In 1947, novelist Jack Kerouac contemplated traveling U.S. Route 6, what he called that “long red line...that led from the tip of Cape Cod clear to Ely, Nevada, and from there dips down to Los Angeles.”


In 1947, novelist Jack Kerouac contemplated traveling U.S. Route 6, what he called that “long red line...that led from the tip of Cape Cod clear to Ely, Nevada, and from there dips down to Los Angeles.”
He was in Bear Mountain, N.Y., when he was told by a fellow traveler, “There's no traffic passes through.” So instead of finding out for himself, Kerouac, dejected, traveled back to New York City, and took a bus to Chicago to kick off his now legendary “On the Road” travelouge.
But Kerouac should have used his instinctive travel-sense, and realized what he missed. Not only beautiful scenary, but also small communities which could have provided him with a different perspective, inspiration and perhaps a new set of characters. 
U.S. Route 6 in Pennsylvania is not only a highly recognized scenic highway, but also an economic generator for the state’s northern tier, officials announced during the annual National Tourism Week celebration, this month.
According to a study released by the PA Route 6 Heritage Corp., Route 6 attracts 3.5 million travelers a year, who spend approximately $91.1 million, supporting more than 2,000 jobs.
The study also revealed that half of the visitors to Route 6 were first-time visitors. More than 67 percent were staying overnight in hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts or campgrounds. The average stay along Route 6 was 2.9 nights. The typical Route 6 travel party is one - four adults traveling without children. Or just an aspiring novelist.
Overall, the study showed that visitors to participating heritage areas in Pennsylvania spent $300.9 million in 2008, generating an estimated $255.8 million in direct sales, which supported more than $95 million in salary and wages for Pennsylvania residents.
The Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau (PMVB) reported total traveling expenses in Wayne and Pike counties, for 2006. While both counties are bisected by Route 6, the spending statistics are not necessarily limited to that highway. In Wayne County $114.03 million was spent by travelers. In Pike County, the total travel expenditures was $142.07 million. Employment by the tourist industry that year in Wayne County totaled 2,752; in Pike County, 3,288.
Waymart was chosen by the PA Route 6 Heritage Corporation to represent Wayne County as a town of continuity. Each county that Route 6 runs through has a town on the route.
“A continuity of things for people to do across the state,” said Jane Varcoe, President of the Waymart Historical Society and borough council member.
For Waymart, being a part of this “continuity project” means it will be listed in Route 6 Heritage publications and the borough will be able to apply for certain grants to promote businesses and tourism.
U.S. Route 6 in Pennsylvania has been recognized by as a premier touring and driving route by Car & Traveler, National Geographic Traveler and Harley-Davidson. PA Route 6 was designated Pennsylvania’s 12th Heritage Areas in January 2005 by Gov. Edward Rendell.
Carl Wilgus, President/CEO of PMVB, said that the Route 6 Corridor is a help to the Pocono economy. The Poconos  in general, bursting with attractions, are a short drive away from lareg metro areas, he noted. In leaner economic times, many travelers will choose day car trips over more costly vacations.
The PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor includes all of Route 6 and encompasses the counties of Crawford, Erie, Warren, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Bradford, Wyoming, Lackawanna, Wayne and Pike.
For more information on PA Route 6, visit the website — www.paroute6.com.