Fall is a great time for a road trip, especially one that combines foliage, good food, a liitle history, and unique tours and shopping opportunities. In York County, Pennsylvania, you can still find products made in the USA. And there are a range of factory tours -- so many that York County is considered the Factory Tour Capital of the World.
York has come a long way since the days when William Penn sent surveyor Thomas Cookson here to lay out a new town in what was then the frontier. Cookson, an Englishman from Yorkshire, named one of the main streets after his king, George, and the town after the Duchy of York.
Yorktown, as it was called in the from the mid-18th to early 19th centuries, became known as The White Rose City for the symbol of the House of York.
In 1777 the Continental Congress fled the British troops in Philadelphia settled in York. The city considers itself the first Capitol of the United States because it was here that the Articles of Confederation--the first constitution were written. In 1863, York was the occupied by Confederate forces before they headed for Gettysburg and the decisive battle of the Civil War.
York County is now known as the Factory Tour Capital of the World. Many people already know about pretzels from places like Utz Quality Foods and Snyder’s of Hanover, but are surprised to discover the wide range of products also made there.
The chocolate candy you bought from a fundraiser may have come from Wolfgang Candy Company, one of the oldest family-owned candy companies in the USA. From Harley-Davidson’s close-up Steel Toe Tour (no open shoes allowed!), to meeting the master luthier of exquisite instruments, many for celebrity musicians, at Bluett Bros. Violins, there are options for all interests.
This fertile agricultural area provides fresh produce and meat for York Central Market, built in 1888 by architect John Dempwolf. It is open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 6AM to 2 PM. It’s a great place to shop or to enjoy breakfast, lunch, or a picnic dinner.
The red brick Romanesque Revival building was named to the National Register of Historical Places in 1978. Many of the local farmers and producers, like the architect, are of German descent, and you’ll find some of their specialties like red beet eggs, sauerkraut and sand tarts here. You can put together a gourmet picnic by browsing the stalls and find edible souvenirs for friends and family to enjoy. There’s plenty of seating and free wifi.
The selection is wide-ranging--locally produced cheeses and breads, chowchow, and apple butter and deep fried pickles. Try the burritos and toppings at Roburritos, pasta at Mezzogiorno, Aladdin’s gyros, a cup or bowl at Simply Soup, or a Hawaiian smoothie at Brunner’s Exotic Fruits. The sweet or savory selections at The Pie Shop are a local favorite, and there’s a hearty breakfast at Kolt’s Hawg House Saturdays 8-1. Take home croissants or chocolate ganache cake from The Copper Crust Bakery Café, scones or focaccia from the School of Culinary Arts’ Bake Shop, Plain Jane granola, or Cheesy Bacon Oaties from Two Pups Pastries for your favorite canine. Top it off with a pint at Mudhook Brewing Company or a bottle of Harmony wine.
The Mason-Dixon Wine Trail is out in the beautiful countryside. Stop and sample some of the area's best wine at at a local vineyard like York County's Naylor's Wine Cellars.
To round out the day, stroll the historic downtown area to see some of the 23 murals depicting the city’s history. For a world-class dinner of seasonal American cuisine, make a reservation at Blue Moon Café on West Market Street.
Foliage, factory tours, and food. For more ideas on York County, see the Official York County Visitors Guide.