Nestled at the foot of the mountains just a few miles from historic downtown Gettysburg and minutes from the Mason Dixon Line, Hickory Bridge Farm is a family-owned working farm that features fine family-style dining in an historic barn, a bed and breakfast, special events like live music, a country store, wedding venues and more. Join us for an authentic Pennsylvania experience, where everyone becomes family, and everyone enjoys their time, "down on the farm."
Welcome to Hickory Bridge Farm! Here's our history:
Early History Hickory Bridge Farm dates back into history as far as the late 1600s, when the King of England granted the land to Charles Carroll, father of the signer of the Declaration of Independence. In 1764, the Mason Dixon Line (diving "north from south" and Pennsylvania from Maryland, placed the land of "Carroll's Delight" in Pennsylvania instead of Maryland. Mr. Carroll became disgusted with the people in the area because of religious disputes. He sold the land in 250-acre parcels (called "Plantation") to Scotch Irish settlers.
John Carrick was the settler who first established the farm where Hickory Bridge is located. His family built the farmhouse with mud and bricks made from the clay soil on the property. Several out buildings were built for cooking and smoking of meats and a log barn was added for livestock. Carrick had two sons who became involved in the Revolutionary War. Son Samuel became a man of "Note"--he was a well known minister and teacher in southern Virginia and Tennessee. He founded a college that was called Blount College that later became the University of Tennessee. Mr. John Carrick lived until 1812, when he was almost 100 years old. His death was newsworthy since many people did not live that long in the 19th century.
The Barn The next owners of the farm were the Herrings. They established a distillery on the property near the spring. It is believed that this is the family who built the large barn where the restaurant is located (approx 1840s). The Herrings had the farm during the Civil War era, and we know that two Civil War soldiers stayed in a mill on the property until the war ended. The mill was located just past the farm near the bridge. It is also believed that soldiers escaped the war by fleeing up the hollow and into the mountains.
Blacksmith Shop The Heintzelman family acquired the farm next and established a blacksmith shop on the property. They had a large family and a picture of this family is located in the restaurant.In 1905 they sold the farm to the Deardorffs. A copy of the public sale is also posted in the restaurant. Today, we have dinner guests who come and tell about their childhood days here at the farm.
Dining Mr. and Mrs. Scott acquired the farm next. They owned a home in Gettysburg where Mrs. Scott served tourist meals. During the early 1960s she saw a demand for serving larger groups and decided to change the barn into a farm-style restaurant. They catered the meals by bringing the prepared food to the farm from nearby Gettysburg. Many guests remember coming to the farm and enjoying her meals as well as the many animals around the farm. She also had pony and hay rides for the guests. Later the farm was inherited by Emma Fink and was then sold to our family in 1977.
Hickory Bridge Farm Dr. & Mrs. Hammett became involved in the hospitality industry through a research project in Fairfield thatbresulted in the purchase of the Fairfield Inn (formerly known as the Fairfield Hotel). Our family restored the inn as a "family project." Beneath the paneling and plaster we found old woodwork, fireplaces and its rich history. In 1977, my parents had the opportunity to sell the Inn and purchase Hickory Bridge Farm for a little slower pace of life. After a major clean-up process, we had plans of serving just large parties; however, it has grown into serving the public on weekends along with the midweek groups visits, a bed and breakfast, a gift shop, and a full-time farm operation.
Today Our farm-style dinners have become very popular and are served in the old Pennsylvania barn furnished with many farm related antiques. Each table is decorated with old fashioned dinnerware and cloth linens. All farm dinners consist of typical American foods that were favored by the German settlers of this area and are our family recipes. Many fruits and vegetables used are from our own garden or neighboring farms. Most of our guests know they don't get a printed menu when they come to the Farm. Our menu changes each weekend (a list of entrees is in our newsletter). Dinner begins with a warm or cold apple juice and appetizers served from an antique sleigh. When guests are seated, we provide a lovely salad with our own warm bacon dressing that is complemented with homemade spiced peaches, fresh potato bread and apple butter. Dinner always includes three entrees (one is Crab Imperial), several vegetables, stewed apples, and corn fritters--all passed "farm style" at your own table. Like all farm dinners, a meal would not be complete without dessert.
Bed and Breakfast Bed-and-breakfast accommodations are located in cottages that were built by the Scotts family. These cottages are located in the woods along a mountain stream. Each room has its own private bath, fireplace and air conditioning. A full farm breakfast is offered each day except on Sunday when we take breakfast to our guest's cottage. Farmhouse accommodations with whirlpools are available as well.
In 1998 the "reins" were passed onto the next generation. It has been a pleasure to raise our family at the farm with the influence of many wonderful guests. We also have the privilege to farm approximately 600 acres. We raise beef cattle and sell mostly hay.
We appreciate you being part of our Hickory Bridge family and hope that we will see you again.