Our drive took us through a big valley of farm country and small towns. I hadn’t realized that there were so many Amish and Mennonites in Pennsylvania.
Big Spring State Park, Blaine, PA. Tucked in the side of Conococheague Mountain, Big Spring State Park is a quaint picnic and hiking spot maintained by Tuscarora State Forest. A short loop trail leads to a partially completed railroad tunnel. Small rocks fell while we were inside the tunnel so we didn’t stay long.
Just down the gravel road is a National Natural Landmark preserve of 120 acres of virgin Hemlock. This area is part of a global network of sites recognized for their outstanding contribution to bird conservation. We tried to do the un-maintained, very rocky trail but between the bugs and the fact that you really can’t appreciate the trees in such close conditions, we turned back early and appreciated them from the car on the drive back. I think this hike would be better in cool weather, after the leaves have dropped and the bugs are gone.
Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium, Orrtanna, PA. We drove by and had to stop. The have a whimsical garden, a long room full of collectibles, gifts, homemade fudge, chocolates and other treats, fresh roasted jumbo peanuts and our own cinnamon glazed nuts. We bought nuts (best ever!) and banana cream pie fudge (yum).
Devils Den, Gettysburg, PA. Full disclosure, we saw the pictures of the rocks and came to see them without realizing they were part of the Gettysburg National Military Park. The rocks were very cool and fun to climb on and we appreciated the geological information they provided as well as the historical information. I think we would have preferred for the rocks to be in the wilderness rather than in a busy park but we found that we really enjoyed driving around and seeing where all the history we’ve learned about took place. If you haven’t been, this park is mostly fields with snake fences, historic buildings and monuments with info.
The Caverns Ice Cream & Deli, Charles Town, WV. Serving up America’s favorite dessert alongside unique, made-with-love sandwiches to the heart of downtown.
The Caverns Ice Cream Shop sits atop a little-known Charles Town relic – the Lakeland Caverns. This cavern system is a 200-foot cave, discovered accidentally in 1906, that contains a stunning underground lake. As a tourist attraction in the 1920s and 1930s.
We felt like we needed a do-over after the last ice cream we got. We both got 2 flavors, 1 of which was excellent and the other not that good, so 2 up, 2 down.
Rodeway Inn & Suites, Charles Town, WV. This place is so nice and it’s right next to where we want to be first thing tomorrow morning. Look at reviews, not prices when you choose your hotel. We got a king room, a hot tub and a balcony.