Each year, thousands flock to the Carlisle, Pa., fairgrounds for the sights and sounds of the Carlisle Events Car Show Series. Whether your automotive preference lands you firmly in the Ford, Chevy or Mopar camps – or somewhere else altogether – there’s something for everyone at Carlisle.
For automotive enthusiasts of any kind, Carlisle is a destination worthy of attending at least once. While the cars are the stars at Carlisle, there are plenty of other activities that exist in this richly historical region that should be worked into your itinerary. We asked around to find the best of what Carlisle has to offer from those who make it an annual trek. Read on for some tips on what to see, where to eat and where to go once you’ve had your fill of automotive eye candy.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
Food is one of the best parts of any weekend venture. Carlisle area restaurants offer everything from standard American fare to cafes with exotic Mediterranean, Spanish or European flair. Here are four of our favorites.
Momma Spriggs Restaurant
160 York Rd.
This local establishment has a welcoming atmosphere for all who enter and friendly service that keeps customers coming back. You’ll likely find the husband-and-wife owners on site, mingling with their guests and ensuring diners leave happy and full. Whatever you do, don’t skip dessert; this place is renowned for hitting the sweet spot with its bakery and dessert offerings.
26 North Hanover St.
This small establishment is easy to miss while driving in downtown Carlisle, but we’re putting it on your radar. Featuring a Moroccan and Spanish menu, Andalusia captures a casual ambiance that has customers leaving rave reviews. From tapas to plates, menu options are impressive and affordable.
16 North Pitt St.
First things first – try the frites. They’re French fries prepared Belgian-style, meaning they’re cooked twice in beef tallow to achieve the perfect crispy texture and flavor. Dip them in specialty sauces like curry ketchup, mustard mayo or spicy Asian mayo. Other items on the menu feature Belgian & European cuisine and classic burger and steak standbys. An expansive Belgian beer menu rounds out the reasons Café Bruges has become the stuff of local legend.
1794 The Whiskey Rebellion
10 South Hanover St.
A 2017 Diners’ Choice Award winner, this local restaurant and watering hole is known for its impressive whiskey list from all over the world. A full menu, themed after its namesake historical event, features everything from Reuben sandwiches to center-cut steaks. Diners can expect a casual dining experience with ingredients sourced from sustainable American farmers.
Things to Do, People to See
Prepare to be immersed in history on your visit to Carlisle with countless homes, statues and monuments dating back to pre-Civil War days. The entire area is rich in history. There’s so much to see and do, it’s a good idea to plan an extra day (or two) just for sightseeing after hitting your favorite Carlisle Car Show. Here are four of our top recommendations for must-see sites while you’re in town.
United States Army Heritage Center Foundation
950 Soldiers Dr.
The Visitor and Education Center and Army Heritage Trail are open to the public and lend unparalleled insight into our men and women in uniform, past and present. The vast campus of our country’s primary historic research facility spans several buildings and a mile-long outdoor walking exhibit to give visitors a first-hand look into the life of a soldier.
There are countless artifacts, interactive exhibits, encampment cabin replicas, military tanks, helicopters, cannons, artillery and even reenactment performances of critical moments in wartime. Consider this one of the best in-person history lessons you’ll ever experience.
870 Jim Thorpe Rd.
The nation’s second-oldest active military base, Carlisle Barracks is still home to active-duty soldiers today. The Visitor Center is open to the public and the Barracks hold numerous historic sites, museums and current school buildings. Visitors can take tours either on foot or by car. However, there are additional security requirements needed to gain access, so be sure to plan ahead and get your pass in advance.
Gettysburg National Military Park
1195 Baltimore Pike Gettysburg, PA 17325
About 34 miles outside Carlisle is Gettysburg National Military Park, the famed site of the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg. It’s worth the extra miles needed to get there. You can visit the David Wills House where President Lincoln finalized his famed Gettysburg Address. There’s the Gettysburg Museum of the Civil War, which holds one of the largest collections of Civil War relics in the world along with interactive exhibits, battle re-enactments and multimedia presentations that cover the conflict from beginning to end. Visitors will gain a newfound appreciation of the history this town holds and the battles fought long and hard for our nation.
Find Your Own Piece of History
Before you leave, be sure to hit some of the local antique shops and find a piece to commemorate your historic trip. Prime antique shopping can be found throughout the region and you never know what you might find.
Northgate Antique Mall, Serendipity Antique Gallery and Lutz’s Antiques are well-known and frequented by locals and tourists alike. Leave yourself some time to further marvel and search for a relic that can go home with you.
View the full 2018 Carlisle Events schedule here, and start planning your visit now. We’ll see you there.