PA’s Artistic Byways: Route 6 and the Lincoln Highway

Route 6 and the Lincoln Highway, both designated Pennsylvania artistic byways, allow motorists to savor the state’s signature scenery and delve into creative corridors, which exhibit the talent of local artists, craftsmen, and performers.

Here are some not-to-miss “art-full” stops along or near these rich pathways.

Route 6

U.S. Route 6, which stretches for around 400 miles in Pennsylvania, is lined with vast forests, fertile farmland, and understated small towns.

View how local photographers interpret Pennsylvania’s natural landscape at The Potter County Artisan Center in Coudersport, which displays images of the PA Wilds by award-winning photographer Curt Weinhold and other local shutterbugs. Visitors can also shop for jewelry, books, treats, and handicrafts created by other Potter County artisans.

Christian Dorflinger’s elegantly cut lead crystal once adorned the tables of U.S. presidents, including Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson. See the largest collection of his work at the Dorflinger Glass Museum in the tiny village of White Mills and meander the walking trails within the serene, nearly 600-acre wildlife sanctuary that surrounds the museum.

Pick up some special stationery at Laughing Owl Press’ gift shop in Kane. The old-fashioned letterpress printing company ships its creations all over the world.

The Endless Mountains’ fiber artisans are the stars at The Home Textile Tool Museum in Rome – where you can try out old-fashioned spinning wheels, looms, and tools – and at Quilter Corners of Wyalusing, a self-guided driving tour of barns, businesses, homes, and historic sites festooned with handmade quilts.

Many culinary craftsmen, who are using locally farmed materials and introducing new techniques and products, have set up shop on Route 6. Sample the sweet Allegheny Gold wine at Conneaut Cellars Winery and Distillery or the freshly prepared dishes at the family-owned Wyalusing Hotel in Wyalusing.

Lincoln Highway

The nation’s first coast-to-coast highway, the Lincoln Highway spans nearly 3,400 miles, from San Francisco to New York City. The route celebrated its centennial in 2013, and the portion of the highway that runs through south-central Pennsylvania is peppered with quirky stops and inventive attractions that highlight the area’s history.

Don’t miss the Lincoln Highway Experience in Latrobe, where you can learn about the highway and iconic Pennsylvania roadside architecture situated along the route, including a lunch stand shaped like a coffee pot, a hotel shaped like a ship, and a house shaped like a shoe.

Closer to Philadelphia, you’ll find even more artistic landmarks along the Lincoln Highway, including the Chester County Art Association in West Chester and Wharton Esherick Museum in Malvern.

While Gettysburg teems with storied battlefields and historical sites, the city is also home to a thriving community of artisans. Eat your way through the city with Savor Gettysburg Food Tours, which takes visitors on a tour of esteemed, locally-owned restaurants and confectionaries. After, visit downtown Gettysburg to peruse artsy shops like Gallery 30 and Lark Gift Shop.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Jean Bonnet Tavern in Bedford is a worthy stop right off the highway for a nourishing meal, a night’s rest, or a souvenir. The establishment’s Cabin Shoppe offers books on local and state history, Pennsylvania metalwork, and handmade soaps, lotions and candles.

Sign up for a workshop at Touchstone Center for Crafts in Farmington, where renowned craftsmen teach classes on blacksmithing, ceramics, jewelry, glass, painting, and drawing.

Spend an afternoon at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art in Ligonier, one of the museum’s five branches in central and southwestern Pennsylvania. The museum has hosted many eye-catching exhibits and the art to see is sure to please.

Muralist Wayne Fettro’s 11 works portraying life along the Lincoln Highway can be spotted while traveling the route. In Bedford County, visitors can see his interpretation of two vintage cars traveling on the highway painted on the side of a barn near Schellsburg. Or stop in the small borough of Irwin to see a Fettro mural representing the community’s mining and industrial history.

To learn more about PA Route 6 and the Lincoln Highway in PA, check out the PA Route 6 Alliance website and the Lincoln Highway Association website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Don't forget to never miss an update and sign up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter.

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