This year is an especially good time to visit Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the home of the National Civil War Museum, with interactive exhibits that let you intensely and personally experience the 150th anniversary of the war.
There are lots of other reasons to check out the capital of Pennsylvania, too. It’s becoming a foodie’s paradise, you can craft amazing kid-friendly (or kid-at-heart friendly) trips, and there’s also luxurious couples’ getaways. And the region includes “The Sweetest Place on Earth:” Hershey.
City House B&B is in an elegant, streamlined city mansion, steps away from Pennsylvania’s glorious capitol building and Harrisburg’s restaurant district. With amenities like Westin Heavenly beds and erudite magazines like The Economist, this is not your grandma’s B&B.
Hershey Lodge was built to evoke a comfortable mountain lodge, with huge open fireplaces in the lobby, indoor/outdoor pools, restaurants, cocoa-scented toiletries and convenient free transportation to Hershey Park.
The Pennsylvania Capitol building offers free tours. This glorious building was created during the days of the Robber Barons and is covered in 23-carat gold leaf, marble from around the world, rare crystal lights, paintings and murals.
Midtown Scholar Bookstore looks pretty unassuming from the outside, nestled in an old neighborhood. But step inside this renovated 1920s theater. There’s a cozy café, lots of nooks and crannies to read, a children’s play area, live music, writers’ workshops. They have unique, interesting books that won’t make it to the box stores.
Another place that people come from near and far to visit is Atomic Warehouse, a huge vintage store. Check out the way-cool record collection, furniture, vintage clothes and signs.
Become an expert in chocolate and fun in Hershey. Hershey Park has rides, a waterpark, shows, a summer A-list concert series, nighttime hours at Halloween, and Zoo America. The park has a free phone app that helps you get around and plan your visit.
A cool way to see parts of Hershey that would otherwise require strenuous hiking is via segway tour, located at the Hotel Hershey. Make and package your own chocolate bar with mix-ins at Hershey’s Chocolate World. The Hershey Story — the Museum on Chocolate Avenue – shows how Milton Hershey started it all, with original artifacts. It also has Café Zoosk, which schedules chocolate classes and also does gourmet drinking chocolate tastings. Hershey Gardens features 23 acres of beautiful seasonal outdoor displays.
The Hotel Hershey has several gourmet and interesting restaurants, including Harvest. Harvest features seasonal, farm-to-fork contemporary American cuisine and microbrews made of ingredients from a 100-mile radius. It’s in a light, open setting and includes an adult game room. The soup sampler trio is a great way to get started.
Downtown Harrisburg features a restaurant row: walk a couple blocks off the beautiful river area to 2nd Street. There are 15 different eating options, ranging from sushi to Irish pubs to Italian fare. It makes for a lively bar-hopping scene.
The insider’s secret to a great homemade early or late nosh is Palumbo’s Italian Eatery. Their Grandma’s Pizza, with homemade delicate tomato sauce — available by the slice — will convince you that simple can be oh-so-good.
Mangia Qui uses seasonal, locally raised produce and meats to highlight the 20 different cooking styles of Italy. Their wine list has been compiled to reflect the terroir of the regions. The cooking itself is excellent: whether you pick vegetarian, pasta, seafood or hearty game items, you’ll love the play of fresh textures and seasonings. It’s a casual place and very popular with people in the know: make reservations.