Want to get carried away? Whisked to another place in time? Feel the heat of the moment as cars race around a track? Or thrill to the sensation of a downhill ride? View historic vehicles made in the area? Our region has all of those things! Pick your activity level, and get on your way.
For the History Inclined:
Discover dozens of horse-drawn carriages, wagons and sleighs that signaled the dawn of transportation in the United States at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles. Also on display at the museum, are automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, high wheelers, mechanic’s tools, and more, all manufactured and used right here in Pennsylvania, when the transportation industry in the United States was still in its infancy. Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, the museum was founded by Paul Hafer, who spent his entire 57-year career in transportation, designing and building truck bodies at the Boyertown Auto Body Works.
Learn the story of the Reading Railroad and how it helped to shape history in Pennsylvania’s Americana Region. Once the largest corporation in America, the railroad was formed to transport hard anthracite coal from the fields north in Schuylkill County to power industry, and heat homes. The Reading Railroad Heritage Museum, located in a former Pennsylvania steel complex, is dedicated to preserving the rich history of the pioneering railroad, through displays, artifacts, and memorabilia. Exhibits include Reading Company documents, blueprints, rolling stock, equipment, and locomotives.
The Mid-Atlantic Aviation Museum is not just about airplanes, it is the story of productivity, perseverance, patriotism, and above all, the people who created the ideas and followed through to success. From the first manned balloon flight in Philadelphia in the 18th century, to the space age, Mid-Atlantic Aviation is the story of men and women, manufacturers, inventors, pioneers of commercial aviation,and aviation heroes. Interpretation reflects not only the history of the object itself, but also the evolution of technology and the cultural environment in which it was used. The museum’s World War II Weekend, The Gathering of the Warbirds, is the largest in the nation.
Enjoy exploring the vast collection of over 20,000 historic artifacts, 30,000 photographs, and priceless materials such as tax records from 1754, at the Berks History Center. Unique items include early bicycles, a very rare horse drawn streetcar, a Conestoga wagon, a Duryea automobile, Schuylkill Navigation Company, and Union Canal records, a library with over 15,000 volumes, and a 7,200 piece manuscript collection. Works of art include those by Ben Austrian, Jack Coggins, Earl Poole and more. A searchable database with more than 800,000 names is available to the public. A portion of the collection is held at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles.
Necho Allen’s campfire, near Ashland, Pennsylvania, which ignited a hard coal outcropping, blazed a whole new way of life for all parts of Pennsylvania. Bustling coal towns sprang up, while horizontal tunnels burrowed into mountains to mine the valuable hot burning, anthracite coal that fueled the American Industrial Revolution. There were close times between Ashland, and Reading as the Pioneer Tunnel, owned by the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company, produced the coal shipped in the Reading Railroad, to points south to power the new industries and heat the homes of Philadelphia. Be sure to ride the steam train when you visit.
For the Thrill Seekers:
Thrill to the heat of National Hot Rod Association-sanctioned drag racers as they blaze down a quarter-mile straight racetrack. In continuous operation for 51 years, Maple Grove is the site of many historic firsts in drag racing, including Joe Amato and Shirley Muldowney recording the first ever, side-by-side, four-second Top Fuel Dragster runs in 1989, along with the first ever, side by side, 300 mph T/F passes, and many other of the quickest, and fastest runs in NHRA history. Every weekend, April through November, enjoy specialized automotive events, nostalgia racing, Top Fuel dragsters, and jet-powered vehicles to Street Bike races and more.
Thrill to more than 125 miles of trails in the only Bronze Level Ride Center of the International Mountain Biking Association in the Mid Atlantic. Trails range in difficulty from beginner-friendly, to some of the most technical, rock-strewn trails you’ll experience anywhere. Ride from trail to nearby, and abundant, in-town amenities, like bike shops, craft beer bars, hotels, music venues, restaurants and sporting events. Berks Area Mountain Biking Association has done a phenomenal job expanding and maintaining the trails, which were the training ground of World Cup downhill racer Neko Mullaly, and the annual Duryea Downhill Race.
For All Ages:
Lost in the deep woods sheltering the Manatawny and Ironstone Creeks is a mythical secret valley. Before the Colebrookdale Railroad could take you there, only white-tailed deer, great blue heron, and bald eagles experienced the beauty of this legendary land once settled by the region’s frontier pioneers. The “Secret Valley Line” is your ticket to a place and time when iron rails connected a divided people and the heart of the nation pulsed with the potent energy of the steam locomotive and lives were being rebuilt following the Civil War. Construction was an epic record of engineering and human drama. Ride the rails to get the full scoop.