Harrisburg, Pa: An easy getaway from the Baltimore area [classic article]

Looking for an easy getaway? Most people these days want some laid-back fun that won’t bankrupt them for use of a gas tank. Just head up I-83 to Harrisburg and Hershey, PA for a chic city B & B, sophisticated dining, beautiful river views of the Susequehanna, and unusual shopping.

Localvore eating and drinking is all the rage and probably will be for some time. You may already be ordering Troeg’s beer in your favorite pubs… why not find out how it’s made? Visit now in Harrisburg; they’re opening new brewery visitor center in Hershey in Fall, 2011.

Hershey has much more than just roller coasters: whether you want to check out a special cooking demo, wander special gardens, learn about the history of the Hersey bar, or indulge all kinds of chocolate activities, Hershey has something to appeal to everyone.

City House B & B is a perfect place to stay while exploring the area. Located in an elegant, modernized, streamlined city mansion, you’re steps away from Pennsylvania’s glorious capitol building (with its free tours) and Harrisburg’s restaurant district. With amenities like a continental breakfast, Westin Heavenly beds, 24-hour coffee service, as well as daily local papers and erudite magazines as The Economist, this is not your grandma’s B & B. Business people love staying here!

The insider’s secret to a great homemade early or late nosh is Palumbo’s Italian Eatery. Their Grandma’s pizza, with homemade delicate tomato sauce – available by the slice – will convince you how simple can be oh-so-good.

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore looks pretty unassuming from the outside, nestled in an old neighborhood. But when you step inside of this renovated 1920’s theater, you feel like you’ve entered another world. They’re doing what other bookstores should be doing: cozy café in the entrance, lots of nooks and crannies to read, a children’s play area, live music, writers’ workshops. Plus, they have unique and interesting books that won’t make it to the box stores.

Whether you live near downtown Harrisburg or not so near, Mangia Qui is worth the drive for dinner.  They use seasonal, locally raised produce and meats to highlight the 20 different cooking styles of Italy.  Their wine list has been compiled to reflect the terroir of the regions. The cooking itself is excellent: whether you pick vegetarian, pasta, seafood, or hearty game items, you’ll love the play of fresh textures and seasonings. It’s a casual place and very popular with people in the know: make reservations.

Another place that people come from near and far is Atomic Warehouse.  It’s a vintage store and so much more! Really, you can decorate your whole home in a 50’s – ‘70’s theme, with all the appliances from there. Also, check out the way cool record collection, vintage clothes, and signs.

There’s a lot more to see and do in Harrisburg… with it being a hop, skip, and jump from Baltimore, you’ll be hearing more about it in the months ahead.

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