Summer is already half over, and there's much more to explore before the days shorten and the weather chills.

Take a look around the Cumberland Valley to discover new experiences, join others who share your passions, or take a walk through the history in Chambersburg's backyard.

Urban growth has made itself quite at home in the Cumberland Valley — a strip of still-rich farmland between the serpentine ridges of the North and South mountains, from the Susquehanna River in the north to the Potomac River in the south.

Lying smack-dab in the heart of the valley is Franklin County, Pennsylvania, a collection of agrarian communities learning to adapt to the progress, probabilities and problems of a diverse economy.

Based on its 2010 population, the Waynesboro-Chambersburg area is now designated a metropolitan region by the U.S. Census Bureau. Threading through the green meadows, Interstate 81, a major east coast commercial trucking artery, has expedited that growth in both population and economy. With all the highway has brought, it has yet to plow under the links to a tranquil past.

Beyond the paved ribbon, families still raise crops on land their grandfathers' grandfathers seeded. Roosters and church bells still rouse sleepy heads.

Planted around the farms and industry are massive green spaces -- the state parks and community parks that make the valley a main attraction for visitors. Hiking and biking trails wind their way through the parks and roads of the Cumberland Valley, inviting adventurers to return to nature. Nature lovers and animal lovers treasure the land so much that they've built groups around those large patches of nature as well.

The history of Franklin County lies in those fields and farms as well as historic barns and historic churches.

The cultural community is thriving in the valley. Totem Pole Playhouse offers a unique theater experience, set inside a state park, while Chambersburg's Capitol Theatre offers a feeling of nostalgia with the modern twist of its contemporary shows. Waynesboro is actually rebranding itself as an art destination. And the annual array of fairs and festivals add their own cultural experience to the valley, such as the Uprise contemporary Christian music festival.

Chambersburg, the heart of Franklin County, is beginning to make its own mark with bold food and spirits.

Pick a spot, and immerse yourself.

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