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Andrew Smith wants to dispel the stereotype that downtowns are no longer relevant.

For the past five years, he has been organizing tours that allow people to see the hidden beauty and history of downtown areas. Now, the urban explorer is bringing his tour to Hanover.

Locals interested in architecture, history or just supporting local businesses can take Smith's upcoming Inside Hanover walking tour.

More than 50 Hanover businesses, landmarks and government offices will open for a 2-mile tour on May 2. The tour will loop through Hanover's downtown area and cover landmarks like the Warheime-Myers mansion, the Eichelberger Performing Arts Center and the Neas House, Smith said.

Normally, visitors pay an entrance fee to the historical landmarks, but Smith said he coaxed the Hanover Area Historical Society into opening the buildings to the public for free for the event.

"The fact that so many businesses did jump at it shows that there is a real community spirit downtown," Smith said. "I think they'll really be surprised how many older businesses are thriving and how many new ones have opened."

The idea for the walk is based off of the concept of photography tours, where amateur photogs snap differing pictures while walking along the same area. Smith has planned nine over the course of five years in places like Harrisburg, York, New Oxford and Lancaster.

Those who wish to take photos along the way will be able to post them to a public Flickr page and view those taken by others.

Still, photography is not mandatory for the Inside Hanover tour. Smith said he is hoping that people will use the tour as a way to take a closer look at town landmarks and learn a little more about local businesses.

Highlights of the tour include Young Manor, the old post office building and the Wirt Park firehouse and fire museum.

"People overlook the places right in their backyard," Smith said. "I will bet anyone that goes on the walk that they will spot something they haven't see before."

If you go

What: Inside Hanover walking tour

When: May 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Begins at St. Matthew Lutheran Church at 30 W. Chestnut St.

How Much: Free

Participating businesses

Abithat's

About It All

Absolute Skin Images

Big Mike's Crabhouse & Grill

Boost Mobile

Borough of Hanover Office

Broadway Art

Carriage House Market

Conference and Heritage Center

Dark Ronin Films

Darrell M. Sipe Opticians & Hearing Aids

Diamonds & Designs by Ashley Lauren

Diversified Cuts Barbershop

Eichelberger Performing Arts Center

Famous Hot Weiner

Frame Shop & Gallery

Furs by Susan

Gallery

Gatsby's Boutique

Guthrie Memorial Library

H&G Vapors

Hanover Area Arts Guild

Hanover Clothing Company

Hanover Fire Museum

Hanover Hub

Hanover News Agency (Culp's)

Hanover Valley Presbyterian Church

Kessler's Bicycle Center

Law Office of Amy Erhart

Life in Balance Yoga

Merlin's Coffee

Neas House - Hanover Area Historical Society

Old Post Office

Our Family Stock Pot

Pennsylvania Theatrical Arts

Sandy Woods

Senator Richard Alloway II

Grounds of the Sheppard Mansion

Singer Orthodontics

Solace Massage

St. Matthew Lutheran Church

St. Paul's Lutheran Church

State Representative Kate Klunk

Stonewell Studio

Timeline Arcade

Treasures

Unabashed School of Dance

Visiting Angels Living Assistance

Grounds of the Warehime-Myers Mansion -

Warehouse Gourmet

Wirt Park Fire Station

Young Manor/Blue Ridge Holdings

Keith Zartman

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