Sometimes you have to just get outside.
The hotel was like any hotel I have spent a significant part of my life in. It was nice. My room was spacious. I had a lovely view out the window. The bed was comfortable and the elevators were roomy and quick.
On this particular weekend, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was my city of choice. I was in town for a blogging conference and it was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed every single minute of the conference including the people, the speakers, the sessions and the food.
But what made the city come to life for me was what I witnessed outside the hotel within a 3 block radius.
Here is some of what I saw:
- A beautiful capitol building patterned after St. Paul’s Cathedral in Rome.
- Fountains all around town flowing with pink water – in honor of breast cancer awareness month.
- Church spires interspersed between government offices and old historic buildings.
- A mall, hit hard by the most recent recession, containing the largest Hallmark store I’ve ever seen.
- An immigrant couple from Japan working long hours at their booth in the food court striving to make a better life, no doubt.
- European style bridges to rival the best, across the pond.
- A businessman in a dark suit walking a snow white poodle through the park and a woman walking two large, unruly beasts along the river.
- Captain Hook and Mr. Smee walking beneath my window on their way to a club.
- A person collapsed on the corner one block up and paramedics coming to his or her aid in the middle of the night.
- A huge firetruck rushing to multiple calls across the city.
- A city filled with lost and hurting people, just like in any city, surrounded by history and beauty but suffering and in need of a gracious God.
I highly recommend visiting Harrisburg. It’s a lovely city and you don’t have to look far to see beauty, architecture and life.
There are plenty of sites to see in town and nearby. Hershey is just minutes away. Yes, that Hershey. Amish country and Gettysburg are within driving distance.
Here are some websites to help you plan your trip:
What to see:
Places to visit:
Where to stay:
- Hilton Harrisburg (I highly recommend it!)
Do you want to engage with Harrisburg? You can do a number of things.
1. Visit. Go see the beauty of Pennsylvania’s state capital. Head over to Hershey Park for a chocolate extravaganza. You might even get a certificate showing you have a Masters Degree in Chocolate Tasting like my friend Lisa, from StopandSmelltheChocolates.com, did.
2. Bring your dollars to town. Take the extra time to go inside the food court at Strawberry Square and eat lunch at Sakura Tokyo Express. I’m know a hard-working family who will appreciate your business.
3. Pray. Pray for this town that is filled with hurting, lonely people, with people who are making tough decisions that affect all Pennsylvanians and with people, just like you, who are trying to live lives full of purpose and meaning.
Here are some more photos to whet your whistle!