Carlisle House Bed and Breakfast

Make This Winter the Best 1 With These Activities

paper bowls full of sausage balls, caprese balls and mexican wedding balls on a placemat in the shape of a star

Hello! Welcome Back to The Carlisle House Blog!

As the weather gets colder, the fun doesn’t stop in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Here is a list of fun things to do in Carlisle, a little bit about winter in Carlisle, staff favorite holiday songs, and what winter looks like in Carlisle!

What Is Winter? When Does It Start?

As with fall, winter has two official start dates – the first (December 1st) being the Meteorological winter and the second (December 21st) being the Astronomical winter. You may ask what the difference between the two of these things are.

The Meteorological winter is based on annual temperature cycles and the 12-month calendar. Each season in the Meteorological calendar begins on the first day of a month and ends on the last day of a month. The Meteorological calendar system was created by scientists who wanted to make it easier to keep records.

Astronomical winter is based upon the winter solstice, which occurs on June 20th or 21st in the Southern Hemisphere and December 21 or 22 in the Northern Hemisphere. The solstice is when the Earth reaches its maximum tilt away from the sun and is the longest night and shortest day of the year based on sunlight. After the solstice days get longer, and before it days get shorter.

What Does Winter Look Like In Carlisle?

Carlisle typically gets 30 inches of snow a year, which is higher than the national average of 28 inches a year. The January low is 21 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 Celsius).

What To Do When It’s Cold Outside

In this list of good thing to do when it’s cold outside, I’ve included both things that are fun and keep you inside, as well as outside activities.

Ice Fest – From February 2nd at 4pm until February 44th at 3pm, Ice Fest will be going on in Carlisle. There will be over 100 ice sculptures around the downtown area of Carlisle. This is the 7th annual Ice Fest. There will be an ice thrown in the Town Square. This is a great event to grab someone you love, bundle up, and go on a stroll of downtown Carlisle. More information is available here.

Winter Cocktail menu of the Gingerbread Man
Gingerbread Man’s Winter Cocktails

Holiday Drinks – Many local businesses have holiday drinks. Gingerbread Man has a wide variety of winter cocktails. An image of their drink menu is beside this. Grand Illusion is doing red envelopes. They hand out red envelopes for every stop made at Grand Illusions, while supplies last, that contain prizes that are redeemable in January. Castlerigg Winery also has a fun list of events coming up. Their calendar can be found here.

Ski Roundtop – Roundtop Mountain Resort is a great place for winter activities. They have skiing, as well as snowboarding and lessons for each. Roundtop also offers Snow Tubing, which is tubing down a mountain on a tube, and having a magic carpet ride back to the top. Each Friday night, Roundtop has a Friday Nights Lights party. This includes glowing giveaways, fireside snacks, glowsticks, roasted marshmallows, and a DJ. The party stops much after the stars come out and it is dark.

A Stay At The Carlisle House Bed and Breakfast – Carlisle House Bed and Breakfast is the perfect place for you to stay. Rooms from a single bedroom to an entire suite can accommodate you or any family you want to bring with you.

Breakfast in room is an option if getting up and going in the morning isn’t quite your thing. If you aren’t staying at the Carlisle House Bed and Breakfast, you can always walk by to see the front of the house, which is decked out with holiday decorations. Have in-laws coming to town that make the say difficult? Suggest a stay at the Carlisle House Bed and Breakfast so you can get some peace and quiet for the night! (This applies to all family, not just in-laws).

The Front door of the Carlisle House Decorated for Christmas

Hershey Sweet LightsHershey Sweet Lights is a great idea if you’re looking for some family fun. This drive through experience is open every night until January 1st. It is two miles long and has been going on for 20 years. Decorated with more than 500 illuminated, animated displays, and approximately 2 million LED lights, this certainly is something for everyone in the family to see.
Trout Gallery at Dickinson College – The Trout Gallery was founded in 1983 (making it 40 years old!) and is the art museum of Dickinson College. The Trout Gallery has a global collection, acquired through gift and purchase and all of historical and artistic significance. It has an education program, which provides academic support to students and faculty of Dickinson College, as well as outreach services to Carlisle area schools. It also provides a place for Dickinson Students to showcase their artwork.
Luhrs Performing Arts Center – The Luhrs Performing Arts Center is another great place to see art. They have many live performances coming up including The Greatest Love Of All, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Hairspray, and more! The Luhrs Performing Arts Center is located at Shippensburg University. It offers a wide variety of shows, including Broadway type shows, comedians, symphonies, pop and rock performances, kid friendly shows, and internationally known speakers. It also has professional training programs, youth programs and senior citizens programs.
U.S. Army Heritage Visitor and Education Center – The Army Heritage Visitor Center is part of the Army War College and works to support scholarship and research about the US Army. They works to inspire, engage and inform the Army, the American people, and global partners through unique knowledge and thought. Visitors can visit the Army Heritage Visitor Center Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm or Sunday 12-5pm. There is a trail outside that is open to the public. The trail is open to the public from dusk to dawn daily and the buildings around the trail are open Monday-Saturday 10am-4pm or Sunday 12:30-4pm.
Whitaker Center – The Whitaker Center is a great place to spend some time when it’s cold and you want to be inside but not at your house. The Whitaker Center provides endless entertainment. It has a beautiful theatre and a wonderful exterior for photos. They have some upcoming Cinema events including Great Bear Rainforest, Into America’s Wild, Elf, Polar Express and more. They have science exhibits coming up including Space: An Out of Gravity Experience and How to Build a PC. The Robert Cray Band is also coming to the Whitaker Center soon!
The Garden Gallery – An art gallery is a great thing to do on a cold day. The Garden Gallery is a perfect place to do that. Established in 1976 (making it older than me), it the oldest fine arts gallery in Central Pennsylvania. They present artists from all around Pennsylvania and notable national talents. Their services include art and photography restoration, fine custom framing, art evaluation and appraisals. The Garden Gallery is open from 10am to 3pm Tuesday through Saturday.
American Artisan Gallery – The American Artisan Gallery is a wonderful place to visit on Hanover Street (walking distance from the Carlisle House Bed and Breakfast). They specialize in offering works by America’s Guild Artists. The storefront stood empty for 12 years before it was turned into the American Artisan Gallery and the building has been part of Carlisle’s history since the 18th century. They have a very big variety of items from leather cases to hand carved Santas. They showcase many local artists and help keep downtown Carlisle the thriving space that it is. The owner of American Artisan Gallery, Pam Fleck, has been selling American Made Goods since her childhood, starting with produce at a fruit stand.
The Gallery at JNStudiosCurrently, the Gallery at JNStudios (Jennifer Neslund Studios) is exhibiting Chad Brown, who is a potter. He is a 5th generation potter. He melds the traditionality of pottery throwing with years of practice and discovery. They also feature tiny concerts and Salon Readings, as well as private vocal training in all styles of music to people of all ages. The Gallery at JNStudios is open Friday & Saturday 11-4 and Sunday 11-2, so it’s definitely more of a weekend activity.

Cumberland Valley Visitors Center – Located on High Street, the Visitor’s Center is a great place to get brochures, maps, and guides, which will help you find the best experiences in Cumberland Valley. Admission is free and the Center is right next to lots of shops downtown.

Cumberland County Historical Society – The Cumberland County Historical Society is celebrating their 150th anniversary in 2024. Carlisle House Bed and Breakfast was so honored to be part of their holiday tour in December and welcomed many community members to come into the house and take a look around and learn about the House’s historic history. They have a museum and shop at the two mile house. Cumberland County Historical Society was designated as the official Historical Society for the county by the County Commissioners in 1987. The museum that is open today is on the second floor of the Historical Society opened in 2005.

History on High – Located in downtown Carlisle across from the Cumberland Valley Visitors Center, you can shop locally-made artwork and artisan crafts. This includes paintings, fine jewelry, textiles, pottery, metalwork, wood carvings, clothing, and food items. There is also a collection of published works about Cumberland County’s 250+ year history and many photographs.

Create-A-Palooza – Create-A-Palooza is a great place to make a little pottery. With classes and open studio everyday, this is the perfect place to grab a friend or a loved one and sit down and make some pottery. They also offer a take home kit, where you can take home the pottery, paint it, bring it back so they can fire it, and then pick up afterwards. Create-A-Palooza is available to book for a party and has a wide variety of party packages.

Old Public GraveyardThis graveyard, walking distance from Carlisle House Bed and Breakfast, was Carlisle’s first burial ground. The oldest marker in the Graveyard is dated 1757 (older than all of us). It was one of the original seven public graveyards in colonial Pennsylvania. The graveyard is now maintained and owned by the Borough of Carlisle. It is home to 750 veterans from the Revolutionary War though the Korean War. It is also the burial ground for 550 Civil War veterans. This is also the burial site for Mary Hays McCauly who is better known as Molly Pitcher, recognized for her bravery during the Revolutionary War.

The native limestone wall that surrounds the graveyard was begun in 1806 to keep out cattle. The “New Section” of the graveyard was laid out in 1891.

Carlisle Staff Favorite Winter/Holiday songs!

I thought it would be fun to ask everyone what their favorite holiday song is and why. Below is all staff’s favorite holiday song and why.

Carolyn – O Holy night. Why? I just love the song. It makes me feel peaceful.

Chloe – Santa Baby. Why? It has always been my favorite Christmas song. I saw dancing to it when i was young and so it has always felt special to me.

Paul – Carol of the Bells. Why? It’s intense and the chord progression is nice.

Linda – Please Come Home for Christmas. Why? It’s a good song about love and lost love.

Michelle – Silent Night. Why? Because it is peaceful and calming.

Holiday Food

This year, Carlisle House was part of the Carlisle Historical Society’s Holiday tour. For the tour, we made an assortment of food and drinks that turned out really well for the holidays, so we wanted to share those recipes. This includes sausage balls, caprese balls, mexican wedding cookies and naughty and nice cranberry drinks.

Sausage Balls

These sausage balls are perfect because they use cream cheese which makes them much less dry than traditional sausage balls. Makes about 35 balls.


1 lb of sausage (can be spicy if you enjoy spicy sausage)

8 oz of cream cheese (softened)

1 1/4 cups bisquick

1 cup shredded cheddar Cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all the ingredients until well combined. Roll into 1-inch balls and place onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until brown. Serve warm.

Caprese Balls:

These are surprisingly simple to make and will include some optional items. The recipe makes 20.


-roma tomatoes 20 (you need only 10 if you’re cutting the tomatoes in half)

Sign of Carlisle House Menu inlcuding Caprese Balls, Sausage balls and christmas cookies

-20 mozzarella balls 1 oz (I recommend marinated and from Costco)

-20 basil leaves

-1 oz smoked salt (optional)

-20 bamboo knot picks (optional)


There are two different ways to deal with the tomatoes. You can either cut off the top and scrape out the inside or cut them in half and scrape out the inside. Both ways work, but they will look a little different based on what you decide. In the photo above, I used the cut in half tactic.

After you’ve done that, lay a basil leaf in the bottom on the tomato. This will act as a bed for the mozzarella. Ideally, the basil will peak out of the tomato, so it will have both the red and green colors showing. Then lay the mozzarella onto the basil. I tried to get apaper bowls full of sausage balls, caprese balls and mexican wedding balls on a placemat in the shape of a stars much of the oil off it had been marinated in as possible. 

Optional: sprinkle a little salt on the top of the mozarella. It adds to the flavor of the entire dish.

Optional: If you want the balls

sitting on the top of the cup the way it is shown in the picture, you will push the bamboo knot pick through the tomato and botto

m of the mozarella. This is not an easy task. I recommend trying to make the pick as flat at possible so it will sit best on the bowl and also trying to get the pick as near to the top of the tomato as you can without ripping the top of the tomato. 

Mexican Wedding Cookies


1 cup of butter, sliced

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 cup of pecans chopped


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat butter for one minute with mixer. Mix in powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Mix in vanilla. Add flour and mix on low speed until just combined. Mix in pecans.

Use a small cookie scoop to portion the dough and roll into balls and place on baking sheets. Refridgerate pan for 15 minutes after balls are placed onto it. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar and place on cooling rack. Allow to fully cool.

Once fully cool, roll through powdered sugar again.

Cranberry Cocktail and Mocktail

These are very easy to make and are warm to keep you toasty as the weather gets colder. This recipe makes 5.

30 fluid oz of Cranberry CocktailWinter Cocktail Sign of Spiced Cranberry Drink

15 fluid oz of Orange Juice

2.5 cinnamon sticks

10 Cloves

5 slices Fresh Ginger

5 teaspoons of honey (you can always add more if you like it sweeter)

7.5 oz of rum (optional) (some will burn off as you warm it)


Put the cranberry cocktail, orange juice, cinnamon, cloves and ginger in a pot and warm until it boils. Then reduce heat and let simmer for a few minutes.

Remove from heat. Add honey and rum (optional) and strain into glass for serving.

Thank you!

As always, thank you for reading. If you feel I missed anything, please reach out via social media or call and I would be so happy to chat about what you liked or didn’t like.

Happy Holidays,

Chloe Moore