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Franklin County Visitors Bureau highlights 18 Things to Do in 2018

January 12, 2018 Visit USA No Comments Email Email

As the new year begins, Franklin County Visitors Bureau is looking forward to a new year filled with new experiences for visitors and locals alike to explore what the county has to offer.

Scenic views and more fun await visitors to Franklin County

1. Go for A Swim in the New Chambersburg Aquatic Center
Opening Memorial Day in 2018, this new family aquatic center, built to replace Memorial Pool and accommodating more than 1,000 people, will open to an eager public! Be among the first to experience the aquatic center which will include four bodies of water including “sprayground” with interactive play equipment that will accommodate four or five dozen people at a time, a children’s pool, activity pool with lazy river, lap pool and three waterslides. In addition, the center will be a great place for large gatherings with a 1,200 square foot party pavilion and several private picnic pads that can be rented out. Enjoy a brand new nine-hole miniature golf course on site and will also have the skate park and beach volleyball courts open once again to the public.

2. Celebrate Waynesboro during its 200th Anniversary Celebration
Waynesboro is celebrating its 200th Anniversary in 2018 with a year-long schedule of events! Included are movie nights that focus on the industrial town’s humble beginnings to its present thriving industries, art show, Memorial Day parade, an 1860’s baseball game, car show, open houses, music festival, pool party and much more!

3. Brush Up on Franklin County History
Franklin County is rich in history, from battlefields to historic homes.

The Monterey Pass Battlefield Museum was completed at the end of 2014, which displays artifacts related to the battles of Monterey Pass and the Pennsylvania Campaign of 1863, and the Civil War in Franklin County. This museum joins the many other things to see in the county.

In April, explore your own path during Spring into History, where visitors can trek back to early settlements, frontier forts, secret hiding places of the Underground Railroad, Civil War sites and hallowed grounds. Explore fire museums and the history of industry in the county during a self-guided tour.

4. Eat Franklin County Fresh
Farming is the lifeblood of Franklin County. Enjoy homegrown and fresh fruits and vegetables grown right in your backyard. Check out North Square Farmer’s Market, the downtown market started in Chambersburg, that runs May through mid-October! The market features orchards, bakeries, small-family organic farms, local cheese’s and surprises every week.

In Shippensburg, check out Maplewood Produce and Greenhouse. They offer a variety of healthy-lifestyle options and products including deli meats and cheeses, desserts, bulk-food options and special recipes to the local community.

The Franklin County Fresh Food & Dining Guide is a good tool for discovering local farms, places to eat and other ways to eat Franklin County Fresh. An online version is available at and physical copies are available at the Franklin County Visitors Bureau’s office.

5. Enjoy Hiking in the Great Outdoors
Whether taking a hike on the historic Appalachian Trail or enjoying one of the many state parks in Franklin County, come get in touch with nature in the great outdoors.

Waynesboro and Washington Township became an official Appalachian Trail Community in 2014. This designation is in the cooperation with hikers and the community to encourage a partnership between the two. If you are embarking or on the trail, you’ll find friendly faces to help you along the way. Remember, leave nothing but your footprints behind.

Among the outdoor adventures, check out the new Out of the Ore: Birds and Blooms trail. The new trail takes visitors through an area that was once used for the iron ore industry. In the 1800’s, the natural resources of South Mountain fueled the iron ore industry. Plentiful timber, water and iron ore kept the furnace stacks of South Mountain working day and night. For decades, the iron industry stripped the life from South Mountain, leaving a blank landscape, void of natural resources and habitats. Out of the iron ore industry, the Pennsylvania conservation initiative took shape. Today, the furnace site is home to hundreds of bird, wildlife, insect, tree and plant species. For more information and to download and view the official guide, visit

Franklin County is home to beautiful state parks such as Buchanan’s Birthplace State Park, Caledonia State Park, Cowans Gap State Park, Pine Grove Furnace State Park and Mont Alto State Park. Many of the state parks allow biking, swimming and picnicking. Check with the state park websites for more information.

6. Catch A Show
Why stay at home when you can see live performances at just one of the many theaters in Franklin County? Totem Pole Playhouse in Fayetteville signs on professional talent for musicals and plays in the scenic Caledonia State Park. Capitol Theatre in Chambersburg is not only a symbol of the downtown but is home to the Chambersburg Ballet Company and works to bring in the biggest artists of today. Other venues include The Star Theatre in Mercersburg, which is home the PA Opry every year and the Luhrs Center in Shippensburg draws artists from all over the world.

7. Enjoy Some Rest and Relaxation at a Bed and Breakfast or Historic Inn
Need some time to get away from the stresses of life? From historic bed and breakfasts to hotels, hospitality abounds. Scenic cabins and deluxe accommodations are all here, with some miles away from the traffic and craziness of everyday life. In Franklin County, each of the communities offers B&B’s with different features including not only lodging but a relaxing experience.

One of the many options including Burgundy Lane, located off scenic Route 16 in Waynesboro. Enjoy reading, relaxing in the front parlor or a game or two on the beautiful Chippendale game table. White Hall Manor Bed & Breakfast in Greencastle has wide sweeping halls, marble fireplaces, ornate woodwork and has luxurious king size beds, Jacuzzi tubs and cozy fireplace in their Great Room. There are many other options including Mercersburg Inn, Craig Victorian Bed and Breakfast, The Inn at Ragged Edge, Monte Visa, The 657 House, Penn National Inn and Long Acres Alpaca Farm Guest House.

8. Enjoy a Franklin County festival
Festivals abound in Franklin County. Chambersburg’s annual IceFest will take center stage January 25 through January 28 with fun for the whole family. Ice carvings, a double wide slide, chili cook-off and snowfall ball will make downtown Chambersburg the place to be during the winter days.

Bloom, a festival celebrating the end of winter, will take center stage this spring in Shippensburg. Organizers are excited to bring their new ideas to create a fun and unique experience.

Other festivals for the year include Old Market Day and ChambersFest, which will highlight downtown businesses with fun for the whole family. There are also festivals that highlight the food of the county, such as AppleFest and Fort Loudon’s Peach Festival. In the fall, don’t forget PumpkinFest at Renfrew Institute, where pumpkins, scarecrows and apple cider make celebrating the season fun for everyone.

9. Celebrate the spirit of Chambersburg during 1864: The Burning
Thousands come to Chambersburg every year to experience the live-renactment of the Confederate burning of the town during the Civil War. The event, which includes a light show in the town square, celebrates the rebirth of Chambersburg and includes music, food and family entertainment.

This event also includes the finals of the returning A Cappella & Unplugged Competition. This event is scheduled this year for July 21, 2018.

10. Take a Tour of Military History
So many Americans are touched by military history and is a big part of Franklin County. From the pre-Revolution¬ary War to the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Franklin County has many stories of its military men and women’s contributions to the nation. Franklin County honors veter¬ans every day of the year with the self-guided Franklin County Military Trail of History Guide.

Among the monuments and memorials, The 9/11 Tribute is in Red Run Park and was officially was officially dedicated on September 11, 2012 after years of planning and work by local officials and dignitaries. The artifacts include a 1,088 pound steel I-beam from the World Trade Center, a piece of limestone from the Pentagon and a rock from Shanksville, Pa., where Flight 93 crashed.

Enoch Brown Memorial Park, dedicated in 1885, the park and statue stands on the site of the Enoch Brown School Massacre that took place in 1764 during the Pontiac Wars. Eleven people died, ten schoolchildren and the schoolmaster Enoch Brown, when four Delaware American Indians attacked them while at school. The sole survivor Archie McCullough told the story.

The Battle of Monterey Pass was fought during the retreat of Gettysburg, and was the second largest Civil War battle fought on Pennsylvania soil with 10,000 forces in the late hours of July 4, 1863 and early hours of July 5. Today, the site is just east of Waynesboro and the land has been preserved and is home to a museum, opens weekends from April to November.

These and more historical military sites are part of the self-guided tour available online or by picking up a physical copy of the tour at the Franklin County Visitors Bureau’s office.

11. Try Something Different
Have you ever tried skydiving? What about milking a cow? Pet an alpaca? Franklin County is a cross-roads of culture, farmland and excitement. With not only farmlands and history for the city-dweller, it has thrills for adventure-seekers or those who want to make 2015 an exciting year where they try something different.

Among these experiences includes aerial yoga, where participants can use gravity to obtain certain poses that perhaps the body restricts them from. Gaia Yoga in Scotland is one of the yoga studios that offers an introduction to the all-inclusive experience.

12. Enjoy A Day Out On The Green
Franklin County has golf courses over 100 years old, one rated 4-stars by Golf Digest and another, a former military personnel and Letterkenny Army Depot course now open to the public. With easy access from Interstate 81, the PA Turnpike and Route 30, the golf courses of Franklin County are waiting for you on your next trip.

13. Go Antiquing and Discover New Treasures
Don’t forget about the shopping! Hidden in a corner or on the main drag, our shops have unique gifts and trinkets you will treasure forever. From handmade jewelry, candles and furniture, there is something for everyone to find.

2nd Hand Sally’s Couture Consignment Boutique takes what is old and makes it new. Fayetteville Antique & Flea Market has three hundred dealers with items in four buildings! The Collectors Dream in Chambersburg has a large selection of glass and china, pottery, stoneware and tinware, furniture and coins! A new place to buy antique items includes The Vintage Market at The Old Red Barn in Chambersburg. On the second weekend of every month, enjoy vintage and modern home décor sold by a community of vendors.

14. Enjoy the snow with skiing, snowboarding and tubing at local resorts
When the weather gets cold, hit the slopes at Whitetail Resort in Mercersburg. With facilities for skiing, snowboarding and tubing, 23 trails are ready to be explored. Kick up the powder even if the snow isn’t falling too fast with state of the art snow-making machines. New for Whitetail for this winter is a 31,000 square foot dining expansion in the Base Lodge that will add a brick-oven pizzeria, expanded café and full-service restaurant on the second level.

15. Enjoy Hunting and Fishing
Four creeks within 25 miles of Chambersburg are open year-round, including Antietam Creek, Big Spring and Green Spring close to Newburg. The Conococheague Creek and the Conodoguinet Creek may not be open year-round for fishing, they are home to bluegills, small-mouth bass and plenty of brown, brook, and rainbow trout.

The county’s geography gives hunters choices where to set up and with many locally owned hunting shops, it’s easy to get the equipment hunters need to get out and bag their trophies. Deer and turkey are plentiful in the Tuscarora State Forest, which overlays a portion of Cowan’s Gap State Park. In all, the Tuscarora State Forest has 45,000 acres in Perry, Franklin and Cumberland Counties and is very good habitat for deer. With a combination of forest and farms, food is plentiful and there is good cover. Tuscarora Forest has a good squirrel population, also. The population fluctuates with the success of the acorn crops. Small game and deer hunting is also permitted in Michaux State Park, Caledonia State Park and area around Letterkenny Army Depot.

16. Do Research into Genealogy
In the first half of the 1700s, Franklin County attracted many Scots-Irish and German immigrants, seeking to establish new homes. Annually, hundreds of genealogy researchers find their way to Franklin County.
Approximately one-third of America’s ancestry is Scots-Irish or German. In addition to the many cemeteries of Franklin County, researchers can explore archives at Franklin County Courthouse, Franklin County His¬torical Society at the Old Jail, Allison Antrim Museum, Conococheague Institute, Fendrick Library, Waynesboro Historical Society, Antietam Historical Association, Mont Alto Historical Society, and Preserving Our Heritage Museum.

17. Grab a Bite to Eat
Great moments are made around great food! Franklin County has many choices of great food to choose from many different cuisines including American, Greek, Italian, Mexican and many more.

John Allison Public House in Greencastle and Flannery’s Tavern on the Square in Mercersburg, are two excellent reasons to dine in the county. Each tavern offers great burgers and sandwiches and mouth-watering entrees such as oak barrel sirloin, crab cakes and butternut squash risotto. John Allison Public House offers 18 rotating taps with the best in craft beers.

Family favorites includes delicious favorites Mrs. Gibble’s Restaurant, Chambersburg Family Diner, Johnny’s Family Restaurant in Chambersburg and Path Valley Family Restaurant in Spring Run. Each are both great choices with something for the whole family!

Leave room for desert at Milky Way in the Fort Loudon area. As well as delicious burgers, shrimp and chicken baskets, they also have soft-serve ice cream and milkshakes!

18. Taste some of the local wines
Fertile soils produce succulent fruits and Tuscarora Mountain Winery uses local fruits to craft award-winning wines from grapes, strawberries, peaches, apples, cherries, blueberries and currants. Stop into the tasting room 1/2 a block from the square on Lincoln Way West to enjoy delicious red, white, and blush wines. Be sure to try 1864 The Burning, a semi-sweet red, named for the Confederate Burning of Chambersburg, and Chenin Blanc, a pleasant not-too-sweet and not-too-dry white.

With a tasting room just off Grant Street in Chambersburg, Jan Zell Wines is a local winery produced in Fort Loudon PA. In addition, tasting nine varietals from grape imports, the Grant Street venue is open as a special place to meet friends. Try an evening of wine and painting. Check out Friday night trivia or Saturday night music. Fans of sweet wine will fall in love with Summer Daze, a memorable blend of cranberry and chardonnay. A new item they have is hard cider.

Several of Franklin County’s restaurants are BYOB. Grab a favorite to enjoy with dinner. Cafe d’italia on the square in Chambersburg and Cafe del Sol, which has restaurants in Greencastle, Waynesboro, and Chambersburg are BYOB. Others in Chambersburg are Rosalie’s Fabulous Grill and Ken-zo Japanese & Asian Fusion, in Greencastle is El Sombrero, and in Waynesboro is Christine’s Cafe.

The South Mountain stretches across Franklin County into neighboring Adams County and is home to three wineries: Reid’s Orchard & Winery, Adams County Winery, and Hauser Estate Winery. Reid’s, a favorite stop for hard cider, organized the Gettysburg Wine & Fruit Trail to bring together the bountiful and best of the South Mountain Region. Pick up the passport at the Franklin County Visitors Bureau to discover the stops and plan a trip through South Mountain Wine Country.

The Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites all to explore Franklin County PA and enjoy the trails of history, arts, and architecture, recreation, natural beauty, fresh foods and the warm hospitality of communities like Chambersburg, Greencastle, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, and Waynesboro. Franklin County PA is located just north of the Mason Dixon Line and is an easy drive to Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Discover more…plan a visit soon at or by contacting 866.646.8060.

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