Welcome to Kansas!

My studio.

Outside my music studio window is a busy state road. If you head East about three miles, you’ll arrive in Newville, Pennsylvania. It’s my “Kansas” and I’d like to take you on a little tour of my town. I often refer to it is as a one-red-light-town. I’m not sure why I say red. It could be yellow or green, but it often feels red to me. Perhaps because I’m usually in a hurry?! Busted! 

According to the Newville Historical Society, Andrew Ralston first settled near the shores of the Big Spring in 1728. William Laughlin and his brother soon followed. The Big Spring is the second largest fresh water spring stream in the country and as such, it drew settlers wishing to capitalize on its potential. Laughlin built the first mill on its banks in 1762. By 1817, the town of Newville had incorporated and the economy began to grow and thrive.

Laughlin Mill – four seasons.

Photo credit is given to Steve Kennedy of Newville.

We moved to Newville in 1968 when I was two years old. Over the years, I’ve grown to love my little town with its nooks and crannies. I became much more observant of Cumberland Valley’s beauty when my husband and I started riding motorcycles over ten years ago. We enjoy a nice leisurely ride on the back roads, not to mention the destination—soft serve ice cream. Chocolate/Vanilla twist please. In a cone.

During Covid, I started riding those same back roads on my pedal bike, often riding for hours just to enjoy the sites. With very little traffic on the roads, I felt like I had the valley to myself. I could tell when restrictions were lifted because I had to share the road once again. We have a lovely trail rail, but I prefer different views every day so I often ride the road instead.

It was over this time that I began noticing how beautiful my “Kansas” truly is. Here are a few of my daily views…

According to the World Population Review, Newville has a population of 1,341 as of 2021. Though it’s very small, we have big appetites. Who wouldn’t after all of those bike rides? We have a few places to satisfy your cravings.

Now that restaurants are open again, as you are going through town, you can stop for a delicious “Skirt Burger” at Jaymee Lee’s Diner, or Stromboli with fresh made bread at Kane’s Korner Pizzeria. Craving a cheeseburger sub with crunchy-crispy-but-airy french fries? I recommend Brother’s Pizza. You can park your car (or bike) at the fountain and walk to all three eateries. I recommend going back to Kane’s for some Goose Brother’s homemade ice cream. 

Sorry, we don’t have a fitness center. But you’re welcome to ride your bike on the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail and you can easily get to downtown Newville from there. Just be very careful about speeding through town. I can tell you from experience that it is well patrolled by our local law enforcement. 🙂

I love our Newville Print Shop where the owner puts out soft water taffy for his customers during the summer—when he comes back from his trip to the shore. He keeps a small spiral notebook with a hand-written record of the copies I make there in his shop. I pay him every few years when he remembers to tally up my tab. Every time I go into the shop, he tells me he needs to get my total figured up and I always say, “sure thing, just let me know when you do.” 

Then there’s the local bank where they feed the local cat. I barely had the front door open one day when something dashed around my feet into the bank. A bit alarmed, I mentioned it to the teller who nonchalantly said, “oh…that’s the neighborhood cat. It’s ok, we feed it every day.” The cat ran back behind the counter to its usual feeding spot. I smiled. Only in Newville, I muttered to myself.

I shop at the same grocery store where my mother shopped when I was a little girl. We don’t have the fancy organic section that many superstores do, and sometimes I ask for ingredients that seem foreign to the stock clerks, but Saylor’s Market has THE best homemade Bavarian cream filled chocolate icing donuts you’ll ever taste. Just make sure you get there early in the day. The early bird gets the…donut.

As I’m writing this, I keep checking the clock—it’s gotta be time for lunch soon!! All this writing about food is making me hungry and I think I might be forgetting the purpose of this particular post…
Ah yes. I just wanted to show you around my town and welcome you to my “Kansas.”