by Ayleen Gontz | photography by Will Hutchison
Whether you’re searching for a holiday gift, a birthday present or a hostess favor, your ability to match the perfect item with the perfect person will never go unnoticed. To give you a head start, we’ve compiled a handful of unique gifts from the Gettysburg area. The rest is up to you. Go make that perfect match.
Old World Charm
If you have someone on your list who is truly, madly, deeply in love with all things Christmas, visit the new location of The Christmas Haus in downtown Gettysburg to pick up ornament No. 6 in the “12 Days of Christmas” series. These delicate foil images suspended in hand-blown glass balls are the work of German artist Resl Lenz. In fact, 100 percent of the merchandise here — and in The Christmas Haus’s main location in New Oxford — is from Germany.
Store owner Roger Lund travels there twice a year to procure works from artists who are creating traditional German Christmas ornaments. “Everything we do, at least in a secular way, in this area, began in Germany,” Lund says. “I literally drive door to door finding artists who are still doing this work.”
Resl Lenz’s two granddaughters will be on site November 1-3 to sign and personalize ornaments and demonstrate their techniques.
The Christmas Haus, 13 Baltimore St.
717-420-2319 • www.thechristmashaus.com
For that foodie friend who’s enamored with farm-to-table fare, stop by the Mason Dixon Distillery for the December release of their pear brandy. Featuring a whole pear encased in each bottle, this taste of Adams County combines the efforts of four local companies. The pears were grown by Hollabaugh Bros. Fruit Farm; the Seckel pears were harvested by Boyer Nurseries and Orchards and juiced by Kimes Cider Mill; and Yianni Barakos, owner and distiller at Mason Dixon, delivered the final product. “This is an Eastern European-style brandy, not the brightly colored super-sweet mixer you find in American bars,” Barakos says. “It has a big bouquet and a big flavor on the palate, but there’s also a little heat from the alcohol.”
Before you leave with a bottle, be sure to ask how they got that pear in there. Being able to explain that mystery is part of this unique gift.
Mason Dixon Distillery, 331 E. Water St., Gettysburg
717-398-3385 • www.masondixondistillery.com
For your favorite coffee or tea drinker, head south of Gettysburg to The Lion Potter for handmade, one-of-a-kind pottery by artists David and Junko Young. David identifies his work as mostly wheel-thrown and influenced by Japanese and African art, while Junko’s work includes hand-built teapots, slab pieces, and etched animal motifs on David’s work. Their mugs will please the gamut of hot beverage drinkers — from the practical and the whimsical to the tall and stout — and are finished with unique soft glazes, bright colors, or abstract designs to match any personality.
Take your time browsing through the multiple rooms of artwork to find the perfect gift.
The Lion Potter, 855 Taneytown Road.
717-337-0451 • www.thelionpotter.com
History in Hand
For the not-so-amateur historian on your list, head to one of three locations in town to pick up a wooden object handmade from several recently felled trees that were standing during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.
William D. Hewitt, retired from the U.S. Army, currently has wood from five trees to repurpose as a variety of wooden objects, including pens, bottle stoppers, and bowls. “Witness trees should not just be left to rot,” Hewitt says. “I wanted to do something to get the wood from the trees into the hands of people who would appreciate it.”
Each of the trees he works with has been felled naturally or by man due to disease or dangerous conditions, and each has been documented and verified as a witness tree.
To get a true sense of why Hewitt holds the witness trees in such high regard, make time to ask him about the tree’s location during the battle, what unfolded at that spot, and the story behind its acquisition.
Order directly from Gettysburg Sentinels by phone (717-338-9728) or online (www.gettysburgsentinels.com). In Gettysburg, visit The Antique Center of Gettysburg (30 Baltimore St., 717-337-3669, www.antiquecenter-getty.com), Gettysburg Heritage Center (297 Steinwehr Ave., 717-334-6245, www.gettysburgmuseum.com), or Mr. G’s Ice Cream (404 Baltimore St., 717-334-7600).
Sometimes a less tangible gift fits your gift-giving scenario better than any object you can purchase. If that’s the case, seek out After Dark Investigations (either by phone or online; they don’t have a storefront) to deliver an experience that may stay with the receiver for the rest of his or her life.
Armed with sophisticated paranormal activity detection tools, owner Susan Barton and her earth-bound guides will take you on a group or personal paranormal investigation — not a tour — of local haunts. “I feel a responsibility to show others that this is real,” Barton says. “And we get paranormal activity 98 percent of the time.”
She credits their high success rate in part to taking time to educate their clients and staff not just in the tools of paranormal investigation but also in paranormal protocol. “We regularly experience things that are unexplainable, so it’s important that we teach our investigators how to have fun but also how to respect the dead.”
After Dark Investigations, Gettysburg
717-200-1089 or 717-451-1070 • www.afterdarkinvestigations.com