Lancaster-York Heritage Region

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Heritage Area Unveils New Name & Expands Outreach

Photo by joiseyshowaa

The Lancaster-York Heritage Region has changed its name to the Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area to highlight the strategic focus on the cultural & economic value of the Susquehanna River to the region, state & nation. They're also expanding the community outreach to include an e-newsletter and a new membership program.

Mother Nature blessed us with the mighty Susquehanna – a river as rich in history as it is in breathtaking scenery, spectacular wildlife and soul restoring recreation. From the earliest Native Americans, to the American Revolution, to the Civil War, to the Industrial Revolution, so much of America can be traced to this waterway. And to our natural wonders that emanate from its banks in all directions.

Photo by lcm1863

Historic and cultural places tell the story of a community – what has been achieved, what was believed, and how we came to be. Preserving them enables us to walk the grounds where our forefathers fought for freedom, tour buildings where artists and architects became inspired, and admire American ingenuity – so we learn and grow and create better communities for generations to come.

The Lancaster-York Heritage Region is one of 12 areas designated as Pennsylvania Heritage Areas for having important historic, cultural, natural, and recreational resources. Heritage areas are known for their unique cultures and identities, as well as good places to live and visit.

In Pennsylvania – and nationwide – heritage areas combine resource conservation and education with economic development, typically in the form of tourism. In partnership with local communities and with funding from state and federal agencies, heritage areas across the nation work toward their goal of creating more livable, economically vital communities – to ensure that historic buildings are restored, hiking and biking trails are created, and educational programs are developed so each region can share with you its unique story.

We’re proud to be part of this nationwide network, preserving our heritage for you to experience and enjoy. As we share our passion, we invite you to explore our region and the many heritage areas across Pennsylvania and America.

Photo by Nicholas_T

Rolling hills. Patchwork farmlands. Quaint towns and villages. The bond between Lancaster and York Counties runs deeper than the water they share. It's a bond built on values, traditions and a passion for our past.

Connected by the Susquehanna River, the communities of the two counties tell the story of America. It's about the people who first settled on our land, their fight for freedom and the lives and culture they enjoy today.

This is who we are - this is our heritage.

The Mission: As a designated Pennsylvania Heritage Area, the Lancaster-York Heritage Region helps identify, preserve, interpret and promote the wonderfully rich heritage and culture of Lancaster and York Counties. We exist because the residents of York and Lancaster Counties are concerned about our quality of life - protecting farmland, preserving open space and natural areas, revitalizing town centers, diversifying the tourism industry, and connecting younger folks with the history and culture of our ancestors.

Goal: In association with local, state and national partners, the Lancaster-York Heritage Region works to create more livable and economically vital communities. The goals of the Lancaster-York Heritage Region include strengthening place, building understanding and identity, enhancing the visitor experience and building strong institutions for partnerships.

Musical Highlights of Pennsylvania


Closeup of a musical score
Photo by Brandon Giesbrecht

The scenic countryside of Pennsylvania and our rich history are such obvious attractions that they often eclipse many of the other great amazing elements of our region.

For example, our beer is world famous and we are home to the oldest brewery in America. The Yuengling brewery in Pottsville, which was established in 1829 is a Mecca for all beer aficionados visiting the region.

However, in my opinion the most overlooked piece of our region’s heritage is the music that has been produced here over the years. Many famous music artists have called Pennsylvania home at one time or another, with names such as Will smith and Hall & Oates representing just a couple of the big names who have been influenced by the region.

The Best Guitarist in Pennsylvania?

I am taking online guitar lessons (using an excellent site called Guitar Instructions, which I highly recommend by the way) to learn to play guitar at the moment so I’m naturally drawn to guitar-based music. I love everything from classical guitar pieces written by Bach through Blues, Jazz, Rock, to experimental stuff that pretty much no-one else likes other than me and the people who play it. One thing about the Pennsylvania region is that it has spawned some great guitarists, the greatest of which in my opinion is Glenn Branca.

This guy rocks! Not only is he a guitarist of some note, but also a composer, with many fine achievements under his belt.

He is quite a controversial figure in the music world and many people have expressed their views on him in the popular press, whether they love him or hate him he certainly generates discussion.

Take the solo featured in the video below for example. It was taken during a live performance by Branca at Jeffrey Lohn’s Loft in New York in June 1978 and features some rather avant garde solo improvisation.

His soloing can best be described as atonal, with little in the way of actual musical notes to interfere with Branca’s creativity. I’m not sure I would have been amongst the first in the audience to burst into applause, but what he does in that performance is certainly thought-provoking.

And that is what good music is about after all, isn’t it? It makes you think. It challenges the ideas you have about the world, and in this case the ideas you have about what a guitar solo should comprise.

For me, that’s a neat metaphor for the whole Lancaster-York Heritage Region. The area means different things to different people. What one person thinks of as quaint, others see as important historical artefact. One person’s avant garde is another’s amplified noise.

No matter what your preferences for the perfect holiday, Pennsylvania has it all. You just need to explore a little to find it.

My Pennsylvanian Road Trip with a Dog and His Fleas


Golden Labrador sitting in the driver's seat of a VW Camper Van
Photo by SeasiderImages

I am not the kind of person that believes in spoiling my dog. Mind you, Duke, my Labrador really does mean a lot to me. However, I am not going to spend $100 a night on one of those fancy pet hotels that gives the dogs massages. And I think a dog in shoes is plain ridiculous. I do not believe that my dog should be better dressed then me. After all, he doesn’t need to be; He gets all the ladies he wants just by sniffing at them. The only thing I really ever spend money on for Duke, besides vet bills, is that home flea treatment. I suppose, however, that this is really more for me than it is for him. Some people make a great big deal about dogs and fleas, but as long as bugs don’t get on me I am fine. Duke never really had a big problem with fleas anyway. I would just buy him a generic dog flea treatment every now and then and he’d be fine.

Anyway, Duke is one of my most favorite pals. I take him just about every where I go. He is the best company in the world just because he never argues with me and he doesn’t hog the remote. I will never forget the trip we took last summer up to Pennsylvania. Duke and I really had a good time. It was a road trip that we took in my old conversion van. For me, this was a very long trip and, besides for Duke, I was traveling alone.

We really had a great time. I took Duke to one of the dog parks up there. I never usually go to dog parks but I wanted to try something different this time. I was surprised that I had to pay for entry, but since it was much cheaper than one of those doggy daycares I didn’t mind. Later that evening we got back on the highway. Now usually Duke is calm when we’re on the road, but this time it seemed like the more I drove the more he scratched and whined. He was going crazy all over the back of the van a few hours after we got on the road. I didn’t know what his problem was so I had to stop and check it out. Turns out that Duke had fleas all over him. Worst was that they were all over the back of the van. For some reason the old dog flea treatment that I normally use hadn’t worked for Duke this time.

He needed a solution quick but I had to go on a little ways further before I got to a store. By that time I don’t know if it was psychosomatic or the fleas were biting me too, but I was itching just as badly as he was. I could barely contain myself when I got to the store. People were looking at me all funny. This time I decided I’d better get something that worked, so I got Frontline for Dogs. They had some kind of on-the-spot treatment and I used it on him and I got a spray for the van.

Let me tell you that this stuff really works. We got rid of the fleas and made it home. Now Frontline Plus for Dogs is the only kind of dog flea treatment that I use. For more information about getting rid of fleas on dogs, have a read of this article on, it really helped me out a lot.