Like a fine wine (as the saying goes), Harrisburg ages well. Just take a stroll through the 150-year-old, intact, downtown area of Harrisburg. Historic buildings that speak to Harrisburg's central role in trade and culture in Pennsylvania, are still full of restaurants and retailers. This is a city that seems that defy time. Even the Kipona Art Fest-- exactly the kind of event trendy in younger cities than Harrisburg-- is one of the oldest waterfront festivals in the country. It has also received recognition from Pennsylvanians as one of the top festivals in the state. In that sense Harrisburg is ahead of its time. Downtown Harrisburg is the heart of the city, and you will while away many a day exploring it. We can't blame you: walking along the river is a beautiful way to spend a crisp fall afternoon. You can replenish yourself afterwards with a visit one of the restaurants on Harrisburg's trademark restaurant row.
This vitality doesn't come from nowhere. It's built on a solid foundation of diversified industry. In contrast to many of its neighbors, the economy in the city of Harrisburg is doing well. It's not hard to see why, when companies headquartered in the area are as diverse as the well-known candy giant Hershey's Foods, Rite Aid, EDS, and Tyco Electronics.
At some point, though, you'll be curious about the past. What are Harrisburg's contributions to America? There are many, as it turns out. For starters, the area played a substantial role in the Civil War. Harrisburg was the site of the largest mustering camp in the north, the starting point from which Union soldiers departed to battle. The National Civil War Museum is even located here. Affliated with the Smithsonian, and proclaiming itself the only unbiased museum dedicated to the impact of this bloody period of our nation's history, this museum is worth a visit from even the history-phobes in your family. Since it is situated at the top of the hill looking into Harrisburg, the Museum might even make a good first stop as you explore your new home. From the hilltop, the whole of Harrisburg, and the panorama of the Susquehanna River, is laid out before you. A relatively short drive away, you'll find the Gettysburg Battlefield, site of one of the most significant battles of the war.
Almost rivaling the National Civil War Museum in local significance is the Fort Hunter Mansion and Park, located on another hilltop overlooking the Susquehanna. The Park is many things-- but first of all, it is 40 untouched acres of land along the river. Outdoors types come here (plus or minus a tour of the grounds and mansion) to experience the beauty of the Pennsylvania countryside. But that's not even half the story of Fort Hunter. This mansion and its grounds have lived nine lives, and each of those lives offers information about life in Pennsylvania through the past three centuries. It doesn't hurt that the grounds-- like the park itself-- are strikingly beautiful.
Not surprising, with its natural beauty and connection to history, Harrisburg is a fertile ground for art and artists. To get a taste, visit the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, to see everyone from Ingrid Michaelson, Arlo Guthrie, and the Indigo Girls, who have performed here, to unusual art installations. This is your one-stop shop for the arts in Harrisburg. Artists strive to display their work in the long-standing exhibition "Art on the Curved Wall," which refers to the center's trademark curved wall, designed to draw one's eye to the art on display. If you tend to be more left-brained, you may be more interested in the Big Science Theatre, located in the same complex, where trained actors present science in an engaging, natural way.
This town will make a great home for you and your family. Let us help you take the first step toward owning a new home in Harrisburg.
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