While the Civil War dominated the headlines, life continued on as normal as possible for everyday citizens. Farmers still had fields to tend, blacksmiths forged their wares, and families worked, traveled, and went to school. This roadtrip takes you on an adventure into the daily lives of 19th century folks who were doing their best to maintain a regular life. Along the way you’ll learn about blacksmithing, agriculture and even the timepieces our ancestors wore. This roadtrip will allow you to glimpse daily life in the years 1861 to 1865.
News from the Home Front
News from the Home Front
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site - Berks County
The Hopewell Furnace was a fixture of Pennsylvania’s ironworking industry for over a century. Folks would come to the blacksmiths here seeking their craftsmanship in everything from pots, to cannonballs, to the famous Hopewell stove. When it comes to integration, the Furnace was ahead of its time, employing workers of every background, including African Americans, Irish, and other Europeans. These days, the historic industrial village is open for your exploration. Stop by and travel back in time to Pennsylvania’s rustic roots.
The National Watch & Clock Museum - Columbia
Right on the edge of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, you’ll find the National Watch and Clock Museum. These halls are lined with timepieces that stretch back into history, from Civil War era pocket watches to modern day atomic clocks. As you stroll around, catch a few snapshots of the beautifully crafted grandfather clocks, and shimmering watches. One must-see timepiece is the Engle Clock, a complex monument that took 20 years to build. That’s a lot of time! With over 12,000 items under one roof, it’s hard not to spend hours sifting through these exhibits.
President Buchanan’s Wheatland House - Lancaster
On the grounds of the beautiful Louise Tanger Arboretum, you’ll find the home of the 15th President of the United States. James Buchanan preceded Abraham Lincoln’s term and was in office as South Carolina and Georgia seceded from the Union causing tensions to rise between the North and South. President Buchanan called this beautiful four-acre park “Wheatland”. Today it stands restored to its 1856 glory. Inside, visitors are greeted with many of the home’s original furnishings and architecture. Wheatland gives a rare glimpse of the Civil War era lifestyle of one of the nation’s most controversial Presidents.
Lancaster Quilt and Textile Museum - Lancaster
The Lancaster Quilt & Textile Museum and the Heritage Center Museum are located in the heart of Lancaster City’s vibrant arts community, just steps away from Central Market. The collections reflect the influences of Lancaster’s 18th century English and German origins, and the assimilation of their techniques. While Lancaster is often viewed as “sheltered” by the outside world, the works depict centuries of influences from artisan neighbors and travelers from other faiths and cultures. The Lancaster Quilt & Textile Museum’s galleries feature the renowned collection of antique Amish Quilts from the former Esprit Collection and Christmas in Lancaster in our Christmas gallery. Guided tours available.
The Heritage Center Museum & Print Shop - Lancaster
The Heritage Center Museum collects, preserves, and interprets Lancaster County Pennsylvania's history and decorative arts through its permanent collection, annual exhibitions, and educational programs. From folk art to elegant portraits, see the visual works that decorated the homes and reflected the lives of the people who have called Lancaster County home through the years. And visitors can learn about the history of printing through the regularly scheduled demonstrations at the museum’s print shop.
Agricultural and Industrial Museum - York
Step outside the car, take a nice, big stretch, and check out the view of historic York. This town has an amazing history of innovation and industriousness. The Industrial and Agricultural Museum invites visitors to experience the untold stories of York’s achievements. One of those achievements is the evolution of public roads during the war, making an easier and quicker path for the movement of troops. The museum itself is a growing, multi-building complex featuring hands-on exhibits of industrial artifacts from the early 19th century up to present times. Take a stroll around the place with a self-guided tour or sit down with the family for a special “Lunch and Learn” family exhibit where you’ll get the scoop on planting, harvesting, and other agricultural activities. Their programs and workshops give you ample opportunities to get your hands dirty (figuratively) like the early York residents.
Eat Here: Prudhomme's Lost Cajun Kitchen - Columbia
This Columbia staple brings old southern Cajun cuisine to "Yankee" territory. The owners and operators, David and Sharon Prudhomme (tell them we sent you) are kin to the famous Louisiana Cajun chef, Paul Prudhomme. David and Sharon opened the restaurant in a building that was once a boarding house for railroaders and a speakeasy, on the downtown corner of Route 30 and Cherry Street. Come for the spicy, plentiful dishes, stay for the infectious karaoke (oh, and monthly Sinatra Night, if you're lucky). We assume you’ll be mighty full after your Cajun dinner in Columbia. Prudhomme's is just a few short miles on Rt. 30 from your hotel (and bed) located on the beautiful town square of another famous PA Dutch Country town: Lancaster.
Sleep Here: Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square
It's a brand new, landmark hotel sitting proud amongst the vibrant Lancaster city streets. You're walking distance to Gallery Row and the Arts District where you can experience firsthand the flourishing downtown arts scene. And right next door is Central Market, the oldest, continuously operated farmers market in the United States and a perfect place to grab breakfast before starting another day of your Civil War Trails journey.