As we approach March, we start to dream of spring and think about getting back outdoors. Check out these suggestions to ease back into warm weather.

Gardening Generic Unsplash

Gardening

If you’re an avid gardener, you’ve probably already started planning and Cumberland Valley’s collection of garden centers and markets can help inspire your next flower or vegetable bed. Local favorites offer tons of supplies, seeds, plants, and are a wonderful resource for questions and tips.

Ashcombe Farm & Greenhouses, Mechanicsburg: More than just a garden center and greenhouse, you'll find a gift and floral area, baked goods, seasonal produce, gourmet foods, and more. They also offer numerous classes and workshops.

Stauffers of Kissel Hill, Mechanicsburg: Shop for annuals, perennials, indoor plants, herbs, veggies, fruits, trees and shrubs, pond products, and more.

Highland Gardens, Camp Hill: In business for over 50 years, Highland Gardens sells an amazing variety of plants and a beautiful selection of pots and containers.

Paulus Farm Market

Farmers' Markets

As the weather improves, many local farmers' markets and roadside stands reopen for the season. Not only can you find delicious seasonal produce and locally-grown foods, but you can also shop for flowers, bedding plants, and a variety of garden accessories.

Clair's Orchards, Carlisle: Here you'll find locally-grown fruits and vegetables, homestyle canned goods, old-fashioned candy, hanging flower baskets, and more. Clair's also sells locally-made ice cream and is a stop on the Cumberland Valley Ice Cream Trail. (Open from April through November)

Oak Grove Farms, Mechanicsburg: Shop for seasonal fruits and vegetables (homegrown specialties are strawberries, sweet corn, cantaloupes, and watermelons), homemade bread and soups, pies and cookies, eggs, homemade jams and jellies, flowers and bedding plants, and more. Oak Grove Farms serves a variety of hand-dipped and soft-serve ice cream and is also a stop on the Cumberland Valley Ice Cream Trail. (Oak Grove is open year-round, but the Ice Cream Trail is seasonal.)

Paulus Farm Market, Mechanicsburg: Paulus offers a unique open-air shopping experience that will delight both adults and kids.  Shop for hanging baskets, bedding plants, and gardening supplies in their greenhouse. Meet and greet fuzzy animals at their farm park, where the kids can also play on straw bales, a wooden tractor, a sandpit, and more. And, to top it off, you also find farm-fresh produce and delicious baked goods. (Open year-round)

Maplewood Farm Market, Shippensburg: Shop for a large variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, eggs, cheeses, baked goods, and more. Their greenhouse sells flowers, herbs, and bedding plants. Maplewood also has a nice selection of country home decor items and outdoor furniture. 

Pole Steeple Trail at Pine Grove Furnace State Park

Outdoor Recreation

If springtime for you means returning to an active outdoor lifestyle, view Cumberland Valley’s Top 10 Hikes. They range in level of difficulty and length and offer scenic views of the Valley. Aside from hiking, the Valley offers biking trails, bird-watching hotspots, fly-fishing, kayaking, and more. The best places to start exploring are at Cumberland Valley's three state parks.

Colonel Denning State Park, Newville: Surrounded by rolling mountains, Colonel Denning State Park's 273 acres of woodland is the perfect place to enjoy a little peace and quiet. There are three trails, most notably the strenuous Flat Rock Trail, which leads to a panoramic 180-view of Cumberland Valley.

King's Gap Environmental Education Center, Carlisle: Whether you want an easy walk through the woods or a more challenging hike, you'll find it at Kings Gap with its 25 miles of trails.

Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Gardners: The park offers four miles of trails, including the Pole Steeple Trail and connections to the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail Museum re-opens for the season in early April. It is the only museum in the country dedicated to hiking.

USAHEC

Indoor Fun

When the weather still isn’t cooperating, there are plenty of great indoor places to have a good time with the family.

Oakes Museum @ Messiah University, Mechanicsburg: Open on Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm, this hidden gem, located on the campus of Messiah University, is a fun rainy day activity. The 10,000-square-foot museum is devoted to natural history with exhibits that take you back thousands of years to America and Africa.  View 75 full mounts, including a zebra, giraffe, and elephant.

U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center, Carlisle: The interactive indoor exhibits tell the history of the Army by highlighting the story of the soldiers who fought in America's wars. And, if the weather cooperates, you can explore full-scale military exhibits along the one-mile Army Heritage Trail. Admission is free.

Carlisle Sports Emporium, Carlisle: The "Place to Play" in Central PA features more than 100 interactive and virtual arcade games, a two-story laser tag arena, indoor and outdoor go-karts, and more.

Desperate Times

Dining

Looking for an evening out with just the adults? Browse the Valley’s breweries and nearby wineries for tastings, delicious food, and live music. A good place to start is by following the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail. Many locations have outdoor decks where you can enjoy the warmer spring weather while sipping a cold brew.

Click here to find even more fun spring things to do and plan your next weekend getaway.