Strolling Main Streets
if you build it, they will come
This Classic Pennsylvania Town is Making it in America.
Take a stroll down George Street and you’ll encounter a man-size yellow cat made of farm equipment—one of 27 pieces of industrial art installed in downtown York.
Since the revitalization of its historic downtown, York has attracted innovative new businesses, like York City Pretzel Company (39 W. Market St.), a root beer bar founded by five locals who pined for authentic German pretzels. Evan Speelman is head baker: “We couldn’t find a decent soft pretzel in the snack capital of the world. So we decided to make our own.” Customers fold their own dough, and after baking, the pretzels are served with savory dipping sauces. There’s also Sunrise Soap Co. (29 N. Beaver St.) featuring organic handmade soaps in a rainbow of colors and scents. Look for Baron Von Schwein, a York-based food truck serving innovative German delicacies.
Anchoring York’s renaissance is Central Market (34 W. Philadelphia St.). One of the oldest in America, Central Market functions as a vibrant community gathering place and source of locally farmed produce and meats.
Three snack manufacturers are based around York: Snyder’s of Hanover (1350 York St., Hanover), Utz Quality Foods (900 High St., Hanover) and Martin’s Potato Chips (5847 Lincoln Highway, W. Thomasville). These companies are leading producers of America’s favorite pretzels, chips and popcorn, and on certain days, they offer free factory tours. Watching them turn truckloads of potatoes into crispy chips is a sight to behold.
This September is an ideal time to visit York. Besides the dazzle of leaf peeping season, it’s also the 250th anniversary of the York Fair with model trains, hot dog races and butter sculptures. –RS
The Yorktowne Hotel
This historic conference hotel has a long history of housing visiting dignitaries who relish spacious, elegant accommodations in an ideal location.
48 E. Market St.; $119-$179/weekend night
Lady Linden Bed & Breakfast
This historic Victorian B&B provides luxurious accommodations, a four-course breakfast and a convenient location.
505 Linden Ave.; $139/night, includes four-course breakfast
hope springs eternal
This Fashionable Town in Upstate New York Offers Year-Round Rejuvenation.
Saratoga Springs is a picture-perfect town with an abundance of history, sports and culture. In the verdant valley between the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks, Saratoga Springs sits on a geological fault that produces carbonated mineral water from underground shale. For centuries, visitors have come here to “take the waters.”
For a firsthand look at this phenomenon, explore Spa State Park (19 Roosevelt Drive), a National Historic Landmark with hiking trails that pass by bubbling mineral springs. “People come in droves to fill containers to take home because the mineral contents are known for their healing properties,” says Annamaria Bellantoni, vice president of tourism for Saratoga County. Inside Spa Park, schedule a private soak at Roosevelt Bath & Spa (39 Roosevelt Drive) or a spa treatment at Gideon Putnam Resort (24 Gideon Putnam Road).
Saratoga Race Course (267 Union Ave.) gallops along from late July through Labor Day. Tickets are a bargain at $5 for general admission. For a table overlooking the track, make a reservation at Turf Terrace (267 Union Ave.).
Missed the horse races? Don’t worry. Along Broadway, Saratoga’s main street, you’ll find equestrian-themed boutiques, like Impressions of Saratoga (368 Broadway) and Saratoga Saddlery (506 Broadway), as well the handiwork of local artisans in Crafters Gallery (427 Broadway). Lincoln Baths (Spa State Park) in winter and High Rock Park (High Rock Avenue) in summer have bountiful farm markets worth investigating.
Saratoga Springs is a hot culinary destination thanks to eateries like Max London’s (466 Broadway) and Druthers’ Brewing Company (381 Broadway). For nightlife, try Caroline Street’s bars or Caffe Lena (47 Phila St.), the oldest coffeehouse in the country. This alcohol-free stage launched the careers of Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie. –RS
Stay downtown in this elegant boutique hotel with fireplaces, complimentary breakfast and close proximity to the racetrack.
497 Broadway; $250-$600/weekend night
Pavilion Grand Hotel
New luxury hotel in downtown, with condo-style accommodations, a rooftop terrace and a wellness center with a juice bar.
301 Lake Ave.; $209-$300/weekend night
less is more
This Trendy Virginia Town is an Architectural Wonder.
Positioned like a jewel between the blue ridges of the Shenandoah Mountains, Staunton was the first settlement on the Western frontier. “Staunton’s chief architect, TJ Collins, looked to eclectic architecture of Europe and reinterpreted many popular styles within the urban landscape of Staunton, contributing an unusually vibrant architectural legacy,” explains Bill Frazier, preservation planner with Staunton-based Frazier Associates. To learn about the town’s architecture and history, including native son Woodrow Wilson, take Historic Staunton’s Free Walking Tour (20 S. New St.).
Staunton is a walkable town that won the “Great American Main Street Award” in 2002. Start your tour in the Beverley District, with its endearing boutiques like Virginia Made Shop (54 Rowe Road, Suite 104) for local products, Snugbug Mercantile (34 E. Beverley St.) for furniture and LTD 7 (307 N. Augusta St. and 54 Rowe Road) for jewelry and home decor. Take a break at the charming Yelping Dog Wine Bar (9 E. Beverley St.) or Shenandoah Pizza & Tap House (19 E. Beverley St.) before heading to the nearby Wharf District to see art come alive at Sunspots Studio and Glassblowing (202 S. Lewis St.).
For evening entertainment, check out Visulite Cinema (12 N. Augusta St.) for first run and indie films, or catch alternative bluegrass music at Queen City Brewing (834 Springhill Road). Emulate Elizabethan audiences of Renaissance England during a show at the American Shakespeare Center (10 S. Market St.), or try to score a table at The Shack (105 S. Coalter St.)—the chef is a James Beard finalist and serves an acclaimed multicourse dinner Wednesdays through Saturdays. –RS
Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center
This restored grande dame offers antebellum charm, comfort and an excellent location for exploring downtown.
24 S. Market St.; $160-$240/weekend night
The Frederick House Bed & Breakfast
The convenient downtown location comes with a sumptuous breakfast, a full-service restaurant and spacious guest rooms.
28 N. New St.; $200-$250/weekend night