Explore the Susquehanna National Heritage Area
August 20-22, 2021


All across Lancaster and York Counties, you will find amazing heritage sites that show us why this area is nationally recognized for its contributions to American history. Explore the stories of these places with a weekend-long heritage celebration.

Summer Soirée

Friday, August 20th | 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM
River’s Edge at Long Level Marina

Kick off the weekend with us at our Summer Soirée! This is our annual riverfront fundraiser, and this year it is located at River’s Edge at Long Level Marina. Enjoy food, drink, boat rides, music, and a fun silent auction on the banks of the Susquehanna River. We’ll toast to 20 years of advocacy, riverfront access improvements, and promotion of our shared river heritage in York and Lancaster Counties.

Tickets are $75.00 per person. Purchase your tickets online here

Path to Freedom: Underground Railroad & Civil War

The predominance of people who opposed slavery and its proximity to the Mason-­Dixon Line helped to make this area an active part of the national network known as the Underground Railroad. Due to the clandestine nature of the Underground Railroad, little physical evidence of this history remains. Yet, personal accounts passed on through generations and continuing research have revealed the region’s important role in this story.
  • William C. Goodridge Center
    Saturday, August 21st | 10 am to 6 pm
    123 E Philadelphia Street, York, PA
    William C. Goodridge was a Station Master on the Underground Railroad. He was born enslaved but became one of the wealthiest African American businessmen in South Central Pennsylvania during the 1800’s.  Our tours and programs complement the historic attractions in Gettysburg and serve as a convenient stop between the battlefield and the African-American museums in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. Reservations Required. 
  • SNHA River Discovery Boat Tour: Path to Freedom
    Weekends, August 21nd – September 6th | 3:15 pm – 4:30 pm
    1706 Long Level Road, Wrightsville, PA
    Take a special river boat tour to learn about the African American experience on their quest for freedom from slavery as well as our area’s role in the American Civil War. Boat will depart from the Zimmerman Center for Heritage. Reservations Required. FREE
  • LancasterHistory – Tours of President James Buchanan’s Wheatland
    Available Wednesdays – Saturdays | 10am – 3pm |Tours begin every 30 Minutes
    230 North President Avenue, Lancaster, PA
    A must-see for history buffs, visitors can enjoy a guided tour of Wheatland, the 1828 Federal mansion owned by 15th US President James Buchanan, and learn about the political and personal life of Buchanan. Tours begin with a showing of Buchanan’s America, LancasterHistory’s award-winning orientation film, followed by a tour of the home, which includes both floors and is led by a knowledgeable, costumed guide. General Admission ticket purchase also includes self-guided access to museum exhibitions, including Lancaster in the 60s and Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War.  $15 per person. Advance Reservations Recommended
  • African American Heritage Tour
    African American Historical Society of Central Pennsylvania
    38 Penn Square, Lancaster, PA
    Saturday, August 21 | 11 am and 2 pm
    Enjoy a walking tour of the Underground Railroad and heritage sites in downtown Lancaster, PA. Historical society volunteers will lead guests to twelve historic sites, including four with authentic connections to the Underground Railroad. Each tour will depart from Lancaster City Visitor Center and lasts approximately two-hours. Please arrive 15-30 minutes prior to departure time. $15 per person. Reservations required.

The Susquehanna River as a Corridor of Culture and Commerce

The story of the Susquehanna River Valley reflects the American experience, including Native American habitation, European settlement, the alteration of the landscape to rural farmland, the construction of towns, the rise and decline of industries, and changes in the use of the river from exploitation and commerce to recreation. Industries in the area included lumber, iron, stone quarries, railroads, canals, and hydroelectric dams.

Natural Environment & Landscape Heritage

  • Haldeman Mansion: Geological Walk
    Saturday, August 21st at 10AM
    230 Locust Grove Road, Bainbridge, PA
    Jeri Jones of Jones Geological Services will lead you back into time and take about the ancient past of the Locust Grove area.  We will discuss the geologic history of the area, the unique history of the Susquehanna River and the effect that the glaciers had on our area.  Also we will talk about the rocks that make up the Haldeman Mansion and the wagon shed and the important quarry history of the area.  Finally, we cannot forget the tremendous contributions that Samuel S. Haldeman made to the geological world. $5 per person. No reservations required.
  • SNHA River Discovery Boat Tour: Feathers & Fins
    Weekends, August 21nd – September 6th | 10:00 am – 11:15 am
    1706 Long Level Road, Wrightsville, PA
    Feathers & Fins: Eagles, herons, and cormorants. Shad, bass, and snakeheads. The Susquehanna’s fish and fowl are showcased on this tour. Bring your binoculars! (Not to worry, we have binoculars you can borrow for the ride as well!) Boat will depart from the Zimmerman Center for Heritage. Reservations required. FREE

Cultural Heritage

  • SNHA River Discovery Boat Tour: The River’s Native Peoples
    Weekends, August 21nd – September 6th | 1:30 pm – 2:45 pm
    1706 Long Level Road, Wrightsville, PA
    The presence of American Indians in this landscape over thousands of years has created a rich legacy. On this tour, our guides will introduce you to the story of this area’s Native Peoples as you pass historic Native American sites. Boat will depart from the Zimmerman Center for Heritage. Reservations required. FREE
  • Power of the River Paddle Tour
    Sunday, August 22nd  | 9am – 12pm
    2251 Blue Rock Road, Washington Boro, PA
    SNHA will lead this group paddle from Columbia River Park down to the Blue Rock Access. Learn about how the river has powered our lives and changed our culture throughout the centuries, from the Great Pumpkin Flood to the harnessing of the river’s flow through hydroelectric dams. Thanks to Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority for sponsoring this trip! Reservation Required. $25 per person
  • Musselman-Vesta Iron Furnace Center
    Sunday, August 22nd | 12 PM Tour | Center Open 1 PM – 3 PM
    4 Donegal Place, Marietta, PA
    The Musselman-Vesta Iron Furnace Center is the only intact furnace building remaining in the Chickies Historic District Furnace Complex. The four room (two up and two down) Musselman-Vesta building is now used as an educational center managed by Rivertownes PA USA.  The stories of the anthracite furnaces, the Pennsylvania Canal and Railroad, and the operation of the “hot blast” furnaces are showcased on site. Tour at Noon will take visitors to a walk through the ruins from the Vesta Furnace operations including foundations of oil house, chimneys, and blacksmith shop. No Reservation Required. Donations are appreciated.
  • Blue Rock Heritage Center
    Sunday, August 22nd  | 1pm – 3pm
    Stop by the Blue Rock Heritage Center to learn about the life along the Susquehanna River from Susquehannock settlement to our recent past. Explore the Native American culture that once had a large village in the area of Washington Boro. Parking available at the Boat Access then follow the gravel walk to the Center. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated.
  • Haldeman Mansion: Tour with Tina
    Sunday, August 22nd | 1 pm
    230 Locust Grove Road, Bainbridge, PA
    Enjoy a guided tour of the interior and exterior of the Haldeman Mansion. This historic 1782 federal-style home overlooking the Susquehanna River was the birthplace of Samuel S. Haldeman, a distinguished scientist, author, and leading authority on natural history. Learn about how the river impacted Haldeman’s life and about the efforts to restore the home. $5 per person. No reservation required.

Gateway to the Frontier

The Lancaster-York area was a nationally significant gateway to the settlement of the ever­moving frontier. Two local innovations that attained national renown were the Conestoga wagon and the Pennsylvania-Kentucky rifle. In the Susquehanna River Valley, early in the eighteenth century, the local people developed a vernacular architectural idiom, a host of useful and innovative tools for survival and growth, and a sustainable system of farming that transformed the landscape here.
  • Conestoga Area Historical Society
    Sunday, August 22nd | 1 pm – 4 pm
    51 Kendig Road, Conestoga, PA
    Learn about settlement life in the Penn Manor Area at this expansive historic site. You will find a main building with historic exhibits. See a Conestoga wagon up close. Enjoy the grounds and six other buildings, including a 1730s log cabin, 1840s stone home, blacksmith shop, tannery, and barn barn to truly understand the unique farming traditions that have served this area for over three centuries. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated.
  • Columbia Living History Plaque Tour
    Saturday, August 21st | 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    Three organizations are coming together for this unique living history tour through our National Heritage Area’s first riverfront settlement of Columbia – originally Wright’s Ferry. Actors will portray the original owners of the buildings in period costumes and give a narrative of themselves and the building and its impact on Columbia and its history. Columbia Historic Preservation Society, Columbia Economic Development Corporation, and the Rivertown Theatre Production will benefit from tour tickets which are $15 per person. Reservations are required. Call Chris at 717-572-7149 to reserve.

Revolutionary Turning Point

The Susquehanna National Heritage Area is one of only four locations to serve as the capital of the United States during the struggle for independence. There, during its meetings in York, the Continental Congress completed its debates on the Articles of Confederation and disseminated it to the states for ratification. The heritage area is therefore nationally significant as the birth site of the new nation’s first governing document. Additionally, it was while Congress was resident there that the victory at Saratoga occurred, the Continental Army matured at Valley Forge, and France entered the war on the side of the United States. This often­ overlooked moment of American history was when the young nation turned a critical corner on the road to independence.
  • Historic Rock Ford
    Saturday, August 21 & Sunday, August 22 | 10am, 12pm, 2pm
    Historic Rock Ford was the home of Edward Hand and his family as well as enslaved people, free servants, and laborers. During the American Revolution, Edward Hand was Adjutant General to George Washington. Learn about early American history and the complex issues that shaped our nation in its formative years. $15 per person. Registration required.
  • York History Center: Colonial Complex Guided Tours
    Saturday, August 21 | 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm
    157 West Market Street, York, PA
    The Colonial Complex includes the General Horatio Gates House, the Golden Plough Tavern, the Barnett Bobb Log Cabin and the reproduction Court House. Learn about York’s history as one of the first capitals of the United States, birthplace of the Articles of Confederation, and about the colonial and Revolutionary War-era history of Pennsylvania as a whole. $15 per person. Reservations required.