The Underground Railroad: Untold Stories, Personal Accounts

MLK Weekend

January 12 - 15, 2024

Please join us in hearing the lesser known, often repressed, accounts of The Underground Railroad and beyond.

Historians and local voices share personal accounts, stories passed down, and historical truths.

Be connected in acknowledgement of the history of Black Valley and The Underground Railroad.

Distinguished Voices + Leaders

Garnell Washington

Harris Connections

Dr. Garnell Washington’s is a member of one of the original Black families who have been in living in this county continuously for over 150 years. After high school, he lived and taught in many parts of the United States. He returned to the area 5 years ago. Two years ago, he co-founded Harris Connections, a think tank that has developed new approaches to helping organizations and individuals practice strategies for improving communication across difference. He has been instrumental in defining and supporting research on the “hidden history” of race in this part of the state. He is deeply committed to developing ways to facilitate conversations for change.


Harriett Gaston

Harriett Gaston is employed at Penn State Altoona as a Division of Undergraduate Studies Adviser.  A native of Charlotte, NC, she has lived in Altoona for thirty-three years. Harriett’s research of local African American history is built upon the gathering of stories, photos, newspaper articles, and books shared with her by the local African American community and their extended families, local historical organizations, other community historians, and access to PSU's library resources. Harriett has presented widely in the region. In October 2023, Harriett was a panelist for the Pennsylvania Historical Association’s annual conference and presented on the topic of the Underground Railroad in Blair County.

Dr. Washington and Ms. Gaston will lead two interactive sessions about the racial history of this region as well as join in less formal conversations over the weekend.  

Session 1 - Exploring Bedford County’s Hidden History
This session will introduce you to the county, and its long history of Black settlement. This is a history of real people and real lives and often goes unexplored.  Harriet, GE, and several local historians  will discuss their methods and their findings in this important and ongoing work.

Session 2 - Crossing the Mason Dixon Line
How and where did Black individuals and families come into the county? How was the Underground Railroad woven into the history of this county, which is bordered by the Mason Dixon line?  What tools do we have for understanding the many stories about Black life, Black movement, both the violence and the ways Black families are very much a part of this rural community? 

Weekend Events

3PM Arrival/Check-In
Social Hour + Dinner

Continental Breakfast
Property History Hike
Exploring Bedford County’s Hidden History
Crossing the Mason Dixon Line
Social Hour + Dinner
Campfire Conversations

Continental Breakfast
Flow Yoga
Conversations: Community Speakers, Q&A
Social Hour + Dinner

Continental Breakfast
Farewell Discussion, Q&A

All-Inclusive MLK Weekend

$300 Per Person, 3 Nights

Rates include 3-nights accommodations, all discussions, all experiences, all meals, and all beverages.


MLK Weekend Guests Also Enjoy All River Mountain Amenities, Including:

Free, Unlimited Access to our Hot Springs Soaking Tubs
Private Campfires + S’mores
Free Sunset Happy Hour 5-6PM
Morning Coffee + Tea by the Fireplace in our 1807 Old Log Cabin
Access to 1.5 Miles of Hiking Trails on Property


Glamping Pod Features

Modern Design to Align with the Body's Circadian Rhythm
Standard Glamping Pod - Sleeps 1 Guest
Expansive Windows
Natural Light
Nestled in the Peace of Black Valley
Epic Mountain Views of Warrior Ridge
Bedding, Linens + Towels
Located in Shared Cabin
Shared Bathrooms
Filtered Water
Fiber WiFi Internet

Glamping Yurt Features

Two Queen Beds
Picturesque Views of Tussey Mountain
Exterior Door Opens to Meadow Views
Electricity + Heated
Bedding, Linens + Towels
Indoor, Private Full Bathrooms with Shower Nearby
Filtered Water Nearby
Fiber WiFi Internet
Fridge + Microwave Nearby

For reservations or general questions

Give us a call

+1 (814) 259-6580

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