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Bill's Travel Tip:
Give your feet a break. Put the stopper in the drain when taking your shower and soak your feet for those five minutes.

Visiting Harrisburg

If there's a city on earth with a riverfront to rival Harrisburg's, we haven't found it. Riverfront Park stretches for five miles and you can stroll, run, or just sit and enjoy the view. Considered the most scenic inland waterfront in the nation, Riverfront Park features nicely manicured lawns, trees and gardens complete with public art and benches. A favorite location for walkers, a paved sidewalk runs throughout the length of the park, which runs along the east riverbank of the Susquehanna River. Along the river downtown you can check out the Governor's Row mansions between Market and Walnut. You'll see and the home of Pennsylvania's first U.S. Senator, William Maclay at Front & South. Just south of Chestnut Street you can visit the John Harris Mansion, now the home of the Dauphin County Historical Society.

Got an hour? Visit Pennsylvania's Capitol. Prior to this being build in 1906, all state capitols looked like Independence Hall. This grand structure changed all that, but it is still considered by many to be the most beautiful of all the state Capitols. There's a dome modeled after Michelangelo's at St. Peter's in Rome, a white marble staircase inspired by the one at the Paris Opera House, the Mercer tile floor, murals and stained glass and statuary that'll just dazzle you, and crystal chandeliers in the House chamber that weigh 4.5 tons each. The rotunda will leave you breathless. It really is a must-see. State government entered an agreement with some students to develop a virtual tour of the Capitol. While it is better than nothing, it doesn't begin to capture the glory of this structure as they failed to point the camera straight up into the dome or toward the leaded glass ceiling of the Supreme Court chamber.

Just a brief cab ride from downtown is the National Civil War Museum, which honors the more than 700,000 Americans who died in that struggle. The museum prides itself on its unbiased presentation of information in a timeline fashion that will increase every visitor's understanding of the conflict. More than 24,000 artifacts are in the collection appropriately located on the highest spot in the city.

Visit SAM, the Susquehanna Art Museum, at 300 Market Street. This museum had its start in 1989 as a dream in the minds of four central Pennsylvania art educators. They were distressed that a major state capital had no art museum. Guided by a desire to expose children to great works of visual art, these educators set about making a museum. Community leaders, businesspersons, and a group of dedicated volunteers soon joined in their vision. Click here for information about their hours and current exhibitions: http://www.sqart.org/.

There's always an exhibit featuring quality work by local artists at the Art Association of Harrisburg (21 N. Front). When visiting, be sure to explore their sales gallery where the wonderful creations of local artists can become your prized possessions.

Entertain and educate yourself at the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts (222 Market). The Harsco Science Center is a draw for students of every age, while the IMAX Theater and the various performance venues, which feature local and national acts, offers a wide variety of entertainment. Check their website for details about upcoming performances and special exhibits.

There's no aspect of Pennsylvania's history not reflected at the William Penn Museum at Third & North Streets. From fine arts to fossils, our flora and fauna, the state's political, military, and industrial history, and more interwoven in four floors of exhibit space. The museum's website includes online exhibits.

For a quality environmental experience, visit the Wildwood Lake Sanctuary on Harrisburg's northern border. There are more than six miles of trails in the sanctuary's 157 acres where more than 150 bird species have been documented. The sanctuary also includes the Benjamin Olewine III Nature Center where one can learn from interactive exhibits or just gaze from the balcony or an indoor observation center at the wildlife that abounds.

Click here to download a map of downtown Harrisburg.

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