PUNXSUTAWNEY AND THE TERRIBLE TROOTH
ABOUT THE FILMING OF GROUNDHOG DAY
OCTOBER 25, 2009
I've lived in southwestern Pennsylvania since 1974 and had, alas, yet to make a pilgrimage to Punxsutawney. After the 1993
movie Groundhog Day came out, I really wanted to go and see if I could track down the Bed & Breakfast used in the film
as well as see the town's plaza where Gobbler's Knob and the infamous groundhog live. So on this beautiful and last Sunday
of October, Carl, Joey, and I drove the 80 or so miles northeast, stopping by a lovely lake on the way (see Keystone Lake).
This was my first view of the town as you approach from the south on 119.
We stopped first and had lunch here as, well, it seemed the right kinda place to eat in Punxsutawney.
Inside on a counter was Phil, dressed for Halloween as Zorro...of course.
We parked on the back side of the town plaza and I stared at it, in all its lack of a bandstand and a knob and...wondered.
Then a woman came by, walking her two tiny dogs, and I asked her and she said, no, there was no bandstand like in the
movie and told us how to find Gobbler's Knob, which is a couple of miles out of town and NOT in the plaza at all...like
in the movie. She had no idea where the bed and breakfast might be. Sigh. I'll not, um, mention that Punxsutawney is
Delaware for "town of the sandflies"...no, I won't. I also won't mention how hard I had to work to learn to SPELL the
The plaza was pretty, though, and we walked around in it for a while.
Central groundhog of the plaza, carved from tree trunk.
Cannons in parks were meant to be sat upon by kids.
Across the street was this clock and I figured it might be the source of the chimes we heard.
These big groundhogs are all over the town, each one different. You could spend a day tracking them all
down if you wanted. This one was on the corner of the plaza and I only took pictures of the ones we
encountered while on foot. Joey looked at it and said, "I suppose you want me to pose by that?" He
A more realistic and life-sized statue in front of the Groundhog Zoo and Library.
The actual Phil and his wife, Phyllis, live just inside that arched window. We saw them but couldn't tell
which was which.
We left the plaza in town and drove out east and a little south of town to...
That's the actual Knob off there in the distance.
Joey running toward the Knob.
I still had to walk down this...sigh. I was glad we were the only people there as it made it much nicer
The top of Phil's stump is metal and scratched with hundreds 'n hundreds of names of visitors. Joey and I added
ours. Mine is right at the front edge just above the third rivet from the left . That's the little rock I used lying there
over to the right.
The stump is not hollow. The doors were unlocked so I opened them and there is only this tiny space where
they stuff Phil right before the ceremony and then pull him back out.
Then we drove back into town to see if we could find the Bed and Breakfast.
I'd seen this old house down a side street as we first came into town and we drove back past it so I
could take a picture.
We drove up and down a lot of streets looking in vain for the bed and breakfast...
Then we parked and walked. Each of the big Phil's is different. This is Tourist Phil and was in front of
a history center in an old house, which we came back to.
Inside the history center we found a woman whose family has been Punxsutawnian since 1820 and she knew EVERYTHING.
She informed us that nearly all of Groundhog Day was actually filmed in Woodstock, Illinois...even the plaza,
the stump, the diner, the repeatedly-stepped-in-puddle, the place where he takes piano lessons, AND, sigh,
the bed and breakfast.
Joey on a mounting block as we went back to our car.
And...on the way home...we went a different way, straight south down 119, we passed your nice,
autumnal nuclear power plant, lovely against the blue, blue sky.
ON TO KEYSTONE LAKE, WHERE WE STOPPED ON OUR WAY TO PUNXSUTAWNEY
BACK TO JO'S OTHER PLACE