Five Worth the Drive
Thinking about an island getaway? We have two—along with three other refreshing retreats—all within driving distance of home.
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Urban Oasis: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
If you think that Harrisburg is a place reserved for suit-and-tie types, you might be surprised to discover that our state capital is anything but all work and no play.
Amid and just beyond the business bustle is a vibrant downtown, a family fantasy island and scenic art-centric back roads, while a luxe resort. And look for city-wide celebrations of Harrisburg’s “Susquecentennial” (harrisburg150.com).
Drive time: One and three-quarter hours.
Stay here: In Spanish, Felicita translates to “great happiness.” So does a getaway to Felicita Garden Resort (2201 Fishing Creek Valley Road, Harrisburg; 717-599-5301; felicitaresort.com), a 12-minute drive from downtown Harrisburg, which offers mountain-view rooms in a California mission-style lodge ($89 weekdays, $119 weekends) or country-style inn ($59/$70) on 750 acres of woodland and themed gardens. Continental breakfast is included. In the Felicita Room you can get a three-course dinner for $23 or five courses for $30 featuring specialties such as shrimp and crab Rockefeller. Golfers will appreciate the challenging course modeled after the legendary Augusta National ($59 weekdays, $79 weekends). And who would turn down one of the spa’s exclusive European Rose Mud Treatments? Ask about all-inclusive Spa and Golf Getaways packages.
Eat here: On downtown Harrisburg’s Second Street Restaurant Row, one of the longtime stars has been Stock’s on 2nd (211 N. Second St., 717-233-6699, stocksonsecond.com), a classy spot renowned for its upscale ($16 to generally under $30) fare—try the “oven-tanned” crab cakes. Nearby, Bricco (31 S. Third St., 717-724-0222, briccopa.com) literally has something for everyone at every price from $11-$14 stone oven pizzas, $18-$22 house-made pastas and other $24-$36 entrées (including melt-in-your-mouth short ribs).
To-do list: Just across from the Capitol via the pedestrian bridge or auto bridge is City Island (717-255-3020, harrisburgevents.com), a more than 60-acre family fantasyland complete with free guarded swimming beach and a championship-style, 18-hole mini-golf course (Water Golf, 717-232-8533; $5.75 for adults, $4.75 for children). It is also the home of the AA Eastern League-winning affiliate pro baseball team, Harrisburg Senators (senatorsbaseball.com., tickets range from $5-$10) and United Soccer League’s Harrisburg City Islanders (717-441-GOAL, $13 adults, $5 youth). Get out on the water in a kayak ($30 half day/$52 full for a single, $49-$62 for a double, $44-$57 for a canoe) from Susquehanna Outfitters (717-503-0066, susquehannaoutfitters.com). They also rent bikes beginning at $10. Or board the Pride of the Susquehanna paddlewheel riverboat (717-234-6500, harrisburgriverboat.com) for a daytime ($9 for adults, $7 for seniors, $4 for children), jazz sunset ($7) or dinner and murder mystery cruises ($42-$49.50).
Discover some of the state’s most talented artists and artisans working in fine and funky styles and media in their studios and public exhibition spaces along the Rt. 15 Byway of the Arts (rt15arts.com). Don’t miss Harrisburg’s Jason Lyons, who creates phenomenal wildlife metal sculptures out of found objects.
Thrifty Tips: Enjoy just about any and every activity on City Island.
Get a free VIP Passport to Savings with coupons for discounts on activities, dining and shopping (717-231-7788, hersheyharrisburg.org).
Enjoy three big days of special events and family fun on City Island at the free Labor Day Weekend Kipona Celebration (717-255-3020), which features a chili cook-off, live music and theater, Native American pow wow and other activities too numerous to mention.
Page 3: Grape Escape: Finger Lakes, New York