Post by Wendy Royal October 23, 2017
There’s a funny thing I’ve learned in the 15 years of writing about Pennsylvania. Hidden in every small town is a big story. This one is no exception; just ask one of the locals, they’ll be happy to tell you. With a population of approximately 4,000 residents, you might think Boyertown, Berks County is little more than a dot on the map. But, you would be mistaken.
Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles
When I set off the visit this quaint town in Southeastern Pennsylvania I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was aware of the antique vehicle museum there and a railroad but that was all I knew. You’d think by now I’d know better than to underestimate the importance of small-town America. My first stop was to meet up with Debbie Bertolet, Marketing and Administrative Manager of the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles. Though I was familiar with the museum, I was surprised at the impressive vehicles in this collection. A recent renovation to the floor gives the museum a sleek new look.
One of the first things I noticed as we walked onto the showroom floor was Fegley’s Reading Diner that now sits inside the museum. The diner, which originally opened in 1938, underwent restoration in 2011 and is now a focal piece of the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles. You’ll also find a 1921 Sonoco gas station on display next to the diner.
Each year Duryea Day Car Show attracts people from near and far to this family-friendly event at the Boyertown Community Park. More than 600 vehicles of all makes, models and eras participate. In addition to the car, truck and motorcycle show, the event features a large flea market with auto parts and collectibles as well as homemade crafts. Children’s activities range from face painting and henna tattoos to the Trackless Train Ride. The event also features live blacksmithing at the museum’s 1872 Jeremiah Sweinhart Carriage Factory. makes, models and eras participate. In addition to the car, truck and motorcycle show, the event features a large flea market with auto parts and collectibles as well as homemade crafts. Children’s activities range from face painting and henna tattoos to the Trackless Train Ride. The event also features live blacksmithing at the museum’s 1872 Jeremiah Sweinhart Carriage Factory.
1872 Jeremiah Sweinhart Carriage Factory
Bertolet is not only a wonderful spokesperson for the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles she beams when talking about the entire town of Boyertown. So we set off to see some of the special businesses in town.
Twin Turrets Inn
The Twin Turrets Inn is a bed and breakfast owned by Marianne and Frank Deery. When I visited Marianne was just finishing up a breakfast service for guests from Washington State who flew in to see the Eagles play the Giants at Lincoln Financial Field. When I asked why they decided to stay at the Twin Turrets they explained that Boyertown was their hometown and they take any opportunity they can to come “home.” According to Marianne, the turrets for which the inn is named were not original to the house but were added after the Boyers attended the Centennial 4th of July celebration in Philadelphia in 1876. They noticed that turrets were a popular architectural feature among the wealthy and decided to add them to their home.
When Marianne isn’t seeing to the comfort of her guests she’s busy as Boyertown’s mayor. Her husband Frank is the president of the borough council. This couple not only dedicated to serving their guests but the community.
The Peppermint Stick Candy Store
Retro is the word that comes to mind when I think of The Peppermint Stick Candy Store. This delightful shop full of sweets is every kid’s dream and the love of owner Rachael Kehler. Vintage candies that are difficult to find these days are the shop’s specialty. Necco wafers (my favorite), Mary Janes, and root beer barrels are just a few of the nostalgia-inducing treats found in Rachael’s store. Plus, you can grab a delicious hand-dipped ice cream cone from Nelson’s Ice Cream in Royersford, Montgomery County.
Patsy’s Potpourri of Gifts
Patsy’s Potpourri of Gifts is a wonderful shopping destination in Boyertown. The shop features a wide variety of gifts for all budgets and tastes. From fabulous pottery and jewelry to Primitive and farmhouse-style decor, Patsy’s truly is a potpourri of gifts. Owner, Patsy Hahn is proud to stock only locally and American-made products in her store. Although this shop is great for any gift giving occasion, Patsy’s is the perfect place to find a unique gift for family and friends this Christmas.
The Book Nook
The Book Nook is a used bookstore located in the historic Rhoads Opera House on Philadelphia Avenue. The shop may look small on the outside but inside you’ll find over 1,300 square-feet of books. All genre of literature, as well as audio CDs and DVDs are available for sale at great prices. Readers can also trade in books for credit. The Book Nook also hosts fun events like Happy Hour and Scrabble Tournaments throughout the year.
The historic Colebrookdale Railroad, which connected Boyertown to Pottstown, was completed in 1869. The railroad station is located in the center of Boyertown. Today, the Colebrookdale Railroad takes passengers on a trip back in time along the Secret Valley Line. Train excursions are available throughout the year. In the fall, take a trip on the 2-hour Autumn Splendor Fall Foliage train where you can experience the beauty of the season in a 1920’s open window coach or in the open-car. Beginning in November, you can create special holiday memories onboard one of the Christmas-themed excursions.
Taylor Backes Gallery and Glass Studio
One of Boyertown’s best-kept secrets is the Taylor Backes Gallery and Glass Studio on Washington Street. From the moment I walked inside, I was blown away by the exquisite artistry of the glass designs. Will Dexter and Karla Trinkley, co-founded the studio more than 30 years ago. Their work can be found in the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art, the Smithsonian and the Corning Museum of Glass yet they’ve chosen to stay in Boyertown. The gallery’s weathered wood floors and exposed brick walls stand in stark contrast to the incredible beauty of the pieces found throughout the gallery. In the back, you’ll find the furnace with has been running continuously for more than 2 years.
Pieces range in price from $25 to the thousands of dollars and include everything from pendant lights and bowls to ornaments and glass tears.
The studio offers glass blowing classes throughout the year.
Dancing Tree Creations
Dancing Tree Creations, LLC is another studio and gallery that proudly calls Boyertown home. The gallery features a delightfully eclectic display of handcrafted creations from more than 200 artisans in North America. Their relationship with the artists allows customers to order custom pieces from most of the artisans represented in their gallery. You’ll find everything from jewelry and hand-made apparel to ceramic, metal and garden art.
The last stop on my Boyertown road trip was Frecon Farms. This family-owned farm has been providing tree fruit and berries for three generations. In addition, you’ll find fresh local produce, whole foods, and a made-from-scratch bakery. By the time I got to Frecon Farms my stomach was grumbling so I followed the amazing scent of deliciousness to the back of the market. Homemade treats from Bourbon Pecan Apple pie to Sea Salt Chocolate Chip cookies made my “can’t I just try everything” dilemma impossible!
It was very difficult to wait until I got to the car to take a huge bite out of one of these scrumptious treats!
There are actually so many more reasons to go to Boyertown then the ones mentioned in this post and I hope you go and discover what I didn’t get a chance to see. Also, be careful because there are an awful lot of bear sightings in town. In fact, at last count, there were more than 70!