July 20--There is a lot more to Gettysburg and Adams County than the Civil War battlefield for which the region is famous.
Civil War and 19th-century history permeate the area, but there is plenty more to do outside of touring the battlefield and visiting museums. Whether you are a Civil War buff who wants to enjoy other pastimes, too -- or, you are taking a family vacation that includes a partner or kids who aren't crazy about the history -- you will find things to enjoy that don't stem from 1863.
If you have a taste for handmade European gifts, drive 10 miles east of Gettysburg to the little town of New Oxford, where The Christmas Haus, open year-round, awaits. The quaint store has three buildings full of glass tree ornaments in dozens of whimsical styles, along with wooden smokers, nutcrackers and pyramids. All items are handmade by artisans in Germany and Austria. Details: www.thechristmashausonline.com
On Route 30 -- the Chambersburg Pike -- look for a cute little place with an outdoor elephant statue nestled in the trees on the left, just west of Gettysburg in Orrtanna. This is Mister Ed's Elephant Museum & Candy Emporium, a store full of house-made candy and fudge. Beyond that stands a room with a collection of more than 12,000 pachyderm figurines, along with circus souvenirs and other toys and novelties. Mister Ed's, badly damaged by a fire in 2010, rebuilt and saved most of the elephants, and reopened in 2011. Free. Details: 717-352-3792 or www.mistereds.com
Land of Little Horses
Animal lovers can stop just west of town on Route 30 at the Land of Little Horses Farm Park. This ranch has miniature horses and other farm animals that visitors can greet and observe. Hands-on activities with the miniature horses include grooming and bathing. Every day, some animals perform a live show for visitors. Admission is $15.95, $13.95 for ages 6-11, $11.95 for ages 2-5. Details: 717-334-7259 or www.landoflittlehorses.com
Explore & More
Gettysburg'sExplore & More Hands-On Children's Museum is housed in a Civil War-era house in the heart of town. The museum especially appeals to children ages 3 to 8. It includes a room where kids can play in an 1860s-era house setting, a room where kids can create art projects and a play construction site. Admission is $5, $7 for ages 2 to 14. Details: 717-337-9151 or www.exploreandmore.com
Although Gettysburg gained its identity through its role in the Civil War, you can enjoy another era of history at the 690-acre Eisenhower National Historic Site, where President Dwight D. Eisenhower and first lady Mamie had a home and farm. The Eisenhowers used the home as a weekend retreat, and a gathering place for world leaders, during Eisenhower's presidency in the '50s. They lived in Gettysburg after Ike's retirement in 1961. Eisenhower served as a World War II general before becoming president, so visitors will hear stories from that era. Buy tickets -- $7.50, $5 for ages 6 to 12 -- at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center. Details: 717-338-9114 or www.nps.gov/eise/index.htm
National Apple Harvest
The National Apple Harvest festival, in its 50th year, brings thousands of visitors to the rolling farmland surrounding Gettysburg during the first two weekends of October -- a beautiful time to enjoy the fall foliage. The festival includes plenty of the namesake fruit, along with hundreds of arts-and-crafts dealers, orchard tours, antique cars and live entertainment. This year's festival is Oct. 4, 5, 11 and 12. Details: 717-677-9413 or www.appleharvest.com
Along with the region's fruit, the Gettysburg region offers options for wine lovers, too, with several vineyards and wineries in the area. Places include Reid's Orchard & Home Winery, the Hauser Estate Winery and Catoctin Breeze Vineyard. For detailed maps and listings, visit www.gettysburgwineandfruittrail.com.
Anyone can enjoy a shopping trip to The Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg, located at the eastern edge of town off of the Gettysburg Pike, Route 15. You can find everything from books to crafts to candles to perfume, clothes, Civil War gifts and other merchandise, with some terrific bargains. Outlets include Bath and Body Works, Lane Bryant, Jones New York, American Eagle and Zales. Details: www.horizongroup.com
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7824.
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