Adams County, PA. Orchards and Highlands Loop
The Journey begins at a covered bridge and visits a stop on the Underground Railroad. There are breathtaking views
of Adams County’s Orchard Belt nestled below South Mountain, and a stop at one of the Journey’s architectural wonders, the Historic Round Barn and Farm Market in Cashtown. While on the way, you can stop at a scenic winery and follow A.P. Hill’s steps along Old Route 30 to the front porch (or the pub) of the Cashtown Inn.
Distance: 45 miles.
From Lincoln Square, follow Springs Avenue four blocks,climbing Seminary Ridge, to the intersection with Confederate Avenue/Seminary Ridge. Turn left, and after crossing Route 116, continue about two miles south on West Confederate Avenue, which borders the western edge of the battlefield. In addition to monuments, there is an observation tower from which to view the Union line. Turn right onto Millerstown Road (which becomes Pumping Station Road), passing the Eisenhower National Historic Site on the left—tours of the Eisenhower Farm depart from the battlefield visitor center. Just after crossing Marsh Creek, turn left onto Scotts Road and go about two hundred yards to the bridge parking area.
Sach’s Covered Bridge.
Take some time to wander on the bridge, noting the intricate lattice work construction. Built in 1852, Sach’s Bridge is more than a charming artifact. Standing on the bridge, you can imagine the caissons and cannon rumbling over the wooden planks. The bridge was preserved by the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
To continue, turn left on Pumping Station Road and enjoy the view of tidy Adams County farmland. In about 1.5 miles, turn right onto Camp Gettysburg Road. Then at Route 116, turn left toward Fairfield. As you approach Fairfield, the Appalachians appear on
the horizon. Just outside the village of Fairfield, turn right onto Carroll Tract Road, then take the first left onto Mt. Hope Road. Strawberry Hill. Morton Salt heiress Frances Morton Froelicher and her husband Hans purchased Strawberry Hill as a rustic retreat in 1960. Today, Strawberry Hill Nature Center and Preserve encompasses more than six hundred acres of mountain streams below Mount Hope.
Return to Route 116, and turn right into the village of Fairfield. In addition to the Historic Fairfield Inn, there is a casual Italian/pizza place, an authentic little diner, and, at the far end of town on the left, a quiet coffee shop serving terrific sandwiches.
After a stroll in Fairfield, backtrack on Route 116 to Camp Gettysburg Road and turn left onto Knoxlyn Road, passing the lovely Lower Marsh Presbyterian Church, built in 1790. In 1.4 miles, turn left onto Knoxlyn-Orrtanna and soon enter orchard country, where rolling hills stretch into the distance. A fixture of the Adams County landscape for centuries, the Orchard Belt’s growers are being overwhelmed by imported fruit. If you like the view, eat some apples available at the family orchards along the drive. At the Knouse Food Cooperative, turn right on Orrtanna Road and follow it for about two miles to a four-way stop. Turn left onto Scott School Road. The immediate right is Bingaman Road—you will return to this after a stop at Adams County Winery. Follow the signs. Adams County Winery. At the end of a country lane, the winery is a scenic spot for a tasting and a picnic. You can purchase snacks for a fancy picnic under the pines.
Leaving the winery, backtrack to Bingaman Road and turn left. You’ll need to pull over to enjoy the views of South Mountain and Cashtown Pass above the endless orchards. In two miles, reach Old Route 30. Turn right and follow the same road Confederate columns took into Gettysburg. About two miles down the road, you can stop for a rest where the troops bivouacked Cashtown Inn. The inn has been serving travelers coming through the pass since 1797. It served as the Gettysburg headquarters for Confederate General A.P. Hill. There are gardens to stroll and a porch for sitting. For a special treat on a summer’s day, have a glass of the house raspberry iced tea out on the porch swing.
At High Street, turn left and proceed across Route 30 to the Round Barn Market on Cashtown Road.
The Round Barn
This architectural marvel was built at the height of the round barn era in 1914. Now owned by Knouse Fruitlands, the barn is a market for a huge variety of fruits, berries, vegetables, and an assortment of jams and other farm bounty. Stop by in autumn for cider pressing. Kids enjoy the farm animals outside.Men just like looking at the barn.
If you’re totally wiped out at this point, you can follow Route 30 east back into Gettysburg, but you will miss incredible scenery. To continue on the scenic drive, follow Route 30 west two miles to Route 234 (Buchanan Valley Road). Turn right, then take an immediate right onto Church Road. Follow Church Road over Mount Newman, past the quaint St. Ignatius Loyola Church, built in 1816, to rejoin Buchanan Valley Road in about three miles. Turn right and follow Route 234 for nine miles to Biglerville, home of the National Apple Museum (Saturdays and Sundays in season). En route, you will pass through the Narrows of Conewago Creek, a deep-cut gorge where the water races and creates one of the finest picnic spots in Adams County. In Biglerville, turn right onto Route 34 and go seven miles back into Gettysburg for a cup of coffee or an afternoon libation on Lincoln Square.