Pennsylvania emphasizes its historical sites

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Audrey Bialas, tourism trade manager for Pennsylvania's Tourism & Marketing Office, calls the state a "one-of-a-kind historical attraction."

The National Civil War Museum recently opened in Harrisburg (see sidebar), and the debut of the National Constitution Center is on tap for 2002 in Philadelphia.

In addition to Philadelphia and Gettysburg's historical offerings, motorcoach operators are heading to Pennsylvania Dutch Country and the state's many outlet malls, she said.

One of the newest outlet centers to open in the state is Gettysburg Village Factory Stores -- which has a historical slant for shoppers -- it is architecturally modeled after 1860s America.

Many tour operators package Pennsylvania's historical components with surrounding states. For example, Trafalgar offers a seven-night Historic Highlights tour that visits Gettysburg, Philadelphia, Valley Forge and Pennsylvania Dutch Country as well as attractions in Washington, Virginia and West Virginia.

Land-only prices for the tour start at $1,099, and departures are scheduled from April through October.

Bialas also works with tour operators to set up fam trips and customize itineraries.

Tour operators can contact Bialas, who will come up with a suggested itinerary based on the group's needs and will coordinate with convention and visitors bureaus. Bialas provides tour operators with group tour manuals, videos and color slides.

For additional information, contact Bialas at (800) 237-4363 or e-mail [email protected].

Civil War Museum makes debut

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The National Civil War Museum opened here last month.

The collection contains such artifacts as Gen. Robert E. Lee's pocket bible, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's sword belt, a set of cased pistols presented to Secretary of War Simon Cameron by Col. Samuel Colt and a restored period hospital wagon.

Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for students and $20 for families.

The museum is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

For more details, call (717) 260-1861 or visit the Web at www.nationalcivilwarmuseum.com.

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