There's a lot to see and do in the Schuylkill River region. History here is as rich as the soil that once made Southeastern Pennsylvania the "Breadbasket of the Colonies." Or maybe you didn't even know that up until the 1840s this was considered a breadbasket. That's understandable. The heritage of the five county (Schuylkill, Berks, Montgomery, Chester and Philadelphia) Schuylkill River region is not only rich, but also multidimensional encompassing the American, Industrial and Environmental Revolutions.
There are many ways to explore the history and culture of the region. This time of year, when the air is crisp and the leaves are changing, one great option is to take a driving or walking tour. On our website, we've put together a sampling of driving and walking tours that can take you to some of the most scenic and interesting places in this area. Here are a few to consider:
The Berks County Hex Barn Art Tour: This 28-mile self-guided driving tour brings you deep into the scenic heart of Berks County, where you'll view 22 barns bearing this art form that is unique to Pennsylvania German culture in Berks County. The Hex tour was developed by the Greater Reading Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with its companion piece, the Berks County Covered Bridge Tour.
2. The Molly Maguire Auto Tour: This tour consists of four cassette tapes (or CDs) and
a 24-page guide which can be purchased from our website by clicking the link above. It takes visitors on a journey of discovery through Schuylkill and Carbon Counties to 24 sites that tell the story of the Molly Maguires,
a group of Irish immigrant miners accused of
using violence in retaliation for dangerous and repressive conditions in the
anthracite coal mines and patch towns. Historians still do not agree on whether the group were victims or villains. This tour offers a great way to learn more about the history of this mysterious group, and about the hard lives of immigrants who toiled in the anthracite coal mines.
3. Pottsville Walking Tours: What's in Pottsville, you may wonder? There are two walking tours of this Schuylkill County borough that can easily answer that question. One, the Mural Tour, takes you to 16 different sites where murals literally paint a picture of the city from days gone by. The other, the Points of Interest Tour, maps out 20 different sites including America's oldest brewery, the prison where the Molly Maguires were hanged, Pottsville's oldest church, and more.Tiffany stained-glass windows, historic monuments, antique cars and even an art deco diner are all featured.
4. Philadelphia Walking Tours: What do you want to see in Philly? What would you like to learn more about? Chances are there's a walking tour that will help you explore it. Visitphilly.com lists eight different walking tours with such varying themes as: architecture, Colonial history, food, Early American drinks and more.
5. Historic Sites: Many historic sites offer guided and self-guided walking tours of their homes and grounds. One example is the Daniel Boone Homestead, pictured left, which offers a self-guided tour map to eight different 18th and 19th century structures including a smokehouse, saw mill and blacksmith shop. In addition to these buildings, the tour incorporates other sites, such as Daniel Boone Lake, a historic cemetery and an 18th century rifle range.