East of Eden (or Schellsburg, which is doggone close!)


If you are as happy entering the White House as I shall feel on returning to Wheatland,
then you are a happy man indeed.
--President James Buchanan to his successor, Abraham Lincoln, 1861.

The portrait is of James Buchanan, Pennsylvania's only native son to be President.







Frank Lloyd Wright

Between Schellsburg and Philadelphia, American history unfolds with every turn of the road.

Philadelphia and sites within the immediate metropolitan area are about a 3.5 hour drive from here on the Penn Turnpike. Brandywine National Battlefield Park and Valley Forge National Historical Park, both Revolutionary War sites, should be included in any trip to the City of Brotherly Love.

Day trips from here are primarily based around individual towns and their various attractions.

  • A little less than 2 hours to the east is the city of Gettysburg. Naturally, one important stop while there is the Gettysburg National Military Park, site of the bloody 1863 battle during which Robert E. Lee's Confederate forces were turned back just enough to prevent further incursion into Union territory, thereby effectively sealing the fate of the South. The Park includes Gettysburg National Cemetery, which was carved out of the town's Evergreen Cemetery after the battle. President Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address in the Evergreen Cemetery, as work on the battle cemetery was ongoing at the time of its dedication. (Click here for my initial photojournal of the GNMP.) The battlefields are not the only attractions in town, however; railroad enthusiasts will enjoy the Gettysburg Scenic Railway, which includes a rail tour along Seminary Ridge and other battle sites. The campus of Gettysburg College was a site of battle on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg and one of its main buildings served as a hospital during the battle.
  • Chambersburg suffered the same fate as Atlanta during the Civil War. It was the only Union city to be burned by Confederate forces for failure to pay ransom, although the damage done by Union forces to areas of the Shenandoah Valley made such retaliation easier for the troops ordered to set fire to the city.
  • From the sublime to the ridiculous: if Gettysburg gets overwhelming, come home to Schellsburg via U.S. Route 30 and stop in at Mr. Ed's Elephant Museum in Ortanna.
  • About 2 hours east just off the Penn Turnpike you'll come to Lancaster, the Heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country™. (I didn't know it was trademarked until I went to the website, honest!) You have to go to Intercourse just to say you've been there, though you can take a buggy ride to have a reason to go besides the hysteria of the name itself. There are hot air balloons and train rides in Strasburg, helicopter tours in Lititz, and a Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster. Eventually, I'll be a doctoral student at Lancaster Theological Seminary someday, probably. James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States, was born in Mercersburg and had an estate, Wheatland, in Lancaster.
  • One note of caution: if you go to Amish country during manure spreading season, close all your windows and your outside vents before you get there. If you need to know why, don't follow this advice. You'll know why very quickly.
Geographically, Harrisburg and Hershey are more north than east, so you will find information about attractions in those parts of Dutch Country on the NORTH page of this website.
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