The Franklin County Visitors Bureau celebrates Spring into History Month and invites the public to explore Franklin County.
April is Spring into History Month at the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center. Buds are popping and days are sunny and warm. It is a good time to travel one of Franklin County’s many trails. Pick up the Stitches in Time Barn Quilt Trail to discover acre after acres of farmland, beautiful vistas, and amazing examples of the Cumberland Valley bank barn. Meander across Franklin County and step back to early American forts and settlements on the Frontier Franklin County Driving Tour. Explore military history from the pre-Revolutionary period to present day on the Franklin County Military Trail of History Self- Guided Tour.
For the more active explorer, Franklin County communities offer downtown walking tours of the five communities of Chambersburg, Greencastle, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, and Waynesboro. Each community’s downtown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other active opportunities include a Biking Tour of French & Indian War Sites in Southwest Franklin County or The South Mountain Road to Freedom Hike on a piece of the Appalachian Trail. Download these walks, hikes, and biking routes here. https://www.explorefranklincountypa.com/home/fcvb-publications/
Historic sites throughout Franklin County offer a variety of programs during April. Explore more at one of these upcoming events:
Conococheague Institute offers free programs every Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM. Easter Games on April 8, Earth Day conservation on April 22, and Arrowheads and Archery hunting techniques on April 29.
Allison-Antrim Museum welcomes Bonnie Shockey to present “The UGRR and the Anderson Family of Antrim Township” at 7 pm in the German Bank Barn of the museum grounds.
Fort Loudoun is having a Tree Planting Day on April 15, 8 AM to 2 PM.
Franklin County Historical Society presents certified genealogist Pam Anderson presenting “Researching Franklin County House Histories” at the Grove Family Library.
All our free events. View more events in April here.
The Conococheague Institute near Mercersburg, PA has announced a new exciting event for the Spring season, made possible by a generous sponsorship by F&M Trust. On Saturday April 15th from 10am to 4pm, the event Get to Know Nature: Learning then Conservingwill take place at this beautiful 30-acre site.
The theme of the event is understanding nature and conservation (and its global impact), in advance of Earth Day 2023 the following Saturday. CI has been partnered with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Conococheague Audubon Society for many years, and so is no stranger to tree plantings, native plants and birding walks. What makes this event special is the F&M Trust sponsorship that has enabled two incredible new components: A Live Creature program by Wonderfully Wild, and a Birds of Prey and Falconry Demonstration by Miller’s Falconry.
The event will also feature the Franklin County Library Bookmobile, CBF tree plantings, Conococheague Audubon talks, medicinal plant walks, pollinator crafts, StoneHouse History offering 18th century life in the cabins, as well as other craft vendors and activities.
Matthew Wedd CI’s Executive Director explained how the event grew in the planning stages. “We’ve been doing free programming and events for two years now with great success, relying on the skills and dedication of our volunteers and staff. To make this event stand out from the rest, we had to think about what we COULDN’T do ourselves…and animal handling is definitely that! Both the animal program and falconry are going to be a really unique aspect for all ages. I myself will be in the front row to hold a python or look into the eye of an owl up close. The F&M Trust sponsorship is what made this happen as these talented handlers will be paid for the program they provide and to care for their creatures. We’re incredibly thankful for their support.”
The activities planned will be an incredible draw especially for younger children who are always amazed at the beauty of nature up close, but the day’s theme on educating everyone on the wonders of the natural world, and the need to protect it through conservation will be woven into every program. Most of the activities will be ongoing throughout the day but the Wonderfully Wild creature program will be held at 11am in the Visitor Center, and the Miller’s Falconry flight demonstration will be at 1pm at the large field adjacent to the cabins.
The program will be free to all, with donations being accepted for parking and programming support.
Upcoming on February 18 at Conococheague Institute (CI) is a presentation about frontier hunting in the cabin, with a variety of pelts and weapons. Firelock demonstrations will occur at 11am, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.
Then, on February 25, Conococheague presents a special Black History Month program with guest historian Marvin A Greer. Engage in open talk on slavery in the cabin while we explore dishes commonly prepared by the enslaved living in the region. Join Marvin and CI’s Sam Cathey in paying respect to the untold story of an enslaved community on the frontier and their resilience.
Our programs are free to all thanks to your generous support. For more on CI, visit www.cimlg.org.
Since 2020, the Conococheague Institute (a 30 acre historic site located near Mercersburg, PA) has been offering free 18th Century Living History programs every Saturday year round. This consistent community resource has seen the organization grow in popularity with increased visitation. As such, the organizatio was named the 2022 Non-Profit of the Year with its Executive Director being named the 2022 Educator of the Year through the Cumberland Valley Business Alliance.
Now as part of the organization’s growth, the Conococheague Institute (CI) will be offering additional changing-themed programs every month, to make each visit a new experience. From 10am to 5pm, the museum offers exhibits and life demonstrations (living history) of 18th Century frontier life such as gardening, hearth cooking and crafts. Visitors can draw water from a well, play period games in the tavern, try on colonial fashions or help out in the kitchen garden.
The new monthly themed programs are in addition to this ongoing living history. The organization’s website and social media will be updated with what’s going on including spinning wheel workshops, butter making, archery, nature crafts, tree plantings and weapons demonstrations. The new monthly themed programs will have varying times from all day workshops, to timed hikes, or scheduled hour demonstrations.
CI’s Executive Director Matthew Wedd explained “People have been loving our views into frontier life with our living history, and that will continue: Our garden and cabins need regular attention after all. But these new themed months will allow us to explore more diverse topics, and utilize all of our cultural and natural resources. We tested it last November for Native American Heritage Month. We had a special program on Indigenous uses of medical plants, and another on Arrowheads and Archery. Both were very popular and the latter created great connections between our more traditional museum exhibits that include 100’s of Indigenous lithics, and our-hands on history with archery sessions. We also noticed that adults wanted to try a new skill as much as the kids.
Combining our living history, exhibits, these new themed programs and our nature trails and dog walks makes it even more appealing to spend an entire day here with your family”. The new themed programs will also allow for more guest educators such as birding groups, craftspeople and lecturers.
In January, programs on calligraphy, spinning and distaffs, winter bird feeders and a cloak making workshop have all been scheduled. Programs planned for February will explore the lives of enslaved people on the frontier during Black History Month. Some programs may require an RSVP to organize program supplies, but the Conococheague Institute looks forward to exploring even more subjects with its community. For more information on CI and the new programs, contact email@example.com.
Franklin County Visitors Bureau thanks supporters for making the 3rd Annual Festival of Trees a success. Hosted at the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center in downtown Chambersburg, Festival of Trees raised $2700 for the Cumberland Valley Breast Care Alliance. It attracted more than 2500 visitors during the two-week period. Visitors from Michigan, New York, Florida, DC, and the tri-state area of Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania enjoyed 33 beautifully decorated trees and wreaths.
The beauty and success of Festival of Trees would not be possible without the decorators of the 2021 event. FCVB extends special appreciation to these decorators: the shop, Cumberland Valley School of Music, Mr. Phab Photos, Renfrew Museum & Park, Yoga with Melissa, Martin’s Potato Rolls, Conococheague Institute, Chambersburg Frontier Girls #576, Penn State Mont Alto Student Government Association, Coyle Free Library, Council for the Arts, Rotary Club of Chambersburg, OSI, Totem Pole Playhouse, Middletown Valley Bank, Carly Patla – Iron Valley Real Estate, ReMax Prestige Shippensburg and Carlisle, Franklin County Certified Tourism Ambassadors, Chambersburg Hearing, Shafer Equipment Co., Chambersburg Quilt Guild, Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce, Boys and Girls Club of Chambersburg and Shippensburg, Cumberland Valley Breast Care Alliance, Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce, Willian F. Sellers Funeral Home, The Pet Store, YMCA of Chambersburg, Conococheague Audubon, F&M Trust, Dile Family, Marco, and Twin Bridge Campground.
The 4th Annual Festival of Trees is set to open on Saturday, November 19, 2022, and run through the First Friday of December—December 2, 2022. The event will be hosted in the lobby and Great Room of the 11/30 Visitors Center, formerly a bank from 1865 to 2015. FCVB hopes to increase the display to 50 trees and wreaths and again raise funds to support the Cumberland Valley Breast Care Alliance.