“Recipes” for Success: Women Defying Their Ages

Diane Krulac, owner, Brittle Bark and Cocoa Creek Chocolates, Mechanicsburg, PA

By Karen Hendricks

I recently met two female business owners who seem to defy their ages.

Diane Krulac, 68, is enjoying her third career as a chocolatier. She launched Brittle Bark, Mechanicsburg, PA in 2008 and recently expanded the candy shop’s lineup to include two new chocolate brands, Cocoa Creek Chocolates and Luther’s Bars.

“You’re never too old to continue your dream,” says Krulac. “As I tell people, there is nothing I’d rather do in retirement than what I’m doing now, so why would I retire?”

Meantime, nearby in Gettysburg, PA, Cheri Ann Freeman, 72, recently opened Chez Cheri Café, a culmination of her restaurant and catering expertise which began in 1973.

It’s especially noteworthy that both of these women work in one of the most demanding fields, the restaurant/food industry. Maybe their “recipes for success” stem from their recipes in the kitchen, combined with their strong work ethics?

Enjoy their inspiring stories, in the May issues of the following magazines:

Mechanicsburg’s Sweet Spot: Cocoa Creek Chocolates launches unique lineSusquehanna Style, May 2019

Worldly Flavors, Friendly Faces: Chez Cheri CafeCelebrate Gettysburg, May/June 2019

And here’s a behind-the-scenes look at both businesses, during my time visiting and interviewing both women, to learn the stories behind their success: (Click any photo to launch the gallery.)

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

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

At the Crossroads

At the CrossroadsSpring… a time for renewal, rebirth and growth. Everything about spring seems to contradict all of my preconceived opinions of hospice care. But after researching my latest story for Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, and meeting some of the most compassionate people on earth (really!), I have a new opinion and reoriented beliefs about hospice care. Springtime truly is the perfect time to read about hospice care–celebrating quality of life, honoring life’s journey, and touching lives. Continue reading

Adams County Icons: From Battlefield to Barns

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York Springs Landmark: The Trostle Barn, currently undergoing rennovations

By Karen Hendricks

I won’t ever look at a barn the same way again. These days, while I’m driving through central PA and beyond, I can spot and ID the traditional Pennsylvania Barn–all thanks to Curt Musselman, Historic Gettysburg-Adams County (HGAC) board member and Barn Preservation Project chair. Curt “schooled me” on the subjects of barn preservation, types of barns, and the importance of documenting these historic structures dotting our rolling agricultural landscape. He’s the driving force behind the HGAC’s Adams County Barn Registry. It was all part of a freelance assignment for Celebrate Gettysburg magazine.

Barn expert Curt Musselman

Barn expert Curt Musselman

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HGAC is selling 2014 calendars featuring Battlefield Barns as a fundraiser–Call 717-334-5185 for more information.

Click here to read the full article, These Old Barns: Preserving Adams County’s Agricultural Icons. And what a thrill… the story was selected as Celebrate Gettysburg magazine’s cover story in the current January/February issue.

Celebrate Gettysburg mag cover Jan-Feb 2014

Cover Photography by Bill Dowling; Barn owner John Trostle is pictured.

I also interviewed Jayne Shord, owner of perhaps the most meticulously-preserved barn in all of Adams County. It was a treat, to tour her beautiful property, Beech Springs Farm, located in Orrtanna, PA. I first met Jayne several years ago when she hosted a dinner including then-Governor Edward G. Rendell and the awarding of the Pennsylvania Culinary Art Award. Since then, the property has grown even more beautiful under Jayne’s expert guidance–including her talent for gardening and her oversight of Beech Spring Farm’s barn preservation project. Below is a collection of photos I snapped while interviewing her back in October. (Click on any photo to open a gallery.)

Also in October 2013, Gettysburg’s tourism community was in the grips of a government shutdown. What could have been a crippling event for a community dependent upon the flow of visitors across the hallowed battlefield, turned out to be an experience that bonded businesses together and produced creativity, resilience and perseverance.

Click here to read Gettysburg Tourism Community Rallies Amid Government Shutdown, featuring stunning photography by Casey Martin.

More to the Stories…

Click here for more Shutdown Stats & Quotes

And click here to learn about the 5 types of barns found in Adams County, the benefits of barn preservation, and a few more stories behind the people interviewed in the article.


Celebrate Gettysburg magazine / Beech Springs Farm /

Historic Gettysburg Adams County / Shriver House Museum

Hickory Hollow Farm Horse Tours / Gettysburg Tour Center

Word Clouds… in the Forecast

By Karen Hendricks

Welcome to “Gettysburg Social!” This column examines the latest social media trends, while highlighting Gettysburg and Adams County businesses. This article was first published in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, Sept/Oct 2013. 

Word clouds are a tech trend that’s “forecasted” to continue and grow in usage. And this is one type of cloud that definitely includes silver linings!

Chances are you’ve seen a word cloud recently—on social media, in a presentation, in advertisements or as artwork. These clusters of words are usually grouped together in a theme, with a handful of words appearing especially prominent. Word clouds can also be called tag clouds or word art.

Lincoln Word Art

For a Gettysburg-themed word cloud, I entered the text of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address into Tagxedo.com, which also let me select a likeness of Abraham Lincoln’s face as the shape.

Many of us are in “back to school” mode, and learning about word clouds is a valuable lesson with implications for students of all ages, as well as those in the business community. Here’s a basic primer:

  • Go to one of several websites that generate word clouds: Tagxedo.com, Wordle.net, WordItOut.com, or the kid-friendly ABCya.com/word_clouds.
  • Type in text of any kind: answers to a poll, text from a speech, a chapter from a literary work, or even a website URL.
  • The website will generate a word cloud, pulling the most frequently-used words into a jumble.
  • You can even customize the colors, font and shape of the word cloud.
  • Save the word cloud into a jpeg or other file of your choice, or save the URL generated.

Need a few ideas to get you started? Use a word cloud in the opening slide for your next presentation or PowerPoint to emphasize your main points, create a customized word cloud for your website or blog header, or see what words are trending within an industry or within current events (enter cnn.com into tagxedo, for example). Teachers could create word clouds based upon students’ answers to a question to see the most popular responses. Or you can create word clouds as works of art based upon your favorite poems or literary works, and frame them. The sky’s the limit!

For previous Gettysburg Social articles, see:

Apps Put History at our Fingertips

Blogging: from Battlefields to Bliss

Springtime Tweets

Introducing Gettysburg Social: Pinterest