The 30-minute Harrisburg Experiment

Aerial view of Harrisburg, 1855 (courtesy of the LIbrary of Congress)

I’m usually interested in towns big enough to have a downtown, particularly when they’re capitals. A few years ago I zipped through Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (shown above; courtesy of the Library of Congress), and didn’t stop. It had a distressed, morning-after air, and in fact declared bankruptcy a couple years ago. Later, I once said anything place can be interesting — except for Harrisburg. … Read on

Top 2 Civil War Things to Do

The Civil War is 150, which means four years of particularly robust re-enactments and a lot of new Civil War books. Even a CD or two. Here are two things I recommend doing to tribute the occasion: 1. WATCH ‘SHERMAN’S MARCH’Do you know this 1986 documentary? At nearly three hours, it’s way too long, but simply impossible to stop looking at once you … Read on

College Game Day: State College

Is State College the most literal city name of all time? Personally I’ve always longed for the chance for three things: * Designing a state or country flag* Naming a sports franchise* Designing the uniforms of a sports franchise So when I see uninspired choices — state quarters, the post-Soviet Russian flag, the Oklahoma City Thunder!? — I get uppity. Generally speaking, I … Read on

How do Civil War Re-enactors Pick Who Dies First?

WHAT TRAVEL TEACHES If you’re like me at all, you’ve spent countless nights burning trying to solve an immortal question: at Civil War and other battle re-enactments, who dies first? Are newbloods asked to shed theirs as the cannonballs begin to fly? Or do those tardy with dues drop early? Or is it just the unlucky, the worn out, or — after a … Read on