Sen. Ted Cruz once declared him to be “hateful” and “angry,” but as Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims sees it, he’s only defending popular liberal values in a state where extreme gerrymandering – aided by some Democrats – has advantaged a minority of social conservatives.
In an interview with Insider, Sims said he also took it personally: Pennsylvania is the only state in the Northeast without a law expressly prohibiting employment and housing discrimination on the basis of someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation – and Sims, in 2012, became the state’s first openly gay lawmaker. (There are now three.)
“There is no question that there are a number of issues for which I feel a degree of righteous indignation,” Sims, who represents Center City in Philadelphia, said over the phone. “But my job is to pursue policies and make changes in all the ways that I know how to do it.”
That has at times caused this firebrand Democrat to go viral. In 2019, he livestreamed a confrontation with an anti-abortion activist in his district. “Who would have thought that an old white lady would be out in front of a Planned Parenthood telling people what’s right for their bodies?” he said.
That earned him both national attention and the ire of people like Cruz, the Republican senator from Texas. Pennsylvania’s GOP wanted him criminally charged with harassment.
There’s no love lost.
During a floor debate in Harrisburg earlier in June, Sims went off on the Republican caucus, which was pushing through a bill that would require hospitals to provide for the burial or cremation of fetal remains; critics saw it as a soft way of pushing an anti-abortion-rights agenda. Several Democratic women rebuked the measure and detailed their own experiences with lost pregnancies.
When it was Sims’ turn to speak, he described the GOP agenda as “grossly, predictably misogynistic” – a natural consequence, he argued, of a party whose lawmakers were disproportionately men and “100% white.” Republican leaders cut his mic while the rank-and-file jeered, which prompted a kicker from Sims: “Your boos mean nothing to me. I’ve seen what you cheer for.”
Sims is a lawyer by training. Before entering politics, he served as a staff attorney with the Philadelphia Bar Association. Before that, he played football. In 2002, his Bloomsburg University team, of which he was the captain, made it to the Division II national-championship game. Sims came out as gay immediately after. Fewer than two dozen football players at the college or professional level have come out – this week, Carl Nassib, a Las Vegas Raiders defensive end, became the latest to do so.
Sims never really wanted to become a politician. “This is not the fulfillment of a lifelong dream,” he said, adding that running in 2012 “was a very utilitarian act.” States’ legislative efforts to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people had typically been led by openly LGBTQ members – and there were still none of those in Pennsylvania.
In an often parochial city where coming from the suburbs can be a political liability, he unseated a 28-year incumbent, winning the Democratic primary by a couple of hundred votes. He now has his eyes on the lieutenant governor’s office, being vacated by John Fetterman, another outspoken progressive who has showcased how the office can be used as a platform for espousing center-left rhetoric on everything from LGBTQ rights to cannabis.
That’s part of the attraction, Sims said. Democrats have rarely controlled the state’s legislative chambers, but they fare better in statewide contests. “Pennsylvanians do not believe in this extreme, radical approach of divisive Republican politics,” he argued, pointing to the state GOP’s focus on the culture war – lately, fears about transgender athletes participating in high-school sports. Most of the party also sought to block the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.
His pitch is also that, as a legislator, he can help what he hopes will be the state’s next Democratic governor work with Republicans on issues like funding education and reducing the cost of healthcare.
Would that entail toning down his attacks on the GOP? Not a chance. “I am authentic about what I support and why I support it,” he said. “And Pennsylvanians need to know about the bad actors in our government and how it’s impacting them.”
And Sims is no fan of a tendency in politics to look at two sides of an argument and decide that the truth lies somewhere in the middle, between the two “extremes.”
“That sort of performative, fake-ass bullshit,” he said, “of treating all of this stuff as if it’s just two sides of one coin and not attaching the real serious values, ethics, and morals to it that it’s due? That’s not my game. And it’s never going to be.”
A Pennsylvania Democrat had his speech cut short on Wednesday after he noted the state’s Republican lawmakers are “100% white.”
The heated moment came during a debate over a Republican proposal to regulate the disposal of fetal remains, one that Democratic lawmakers argued would force women to bury or cremate a miscarried fetus. As USA Today reported, a number of Democratic women spoke against the measure – which Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has promised to veto – by highlighting their own traumatic experiences with miscarriages.
Rep. Brian Sims, a Democrat from Philadelphia, lamented the fact his colleagues were forced to share such testimony in the state’s Republican-controlled House.
“This is just another act in a political theater that has plagued this chamber for far too long,” Sims said. “We are a legislature that has met more to remove mask mandates, strip executive emergency powers, and overturn free and fair elections than we have to make strategic investments in Pennsylvania’s women, children, and families.”
Sims punctuated his remarks with an attack on his Republican colleagues and the demographic makeup of their caucus. The bill, he argued, was just another line item in “a grossly, predictably misogynistic agenda – an agenda pursued by a party that is 100% white, in a chamber that is 70% male.”
House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler, a Republican, then cut Sims’ microphone. “That’s enough,” he said amid booing from other GOP lawmakers.
Sims was unrepentant.
“Your boos mean nothing to me,” he said. “I’ve seen what you cheer for.”
All eyes were on Pennsylvania following the 2020 presidential election. In the days, weeks, and months that followed, the battleground state witnessed a riveting post-election day percentage shift from Trump to Biden, several Trump-sponsored accusations of fraud, and a series of rejected legal attempts by the then-president and his allies to overturn the results.
But after two months of election pandemonium in the keystone state, a group of GOP senators staged a final attempt to undermine President Joe Biden’s win, according to The Washington Post.
In late December, Republican senators in the state legislature targeted officials in at least three conservative-leaning counties asking if they would agree to an unofficial, voluntary audit of their ballots, the outlet reported.
Though previously unreported, the lawmakers’ post-election efforts to sow doubt about the 2020 election results and curry favor with former President Donald Trump set a precedent for the expanding list of places across the country looking to conduct similar reviews of the election that refuses to die.
Trump loyalists are clamoring for opportunities to find evidence that could prove Trump’s relentless conspiracy theories. But experts and institutions have found no evidence of any widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.
The Post’s reporting on the Pennsylvania Republicans’ methods comes as the state’s GOP fields growing calls to greenlight an Arizona-style election audit of its own. Last week, a three-person delegation from Pennsylvania met with fellow Republicans and ballot counters in Maricopa County, where Biden beat Trump by more than 45,000 votes and where a GOP-backed audit has been ongoing since March.
Sen. Doug Mastriano, who developed a close relationship with Trump following the election, helped spearhead the county audit attempts in Pennsylvania last year and reportedly told Trump at a meeting last month that he could bring about an audit in his state moving forward. Mastriano was also one of the lawmakers who toured the Phoenix site last week and called for a similar recount after his visit.
Mastriano did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.
Of the three counties that Pennsylvania Republicans targeted last winter, Trump won all with ease. According to The Post, the lawmakers proposed to have a private company review the counties’ ballots for free – an unusual act not part of official election challenge processes.
Fulton County, a rural area on the border of Maryland, is the only county known to have accepted the senators’ offer, The Post reported. On December 31, Wake TSI, a company initially involved in the Arizona recount as well, recounted about 1,000 mail-in ballots and examined county voting machines, according to the outlet.
The company, which was contracted to a nonprofit run by ex-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, declared the election had been “well run” and conducted in “a diligent and effective manner” in a February draft report reviewed by The Post.
But the final version of the report that ended up on the county’s website was revised.
“This does not indicate that there were no issues with the election, just that they were not the fault of the County Election Commission or County Election Director,” it added to its assessment.
County officials did not respond to The Post’s questions about who made the last-minute revision.
As Trump continues to spread lies about the 2020 election, he has zeroed in on Pennsylvania once again, joining the crowd of those calling for a state audit.
“The people of Pennsylvania and America deserve to know the truth,” Trump said in a statement. “If the Pennsylvania Senate leadership doesn’t act, there is no way they will ever get re-elected!
Former President Donald Trump recently met with one of the Pennsylvania lawmakers seeking an Arizona-style ballot recount in his state, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Trump hosted Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano at Trump Tower in New York City, where they discussed launching a 2020 election audit in Pennsylvania, which Biden won, The Post reported. The newspaper did not specify when exactly the meeting took place.
The Arizona audit, which commissioned in April by the state’s GOP-controlled Senate, has been mired in controversy.
Observers from the office of Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said the audit was being conducted in a shambolic fashion, with auditors searching for evidence on the basis of conspiracy theories, and no rigorous processes in place to ensure the integrity of the audit.
Hobbs has warned that the audit could be used as a model to undermine election results in other states.
Maricopa County election officials have described the process as a “sham” and a “con,” and called on the state GOP lawmakers who commissioned the process to halt it. Republicans in Arizona say the audit is necessary to ensure the integrity of future elections.
Defenders of Trump’s election-fraud claim have nonetheless seized on the audit in their bid to have Trump declared the true winner in 2020, with Trump supporters calling for recounts and audits to be conducted in other states Trump lost in 2020 in his defeat to President Joe Biden.
According to The Post, Trump is fixated with the belief that the reviews of ballots his supporters are pushing for could prove that he was the true victor of the 2020 election, and even herald his return to the White House this year.
A Pennsylvania lawmaker who spent thousands of dollars to bus protesters to the US Capitol on January 6 will be in Arizona this week to tour the site of a GOP-backed “audit” of the 2020 election.
State Sen. Doug Mastriano is part of a three-person “delegation” from Pennsylvania that will be meeting with fellow Republicans and those counting ballots in Maricopa County, which President Joe Biden won by more than 45,000 votes, a victory certified by local GOP elections officials who oppose the current audit.
As WHYY reported, Mastriano spent more than $3,300 in campaign funds to charter buses from Pennsylvania to Washington, DC, on the day of the insurrection at the US Capitol. Recently uncovered video shows Mastriano, a potential candidate for governor who has boasted of support from the former president, “breaching a police barricade” and walking on the lawn outside the building, according to Pennsylvania Spotlight.
Mastriano’s visit was announced by the official Twitter account of the “Maricopa Arizona Audit,” which was commissioned by Arizona Republicans in the state Senate and is being conducted by a private firm, Cyber Ninjas, whose founder last fall shared pro-Trump conspiracy theories about election fraud. The visit will include a tour and getting “a brief from the forensic audit team,” according to the account.
The lawmaker will be accompanied by two other Pennsylvania Republicans: state Sen. Cris Dush and state Rep. Rob Kauffman. All three signed letters in January asking Congress to not certify Pennsylvania’s election results.
The lawmakers’ visit comes after the US Department of Justice expressed “concerns” that the partisan audit may be in breach of federal law. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, also recently urged local officials not to reuse any election equipment that has been in the hands of Cyber Ninjas, saying the integrity of the machines has been compromised – advice echoed by the US Department of Homeland Security.
A California judge will decide whether two complaints filed against Tesla will be combined into a single lawsuit, as plaintiffs across the US pursue a class action over Solar Roof price hikes.
Eight Tesla customers this week filed a complaint in US District Court in the Northern District of California, alleging the company violated California law by increasing the price after they’d signed contracts.
Tesla did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Judge Lucy H. Koh will decide whether to combine the two cases, according to a court order filed this week after the second California lawsuit.
That order was to be expected, since the cases were similar, said Brian Fitzpatrick, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School and author of “The Conservative Case for Class Actions.” Otherwise, he added, “multiple judges could end up reinventing wheels in similar cases.”
He said he expected the cases to be consolidated, after which there would be a “rigorous” process of discovery. Only then would a judge decide whether the case fits the requirements for class-action status.
“I doubt these cases will get to that point for at least another year,” Fitzpatrick said after reviewing the most recent filings.
The two California complaints came after a similar complaint was filed by a couple in New Hope, Pennsylvania. They said their contract had been increased to $78,352.66 from the original $46,084.80. Each of the three complaints sought class-action status.
The Pennsylvania couple’s attorney, Peter Muhic, of LeVan Muhic Stapleton, is also co-counsel on the new filing in California.
“We seek nationwide relief,” he said via email, noting that the suits included plaintiffs from California, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
In the newest complaint, the homeowners said Tesla raised the prices of their contracts – most by more than 50% – after they’d been signed. Tesla also told customers they would “risk losing their place in line” for an installation they didn’t “pay promptly,” according to the complaint.
One of the plaintiffs, Mattias Astrom, placed an original order in 2017 for a Solar Roof for his home in Lexington, Massachusetts. The complaint said he paid a $1,000 deposit, then waited three years for an installation. He cancelled the order in December 2020 without getting the roof.
Astrom entered a new order in January 2021, with a $100 deposit against a full price of $150,013, according to the complaint. In April 2021, he received an email from Tesla saying his price had been increased 52% to $228,008.
In Fullerton, California, Sol Kim signed a contract for a $39,658.44 project in February 2021. He refinanced his mortgage to fund the project. In April 2021, Kim got an email saying the price had increased to $52,337.30.
The Tesla project manager working with Kim told him that it “was a company-wide update to the pricing structure,” according to the complaint.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk in April addressed customer concerns, saying: “We did find that we basically made some significant mistakes in assessment of difficulty of certain roofs.”
In the complaint filed on Tuesday, the plaintiffs said the company used several methods to determine their roofs’ complexity during the ordering process.
The customers first plugged information about their homes into a Tesla website, then Tesla used a combination of aerial photos and on-site visits to identify “anomalies or unique shapes.” After that, the contract would be drawn up and signed, according to the complaint.
In Roslyn Heights, New York, Anupama Vivek paid a $1,000 deposit for a Solar Roof in April 2020.
In March 2021, Tesla notified Vivek that there would be a new $4,214 charge for roof preparation and pre-construction costs, bringing her total contract to $58,805.48, according to the complaint.
Less than a month later, the company increased the price to $77,333.03, according to the court filing.
The complaint said the company “knowingly marketed, advertised, and promised to provide and install its Solar Roof systems at prices that the company knew it would not honor and on delivery dates the company knew it could not meet.”
More than half a year after Philip Dahlin and Mary Arndtsen signed a contract with Tesla to install a Solar Roof on their home in New Hope, Pennsylvania, the couple received a message from the company.
Tesla said their price would now be $78,352.66, up from the $46,084.80 price they’d agreed upon.
“Our budget was based on the contract that we had, so it was not something that we had prepared for,” Dahlin told Insider this week via phone.
Dahlin and Arndsten in late April filed a lawsuit against Tesla in US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The suit said the tech giant was in breach of its contract. It also said the company violated consumer protection acts covering home improvement and trade practices.
An article in the Uniform Commercial Code allows buyers and sellers to modify agreements after they’re signed, said D. A. Jeremy Telman, a contracts professor at Oklahoma City University School of Law, after reviewing the Pennsylvania complaint and a lightly redacted Tesla contract.
“However, both parties must consent to the changes. That seems here not to have been the case,” Telman said.
Tesla was issued a summons on May 3, according to the Pennsylvania court. The company had not filed a response as of Saturday afternoon. An email from Insider wasn’t returned.
Elon Musk, chief executive, addressed customer concerns during the company’s Q1 earnings call in late April, saying, “We did find that we basically made some significant mistakes in assessment of difficulty of certain roofs.”
The lawsuit seeks class-action status
The Pennsylvania couple’s complaint said it would seek class-action status.
Their attorney, Peter Muhic, of LeVan Muhic Stapleton, said he’d heard from “numerous” homeowners in situations similar to Dahlin and Arndtsen. He declined to give a specific number.
“They advertise a very unique product that they claim is much better than other competing products,” Muhic told Insider on Thursday. “And we believe that they need to honor their contracts, and they have to perform as they had promised and agreed.”
Muhic would have to file a motion to have the case formally certified as a class action. The complaint said there are more than 100 potential class members who had signed contracts totalling more than $5 million.
A copy of a Tesla Solar Roof contact filed alongside the complaint included an arbitration agreement between the parties. That clause could be a roadblock for the case to gain class-action status, said Gregory Klass, associate dean and professor at Georgetown University Law Center.
“Tesla’s arbitration clause almost certainly forestalls this class action under current Supreme Court precedent,” he said on Friday, citing a 2011 case, AT&T v. Concepcion.
In the legal complaint, Muhic wrote that the arbitration clause would be struck down as invalid under Pennsylvania law, in part because of the way it had been formatted on the page. He wrote that the clause also “does not contain a separate line for each party to indicate assent.”
Connecticut homeowners say Tesla also raised their price
In Weston, Connecticut, Jay and Robin Fortin signed a contract in January to install a Solar Roof on their 1955 colonial home. They agreed on a price of about $62,000 in their contract, Jay Fortin told Insider on Friday. His wife signed the contract.
When a tech came to study their home, the price jumped up about $6,600, because Tesla would have to change the type of wood beneath their shingles, he said. Then, in April, the couple received a message from Tesla, letting them know the price had gone up to about $91,000.
“I’m not going to pay the new price,” Fortin said on Friday. “We can’t. The whole thing made sense for us because we needed a new roof anyway, and we wanted backup power.”
He later added: “I wish we hadn’t gotten involved with the whole thing, tell you the truth.”
Fortin said he reached out to Muhic after learning of the complaint. Fortin hasn’t taken legal action, but said he’d consider joining a class-action lawsuit.
In Pennsylvania, Dahlin signed the contract with Tesla for a total price of $46,919.20 on September 17, 2020, according to a copy filed with the court. The couple paid a $100 deposit. After subtracting the deposit and an energy rebate, they would owe $46,084.80 after the installation, according to the contract.
The couple refinanced their home, where they’ve lived since 2006, to pay for the project. The contract said the roof would be installed within 180 days.
“We were pretty excited about the prospects,” said Dahlin, who works in sustainability. “Also, just generating our own energy to charge the Tesla we already had, the car.”
During the following 180 days, the couple heard little from Tesla.
On March 24, the couple received an email from Tesla, saying: “We have increased the price of Solar Roof and have added adjustments for individual roof complexity.”
On April 23, they learned that the price had been increased to $78,352.66, according to their complaint.
Said Dahlin, “And then when we did get the email, it was a significant disappointment, obviously.”
“I encourage Pennsylvanians to take the critical steps needed to put this pandemic behind us by getting vaccinated, follow through with both doses if you receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, and continue to take steps like masking, frequent hand washing and sanitizing and social distancing,” Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam said in the statement.
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Pennsylvania is within easy driving distance of a large section of the East Coast and the Midwest.
From cities like Philadelphia to outdoorsy areas like the Poconos, there’s something for everyone.
We found the best Airbnbs in Pennsylvania in popular areas across the state at a range of prices.
Though vaccination rates continue to go up, travelers are still gravitating towards drivable destinations and avoiding packed flights. Pennsylvania is a Mid-Atlantic state within driving distance of a large swath of the East Coast and the Midwest, so its appeal is clear.
Home to big cities, majestic mountains, and a Great Lake, this diverse state appeals to a wide range of traveler interests. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were both signed in Philadelphia, one of the country’s most historic cities. Though its visually dynamic, cutting-edge mural art scene assures visitors that it’s anything but stuck in the past. On the opposite spectrum, the green hills of the Poconos are a year-round playground offering a peaceful respite from urban living. Meanwhile, Lancaster is famous for its large Amish and Mennonite population, but it’s also home to an incredibly rich and varied ethnic food scene.
As a native New Yorker, I’ve been lucky enough to have explored this state since childhood, and I continue to do so whenever possible. From history to nature, I’ve never been disappointed. If a trip to the Keystone State sounds appealing, the Airbnb options are as varied as the state’s offerings.
Browse all of the best Pennsylvania Airbnbs below, or jump to a specific area:
West Philly is a welcoming, walkable neighborhood. Trees, parks, and private houses with front porches ooze leafy charm. It’s an easy walk to University City, home to the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel, and just a quick trolley ride to Center City.
Dappled in sunlight, this south-facing apartment is in an eight-unit building. Notable features include funky brick walls, original exposed beams, and white oak floors. The loft-style living room/kitchen presents an imaginative table carved from a single piece of wood, its rich grain clarified by the light hitting it from the two tall windows. Contemporary furniture in solid colors, such as a charcoal-colored couch and mandarin-hued side chairs, are offset by a bold striped area rug. The kitchen’s granite countertops, new appliances, and utensils provide everything you need to prepare meals.
Be aware that the bathroom sink is unusually located just outside of the pocket door that opens to the toilet and shower. Similarly, the shower has a playful indoor window that looks into the bedroom, so make sure you’re comfortable with any travel companions.
East Kensington is an up-and-coming stretch sandwiched between Kensington and Fishtown. It’s a quick ride on the elevated Market-Frankford line SEPTA train to the center of Philly. With so many galleries, expect an artsy vibe. Coffee drinkers, there are enough espresso bars to keep you well caffeinated.
This design-forward house looks deceiving ordinary on the outside, but inside, the ambiance is modern with fashionable touches of antiques, including an 18th-century bookshelf and a 17th-century pine dresser. This layering of old-world with new fits in just right with the overall neighborhood vibe.
The living room’s original brick wall is accented with light wood panels and a freeform wooden coffee table sits in front of a handsome, heathery gray tufted sofa, accented with colorful geometric pillows and original local artwork. The welcoming kitchen boasts concrete countertops, a skylight for a boost of brightness, comfortable wooden stools, and useful handmade pottery. A plus for light sleepers, the minimalist bedroom faces a peaceful backyard.
Manayunk is known as one of Philly’s most happening neighborhoods, with breweries, hip dining spots, and owner-operated boutiques. It’s a good choice if you want to get a feel for living like a local that’s a speedy bus or train ride to the city center.
Situated on a quiet street, this 1,400 square-foot converted textile mill is a striking example of industrial design. Much of the original infrastructure, such as crude brickwork, quirky columns, and large beams, have been retained, creating a historic backdrop for updated amenities.
This third-floor walkup boasts 15-foot ceilings and oversized windows that stream in natural light, illuminating the open floor plan. The furnishings are modern and subdued, with a pale blue sofa adding a soft blush of color in the living area. The separate bedroom includes a King-size bed with a metal headboard adding character, plus an additional Queen bed on the other side of the loft. A fully-equipped kitchen with new appliances ties it all together nicely.
This converted gas station is a must for architecture buffs. Located in a vibrant neighborhood handy to bars, restaurants, and art galleries, it enjoys a fenced-in patio with an outdoor fireplace and a loft garden, presenting a wealth of private outdoor space in an urban zone. There’s also a dedicated parking space, a rarity so close to downtown.
Staying in a re-purposed building is an experiential way to contemplate Pittsburgh’s industrial legacy. The design maintains the foundational integrity while embracing a modern aesthetic. High ceilings with exposed beams give it an airy feel. Furnishings such as a swivel chair upholstered in an abstract paisley print, a contemporary starburst chandelier, and new stainless-steel kitchen appliances have been chosen with an eye towards functional beauty.
Climb the metal ladder to the sleeping loft with its snug double bed, but don’t forget to pack slippers, as the metal can feel cold on bare feet. The floors are concrete and the commercial glass doors have been left intact in a preservationist nod to the building’s past. If the weather is fine, open the glass doors and let the breeze in.
For a unique stay, try this vintage 1972 Nautline houseboat moored in the Alleghany River just 10 miles from Pittsburgh. Spend the morning exploring aquatic options as you paddle the complimentary rental kayak or canoe to pristine Plum Island before you head into the city for an afternoon of sightseeing.
While compact, the houseboat is efficiently laid out. Simple yet stylish, rattan chairs and an open-weave throw blanket in soft grey are part of a mostly neutral color scheme, though colorful accessories such as a lemon-yellow bedspread and floral-patterned drapes add punch. The small kitchen is well-equipped, with side-by-side sinks and ample counter space. Watch the sunset from the open-air deck while you sit on the padded outdoor loveseat with footstool.
Although it’s moored, the boat may sway when there’s wake from passing boats, something to keep in mind if you suffer from motion sickness.
Lawrenceville is one of Pittsburgh’s trendiest neighborhoods, anchored by Butler Street’s smart shopping and dining. It’s easy to explore on foot or hop on the local bike share and it’s right near the hip Strip District and Highland Park.
If you crave space, this contemporary, zero-energy, vertically-oriented house offers over 3,000 square feet spread across four levels, each with a bathroom, connected by an ambitious floating staircase made of reclaimed wood. The heart of the house is the third-floor living-dining space, where the open floor plan, soaring 20-foot ceilings, skylight, and wall of double-height windows makes it feel even bigger. With so many lush plants hanging from the wood beams, you may think you’re inside a greenhouse.
The top level’s Master bedroom has an en suite bathroom with dual showerheads and up-to-date bath fixtures, plus two terraces surrounded by vegetation. Modern paintings, spare white rugs, and crisp bed linens add minimalist finesse. A Chef’s kitchen, dining space with a picnic-style table, plus a covered outdoor deck with custom rails and teakwood floors, are ready for guests to enjoy.
All this space, plus a gym and a sauna, make it a good choice for a group.
This two-story home enjoys an advantageous position a short drive from Presque Isle State Park with its wealth of recreational opportunities.
Decorated with low-key comfort in mind, this spotless townhouse offers great space for a family or group. Present-day comforts, like a memory foam mattress with cooling gel and ample charging stations for your electronics, co-exist alongside a vintage radio and a throwback collection of jigsaw puzzles and board games.
The living room’s furniture is sensible, with two blue couches, a mustard-yellow armchair chair, useful side tables, and a circular coffee table. A collection of decorative textiles in primary colors, large potted plants, and a woven rattan ottoman add simple appeal.
The bathroom’s brick-size white tiles add zing to the simple shower-tub combo, where you’ll find an array of organic shampoos and body wash. White cabinets and black-and-white checkerboard tiles in the kitchen look fresh next to the stainless-steel appliances.
This home is in a quiet residential zone only two miles from downtown, with easy access to local attractions.
The recently updated interior features simple tones, like a couch and cozy chairs in shades of light khaki, beige, and brown, with wood floors, an area rug, decorative plants, and lap blankets pulling it together harmoniously.
The kitchen is up-to-date with modern appliances, wood cabinets, and a handy breakfast nook. The Master bedroom’s 21st century-take on a four-poster bed is pleasingly sleek, accented with a blue and white comforter, industrial-style reading lamps, and walls painted a shade of pale green.
With a second bedroom, a sprawling lawn, and a two-car garage, it’s sizeable enough for a small family. Fast Wi-Fi, a flat-screen Smart TV, and a full-size washer-dryer are nice perks for anyone considering longer stays.
For visitors who want to experience Lancaster’s urban flavor, this downtown apartment sits above a retail clothing boutique two blocks from the bustling Central Market and three blocks from the convention center. It’s just steps from restaurants, bars, and art galleries, making it ideal for car-free explorations.
The apartment is in a 148-year-old building that was once a Victorian merchant’s home. The owners have meticulously renovated the space with attention to preserving veteran details. Original pumpkin pine floors, doors made of solid American chestnut, antique doorknobs, and Art Deco light fixtures recall a bygone era. But poured concrete countertops, air conditioning, and Wi-Fi ensure plenty of modern touches.
The living room’s south-facing bay windows bathe the midcentury furnishings in natural light and keep the and scores of houseplants vibrant. A few Victorian-era pieces, like a coat stand and a side chair with a delicately carved inlay, are thoughtfully integrated. The theme continues into the bathroom, where you’ll find subway tiles, a 1950s porcelain sink and tub, and the antiquated remains of what was once a viable hot water radiator system. The Watercolors painted by Pennsylvania-based artists throughout the home add a nice local touch.
This repurposed barn in a suburban Lancaster neighborhood retains rustic allure combined with recreational amenities like a hot tub and a seasonal heated outdoor lap pool shared with another rental unit onsite.
The upstairs living space has vaulted ceilings, workhorse brown leather couches, braided wool rugs, and both a pool and ping-pong table for family-friendly fun. The color palette is muted, with the exception of the bright red pool table top and beanbag chair that looks stolen from the set of “That 70s Show.”
A charming Dutch barn door leads to the bedroom and the bathroom features an oversized shower accented with white and forest green tiles, with a door that conveniently leads to the four-person hot tub right outside. Creature comforts include zoned heat, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth stereo system, and air conditioning.
Enjoy agrarian rhythms only three miles from the town of Lancaster on this 20-acre family farm. Guests are invited to visit with the Angus cows, goats, baby doll sheep, and rabbits. Or, relax by the creek before wandering the winding footpaths that crisscross the farmstead.
Tucked away in a wooded corner, this rustic cottage has whitewashed wood ceilings, light wood floors, and touches of wicker bric-a-brac. The front door opens into the living-kitchen space, where an electric fireplace warms things up. The beige sofa is strewn with navy and white throw pillows and knit blankets for extra coziness. The eat-in kitchen has a country-chic look, with a retro enamel sink and a butcher block table, while a pearl-encrusted chandelier hanging over the circular dining table adds dazzle.
An ornately carved headboard, rich tapestry rug, and a marble-topped night table add elegance to the bedrooms. To top it all off, French doors off the kitchen open to a large back deck with Adirondack chairs, a firepit, a gas grill, and an outdoor dining table.
This snug, Cape Cod-style home is nestled between two farms and across from a creek, offering a pastoral atmosphere just minutes from the battlefields. Watch the sheep graze and listen to the birdsong as you relax in the shady hammock or on the patio.
The living room is small but welcoming with an over-stuffed cream couch, matching loveseat, and throw blankets to snuggle under while you watch the Roku television. Liberal splashes of green and blue hues, including the kitchen cabinets, tiles, coffee table, and decorative accessories, are a colorful yet soothing touch.
The renovated galley kitchen is a cheerful place to prepare meals to eat on the old-fashioned oval wood dining table with white trim and matching chairs. The Master bedroom, with a Queen-bed and walk-in closet, has low ceilings, so tall people will need to watch their heads.
As an added bonus for anyone traveling with young kids, there’s a cute play nook adorned with hanging lantern lights and filled with toys, games, and puzzles.
A dignified home walking distance from the battlefields
Step back in time in this handsomely restored Queen Anne Revival-style charmer, with a circular turret and a deep front porch complete with rocking chairs. The location can’t be beat, along the parade route that Lincoln himself took in 1863 when he delivered his famed Gettysburg Address. It’s right near the battlefields, shops, and restaurants, and with four bedrooms and three full bathrooms, there’s room for a large family without feeling cramped.
The stately parlor features a sofa, loveseat, and armchair upholstered in a matching floral print. A fireplace, chandelier, and a gilded mirror add to the courtly look and the original staircase and inlaid woodwork are in pristine condition. There’s a separate dining room with a dark wood table and eight chairs, making it just right for big family meals. The kitchen has an additional dining table, or you can always opt to eat and hang out around the picnic table in the private back garden.
This octagonal-shaped, customized Topsider Home’s floor-to-ceiling windows offer sweeping views of the woods. It’s in an upscale private community with a lake for catch-and-release fishing, swimming, and boating, plus swimming pools and tennis courts. The property is also equipped with mountain bikes for guests to use.
The interior of this unique home is as daring as the geometric shape and dashing red exterior. Its centerpiece is a beautiful spiral staircase with ribbon-striped steps in whimsical candy colors. Meanwhile, the living area’s Popsicle-orange swivel chairs and globe-shaped lamp in flame red are futuristic enough for a spaceship. There’s a telescope to allow for a good look at all the birds and wildlife. The three bedrooms, all with Queen-size beds, have exposed beams and accents of brightly-colored textiles.
The expansive wrap-around deck takes indoor-outdoor living up a notch with a hammock, picnic table, cafe table for two, and a gas grill.
Sleep in a lofty abode nestled between towering maple trees when you book this magical treehouse. At 30 feet above the forest floor, you’ll be in an elevated position to enjoy the splendorous sight of the mountains in this Western portion of the Poconos.
It’s off-the-grid but there are plenty of simple frills including a wood-burning stove, a lithium battery generator to charge electronic devices, a composting toilet, and a hot-water shower. Leather recliners, floors made of reclaimed wood from a 159-year-old farmhouse, a Queen-size bed with a cozy quilt, and an old-fashioned rocking chair add country charm. The kitchenette is compact yet fully stocked, or you can cook outdoors on the grill. A wrap-around deck with ample seating offers a bird’s-eye view of the mountains, or relax in the twin hammocks and survey your two private acres.
If you’re looking for a luxurious mountain escape, this aesthetically pleasing home is the perfect place to disconnect from the hustle of urban life. There’s a large pair of antlers adorning the house’s exterior and a brass antler coat hanger, helping to explain why the owner’s call it the “Antler A-frame.” The interior is modern with a smattering of industrial design elements that epitomize simple elegance. The living room’s architecturally interesting wood-and-woven armchair is draped with a shearling lap blanket the color of fresh cream while the modular sectional sofa in charcoal is warmed-up with pretty pillows and soft throws. An abstract animal-skin area rug and a ceramic vase atop the 2-tiered glass-and-wood coffee table look just right.
The small but fully stocked kitchen features modern appliances and a coffee bar. There’s one main bedroom on the ground level, along with a second cozy lofted sleeping nook. Ample windows let in light and help give the entire space an uncluttered feel. Tech-savvy nods include a Sonos sound system and a projector with Apple TV.
Outside, stargaze or sunbathe as you soak in the hot tub, perhaps with a glass of wine in hand.
Big cities like Pittsburgh and Philly are year-round destinations, with museums, dining, and a robust schedule of cultural events to keep visitors busy during inclement weather.
The Poconos draws a crowd in winter for skiing, in summer for swimming in fresh-water lakes, and in autumn for leaf-peeping; spring is mud-season when prices are lowest and crowds thinnest.
Gettysburg’s historic battlefields are often snow-covered in winter; milder weather is conducive for walking the battlefields, though tourists do come all year.
Lancaster is always busy, though summer school holidays are particularly popular with families.
Erie, on the south shore of its namesake lake, can be frigid in winter, with lake effect snows and a fierce wind whipping off the lake. Summer is prime time to swim, surf, and kayak in Lake Erie.
How much does an Airbnb typically cost in Pennsylvania?
There are budget-friendly accommodations throughout the state, including a West Philly apartment from $86 per night and a spacious three-bedroom townhouse in Erie from $132 per night. On the higher end, an upscale tiny house with a hot tub in the Poconos starts at $311 per night and a huge four-story home in Pittsburgh starts at $496 per night.
Spring, known as mud season, is the time of year when you can probably score the best deal in more rural areas including the Poconos and Erie. Winter weather predominates much of the state from December-March, with lower prices except in areas that attract skiers.
What should I look for in an Airbnb?
We’ve selected properties with favorable recent guest reviews that participate in Airbnb’s Enhanced Clean program. Many are hosted by highly-rated Superhosts. Additionally, we’ve included homes with interesting or quirky design elements to add visual panache. Sought-after vacation amenities such as private decks and hot tubs are included in our list as well.
What is Airbnb’s cancellation policy?
The cancellation policy is set by the individual host, thus differing from home to home. Check the cancellation policy before booking.
How do I book a Pennsylvania home on Airbnb?
Search for homes based on location, your preferred dates, desired number of bedrooms or bathrooms, amenities, and more. For more information on how to book an Airbnb, click here.
Is it safe to stay in an Airbnb right now?
The vaccine rollout is underway, and the CDC has declared US travel safe for fully vaccinated indivduals.
Experts also consider renting an Airbnb to be one of the safer options, as you’ll be staying in a private accommodation without the potential risks associated with crowded hotel lobbies, elevators, and public dining spaces. Nevertheless, we recommend following CDC, WHO, and other reputable organizations’ safety guideline.
What is there to do in Pennsylvania?
With a wealth of historic attractions, from Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell to the Gettysburg battlefields, the state is a must-see for anyone who wants to dive into our nation’s past. Few cities can boast the historic attractions that Philadelphia does, but it’s no one-trick pony. A diverse food scene draws culinary tourists while culture vultures flock here to explore its cultural offerings.
Pittsburgh has shed its steel and coal roots in favor of a forward-thinking art scene, including a comprehensive museum that honor the legacy of hometown boy Andy Warhol.
If you crave bucolic countryside and verdant mountains, the Poconos enjoys an array of recreational opportunities and natural beauty in all seasons.
Amish Country holds special appeal for families in and around Lancaster. The Pennsylvania Dutch have been farming this area for hundreds of years, adhering to a yesteryear lifestyle that eschews modern conveniences. Visitors may see them riding in their traditional horse-drawn buggies, the women wearing simple bonnets, the men sporting broad-brimmed hats. Lancaster is also home to the oldest ongoing market in the country, a treat for culinary travelers who’d like to sample regional dishes such as scrapple and shoo-fly pie.
The bloody Battle of Gettysburg marked a turning point in the Civil War and visiting the battlefields at Gettysburg National Military Park allows a deep dive into this chapter of our nation’s history. Even young children should enjoy the many cannons and monuments while older children may want to join one of the many ghost tours that have become popular.
Erie sits on the shores of the Lake Erie and is Pennsylvania’s primary access point to the Great Lakes. Presque Isle State Park is one of the state’s top vacation spots, with miles of sandy beaches and waves that are sometimes big enough to surf.
District attorneys typically serve citizens by building legal cases against people accused of crimes, but one prosecutor in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, got demoted this week for serving residents food – as a DoorDash delivery driver.
Gregg Shore, who had been second-in-command at the Bucks County district attorney’s office, got caught driving for the food delivery service during hours he was supposed to be doing his job as a prosecutor, KYW Radio reported Thursday.
In 2019, Shore earned $125,435 – roughly $60 per hour – as first assistant district attorney, according to public records.
DoorDash CEO Tony Xu told The New York Times that delivery workers earned an average of just $17 per hour in 2018 – but the company doesn’t pay for the time workers spend waiting to claim orders, and some drivers say the base pay can be as little as $3 per hour.
Shore told KYW Radio that his reasons for working for DoorDash were personal and that he drove mostly at night.
“What he did was indefensible, thoughtless, selfish, and so stupid, it’s senseless,” Bucks County district attorney Matt Weintraub said in a press conference Thursday.
“I don’t know why he did this, only he has the answer, and I’ll admit to you that I’m very angry and I’m upset… this is the reason for his demotion,” he added.
Weintraub said Shore will be demoted to deputy district attorney, adding that while it would be “easier and politically expedient” to fire Shore, it “was not necessarily the right thing to do” given Shore’s otherwise positive track record.
Jennifer Schorn, who had been chief of the office’s trials and grand jury divisions, has been promoted to first assistant to fill Shore’s role, Weintraub said.
But delivery workers haven’t seen the same benefit, and have long complained about low pay, tough working conditions, and even wage theft – DoorDash paid $2.5 million to settle a lawsuit that accused the food delivery company of stealing drivers’ tips.