A Driving Tour of Pennsylvania

When visiting Pennsylvania Dutch country, you may think you have taken a step back in time. Horse-drawn buggies are commonplace in this part of the State. Pennsylvania is full of family-friendly sites rich in history and fun for all. Whether in Spring, Summer or Fall, one may tour this mountainous state and relive the past at some of America's favorite attractions. Pennsylvania is a rectangle state with its capital Harrisburg located at its approximate center.

North of Harrisburg, visit Williamsport, home of the Little League World Series. Bowman Field is the centerpiece – the oldest minor league stadium in the state, second-oldest (operating) in the US The Williamsport Cutters play Class A baseball here. Former Little Leaguers Cal Ripken, Jr., Tom Selleck, columnist George Will, and golfer Hale Irwin are anchored at the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum. For nearby fun, there's Reptile Land, with its giant lizards and dinosaurs, and the Hiawatha Riverboat ride down the historic Susquehanna River. On the Millionaire's Row Trolley Tour you'll see the beautiful homes of the barons on the 19th century lumber industry. Grab a bite at the Bullfrog Brewery (where there's live jazz or Celtic music), or Friday's at the Holiday Inn.

North American Wildlife Park Zoo in Hershey, east of Harrisburg, features 200 types of animals. The historic Hershey Theater is a vintage building that hosts Broadway plays, classical music, and dance. The Hotel Hershey is a grand hotel on 300 acres of formal gardens and reflecting pools. The hotel also boasts a golf club and a popular spa.

Few locales are as tranquil as Pennsylvania Dutch Country in Lancaster (SE of Harrisburg, West of Philadelphia near Route 222). This is the home of the largest Amish and Mennonite communities. If you or your children have never seen wagons led by four or six-mule teams, porches hung with beautiful quilts, or covered bridges, you're in for a treat. Children can take horse and buggy rides or board a steam train. They'll see one room schoolhouses still in use, as well as windwheels and roadside fruit stands. For an activity, take them to Yummie's Petting Zoo. Gourmands will enjoy a food tour of this region, home to Sturgis Pretzels and Aunt Anne's Soft Pretzels, and Lancaster's Central Market. A Lancaster Barnstormers ballgame is a fun evening out.

IF YOU GO:

Williamsport is in North Central Pa., Near US South 15. From Memorial Day through September, museum hours are 10 am-7 pm. Mon-Sat., Noon-7 pm Sundays. Pennsylvania Dutch Country is near Route 222, SE of Harrisburg, west of Philadelphia. Call 1-800-723-8824. Gettysburg is off State Route 134 and US-15. The site may be toured from 6 am-10 pm, the Cemetery is open from dawn to sunset daily. The Cyclorama Center's hours are 9-5. Call (717) 334-6274.

Frank Lloyd Wright is also here- Hagan House at Kentucky Knob offers tours at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm Tuesday-Friday, and hourly 10-4 on Saturdays and Sundays. Call (724) 329-1901. For Falling Water tour reservations call (724) 329-8501. Admission is $ 8 children, $ 12 adult. The Western Pennsylvania Conservatory gives guided tours. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa in Farmington offers a limo tour to both homes, wine and snacks included.

At Yummie's Toy Box, they'll enjoy decorating their own gingerbread cookie as you look on. You can all watch fudge being made at Pepper Lane Fudge and Sweets. Gettysburg National Military Park is south and west of Harrisburg. You will see the accused battlefield and the museum, some of the most poignant sites in America. Wide-eyed kids love the Cyclorama Center, home of a circular 360-foot painting of "Pickett's Charge."

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