Washington Really DID Sleep Here:
Historic Bedford and Schellsburg
"[The Excise Act] will let loose a swarm of harpies, who, under the denomination
of revenue officers, will range through the country, prying into every man's house
and affairs, and like a Macedonian phalanx bear down all before them."
--Josiah Parker, member of Congress, 1791







Bedford County, Pennsylvania, has a rich and storied history dating back to the French and Indian War. It is best known around here, however, as President Washington's headquarters during the Whisky Rebellion of 1794. What was the Whisky Rebellion, you ask? The first of a long stream of mini-revolutions in the early days of the United States - amazingly, an effective one. The Excise Act was eventually repealed, although a national tax system went into effect during the Civil War and today we have national taxes on liquor, tobacco, gasoline, and income despite a heritage of revolt against such impositions. As the old saying goes, the only sure things in life are death and taxes!

Events on Memorial Day Weekend, July 4 Weekend, and Labor Day Weekend - stay tuned for details and plan to visit me during our 200th anniversary celebration year.

Right here in Schellsburg, there's a terrific walking tour of the town's 18th and 19th century buildings. 83% of the buildings in town predate the 20th century and many of them have been restored by their current owners. My house isn't listed on the tour, but it dates from 1859 and was the first house in town to have a parlor stove - a mark of the esteem in which the Lutheran congregation held their pastor!

A good portion of Schellsburg is devoted to Shawnee State Park. With a 450 acre man-made lake with restrictions on motorized boats, the park offers swimming, fishing, kayaking, and canoeing as well as picnic sites, walking, hiking, and biking trails. The campsites for trailers and tents are spacious and inexpensive. This is a gem among gems in the area!

We even have a winery in the outlying area of Schellsburg. The Helixville Winery folks make Chamborcin, Fredonia, Riesling (I'll have to try this soon; I love Riesling!), Catawba (an excellent sweet white wine with nice fruity depth), and Niagara wines with more coming as the grape vines mature.

Local Sites West of Schellsburg

  • A half mile after the traffic light in town on U.S. 3o, you will come to the Schellsburg cemetery and the Old Log Church on the left. Built in 1806 as the first building of the German Reformed Church of Schellsburg, the Old Log Church is quite literally the mother church of the United Church of Schellsburg. I was privileged to participate in the bicentennial celebration over June 24 and 25 this year; the pictures at the left are from the dedication of the new tombstone for our town founder, John Schell.
  • Continuing away from Schellsburg, in .5 mile on the left you will see the entrance to Living Waters Camp and Conference Center, a ministry of the Penn West Conference of the United Church of Christ.
  • Also headed that way out of Schellsburg, a mile past Living Waters, you can stop in at the Bison Corral, which will be on your left. Rich and Ann Darrow own this unique range, which spans both sides of the highway. They have a gift shop on site as well as the Guest House for overnight visitors.
  • See the WEST page for more sights and activities.

Bedford Attractions

  • You can find a great deal of information about Bedford and the surrounding area at the Bedford County Visitor's Bureau website.
  • Old Bedford Village is our local recreation of frontier times here on the edge of civilization. We aren't the edge of civilization now, but in the late 1700's and early 1800's, this was the frontier, and even just before the Civil War, this area was more like what you'd see on Little House on the Prairie than anything else.
  • The Fort Bedford Museum celebrates Fort Bedford, a structure built by the British in 1758 to protect the Forbes Road, which connected Philadelphia to Fort Duquesne, what is now Pittsburgh.
  • The Bedford County Fair runs from the 20th to the 27th of July in 2008. For the racing enthusiast, there are tractor pulls and stock car races along with the requisite demolition derbies along the way. Animal shows and craft shows are on tap every day and you know from Charlotte's Web what food is like at the fair!
  • Entertainment and handicrafts serve as the backdrop to the color of the leaves during the Bedford Fall Foliage Festival annually over the first two weekends of October (October 4-5 and 11-12 this year). About half of my congregation is involved in some way in the many activities around downtown Bedford those two weekends, including me. I work in the Schellsburg Lions Club trailer selling buffalo burgers, sausage, and hotdogs with other side items.

Bedford County Attractions

  • The most unusual attraction in Bedford County is Gravity Hill, a marvel of nature that has to be seen to be believed. There actually is an explanation for it, but I'm not telling even when you come to visit!
  • Bedford County has an array of orchards to visit any time of the year. Fall is best, of course, because the fruit is in season, but many of the orchards have farm stands during the summer, too. You may even be eating Bedford County apples and pears from your local supermarket - we ship all over the country and the world from here!
  • For my golfing friends, you have a choice of 6 courses in the county and one just over the border into Maryland, which happens to be a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course (which I presume means it's not a good course for duffers!).
  • Campers can choose from several different campgrounds in the area, including Shawnee State Park (link above), the Friendship Village Campground and RV Park, and the Shawnee Sleepy Hollow Campground.
Home Tourist Blog The Shrubbery