Duo treks AT in memory of uncle, first thru-hiker

By Karen Hendricks – This article was originally published in the Gettysburg Times, June 16, 2018

In April 1948, York County native Earl Shaffer set out to do what no man had done before—hike the Appalachian Trail’s (A.T.) 2,000-some miles in one continuous hike. His motivation was to “walk off the war” and his experiences serving in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Not only was he the first person to successfully “thru-hike” the longest hiking-only footpath in the world from Georgia to Maine at the age of 29, but he went on to do it two more times, hiking in reverse from Maine to Georgia—and being the first to do so—in 1965; and commemorating the 50th anniversary of his first hike with a 1998 trek at the age of 79.

Last month (May 2018), during this 70th anniversary year of Earl’s first hike, two of Earl’s relatives launched their own A.T. adventure to pay homage to the legendary trail figure.

The father-daughter pair, Dan and Kim Shaffer, who called Earl their uncle and great uncle respectively, began hiking the A.T. at Pen Mar Park, Cascade, Maryland, heading north, Continue reading

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Coulda Woulda Shoulda: Baseball Stories You May Not Have Heard (Yet)

By Karen Hendricks

Just in time for summer, York County author Chris Williams has released a book of 12 little-known yarns about American’s favorite pasttime, baseball. I am so proud of Chris, a former radio colleague who is a fellow writer. Best practices call for us writers to write about what we know, and Chris certainly knows about baseball.

Could the 1966 Cubs be the best team to ever finish in last place? Would Greg Luzinski, Fernando Valenzuela, or Eric Gagne have had the careers they did, if they hadn’t been September call-ups? Should Dick Allen be finally elected to the Hall of Fame? Chris tackles these questions and more, including the unusual case of a rookie who hit .313 in his rookie season only to be sent back to the minors the following year.

The book is sprinkled with statistical analysis, along with human interest stories, and nostalgic memories. Chris recounts a childhood trip to one of baseball’s historic ballparks with his own father, and he transcribes an invaluable recording made by his great-grandfather Jacob “Jake” Jeremiah who played professional baseball in the early 1900s. Baseball simply must be in Chris Williams’ blood.

Congrats, Chris, on the fantastic book, perfect for summertime reading by fans of all ages.

Click here for more information and ordering! 

Introducing the Ice Man

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Ernie DiMartino

By Karen Hendricks

Despite the cold temperatures, a handful of outdoor winter festivals thrive, mainly due to the warm, welcoming central Pennsylvania communities in which they’re hosted. Organizers say warm community hospitality is the key to shaking off the winter blues during Chambersburg’s IceFest, January 26-29, or the Lititz Fire & Ice Festival, February 17-20. Both celebrations feature fantastic ice sculptures lining downtown districts, free or low-cost admission and a festive spirit woven throughout community-wide events.

Click here to read my latest story for Susquehanna Style magazine, Frozen Fever: Ice Festivals Bring Warmth to Winter in Central PA (January 2017). Continue reading

Footnotes from the Foothills

On the Foothills Artists' Tour: Hobbit House Pottery

On the Foothills Artists’ Tour: Hobbit House Pottery

By Karen Hendricks

“Over the river and through the wood,” begins the beloved holiday poem about Thanksgiving travels. It could also apply to the adventuresome Adams County tour known as the Foothills Artists’ Studio Tour, always held the weekend before Thanksgiving. This year’s 10th annual tour, Nov. 19-20, links the homes and studios of about 10 artists dotting the picturesque landscape of western Adams County.

In the shadow of South Mountain— the northernmost Appalachian Mountains—the tour is more of an experience than an artist tour, mixing all genres of art with historic homes, unique studios, winding back roads, countryside vistas, conversations, and Continue reading

Embracing “Nerd” Status

nerd-herd-9

By Karen Hendricks

The term “nerd” is thought to have evolved from the 1950  Dr. Seuss book, “If I Ran the Zoo.” Today, “Merriam-Webster” defines “nerd” as “an unstylish, socially inept person; one who is slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits.”

However, a group of eight Gettysburg teenagers are not only embracing their nerd status, but also promoting it via a successful downtown shop, Nerd Herd Gifts & Games.

Click here for my latest freelance writing piece, “The Nerd Herd: Downtown Gettysburg Shop Takes Fun & Games to a New Level,” published in the Sept/Oct issue of Celebrate Gettysburg magazine. And go behind-the-scenes with photos I snapped during the writing of the story, below. What a great group of kids–check out their unique shop the next time you’re in downtown Gettysburg, PA! Continue reading

Authentic Flavors, Family, and Achieving the American Dream

By Karen Hendricks – Did you know that Mexican restaurants are the third most popular type of restaurant in the U.S.? According to figures from 2014, there are 54,000 Mexican restaurants across the country. Interestingly, a huge market share–74 percent–are independently-owned.*

One fine example can be found in Gettysburg, PA: At Tania’s Mexican Restaurant, it’s all about authentic flavors, family, and achieving the American dream.

Continue reading

Footnotes from the Appalachian Trail

View from Pole Steeple

View from Pole Steeple

By Karen Hendricks – I’ve been fascinated by the Appalachian Trail since my elementary school days, when I created my first ever science/research fair project on the A.T. So when I recently had the chance to write a magazine article on “the most popular hiking trail in America,” I jumped at the chance and was fascinated all over again, some 35 years later. Continue reading