Elizabethtown Offers Attractions In Scenic Corner of Pennsylvania Dutch Country
Elizabethtown is located in the northwest corner of Lancaster County PA, part of the famed Pennsylvania Dutch country and not far from the state capital of Harrisburg. This quaint and charming town with a population of nearly 12,000 offers a number of attractions that draw both residents and visitors.
While the town was first settled in the 1730s, it wasn’t until the 1750s that a tavern owner named Captain Barnabas Hughes gave the settlement the name of his wife, according to the most commonly accepted legend (see www.etownonline.com/history). Elizatbethtown College PA (www.etown.edu/about), a private comprehensive four-year college with a student population of about 2000, was founded in 1899 by the Church of the Brethren. The church ended its association with the college in 1993, but the college still holds a high reputation for excellence as a private institution of higher learning.
One of the most prevalent recreational opportunities throughout Lancaster County, including Elizabethtown, is the rail trail. The state has developed a number of bike and walking paths along former regional rail lines, including the Conewago Recreation Trail. This five-mile-long trail, which begins just northwest of town, follows the abandoned Cornwall-Lebanon rail line located along the Conewago Creek. The trail offers a scenic and safe location to jog, bike, ride horses or just take a walk through woodlands and fields. More information can be found at www.traillink.com/trail/conewago-recreation-trail. The town’s Community Park on South Mt. Joy Street features a Fun Fort for children, an amphitheater, baseball fields and pavilions that can be rented for group activities.
Attractions and activities
One of the most popular destinations in northwest Lancaster County PA is a tour of the Nissely Vineyards and Winery Estate about 15 minutes southeast of Elizabethtown in Bainbridge, located on the banks of the Susquehanna River. The winery offers a number of special events in addition to its daily tours and its well-stocked shop. Summertime Saturday evening concerts on the estate lawn showcase area bands that might make audience members want to get up and dance. Holidays are a perfect time to visit the winery and its shop to purchase themed spirits, such as cherry wines for George Washington’s birthday. Information on the winery’s tours and events can be found at www.nissleywine.com.
Visitors who want to venture farther away from town can spend a day or more at the Hersheypark Entertainment Complex located about half an hour north. Hersheypark (www.hersheypark.com) is well-known for its numerous roller coasters and its water park. Chocolate World (www.hersheys.com/chocolateworld) near the entrance to the park tells the story of Milton Hershey’s efforts to develop a chocolate bar the world would love. Giant Center (www.giantcenter.com), the area’s largest arena, hosts star-studded musical acts as well as the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears. More Attractions and Area info in PA can be found at the various Hersheypark websites.
Elizatbethtown College PA is the site of a number of events throughout the year. These include traveling art exhibits focusing on local artists, college faculty and nationally known painters, recitals and chorale concerts by in-house and outside groups, productions by college thespians and writers’ workshops. Most of these college events are open to the public, although tickets must be purchased or reservations made ahead of time. Interested participants can find information on these particular Attractions and Area info in PA at the college website, www.etown.edu/newsandevents.