi received her undergraduate degree in International Relations and Affairs in 2016.
Also, in the Delaware Valley, the tour suggests visiting Franklin Fountain, where the first lady enjoys eating ice cream, and Kelly Drive, one of her favorite running routes.
The Pennsylvania Tourism Office recommends all participate follow COVID-19 safety protocol and proper social distancing.