Wedding Bells are Ringing


Unique places to say “I do”

By Jennifer Mellace

For brides and grooms looking for a venue to say their vows, our area offers a host of unique options. From the back of a train to the battlefields of Gettysburg, saying “I do” can become an extra memorable experience.

Steam Into History

2 W. Main St., New Freedom

717-942-2370, ext. 101

As the only train excursion of its kind in the country, Steam Into History provides an exclusive setting for a bride and groom looking for something different. “Your guests will experience the beauty of Pennsylvania’s No. 1 rail trail and pristine countryside on route to either Glen Rock or Hanover Junction,” says Debi Dwyer Beshore, manager of marketing and development for Steam Into History. Couples have a number of options: a train ride to the Glen Rock Mill Inn, a historic bed-and-breakfast and restaurant located just 20 feet from the tracks; or an informal ceremony on the porch at Hanover Junction with a reception to follow on the grounds or in the gift shop, for example. The cost of chartering the train, which can accommodate 122 passengers, is $1,000 an hour with a minimum of three hours. The first-class car—the Lincoln Coach—can accommodate up to 58 guests for $1,500 to Glen Rock (a 1-hour round trip ride) and $1,600 for 2.5-hour round trip train ride to Hanover Junction. Additional catering, decorations, tents, and/or music and minister are not included. 

The Rec Park

545 Long Lane, Gettysburg


For a more laid back atmosphere, the Gettysburg Area Recreation Authority (GARA), otherwise known as the Rec Park, offers couples an indoor/outdoor, family-friendly venue. The park’s Charlie Sterner building has a variety of rooms to chose from and a state-of-the-art kitchen facility. The outdoor area offers four pavilions, an amphitheater, and lots of green space. “Our open space backs up to Pickett’s Charge,” says Jackie Dwyer, executive director. “The walking paths and open areas offer nice options for photo opportunities.” All the rooms are equipped with chairs and 8-foot tables, and the bride and groom can decorate to their liking. The outdoor facilities offer electricity and ample parking space, and a playground is also available for families with young children. Rental costs start at $40 per hour.

Adams County Arts Council

125 S. Washington St., Gettysburg


For artsy couples, the Adams County Arts Council offers an “artful address” for weddings and receptions. The newly renovated space, complete with a professional kitchen, offers a venue that surrounds a bride and groom with local art and allows up to 110 guests to join in the celebration. For couples looking to say their vows in a more traditional setting, there are a number of churches located within walking distance of the Arts Council, as is the county courthouse. “For under $500 for four hours, this unique setting offers couples a really cool building with great ambience,” says Arts Council Executive Director Chris Glatfelter. “It’s something different than the typical hotel or banquet hall. And, the location also offers guests a number of bed-and-breakfast options all within walking distance.”

Gettysburg National Military Park

1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg

717-334-1124, ext. 80

For history buffs, there’s no better place to say “I do” than on the battlefields of Gettysburg National Military Park. “There are people who find a very deep connection with Gettysburg and the battlefields,” says Jason Martz, visual information specialist for the park. “The feeling for many is very emotional, and for a man and woman who feel that connection, Gettysburg is a wonderful place for them to exchange their vows.” Couples who wish to get married on the battlefield can get a special permit for use of the amphitheater off West Confederate Avenue. Receptions are often held at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center, which offers an elegant setting surrounded by history, complete with in-house catering services for buffets, gourmet dinners, and cocktail affairs. For more information, contact the Gettysburg Foundation at 717-338-1243.

Wilson’s Bittersweet Barn

590 Dicks Dam Road, New Oxford


Built in 1817, Wilson’s Bittersweet Barn predates the Civil War. The aged brick structure is a unique architectural masterpiece, one that makes an ideal space for creating lifelong memories. The venue can hold up to 220 wedding guests. Wilson’s Bittersweet Barn is currently booking weddings with openings now through 2019. For more information, call 717-624-7116 or email


About Author

Jennifer Mellace

Jennifer Mellace is a a published author, editor, and marketing guru. Jennifer lives in Frederick, Maryland, with her husband, two children, and three dogs. In her downtime, she enjoys trail running and hiking with her black lab, Bella.

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