Top Places in the Tri-State area to Pop The Question

So, you’re ready to pop the question. You have the ring, but no idea how to ask her. Let’s be honest here; yes, the ring is the most important part, but did you think it wouldn’t be a HUGE deal to figure out a fancy way of asking the girl of your dreams to marry you? We’re sorry to be the ones to break this to you, but where and how you propose DOES matter and you need to think of something special that she will remember forever.

The location doesn’t have to be over-the-top to be special. We talked to a photographer from F2 Photography in Greencastle to get a short list of popular places to propose. She said it perfectly, “It’s not always about the spectacular location, but more about the emotional connection.” You definitely want it to be special, but it doesn’t need to be a whole production, especially if your fiance-to-be isn’t the kind of girl that likes to be the center of attention in the middle of everything. Jennifer, of Jennifer Rotz Photography told us, “I have found that my couples get engaged in many unique locations that are unique to them, their relationship, and their story.  I don’t think there is a one size fits all location for engagements, I believe that most of today’s couples try to incorporate the engagement to a special memory or location that holds value to them as a couple.” Maybe for her just a walk at Hagerstown City Park, or dinner at your favorite restaurant would be perfect.

If you have no clue where to propose, we can help with some ideas. It definitely needs to be special to both of you, so the place you first met, had your first date, or somewhere you go for an activity you both enjoy would be perfect! We’ve made up a list of some of the top places to propose to help you think of some good possibilities and maybe give you a new idea for the perfect place to pop the question.

Cunningham Falls

Cunningham Falls State Park is located in the beautiful Catoctin Mountains, and is divided into two unique areas. The William Houck Area located three miles west of Thurmont on Route 77 has the lake, falls and camping area. The Manor Area off Route 15 three miles south of Thurmont has the Scales and Tales Aviary, camping area and the historic Catoctin Iron Furnace.

The Cunningham Falls State Park trail system varies in terrain from short, flat hikes to steep and rocky ascents that will challenge even the experienced hiker. Trail distances vary from .5 mile to 7.5 miles.

 High Rock

High Rock is located just off the Appalachian Trail in Northern Maryland on South Mountain. There is a paved road that leads from Pen-Mar Park to High Rock that is gated from dusk to 9 AM. High Rock has spectacular views on a clear day.

From Interstate 70 at exit 35 take MD 66 North to Cave Town. Turn right on MD 64 and continue north to MD 418 (Ringold Pike) turn right at this intersection. Immediately after crossing into Pennsylvania turn right on Harbaugh Church Rd. A short distance later turn right on Old Pen-Mar Rd. The Appalachian Trail will cross the road with limited parking just past the trail.

The only access to High Rock other than to drive is via the Appalachian Trail from the north or south. The hike from the south, although longer, is not as steep. The trail going either way is steep in spots but once on the ridge the walking is easy.

Renfrew Museum and Park


Renfrew Museum and Park is located at 1010 East Main Street in Waynesboro, PA. Renfrew is a restored farmstead with outbuildings, historic grounds, and miles of nature trails to explore. Renfrew is open dawn to dusk year-round and is free of charge.

Green Grove Gardens


Green Grove Gardens, 1032 Buchanan Trail East in Greencastle, started as a working dairy farm owned by the Martin family. Over the years, the Martins revamped the property with landscaped gardens and water features. The barn was renovated to become an event all, and the original hardwood floors were kept, giving an antique warmth to the building. A deck was added offering views of the nearby Tuscarora Mountains, and much of the 40 acres surrounding the barn were landscaped to become expansive gardens accented with fountains, a pergola, and paved walkways. Green Grove Gardens is also an excellent wedding venue.



Tayamentasachta, 300-408 Leitersburg Road, Greencastle, is a 45-acre environmental center with amenities that include a 19th century farmhouse and barn, natural spring, spring house, log cabin, longhouse, pavilion, and orchard. Locals in the area refer to Tayamentasachta as the School Farm. Walking trails, woodlots, fields, and gardens make it possible for people in and around the community to actively learn integrative concepts between nature and people during a unique and unforgettable learning experience. This natural setting is a beautiful location for engagement pictures.

Martins Mill Bridge


Martins Mill Bridge, 3505 East Weaver Road, Greencastle, is a covered bridge that is a total of 205 feet in length. In 1973 the bridge was rehabilitated after being carried downstream by flood waters during Hurricane Agnes. Steel bracing was added later to stabilize the bridge. In spite of being altered over the years due to destruction and restoration the bridge contains approximately two-thirds of its original timbers. It is one of two covered bridges in Franklin County. The grounds are open from 8:00 AM until sunset and can be accessed by walking.

Hagerstown City Park


The Hagerstown City Park is located in the center of Hagerstown, Maryland at 501 Virginia Avenue, Hagerstown. The park is an historic location and contains a lake in the center. It is home to the Washington County Museum of Fine Art that is directly on the lakefront as well as the Hager House and Museum. The park is in a very industrial area of the city and has a number of paths, recreation areas, and trails. City Park is home to swans and other waterfowl as well as fish.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park


Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, 485 Fillmore St. Harpers Ferry, WV, is considered one of the best walking parks in America. The views are gorgeous, the history fascinating, the restored town a work of historical art. The variety of trails paired with history and the scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Potomac and Shenandoah river valleys adds up to a unique hiking experience. Harpers Ferry National Historic Park encircles almost 4,000 acres in West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia, and several units of the national park system intersect here. As the mid-point of the 2,178-mile Appalachian Trail, Harpers Ferry is home to the headquarters for the Appalachian Trail. Visitors can also walk along the 184.5-mile-long towpath of Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park by crossing the footbridge over the Potomac River. Harpers Ferry has about 20 miles of hiking trails. The trails vary from easy, riverside strolls to four-mile hikes across Civil War battlefields to eight-mile adventures to the tops of mountains.

Cowans Gap State Park

6235 Aughwick Road

Fort Loudon, PA 17224

(717) 485- 3948

Cowans Gap State Park 1085-acre park in the beautiful Allens Valley of Fulton County. Prime attractions are a 42-acre lake, large campground, rustic cabins and many hiking trails. Trails vary in difficulty from flat to very steep. State forest land surrounds the park, providing more land for recreation and natural beauty in all seasons.

The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. However, day use areas close at dusk. The beach, overnight areas, and other areas are open specific seasons and hours.

The most important thing to remember is, make the moment special for both of you! And get the ring from us, of course. If you would like a little more inspiration, check out our “Will You Marry Me?” page on our website. Good Luck and Best Wishes!


Leigh Z.

Well, it’s a very weird story, but here goes… A group of friends were sitting on my best friend’s back porch, and we were all joking about when we were ever going to get engaged. He said that he had asked me before & I said NO!  After awhile, I said, “Oh what the heck!” I got down on my knee and asked him to marry me, he said, YES! LOL. Little did I know that he had my engagement ring in our suitcase downstairs! So, after he said yes, he went downstairs and brought the ring up, asked me again, I said Yes, and he slipped it on my finger!!! That is our oh-so romantic of a story ?


Nicole S.

We were in Pittsburgh for the Steelers vs Patriots football game. Before we left town we went to Mount Washington over looking 3 rivers and the city, somewhere we had been before but never in the fall. We stopped at several outlooks and at the very last stop, Todd popped the question.


Megan O.

It was Thursday evening on 3/16/17 and I was getting ready to leave work. Typically I finish around 7:00 pm but that day we were done around 6:30pm. As I’m finishing up and getting ready to change out of my scrubs my one coworker came flying back into the office through the back door and ran to the front of the office. We all had no idea why she came back into work and why she rushed up front. Worried about her we followed her up front. As I turned the corner there I saw Scott walking in….and I just knew what was coming! He never just pops into my work without bringing me something I’ve asked for and I hadn’t asked for anything that day. I walked through the waiting room door to meet him and he told me how much he loved, wanted to be with me, and asked me to spend forever with him! I was so surprised and never would have imagine Scott would have been able to pull that off. After a hug and kiss I grabbed the ring and placed it on my finger cause I was just soooo excited!

Behind the Blue Awning – Pearls of Wisdom

Pearls, natural and cultured, occur in a wide variety of colors, with white and cream being the most familiar.

This collection includes a palette of beautiful cultured pearls. Besides round golden white loose cultured pearls, there’s a strand of well-matched round whites and a strand of oval pastel colors.

Natural pearls form around a microscopic irritant in the bodies of certain mollusks. Natural pearls can be separated from cultured pearls by taking X-rays to reveal their inner structures.

  • Cultured pearls are the result of the deliberate insertion of a bead or piece of tissue that the mollusk coats with nacre. The growth of cultured pearls requires human intervention and care.
  • Imitation pearls are smooth when rubbed against your teeth, while natural or cultured pearls have a slightly rough texture.

There are four major types of cultured whole pearls:

  • Akoya: Japan and China produce saltwater Akoya cultured pearls.
  • South Sea: Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines are leading sources of these saltwater cultured pearls.
  • Tahitian: French Polynesia (the most familiar of these is Tahiti) is the most common source of these saltwater cultured pearls which usually range from white to black.
  • Freshwater: China and the US freshwater lakes and ponds are the leading sources for these. They’re produced in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colors.

Pearl Qualities

The qualities that determine the overall value of a natural or cultured pearl or a piece of pearl jewelry are size, shape, color, luster, surface quality, nacre quality, and matching.

Size: Cultured pearls range from 2-16mm in diameter, depending on the mollusk used.

When other value factors are equal, larger pearls are more rare and valuable than smaller pearls of the same type.

Shape: Spherical pearls are the most valued but symmetrical drops are also sought.

Round is the most difficult shape to culture, making it the rarest cultured pearl shape and—if all other factors are equal—also generally the most valuable.

Color: Although white is most classic, appreciation has grown for more unusual natural colors.

Natural and cultured pearls occur in a broad range of hues. There are warm hues like yellow, orange, and pink, and cool hues like blue, green, and violet. Pearls have a wide range of tone from light to dark. Pearl colors tend to be muted, with a soft, subtle quality.

The law of supply and demand determines the value of certain pearl colors at any given time; other complex factors, like fashion trends and cultural traditions, can influence color preferences.

Luster: Luster results from reflection of light rays off the pearl’s surface, and from concentric inner layers of nacre, like light bouncing off a convex mirror. Pearls with high luster have sharp bright reflections on the surface.

Of the seven pearl value factors, luster might be the most important; within a pearl type, when other value factors are equal, the higher the luster, the more valuable the pearl.

Luster is what gives a natural or cultured pearl its unique beauty.

Akoya luster master strands Excellent (top) through Poor.


  • Excellent – Reflections appear bright and sharp
  • Very Good – Reflections appear bright and near sharp
  • Good – Reflections are bright but not sharp, and slightly hazy around the edges
  • Fair – Reflections are weak and blurred
  • Poor – Reflections are dim and diffused

Surface quality: The number of blemishes on a pearl’s surface is evaluated to judge quality.

Like colored stones, most pearls never achieve perfection. Some may show abrasions that look like a series of scratches on the surface, or a flattened section that doesn’t affect its basic shape, or an irregular ridge that looks like a crease or wrinkle. If surface characteristics are numerous or severe, they can affect the durability of the pearl and severely depress its value.
Nacre quality: Nacre thickness is evaluated to make sure that cultured pearls are durable as well as beautiful.

Luster and nacre quality are closely related. If the nucleus is visible under the nacre, or if the pearl has a dull, chalky appearance, you can assume that the nacre is thin. This affects the luster as well as the durability of the pearl.


For pearl strands and multi-pearl pieces, how well the pearls match affects the value.

Jewelry designers sometimes deliberately mix colors, shapes, and sizes for unique effects, but for most pearl strands and multiple-pearl jewelry, the pearls should match in all the quality factors.

(Pearl Gemstone / Pearl Stone / Pearl Gem / GIA)

Behind the Blue Awning – Pearls are always appropriate (Jackie Kennedy)

Looking for the perfect piece of jewelry to pair with any outfit? Something to dress up a nice shirt with jeans so you are neither overdressed nor under-dressed, and also be a timeless piece you can keep forever. “Pearls go on and on . . . on everything,” (Vogue, 1943)

Pearls are perfect for any occasion and perfect for spring!   “Pearls don’t have the flash of diamonds (candy to material girls), but they are undeniably precious and celebrated for being so.” (BORRELLI-PERSSON, 2016)

The challenge that most people find with pearls is how to care for them. Everyone says to make sure you take care for them, but not many actually tell you how.

How to Clean Pearls

After every wear, wipe your pearls with a soft cloth.This will help prevent any buildup of oils or other substances that may have come in contact with your jewelry throughout the day.

Clean with a damp cloth only as needed. If your pearls are visibly stained, you can mix a solution of lukewarm water and mild dish soap, dip a soft cleaning cloth in it and wipe the pearls. Do NOT immerse a pearl necklace in water, as it will weaken the silk thread. Make sure that the string is completely dry before you wear them again.

Let them dry all the way before storing. This helps preserve the elasticity of the silk strand. Place your pearls in something with a soft lining, such as a drawstring pouch.

Take them to your jeweler once a year.While you want to wear your pearls often to keep them hydrated, all that body oil doesn’t do the silk thread any favors. We can check the integrity of your pearl bracelets and necklaces and also give them a thorough, safe cleaning.

Never clean pearls with a steam or ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. Both of these methods are likely to damage the outer layer of the pearl.

Pro Tip: “Cultured pearls should be strung with a knot between each bead to prevent loss if the strand breaks.” – Jewelers of America

 Pearl Maintenance Tips

Pearls are commonly passed down to become a treasured family heirloom. To ensure your pearls last long enough to reach heirloom status, follow these maintenance tips:

Last on, first off. Pearls should be the final touch to your outfit. Avoid applying makeup, hairspray, lotion or perfume once your pearls are on.

Store them flat. While it’s perfectly acceptable for most necklaces to be hung on a cute jewelry rack, your pearl strands should not be. Store pearl necklaces flat to prevent them from stretching.

Dedicate a space just for your pearls. Soft pearls are prone to scratches, so store them separately in fabric-lined compartments.

Wear your pearls often. Pearls do best in a moist environment, so wearing them frequently keeps them from drying out.

Pearls make the perfect addition to any outfit, no matter the occasion. So if you were afraid to add them to you collection of jewelry because you weren’t sure how to care for them, now you know! If you are ready to take the plunge into pearls or just have more questions, let us know and we will do our best to help.

(Hart, 2016); https://www.gia.edu/pearl-care-cleaning

Behind The Blue Awning – Mother’s Day Gifts

Just in case you haven’t thought about it yet, Mother’s Day is May 14th. Don’t panic, we are here to help you with that. There are so many places in Downtown Greencastle that can help you find the perfect gift for the mom’s in your life!

Is she on her feet all day? Then get her a cute pair of comfortable shoes from ELM Shoes on the square! They have many different brands, from Sperry to Vionic and Birkenstock! All of them are comfortable enough to wear all day long at work and are perfect when she goes out with family or friends later!

You could also get her the perfect jacket to match all her favorite spring outfits at ELM Department Store! They have clothing that is made in the U.S. and options that are perfect for any occasion! From going to get groceries or taking the kids to practice, to going out for a night on the town!

If Mom would love a new purse or tote, go to Inner Beauty to find a Brighton Bag she will be excited to receive! A girl can NEVER have too many bags…

She could be more of a vintage gal though. If that is the case Crown Vetch is the place for you! They have the perfect vintage style gifts and accessories, as well as contemporary clothing to mix a little of the old with the new.

Maybe she isn’t as much into clothes as she is art. If that is the case then head over to Joyful Arts to find an art class or paint night she would like! Another option is F2 Photography for some family portraits because what mother doesn’t like to have keepsakes of her family?!

Flowers and food are ALWAYS an option though and Greencastle has places for those too! A beautiful flower arrangement from Hope Valley Gardens would make her day! Dinner at B Street or John Allison Public House wouldn’t be too shabby either for a Mother’s Day celebration.

Of course, you could also stop and see us at The Jewelry Shop for the perfect piece of jewelry to make this Mother’s Day special. We have affordable Gabriel NY fashion jewelry, EverLink rings and pendants, or Encore necklaces, rings, or bracelets that can have the kids’ birthstones in them. You could also start a charm bracelet with some Rembrandt Charms that represent her family and all that she has accomplished. Or if you want to be Mom’s favorite, Add-a-Link diamond and gold bracelets, made in the USA, are always a winner!

You could also enter to win a $500 giftcard from Jewelers of America to spend in our store! Enter Here: http://bit.ly/2cLN1yH

Gabriel NY is also having a contest for your chance to win a $700 gift for your mom! Just submit a story about how your parents met, how she has love and passion for her job, or how she demonstrates love for her kids or grandkids here: https://www.gabrielny.com/blog/2017/03/28/the-greatest-american-love-story-ever-told/

There are many great local shops in Downtown Greencastle to find the right gift for the mom in your life. Stop and see one of us so we can help you out. Don’t wait too long though so that you are sure to get exactly what you are looking for. Shop small!

Behind The Blue Awning – Happy Anniversary to Us!

This may seem like an April Fool’s joke, but it isn’t!

The Jewelry Shop has been in business 34 years as of April 1st. Our business has grown since 1983; with growth comes unique challenges.

The Jewelry Shop started with three owners-Tim, Tom, and Tom’s mom Nancy. Within a few years of startup, Nancy retired, leaving Tim and Tom on their own for the next several years. As the guys became more well-known and established, their numbers grew. There are currently eight of us – three owners and five staff, any of which can assist you with your purchases and repairs.

When TJS opened, we had one bench jeweler and one who learned the most basic of repairs. As the business has grown, so too has the need for more skilled goldsmiths/bench jewelers. We currently have three goldsmiths who work on custom jobs, repairs, and cleaning jewelry.

A little-known fact is that we not only do our own work for our customers but we also do wholesale jewelry repair for other jewelry stores in our area. At one time, we were performing wholesale jewelry repair for eight other stores! As the demand for custom design and repair has increased from our own retail customers, we have whittled that number down to just a few wholesale customers.

One of the changes we made to keep up with the demand for custom and repair work is we purchased Laser Welder, which enables the jewelers to perform intricate repair that just can’t be achieved with a traditional torch.

TJS growth also meant the store needed to be bigger – both the showroom and the repair shop. In 2000, the owners took the leap of faith to remodel the store to make it a more productive and polished space.

Our inventory has grown 20x’s since 1983! Gold has risen in price over 34 years, from $300 per ounce to $1200 per ounce. We have carefully cultivated top lines to carry in our store. Because we do the work, are very selective of the brands we choose to offer.

As we celebrate year 34, we continue to grow. We’ve recently invested in an engraver to add to the services we offer. We now have the ability to engrave rings, gifts, glassware, and much more.

In these 34 years, many things have changed, and a few remain the same. Our integrity and drive to serve our customers in the best way possible continues to be our focus. Cheers to another 34 years!