I used to live for vacations. Those once or twice a year excursions, much anticipated, planned in great detail, and over all too soon. And then I decided to make my own adventures and take advantage of a location that many choose for their vacations. Welcome to Pennsylvania. Home to Hershey, Gettysburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and so much more. C’mon in, let me show you around.
King’s Gap Park, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania
Located near the Appalachian Trail, King’s Gap State Park was my latest impromptu destination. The day was sunny and cool and the leaves were oh-so-beautiful and it seemed as ideal destination for two Vespa-riders.
The road to King’s Gap winds you up and around until you arrive at Cameron-Masland Mansion, complete with amazing vista of Cumberland County. Built in the early 1900’s as a summer home, the mansion hosts a variety of events, including weddings, throughout the year. The day my husband and I arrived, the park officials were out in force, meeting and greeting. An educational display was set up so that the kiddos could learn about the local wildlife, but the real star of the day was the view. Take a look for yourself.
Check out the park’s calendar of events to get the inside skinny on what’s coming up next. In the fall, events get folks out looking for owls, running with ghouls and generally having a great time outside. One year in May, the mansion hosted an unforgettable Mother’s Day brunch, complete with spectacular views off the back porch.
The 2500+ acre park on South Mountain offers hikers more than 16 miles of trails to explore, in addition to offering a beautiful environmental education center. Add to that the park is dog-friendly, and you’ve got the perfect day. When we visit sans Vespas, the beagles truly enjoy their romp through the leaves, occasionally catching the scent of local critters, sending them into paroxysms of pure joy. Scent makes their world go round!
But some days, you just want to enjoy the ride. And the ice cream.
The sound of the leaves rustling under foot in every shade of red and gold. Bright green, springy moss and squirrels chasing each other across the path. On this particular day, we met a few families enjoying the trail, and a huge yellow English Labrador Retriever who was more than happy to have a friendly stranger rub his head. Although there are special events, that Saturday, it was just a group of folks looking to be outside in the same beautiful place.
Back down the mountain we went, helmets on, cruising through sunlight and shadow. Back on the main road, a general store sits across from the park entrance. Well-used picnic tables sit out front as it’s a popular half-way point on the Appalachian Trail, and tradition demands through hikers eat a half-gallon of ice cream to commemorate the occasion. We settled for ice cream sandwiches, pretzels and conversation with a cyclist named Rabbit from Massachusetts.
Travel local, travel often.
In our quest to go on vacation, we often miss the adventures waiting just under our noses. I’ll be doing a lot more adventuring locally in the coming year, and I invite you to stop back and get a few ideas for yourself as well. Life is too short to wait for vacation once or twice a year. Come ride the dime with me; there’s lots to see and do here.
King’s Gap State Park, PA
King’s Gap Calendar of Events
King’s Gap Trail Map
Hungry? Check out Trip Advisor’s list of 10 Restaurants Near King’s Gap