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A Trip to the Past

Looking for a fun-filled family trip that’s a quick car ride away from home? Found it. This fall, take the family out for an engaging and educational trip to Cumberland Valley PA. You’ll find an exciting, historical experience to entertain the entire family. Come listen to all the stories The Valley has to tell; from the unique stories surrounding the midway point of the Appalachian Trail, to fascinating stories from the Civil War, the family will be enthralled all weekend. And there’s no better way to learn about the events of the past than on the soil where they took place!

The kids will love getting their noses out of their books and seeing where historic events they’ve only read about actually took place. Giving them the chance to experience these events will have them excited about history in a brand new way! For the Civil War buff in the family, there are tremendous opportunities to dig into the captivating history of the era. Visit the Cumberland County Courthouse which still bears the scars of artillery shells from the Confederate Army attack in 1863. Or, uncover the history of the Carlisle Barracks; from the burning in 1863 by the Confederate Army, to its current status as the prestigious US Army War College.

Step into the life of a soldier and experience their unique history at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center. Pick up a dog tag before entering The Soldier Experience gallery, where you will follow in his or her footsteps. The museum and interactive gallery are free to attend and feature a parachute simulation, digital shooting range, Korean War night attack and hundreds of artifacts. You’ll also have a chance to browse the largest Civil War photograph collection in the world! Outside, find a one-mile outdoor trail with interactive exhibits to help bring the past to life. Focusing on the history of the U.S. Army, this loop features a Huey helicopter and an M-46 Patton Tank that will fascinate both kids and adults. The trail is open from dawn to dusk, so you can stroll through different eras of the American military including Civil War encampment cabins and a WWI trench system.

Throughout the Cumberland Valley you’ll also find options for self-guided tours to enjoy at your own pace. Carlisle, PA features an architectural walking tour and a Civil War augmented reality walking tour. Follow the easy-to-use instructions and use your smart-phone or tablet to scan QR codes for special audio and video clips designed to enrich the experience. The tour will have you following in the footsteps of Civil War soldiers from the Old Courthouse and the Army Barracks to the Lincoln Cemetery and more.

The Appalachian Trail Museum is the country’s only museum dedicated to hiking. Head over to the Pine Grove State Park and walk your way through the past of the Appalachian Trail. Located in a 200-year-old grist mill inside the park, this museum is the perfect combination of education and outdoor adventure. Here you can enjoy the beautiful fall weather, listen to hiking tales at the story-telling center, and stop by the Pine Grove General Store to eat your mandatory half gallon of ice cream.

With all the excitement, the family will be worn out by the end of the day and you’ll be ready for a delicious dinner and a relaxing night at a kid-friendly hotel. Whether you’re planning on staying in Mechanicsburg, Carlisle, or Shippensburg there are plenty of comfortable choices for you and the family. Dine around the world with one of the international cuisine options found throughout the Valley and rest up for another day spent exploring the historical sites found around every corner in Cumberland Valley PA.