Here is a little side-trip to add if you visit the Kings Gap General Store – It’s the Cameron/Masland Mansion on the grounds of the Kings Gap Environmental Education Center.
I lived not far from Kings Gap just after I graduated from college and I remember walking the 4 mile road that winds up the mountain with ease on several occasions. I think I would be pretty tuckered out if I tried it now! In any case, it’s a lovely little winding road that you won’t mind driving (or riding) at a leisurely pace. The woods here are beautiful at any time of the year and the road is always well-manicured.
Take it slow and you’ll notice some pretty cool features on your way up the mountain. Squint a bit to see one of my favorites in the picture below. The last time that I was here, this little building had much less overgrowth (check out the top of the roof in particular) … but it does seem to have newer windows. I’m not sure what it is used for, but I think it’s adorable.
I would have hiked down there to get a closer look, but it’s a much steeper drop than it appears in this photo and I didn’t want to be the inspiration for a “Lifetime Movie Of The Week”. Meredith Baxter is too old to play me and I’m not sure which actresses are in the current made-for-tv movie stable.
Unfortunately, I visited near the end of July — and the mountain laurels were past their prime. They are gorgeous when still in bloom. Visit in June and you’ll be much more impressed!
Make your way to the top and you’ll find the Cameron/Masland mansion. I preferred the look of it before they added the glass-encased stairway; but since the building is now used for lodging/conference space, I’m sure it’s a useful sacrifice.
In the early part of last century, James McCormick Cameron (a member of a prominent Harrisburg, Pa family) built this lovely the 32-room stone mansion as a summer retreat. Sources vary on the date — but it was most likely in 1908. After Mr. Cameron passed away in 1949, the Masland family (owners of the very successful floor covering dynasty in nearby Carlisle) purchased the property to use as guest house/employee retreat.
In 1973, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania acquired the mansion and 1,430 acres of land. The Kings Gap Environmental Education Center opened in 1977 and its training center opened in 1980. The mansion is open to the public on Sundays during the summer and fall.
The mansion has a spectacular view. The mountain upon which it sits is the terminus of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Blue Mountain, to the north, is part of the Appalachian Mountains.
- Friends of Kings Gapxx