Great outdoors! Great history! Great entertainment! Great relaxation! Your great moments are waiting in Franklin County. Let the Franklin County Visitor’s Bureau help you plan your visit to the beautiful Cumberland Valley.

News from Pluto: Astronomy Program on February 18


WAYNESBORO—It’s been nearly a decade since the controversial decision to demote Pluto to “dwarf planet” status. The debate was recently reignited when an exploratory space mission revealed new information about Pluto.

Dr. Larry Marschall, professor of physics, emeritus, at Gettysburg College, will discuss the “News From Pluto” during a program on Thursday, February 18 at 7 p.m. in the Visitors Center at Renfrew Park in Waynesboro.

The program is free and open to the public. Weather permitting, the Tri-State Astronomers club will set up telescopes for sky viewing after the program.

“Although demoted from its former status as a planet in 2006 by a vote of the International Astronomical Union, the controversy surrounding Pluto continues in light of information from NASA’s recent New Horizons ‘flyby’ of the dwarf planet,” Marschall said.

In July 2015, the spacecraft flew to within 7,800 miles of Pluto’s surface—the first spacecraft to explore the dwarf planet. Researchers learned new things about Pluto, including the fact that it is larger than previously thought.

With its new information, the historic NASA mission revived the debate around Pluto’s downgraded planetary status. A key factor in the debate is that many scientists around the world don’t agree on the definition of a planet.

Marschall will explore the new information gleaned from the spacecraft’s flyby, and discuss the controversy that still swirls around Pluto.

Marschall has a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from Cornell University and a Ph.D in astronomy and astrophysics from University of Chicago.

A professor of astronomy and physics for many years, Marschall was a visiting research scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, and at Yale University Observatory. He authored a much-acclaimed book, The Supernova Story, published by Princeton University Press, and is a contributing editor for Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine and for several other professional journals.

A question-and-answer session will follow Marschall’s presentation.

This program was arranged in cooperation with the Tri-State Astronomers. It is underwritten in part by Marge Kiersz, Lucinda D. Potter, CPA, Smith Elliott Kearns & Company, and by Renfrew Institute’s Today’s Horizon Fund contributors: The Nora Roberts Foundation, APX Enclosures, Inc., and the Carolyn Terry Eddy Family: Carolyn, with daughters Connie Fleagle & Kim Larkin. Facility support is provided courtesy of Renfrew Museum and Park.

Parking is available behind the Visitor Center with additional parking in the lower lot off Welty Rd. For more information, call the institute at 762-0373 or email to: info@renfrewinstitute.org.


CUTLINE: In this image from NASA, an artist’s concept of the New Horizons spacecraft as it approaches Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, in July 2015. Dr. Larry Marschall will present “News From Pluto” on Thursday, February 18 at 7 p.m. in the Visitors Center at Renfrew Park in Waynesboro. The program, sponsored by Renfrew Institute, is free and open to the public.

Destination ARTS! Performances and Events for February 11 – February 14, 2016


Dearest Home_ResizedDestination ARTS! activities continue in Waynesboro, PA with art exhibits, special events scheduled at Gallery 50,  42 West ARTS Co-Op, Through the Lens & Beyond, and the Ceramic Arts Center of Waynesboro.  All events are free unless otherwise indicated.

 Thursday, February 11

Gallery 50’s Curator/Director Marjorie Tressler will be back again presenting her weekly oil painting demonstrations from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm featuring a large landscape. Tressler teaches art locally and has conducted classes at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, where her portraits were featured  in a solo show in 1993. She is a former student of the Schuler School of Fine arts and has studied with several nationally known and prominent local artists over the last 35 years.

 Friday, February 12

Wine Down Friday activities and receptions are planned at Gallery 50 (50 W. Main St.), 42 West ARTS Co-Op (42 W. Main St.), Through the Lens & Beyond (38 W. Main St.), and the Ceramic Arts Center of Waynesboro (13 S. Church St.) between 5:00 and 8:00 pm.

From 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm, celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday as Dearest Home brings authentic Civil War era music to life! You’ll experience the enthusiasm, pathos and patriotism of the period through tunes and lyrics that still ring true. You’ll be able to sing and clap along, and may even find yourself dancing!  Based in Gettysburg, PA and appearing dressed in period costume, the band includes Chris Barnabei (acoustic bass), Chuck Krepley (fiddle, minstrel banjo, and vocals), Stephen Folkemer (concertina, and piano, and vocals), Margaret Folkemer (penny whistle and vocals), and Beth Folkemer (guitar, dulcimer and vocals). Expereince “authenticity and originality in perfect harmony.”

Patric Schlee will be creating original improvisational music on flute and drums at 42 West ARTS Co-Op.  The public is invited to join in.

Saturday, February 13

Art Demonstration Saturday!

 Galleries open 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

 Barb Peshkin will demonstrate creating leather book covers and Medieval style illuminations at 42 West Arts Co-op from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  After working as an art teacher in the Tuscarora School District for 35 years, Barbara Peshkin retired and took a job at the Council for the Arts in Chambersburg, PA for three years. Since then she has taught children through the Arts Express Program sponsored by the Arts Council. She has also taught various art forms to adults at many venues, especially calligraphy.

She is currently a member of the Cumberland Valley Craftsmen Guild, and is occasionally inolved with the Chambersburg Art Alliance.  Her own art is mostly focusing on calligraphy and Medieval style illumination. She works usually with gouache paints. She also makes Medieval style leather bound journals. She likes to experiment with many art forms, and loves to take classes to learn how to use various art media and techniques.

Sunday, February 14

Galleries open 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

 Ongoing Shows

Gallery 50 is presenting three new shows celebrating  the Winter season. The west window gallery theme is “Winter White” featuring Gallery 50’s “Muse”  “Samantha the Snow Princess”, and beautiful winter scenes created by Virginia Hair , Liz Hurley and Donna Mitchell.. The east window gallery is presenting “It’s a Wonderful Still Life” with art by Brad Clever, Marjorie Tressler, and David Buckley Good. The main gallery is showcasing “Fin, Feathers and Fur”, featuring artist Carol Wilks and Beth De’ Louiselle.

42 West ARTS Co-op is presenting a winter show called “Let it Snow”.  Featured artists are  Andy Smetzer (photographer),  Donna Bingaman (oil painting),  Lorie Linthicum (creative pottery),  Tom McFarland (painting),  Denny Bingaman (photography),  Rod and Karri Benedict (pottery),  Ed Beard (wood burning),  Hollis Mentzer (nature printing),  Laura Shindle (painting),  Bob North (tinsmithing),  Jennifer Caldwell (silver jewelry), and Debra Woods (dolls and folk art).

Through the Lens & Beyond features fine art photography, illustrations, oil and watercolor paintings, and 2-dimensional art.  Custom framing, classes, and seminars plus a “Day Rental” photography studio will also be offered.

The Ceramic Arts Center of Waynesboro brings together area potters of all skill levels and ages offering classes, workshops, and pottery sales. Guild members have 24/7 access to the wheels and kiln. For information about classes and special programs visit their website at www.ceramics-nccs.org

Musical performances at Destination ARTS! are supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Destination ARTS! currently includes Gallery 50 (50 West Main Street), 42 West ARTS (42 West Main Street), Through the Lens & Beyond (38 West Main Street)and the Ceramic Arts Center of Waynesboro (13 South Church Street).

The galleries feature oil paintings, watercolors, pottery, sculptures, jewelry, photographs, furniture, and more. Most art is available for sale and there is no charge for admission to the galleries.  This weekend, they will be open on Thursday from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m (Gallery 50 and 42 West ARTS Co-op only), Friday from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., Saturday from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. 

 For more information visit www.artsalliancegw.org  or email artsalliancegw@gmail.com








Historic Martin’s Mill Covered Bridge Reopens in Southern Franklin County

Since the early 1700s, Franklin County PA was America’s frontier, and one of the earliest families to settle along this part of the frontier was the Johnston family. Dr. Robert Johnston was the original owner of the tract of land on which Martins mill bridge is located. Dr Johnston served as a surgeon in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, where he befriended George Washington. In fact, when Washington was on his way to put down the Whiskey Rebellion, Dr Johnston entertain him along with Alexander Hamilton at his home in Greencastle.

Years later, a subsequent owner of the land, Samuel Martin, built a sawmill and grist mill on the land along the Conococheague Creek. Martins mill bridge was constructed to replace a creek fording, which became impossible to cross when the creek’s water was high. Bridges in Franklin County PA are the responsibility of the county, so the Franklin County Commissioners  contracted Jacob Shirk to construct the bridge in 1848. The wood used to construct the bridge was sawed at the Martins Mill, hence the name Martin’s Mill Bridge.

The trusses of the bridge use the design of Ithiel Town, a Connecticut architect who popularized the use of a truss consisting of a lattice of heavy timber with each crisscrossing intersection pinned with a minimum of two, 2-inch diameter wooden pins. Such construction could bear a span of up to 200 feet without additional support. The Martin’s Mill Bridge is 205 feet. Bridge constructor Jacob Shirk wanted to assure sturdy construction and added a stone support halfway across the bridge.

Martin’s Mill Bridge was nearly swept away by the Conococheague Creek in June 1972 when Hurricane Agnes created powerful floodwaters. Local engineering firm Nassaux Hemsley and hydraulic crane construction company Grove Manufacturing work together on the reconstruction. Adding the labor of local volunteers, the US Army 377th Engineer Battalion, and the US Army 357 transportation company made the reconstruction of Martin’s Mill bridge possible. It was rededicated in June 1973.

The bridge was recently rededicated in mid-October after a fourth renovation was completed. The process of planning and funding the fourth renovation began in 2007. Total cost to renovate Martin’s Mill Bridge was $1.1 of which $700,000 was allocated from the Federal Highway Administration Covered Bridge Preservation Program, according to a Antrim Township documents.  The project was directed by P. Joseph Lehman Inc. Consulting Engineers of Hollidaysburg, PA. Work included installation of a steel support beam, new siding and portals, replacement of the roof, replacement of decayed wooden structural pieces, and staining.

Martin’s Mill Bridge is one of two covered bridges in Franklin County with the another– Witherspoon Bridge–located near Mercersburg PA. Martins Mill Bridge is the second largest covered bridge in the state of Pennsylvania and the largest lattice truss bridge. It is included on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge is located at Martin’s Mill Bridge Park, which includes picnic tables, grills a pavilion, restroom facilities and access to the Conococheague Creek for kayaking. It is a dawn to dusk facility.

Student Life in Franklin County

Submitted by Colleen Hoover


I have attended school in the Franklin County area since I was three years old. Starting with pre-school at a local church in Waynesboro, PA to attending middle school and high school in Chambersburg, undertaking dual enrollment classes at Wilson College (while still in high school) to ending my long journey by achieving my Bachelors of Business at Shippensburg University.

There are so many countless opportunities that lie within the area, especially for someone like me that did not want to move away from home while going to college. Even if you aren’t eligible for the college life yet, the school districts around the region are one-of-a-kind. The Chambersburg Area Senior High School or otherwise known as CASHS is where I have made all my memories as a young teen. Other great schools are Greencastle, Waynesboro and Mercersburg Academy.

The colleges that surround Franklin County would be Penn State Mon Alto, Wilson College and Shippensburg University. Some of the smaller and further distance ones would be Harrisburg Area Community College and Hagerstown Community College. All of which are great options and so many to choose from. We are in such a great location with many of these schools right at our fingertips.

As I finish out my last year of college at Shippensburg University, I look back on the many years I have spent here in this beautiful town and realize all the wonderful memories I have made. I also come to appreciate all the knowledge I have gained without moving hundreds of miles away to achieve it.

Trail Riding in Franklin County

Submitted by Colleen Hoover

Riding in Franklin County’s majestic mountains on the back of a horse is absolutely breath taking. Franklin County has many options for riding one of the most popular is Caledonia State Park: Michaux Forest which is part of the Appalachian Trail.  A few other locations such as Steel House Hollow in which you can see across several valleys and Tea Berry trail (a part of South Mountain).

Located close to Franklin County is Gettysburg which gives a historical riding experience.  It’s just magical being able to ride right through Pickets Charge, Devils Den and close to the Eisenhower farm.   Another option is Rail-for-trails which was created to have a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines. This is a very popular riding trail.  There are many versatile trails in Franklin County for you to choose from.

My family and I have ridden in many other locations but Franklin County is one of our favorites simply because of the beautiful mountain trials and scenery.




Pennsylvania Tourism Partners