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Walking tour to cover little-known Battle of Monterey

March 27, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. - A licensed Civil War battlefield guide will lead 90-minute walking tours through the Blue Ridge Summit area next weekend largely thanks to a community nonprofit organization.

The tours of Michael Vallone, who is licensed through the National Park Service, will cover the ground of the Battle of Monterey, the second-largest battle fought in Pennsylvania during the Civil War and the only battle fought on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line.

The tours are scheduled to leave from Hawley Memorial Presbyterian Church at 10 a.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at Flohr True Value Lumber in Blue Ridge Summit; The Lily Pad in Smithsburg; and Sanders Market in Cascade.

"We're looking to enlighten and educate, so people can be proud of their heritage," Vallone said.

Formed in 2002, the One Mountain Foundation reviews quality-of-life issues facing Blue Ridge Summit, the crossroads of four counties in two states: Adams and Franklin counties in Pennsylvania, and Washington and Frederick counties in Maryland.

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One of the major projects for the organization has been the community's participation in two of Pennsylvania's seven Civil War Trails Discovery Weekends. With Blue Ridge Summit's first foray considered a success by organizers, the second will tie the Battle of Monterey to the discovery weekend festivities in Gettysburg, Pa., organized by the Gettysburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Vallone will guide participants east from the church, ultimately ending at the Lions Club park. The entire walk should be about one mile.

He plans to discuss the battle that ensued as Confederate troops retreated from Gettysburg and were met by a Union cavalry.

"This is experiential tourism, which is hot right now," said Karen Justice, vice chairwoman of the One Mountain Foundation.

Vallone will again host guided tours in July, and those are scheduled to be filmed for public television.

This weekend's tours "are small tours compared to the ones we're doing July 3, which will be a three-hour tour," Vallone said.

"We've got a lot of local stories. Bringing it to light, it is a really great thing," he said.

Vallone's tours will allow participants "to actually walk in the footsteps of where the soldiers walked," Justice said.

For more information, visit www.visitpa.com and follow the links for Civil War Trails Discovery Weekends.

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