Let’s Hike

Let’s Hike

Hiking – one of the most liberating and exhilarating recreational activities in which someone can take part. It adds a source of stress relief and the ability to isolate yourself in pure serenity. It can also help with building a sense of self-discipline as well as organization!

Did you know that this county contains a plethora of different parks and trails? Franklin County is a perfect place to be one with nature and explore. From Caledonia and Michaux State, to Cowans Gap State Park, to Mont Alto State Park, there are more than enough choices for a fantastic hiking experience.

When hiking, it is always important to be safe and build a checklist of essentials. Following are considerations for a short or longer hike.

Short Distance

  • Navigation Tools (Trail Maps/Compass)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Multi-Tool
  • Hydration Source (32 oz Water/Electrolyte Fluid)
  • Trail Food (Nutritional bars, jerky, nuts/grains, something carbohydrate dense/super foods)
  • Hiking Shoes/Boots or durable sneakers
  • Sun Protection
  • Utility pack for carrying essentials

Long Distance

  • All Items listed above
  • Fire Starting Source (Emergency Use)
  • Signaling Device
  • Light Source (Headlamp, Flashlight)
  • Repair Kit (Duct Tape, Paracord, Plastic bags, Etc.)
  • Increased hydration carrying capacity (64+ oz)
  • Increased trail food content

Here’s hoping everyone can soon be back to taking a hike in Franklin County. Now is a good time to be thinking about the gear you need and looking forward to traveling the trails of Franklin County.

Hiking Word Find

Girl Hiker Coloring Page

Story contributed by Evan Crider

Find the Foto

Find the Foto

Let’s play hide and seek! The folks at the Franklin County Visitors Bureau have hidden an image on ExploreFranklinCountyPA.com, and we need you to find it on the website. This week’s hide and seek item is a picture of a daffodil–pretty, yellow daffodils. (Please see the original picture here….HINT HINT: It is hot.)

Test your observational skills. Can you find it? If you do, please make a screen snip of it and email Leisa at lmccracken@explorefranklincountypa.com. Not only will you be able to say you “Found It on ExploreFranklinCountyPA.com,” but you will be entered to win a $20 gift card/certificate from a Franklin County business. (FCVB will mail your prize to you, so we can keep up the fun and winning even when we are practicing social distancing!)

Each Wednesday, a different picture will be hidden on ExploreFranklinCountyPA.com. READY…SET…Find the Daffodil!


Mercersburg Academy Chapel

Mercersburg Academy Chapel

Towering over the quaint town of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, The Irvine Chapel at the Mercersburg Academy was erected between 1924-1926.  Designed by Ralph Adam Cram, The Chapel is filled with oak carvings and contains 36 unique stained-glass windows designed and executed by 8 different stained-glass makers from England, Ireland and the United States.  It was dedicated in 1926 to the memory of the Mercersburg Alumni killed in World War I and to the mothers that had sent their children to the Mercersburg Academy.  The Chapel was rededicated in 1993 as the Irvine Memorial Chapel.

One of 163 traditional carillons in the United States, The Swoope Carillon in Barker Tower contains 50 bells. The original 43 bronze bells were cast in 1926, a gift of Henry B. Swoope (1900).  The bells contain bits of historic metal collected worldwide by alumni and friends of the school, including copper coins, metal from the ship “Old Ironsides,” pieces of artillery shells gathered from the fields of France in World War I, a shaving from the Liberty Bell, and bits from Admiral Nelson’s flagship at Trafalgar, “HMS Victory. “The addition of 6 new upper bells added in 1996, brought the total to 49 bells ranging in size from 10 pounds to more than three-and-a-half tons, which ranks it 43rd in weight of the largest (lowest pitched) bell. The carillon’s tower was named in honor of Bryan Baker, who played it for more than five decades, in 1978. In 2003, the 50th bell was added and dedicated to James W. Smith.

Story contributed by Leisa McCracken

Fun For Kid & Adult Colorers:  Mercersburg Academy Chapel Coloring Sheet

James Buchanan Memorial

James Buchanan Memorial

Nestled along Route 16 in the Tuscarora mountain range is large stone monument marking the birthplace of our 15th president, James Buchanan, born on the site in 1792. The monument is the centerpiece of the Buchanan Birthplace State Park and marks the location, known as Stony Batter, where the Buchanan family homestead once stood.

The monument, shaped like a pyramid, was built of native stone from the architectural design of Baltimore firm Wyatt and Nolting. It is 38 -ft. square and 31-ft. high. It contains 50 tons of hammered American gray granite and 600 tons of native rubble and mortar make up the pyramid.  Construction of the pyramid began in October 1907 and concluded in mid-November 1907. The Pennsylvania General Assembly of 1911 accepted the monument from the trust of Harriet Lane Johnston and Buchanan’s Birthplace State Park was formally established.

It is one-of-a kind!

Old postcard view shows the James Buchanan Memorial at the James Buchanan Birthplacde State Park.

Buchanan Memorial Coloring Page

Bees are the BEST!

Bees are the BEST!

Franklin County appreciates BEES! Bees pollinate enough vegetable plants to make Franklin County a top PA producer of vegetables and are integral to the county’s fruit production, too.

A good way to attract bees is by planting herbs and flowers. Some good herbs to plant include chives, mint, lavender, thyme, and oregano.  Crocus, bee balm, and zinnias are good flowers. Try making your own newspaper pots. Find instructions here on how on ExploreFranklinCountyPA’s Fun in Franklin County page.

Kingsland Apiary – Bee Enablers shared these coloring pages:

A Bee

Bees at Work

Bee Keeper at Work

Emmanuel Chapel

Emmanuel Chapel

The image above is a photo of a mid-1900 postcard. Read more about the Chapel. For young and young at heart, enjoy the coloring sheet.

Emmanuel Chapel on the campus of Penn State Mont Alto reaches back more than 165 years to a time when the campus was part of the Mont Alto Ironworks, which operated from 1807 to 1893.

The corner stone of Emmanuel Chapel was laid June 23, 1854 and the chapel was dedicated on November 3, 1854. It was at this time that the Mont Alto Ironworks was a prime producer of iron ore and the largest employer on the South Mountain.

From spring through fall of 1859, John Brown traveled throughout Franklin County. He presented himself as an owner of a mining operation and used the alias of Isaac Smith. During Brown’s time in Franklin County, he attended services at Emmanuel Chapel, and it is believed to have been the last place he worshipped before leading the Raid on Harpers Ferry.

Rev. William Parker Neal wrote a publication about the Chapel and its historical connections. Penn State purchased Emmanuel Chapel from the Episcopal Diocese of South-Central PA in 1992 for $1. The chapel was rehabilitated at a cost of $325,000, retaining the structure as an artifact of American history.

Emmanuel Chapel Coloring Page