Columbia is located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 28 miles southeast of Harrisburg on the east bank of the Susquehanna River, across from Wrightsville and York County.
It was founded in 1726 by Colonial English Quakers from Chester County led by entrepreneur and evangelist John Wright. Establishment of the Wright’s Ferry, the first commercial Susquehanna crossing in the region, brought growth and prosperity to the small town, which was briefly considered as a candidate for the new United States’ capital.
The town is rich in history and offers a plethora of fun things to do.
For antique buffs, Columbia and surrounding communities offer a variety of quality antiques and collectibles, housed in buildings as old as the items that are displayed. Be sure to stop by Burning Bridge Antique Market and Columbia Rivertown Antique Center.
Wrights Ferry Mansion, the oldest existing house in Columbia, is located at 38 S. Second Street. This beautifully restored mansion houses a collection of Philadelphia furniture, English ceramics, needlework, metals and glass, all made prior to 1750. The mansion is open for tours May through October, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. For more information, call 717-684-4325. Admission is charged.
The National Watch and Clock Museum is located at 514 Poplar St. Ironically, I found the museum to be an easy place to lose track of time (no pun intended) because of all the interesting things to see. Plan to spend a few hours. For information about special exhibits, be sure to check the website.
The Columbia Market House 15 South 3rd Street, holds a farmers’ market, Thursdays from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. There are a variety of stands including fruits, vegetables, coffee, smoothies, hot foods, home baked goods (of course) , candy, breads, pretzels, and more. Grab lunch or purchase dinner. And while you are at it, if you are visiting on a Thursday or Friday, be sure to check out the dungeon.
Susquehanna Glass has been in the business of making things “personal,” as a quality decorator of glassware since 1910. Stop by and shop in the retail store, or enjoy a company tour, held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, appointment recommended. This is a great spot to check out if you are in need of a unique wedding or shower gift.
If youngsters are part of your day trip to Columbia, be sure to check out The Turkey Hill Experience , which includes interactive exhibits including a chance to make your own virtual ice cream flavor! One of the coolest things about the Experience is that it was built within a dilapidated warehouse.
If you are around town on a Friday evening, be sure to enjoy “Fourth Fridays” from 5-9 pm. Experience Columbia’s art galleries, antique shops, participating specialty shops and local eateries. This at-your-own pace tour provides the opportunity to view exhibits from local and visiting artists, enjoy refreshments and discover the uniqueness of the community.
A trip to Columbia wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Hinkle’s Pharmacy. Founded in 1893, Hinkle’s Pharmacy, 261 Locust St., is a mix of old and new. In addition to offering pharmaceutical and medical equipment needs, Hinkle’s has an adorable gift, jewelry and pocketbook selection, and offers a throw- back lunch counter that offers anything from oyster pie and chicken croquettes smothered in gravy , to homemade milk shakes and large slices of freshly baked pie, to a full breakfast of bacon, eggs, home fries and scrapple! Yum!
Another dining option is The Inn at Bully’s Restaurant & Pub, which was built in 1903 as a hotel/tavern for what was at the time a thriving mill and railroad town. You can’t go wrong with the bison burger, or my favorite, the vegetable stack. Both lunch and dinner are available.
And finally, for a unique dining experience stop by Prudhomme’s Lost Cajun Kitchen, located at 50 Lancaster Avenue for a little taste of “ N’Awlins .“ Items are made to order for those who prefer the meek and mild, or the “jacked up.” Enjoy alligator, catfish, seafood gumbo, my favorite shrimp fais do do, and so much more. Make dinner even more authentic by stopping by when live entertainment is on hand. Nothing beats munching on spicy eats and listening to the blues.
If you find you need an ATM during your visit to Columbia, be sure to stop by the Susquehanna branch located at 325 Locust St.
For more information about upcoming events in the Columbia community visit the Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce, or click here.