A Summer of Field Trips

This summer I decided to do a summer of field trips.  I currently live in Lancaster county Pennsylvania, but I’m not from here.  This means that I didn’t grow up exploring all the local history and beauty around here (obviously).  I decided that I would stay stateside this summer (as opposed to my wild ride through Europe last summer) and see what Pennsylvania (or, as we locals call it: P-A) has to offer.  Here are a few of the things that made the list this summer:

1. Valley Forge.  Valley Forge was the location of a winter training camp during the Revolutionary War.   It now hosts Colonial homes, live story tellings, a church, and miles of bike trails.  My friend Leanna and I planned a picnic and bike riding day with friends to visit this historical park.  Our group took a spin around the small loop trail, walked through a few buildings turned museum stops, and played a long game of Frisbee.  I ended the day by collecting a screw in my tire.  Thankfully, my friends are brilliant tire smiths and saved the day!

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Outside the Washington Memorial Chapel.

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The acoustics were pretty good and the politically themed stained glass was a new twist.

2. Lancaster Walking Tour.  My friend Leanna and I got tickets from the Lancaster City Visitor’s Center for $8.  By way of review I’d say, the success of the tour depends on your guide.  Our guide leaned a bit heavy on his own personal history (we heard a lot about the movie theaters he used to frequent as a child), but I learned a lot of new things that I didn’t know about this town.  For example, inside the Marriott Hotel foyer there is a 2 story colonial home and in the back of the Hotel there are excavated ruins of a hide-out for the underground railroad!  

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Monuments and modern hotels.

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Authentic tour guide.

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Historic Old Town Lancaster.

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3. Hershey, Pennsylvania.  For this adventure I met up with my cousin and her friend.  We passed on the crowded theme park and took the Hershey Trolley Tour instead.  For about $16 you can ride around the town of Hershey, learning the history of Milton Hershey and his chocolate factory.  What we didn’t expect was that our tour guides were actually musical performers, with rotating costumes and songs.  They passed out chocolates throughout the tour and invited us to sing along.  It was the picture of family friendly.  After the trolley ride we rode the Hershey Chocolate Tour ride to see how the chocolate is made.  I would have probably enjoyed it all more as a child, but now I can at least say I’ve done it.

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Hershey Trolley Tour.

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It was a sing-along.

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Hershey factory smoke stacks. 

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So many people love chocolate!

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Me and Samantha with Mr. Milton himself. 

4.  Kelly’s Run Nature Preserve.  If you are looking for a free option and love the outdoors, hiking is a good go-to.  Lancaster county is a largely rural community, nestled in some mountain-like hills, which allows for some decent hiking.  Kelly’s Run is a very doable option with decently maintained trails.  I got a little scared hiking across the river and relied on my friend Jenni to make sure I didn’t cross over into another trail, but for an ameteur hiker, it was fun.

And, we’ll stop there today.  Come back next week for a review of some places you can go with free passes from the local library.  (Did you know, the library has passes you can check out like books!)

p.s. We have had some record breaking rain this summer in Lancaster county.  The cover photo is a rainbow I caught in downtown Lancaster after one such storm.

Four

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