Candy and Fudge and Elephants… Oh My!

Candy, candy, candy… oh, wait, fudge too? And elephants? And an enchanted forest? Who knew an outing to Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium would be an adventure the whole family could love? In fact, that’s their main goal! I recently sat down with Nicole Bucher, co-owner of Mister Ed’s along with her husband Isaac, to get a little history!

It all started 50 years ago with a wedding gift from Mister Ed’s sister-in-law. It was a simple elephant and while he found it strange, she was quick to assure Mister Ed that it was meant for good luck. While on the honeymoon in Williamsburg, Virginia, his fascination with this pachyderm began to blossom and he purchased a few more. Before he knew it, the collection had grown to mammoth proportions, purchasing another everywhere he went. Miss Pat, Mister Ed’s wife, reached a limit when their home was overrun with the collection and told him he needed to find a place to keep his treasures. At the time, Mister Ed was working as a store manager at a Giant Foods in Virginia and thought it was the right time to become his own boss. After a few businesses including some restaurants, they decided a move to Pennsylvania was in order. It was 1975 when that they opened Mister Ed’s: The Territory’s Most Unusual General Store located just down the road from its current location. 9 years later, they moved the store to where it currently stands. While elephants had always been a part of the experience, they didn’t become the focus until the move. At that time, the combination of elephants and candy made for a truly unique destination, perfect for the whole family to enjoy. Over the years, the business has adapted to become what customers want, a wholesome environment for children to dream and explore.

Three years ago, Nicole and Isaac purchased the business of which they’d been a part for a decade. Since then, business has boomed. They’ve added a variety of items to the store, most notably, in my opinion, the truffle case. I can say from personal experience that these are by far the most delectable, mouth-watering truffles I’ve ever sampled and with the most unique varieties. With lots of liqueur flavors including amaretto and champagne, fruit flavors such as cherry and orange, the most popular flavor, hazelnut and a wide variety of white, milk and dark chocolate, it would be impossible not to find a flavor you love.

When you go in the shop, the elephants and sheer volume and variety of candy are admittedly the first thing you see, but their biggest seller is what’s kept behind the counter. That’s right… the fudge. With over 100 varieties, they produce between 1,000-2,000 pounds per week. That’s not a typo… per week! And the crazy part is that it’s all made on property. Cheryl, their fudge master and creator, uses two mechanized machines, which enable her to make 72 pounds of fudge per hour. The fudge is proudly sold all over Gettysburg and is made with only the finest ingredients. All of the cream comes from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia based dairy farms, making them one of the few Pennsylvania Preferred fudge manufacturers.

I asked Nicole what trends she’s seen over the last few years and while I expected the answer to be candy buffets, it’s not. The growing trend is a shift from candy buffets back to individually boxed favors. For this, they offer both fudge and truffles, which are, in most cases, more economical than creating a candy buffet from scratch. “The fudge and truffles have a bigger ‘wow’ factor,” remarked Nicole. “They’re more elegant.”

I asked what the best sellers are and “Fudge!” was the answer without hesitate. Specifically, peanut butter fudge. After that, Goetz caramel creams and root beer barrels come in second and third.

In regards to the most rewarding part of the job, it’s when they can make a personal connection with someone and help to bring joy to a family. “For us, it’s the warm fuzzy. We want to take people back to a time where you can have fun without technology and connect the generations.”

My favorite part of our conversation was a story she told me about how the community rallied behind them when the building burned down on July 5, 2010. They lost over 2,000 elephants, but they received tremendous support from our community and in one afternoon, they had over 100 volunteers gathered together, scrubbing fire damaged elephants with toothbrushes. The community also began donating elephants to help replace and rebuild the museum displays. Today, they have over 25,000 total.

And as if everything they offer weren’t enough, each year they host an enormous Easter egg hunt, summer music in the gazebo, a Great Pumpkin Party and Santa’s arrival. The events are always free and are always geared for children. Look for changes in the coming years to include both the addition of peanut brittle, Nicole’s specialty, as well as a new collection in Miss Pat’s Teapot Museum! I can’t wait to see what they’ll think of next!

Keep up to date with all things Mister Ed’s by following them on Facebook.

GARMA Gives the Gift of Christmas Cheer to Gettysburg This Year!

Gettysburg Christmas TreeThe Gettysburg Area Retail Merchants Association, known to our small town as GARMA, has undertaken a massive fundraising effort to replace Gettysburg’s worn out, but well-loved Christmas Tree.

The iconic tree has served us well, but we’re ready to deck the square, thanks to GARMA’s impressive efforts, with the new 26’ tree.  Join us on November 25th as we light up our town and introduce the tree to its new home.

Holiday music by roaming street carolers from the Totem Pole Playhouse will fill your ears, hot chocolate compliments of One Lincoln will warm your tummy, coffee from the Ragged Edge will waken your sprit, candy and cookies from Kilwin’s Chocolates and Dunlap’s Restaurant and Bakery will tempt your sweet tooth and the magic of the season will fill your heart as Santa’s shanty opens at 5pm.  Be sure to come early for his arrival by Victorian Carriage Company.  And don’t miss out on telling him your Christmas wishes because he’s only there until 8pm!

Interested in taking in a little history that night?  Visit the David Wills House, located at 8 Lincoln Square, for a tour of the house where Abraham Lincoln stayed when he gave the Gettysburg Address.  Sip on local cider provided for the entire family while your children make their very own Victorian Christmas Tree ornament.  On your tour by a National Park Service Ranger, you’ll learn about 19th century holiday traditions and the significance of the David Wills House to our town.  Admission has been reduced to $2 per adult and the tour is free to anyone under 18.

Many of the participating businesses with GARMA will be open late that night to help you celebrate Gettysburg style.  But with all the fun going on, don’t forget to be back outside in the square around 6pm to experience the grand illumination.

For more information on the evening’s festivities or to make a donation toward the final phases of enlarging next year’s tree, please visit or check out GARMA’s facebook page at

Community partners include Kennie’s Markets, Destination Gettysburg, The Ragged Edge Coffee House, Gettysburg Area Retail Merchants Association, Gettysburg Hotel, Kilwin’s Chocolates, Victorian Carriage Company and Dunlap’s Restaurant & Bakery.

2016 Gettysburg Christmas Tree

5 Things To Do in Gettysburg During the Shutdown

By now, you’ve heard about the government shutdown. Furloughs have affected the National Military Park, Eisenhower National Historic Site and David Wills House, though there are some modified tours of the battlefield available.

But let’s look for the silver lining in the midst of all this uncertainty.

If you’re visiting Gettysburg — a day, a long weekend, or even a full week –, there are lots of opportunities to shop, eat, and simply relax. We have farmers’ markets, wineries, orchards, art galleries, and some truly exceptional restaurants. You can enjoy theater productions, concerts, or head out to one of the area’s award-winning golf courses.

Without further ado, here are my five picks for things to do during the government shutdown:

Visit the Schmucker Art Gallery at Gettysburg College
The 1600 square-foot Schmucker Art Gallery is a lively art space that displays seven to eight different exhibitions each year. Included in the gallery calendar are shows by local, national, and international contemporary artists, a faculty exhibition, a student exhibition, the annual senior art major show, and traveling exhibits of works selected from public and private collections. Melissa Ichiuji’s exhibit currently hanging is exceptional.

Browse the stacks at Pages of the Past Bookstore
Pages of the Past is a history bookstore that carries an extensive collection of history titles ranging from Ancient studies to 20th century. There is an excellent selection of Civil War and American History along with historical fiction titles and history books for all ages. We also carry a large assortment of gift items, including handmade greeting cards, candles, puzzles, maps and posters.

Catch a show at the Majestic Theater
Built by Henry Scharf as an annex to the historic Gettysburg Hotel, the theater seats 1,200 and has proudly served as the cultural crossroads of commerce, college, and community for more than eighty years. You can view the complete calendar here. There’s some fantastic performances coming up.

Hit the trails at Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve
Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve and Environmental Center is a non-profit education and conservation organization located on 609 acres in the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I especially love exploring at this time of year with my camera in hand. In a few weeks, the foliage will be spectacular.

Enjoy a cocktail, conversation and modern American cuisine at One Lincoln
The newly renovated signature restaurant at the Gettysburg Hotel, One Lincoln. Chef Joseph Holmes calls his fare “casual comfort,” but you can be sure that it’s going to be a memorable meal, no matter what you call it. If you’re around for a First Friday, stop by for cocktail and appetizer specials.

Visit the Pages of the Past Bookstore & Craft Your Own Pendant

Do you like to read while you’re on vacation? I do. One of my favorite things to do whenever I’m visiting a town or city where I’ve never been is seek out the local bookstore. And in case you didn’t know, we have a pretty amazing one right here in Gettysburg. We’ve written about them here before when they celebrated their ribbon cutting, and they’ve been a super supportive member of the business community in Gettysburg ever since.

August is their anniversary month, and to celebrate on this “Thrifty Thursday”, stop by and show them a receipt from any Gettysburg business and you’ll give you 20% off a purchase of $25 or more. The receipt must be from a purchase made within the past 5 days and be from an independent business (no franchise/chain establishments).

Photo courtesy of the Gettysburg Experience

As part of the Girlfriends series of events, Pages of the Past is hosting a pendant-making class tomorrow at 10am. You’ll leave the class with two book-themed glass pendant complete with a silver chain and bezel, and learn about paper choice, adhesives and some basic techniques in crafting these pieces of wearable art.

The cost of the workshop is $15 and covers the cost of materials and instruction. Space is limited and reservations are required, so call 717.334.0572 or email to sign up as soon as you can.

And while you’re there, browse the shelves. You’ll find lots of titles covering history by local authors in both non-fiction and fiction.

Pages of the Past is open for business every day except for Monday and Tuesday. Business hours are Wednesday and Thursday from 10am to 6pm, Friday and Saturday from 10am to 8pm, and Sunday from noon to 5pm. Gift certificates are available and major credit cards are accepted.

I alwaysfind something new to read whenever I stop in.

Spotlight on Gallery 30’s Newly-Expanded Space

Normally I reserve this space to highlights the new shops that have come to Gettysburg and now call downtown home, but Gallery 30 isn’t new. 

In fact, Gallery 30 has been an artistic and literary landmark here in Gettysburg for 35 years. 

So why am I turning the spotlight on them now?

Well, they’ve just celebrated their grand opening of a newly-expanded space at 26 York Street. Gallery 30 offers great books, the finest in local and regional art, decorative folk art using gourds as a medium,  jewelry, toys and more.  I headed downtown with camera in hand to see what I could find. 

Gallery 30 Exterior

It was a gorgeous sunny day, and I was a bit eager to get out of the heat. The first thing I saw was some functional gourd art — these are birdhouses – hanging just outside the door. If you happen to miss the sign when you’re driving down York Street, the gourds are a dead giveaway that you’ve found Gallery 30.  

Once I stepped inside, I was treated to a great assortment of gift ideas and unique houseware items. As a bit of a design buff, I love the combination of exposed ductwork above and hardwood flooring inside the shop and gallery. And talk about a selection! 

Photo 2

Now I’ll admit it. I’m a foodie and I love to cook, so I’m always looking for kitchen items. I stumbled across some great serving spoons, cutting boards and trivets made in the USA here in the shop. Cut from some exotic woods and finished to be food-safe, they’re a great addition to the home of any aspiring chef.  Great gift ideas! 

Photo 3


Did I mention the gourds? Gallery 30 features an extensive line of folksy and functional gourd art.  It’s Spring! Hang a gourd birdhouse in the back garden. Gourds are a popular craft item available for sale. 

Photo 4

If you haven’t yet visited Gallery 30, you’re missing out on a real gem in downtown Gettysburg. Additional information about hours, products, and special events can be found on their website

First Friday Gettysburg Style- Celebrate Summer June 1st

Summer is HERE! After Memorial Day this past Monday, I am completely in the summer spirit. The weather in Gettysburg has been hot and sunny and this Friday, June 1st is First Friday! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Summer.

Here are some suggestions of things to put on your list while in downtown Gettysburg this Friday. Download the entire list of specials from Gettysburg Area Retail Merchants by clicking on the “First Friday” link here.

Celebrate 17 on the Square’s 10th Anniversary! – 17 Lincoln Square
17 on the Square is sending thanks to their wonderful dealers and customers and celebrating ten years of business on First Friday. They will be offering light refreshments.

Create a Fused Glass Pendant at Bluebrick Gallery—18 N Washington Street
This month the bluebrick gallery will be having a “Hands On” event for June’s First Friday. Heather Sefcheck will be conducting a hands on fused glass project for the public. Visitors will be able to create a fused glass pendant from 6-8pm for a nominal fee of $ 10.00. The completed fused project maybe picked up in the gallery after June 15, 2012. One pendant may be created per visitor.

Step Back in Time with a Photo from Servants Olde Tyme Photos- 237 Steinwehr Ave
Servant’s is offering 10% off of your purchase with a GARMA coupon. Download the coupon by clicking the First Friday link here. Be sure to get the coupon signed by 3 participating merchants and turn it in for a chance to win this month’s grand prize: An earring class for 4 people compliments of True Friends Boutique!

Enjoy the Flavors of Summer at McClellan’s Tavern – 1 Lincoln Square
McClellan’s Tavern at the Gettysburg Hotel will be offering a ½ Price Appetizer of Chicken Satay with Fresh Fruit Salsa and a Mojito Happy Hour Drink Special. Relax outside on the Square in McClellan’s outdoor seating area.

Enjoy Homemade Ice Cream at Mr. G’s — 404 Baltimore Street
This is a Location of a First Friday Table! Make this your last stop and turn those coupons in for a chance to win.

Happy First Friday, everyone! Taking pictures while in Gettysburg? Send me your First Friday photos to appear in future blog posts.

Spotlight on New Downtown Shop- A&A Village Treasures

I am so excited to be writing about one of downtown Gettysburg’s newest shops – A&A Village Treasures. This store is a real gem! Located on 53 Chambersburg St., A&A offers fine candles, unique housewares, spa quality bath and body products, artisan food items, and an array of gift ideas for all occasions.

A&A Village Treasures located on 53 Chambersburg St.

Just from the look of their window displays I knew I was going to love this shop. After walking in, my eye was immediately drawn to their extensive selection of candles.

Reserve Goddess is a beautiful, feminine, light fragrance that I couldn't get enough of! Their wide selection of candles boasts extremely unique fragrances to suit all preferences.

In addition to candles, A&A offers other forms of home fragrance like their Effusion Lamps. I had never heard of an Effusion Lamp before and was blown away. Effusion lamps combine a 100 year old concept of air purification with the pleasures of exotic fragrances. The air purification technology destroys all odors and airborne bacteria and dispenses a wonderful aroma into the home. The effusion lamp uses a special stone that stays hot and converts fragrance oil into negatively charged ions. A&A offers many fragrance oils to choose from.

Effusion Lamps at A&A Village Treasures

Effusion Lamps at A&A Village Treasures

These gorgeous lamps are also for sale online!

Your home won’t be the only thing smelling incredible after a visit! Don’t leave without checking out their extensive, spa-quality bath and body products. Good news for the guys – a large selection of wonderful men’s products are available. (This will also make gift-giving easy for you, ladies!)

Owners Anthony and Armando are so helpful and friendly. They will be more than happy to assist you in finding a special gift for any occasion or simply a gift for yourself! They are adding new items to the store all the time so come back often. For more information on the store and their products visit the website here.

First Friday Gettysburg May – Flower Walk Re-Cap

This past Friday in Gettysburg was a perfect evening for a Flower Walk to celebrate Mom! Here are some photos of the fun. Be sure to mark your calendars for June’s First Friday on June 1st!

York Street on First Friday in front of Gallery 30

The timeless beauty of flowers: Opening show of paintings by Lester Jay Stone, Eloise Bralove, Hal Page and others at Grace Kelly Salon

The Gettysburg Hotel on Lincoln Square

There was Yoga and Zumba on the Square in front of the Gettysburg Hotel brought to you by the YWCA of Gettysburg and Adams County

Complimentary Carnations for Mom were being handed out at GARMA's First Friday table!

Lincoln Square Downtown Gettysburg

Chambersburg St. on First Friday Gettysburg Style

I was so excited to visit this new store in downtown Gettysburg, A&A Village Treasures! Look for a blog post spotlighting this store soon.

Visit the Gettysburg Hotel on Facebook for even more photos.

May First Friday in Gettysburg – Celebrate Mom with a Flower Walk

April showers bring May flowers! This Friday, May 4th, marks First Friday in Gettysburg. To celebrate the month of May, downtown Gettysburg merchants are holding their second annual Flower Walk! The Flower Boutique, located on North Washington St., will be donating the flowers for the walk. This is a great opportunity to treat Mom or pick up a gift from one of the fabulous Gettysburg retailers! They will be more than happy to help you choose the perfect gift.

Just a reminder: Get your First Friday coupon signed and dropped off for a chance to win this month’s Grand Prize: A one month Rec Pass to the YWCA with joiner fee. Download the coupon here.

Here are just a few of the special deals and places to put on your list this First Friday:

Pick up a gift for Mom at Scott & Co. Fine Jewelers:
Located at 17 Lincoln Square, Scott & Co. will be offering 20% OFF any jewelry item that has to do with “flowers” or “Spring.” (excluding Pandora.)

Scott & Co. downtown Gettysburg location (photo courtesy of their Facebook page. Click to visit them on Facebook.)

Join the “Spartina 449 Party” at True Friends Boutique:
Visit True Friends Boutique, located at 22 Baltimore St., for their first annual Spartina 449 Party! They will be holding drawings for several Spartina items including a grand prize of a very unique 2012 Special Edition handbag! All remaining older Spartina patterns will be priced at 50% off. True Friends will be serving wine and cookies and offering free carnations to all Moms!

Spartina 449 at True Friends Boutique. Click to visit them on Facebook.

Take advantage of luxurious deals at Gettysburg Day Spa:
Located at 221 Chambersburg St., Gettysburg Day Spa is offering some great deals this First Friday.
– Purchase a 15 minute chair massage for $15 and receive a $10 gift card towards a 45 minute massage.
– Purchase a 30 minute Age Fighting Deep Cleansing Facial for $30 and receive a $15 gift card towards a Signature Facial.
– 15% off an At Home Massage Cream
– 15% off an At Home Skin Care Kit
Visit Gettysburg Day Spa on Facebook here.

These spa specials are also available at the Gettysburg Day Spa in honor of Mother's Day!

Take a Tour of the Jennie Wade House:
The Jennie Wade House (548 Baltimore St.) will be sampling local apple butter with baked white bread. They will also be offering a 10% discount in their gift shop on flower themed items. Be sure to take a tour of the house (tours run until 6:15.)

Relax and unwind at McClellan’s Tavern at The Gettysburg Hotel:
McClellan’s Tavern, located at The Gettysburg Hotel (1 Lincoln Square), will be offering a 1/2 priced appetizer of Fresh Tomato Caprese Salad and a Sunflower Highball as a Happy Hour Drink Special.

Download the First Friday flyer here listing all the merchants and their specials. It is even categorized by street for easy shopping! See you in downtown Gettysburg on May 4th!

May Classes at the Spirited Ladies Shoppe

In addition to their gorgeous wares, the Spirited Ladies Shoppe located in downtown Gettysburg offers an array of fun classes and workshops held in their Garden Room.

Two classes are currently scheduled for May. Reservations are required so be sure to give them a call at 717.688.0588 to secure your spot. These activities are also right in time for Mother’s Day! Plan a trip to Gettysburg with Mom and spend quality time during these fun workshops.

Thursday, May 10th. 6:30 pm.
Memory Mirror Class presented by Katie and Ana Strickland
Build your own wall mirror decoration that includes a finial keepsake window, decoupage framed mirror, and key holder base. Perfect for foyers and welcoming entries.
Cost: $25 Plus kit fee: $35

Sunday, May 20th. 1:30 pm.
Flip-Flop Album presented by Stephanie Cebula
Save your summer memories in this cute album made from real flip-flops!
Cost: TBD

Flip Flop Album with Stephanie (Photo courtesy Spirited Ladies Facebook page)

Here is their flyer for more information. Also, visit them online here.