Columbia PA


When we came home from our recent trip to Pennsylvania, our Galaxy Space Rangers must have been peeking out the window.  Before we could get everything inside, they had already spied their ”space ship.”  We had promised the guys if ever we came across one, we’d bring it home.  Little did we know that we’d actually find one.  However, in a locked case on the upper level at Burning Bridge Antiques Market, there it sat; giving us the opportunity to try out their call system.  It works quite well, by the way.

When asking local folks where to start our Columbia picking experience, Burning Bridge was at the top of the list.  We happily spent the better part of a day with Cindie Coleman and her staff.  The store is located in a building that housed a hardware store and a sewing factory in the late 1800s.  The hardwood floors were so much easier on the back and legs than the typical concrete mall floors.  With large bright windows and inviting, easy to navigate booths and display cases of over 250 dealers and hundreds of consignors, there was plenty to see.  Uncharacteristically, the dust level was close to nil causing my nose to do a little happy dance.  The bell system to call for assistance from the upper and lower levels, brings a member of their friendly staff, which includes certified appraisers, to your assistance in the blink of an eye.

We continued our quest and found another type of dime bank, the Lucky Dime Register Bank.  No key needed, it opens automatically at $5.00.  As usual, one bank isn’t quite enough and we came away with an octagonal cylindrical dime bank as well.  Heading down to the lower level, we came across a Gilbert Erector Set from the 1930/40’s as well as some Made In Occupied Japan miniature Toby mugs.  At this point, hunger got the best of us and forced us to head out in search of a very late lunch.

While we were in Columbia, we also visited Old State Theatre Antique Mall.  This building was a former movie theatre and is probably the most unique antique/vintage mall we have visited yet.  The staircase from the lobby area to the upper level show room is outstanding.  The ceiling has medallion scrollwork tile accents.  There is a stage area up front, as well.  Not only is the setting one-of-a-kind but we found items here that we have never seen before including a handmade scoreboard from a prisoner of war camp and a “Stripper” sign, because you never know when that might come in handy.  The owner, Michael Boyer and his brother are self-proclaimed “antiquoholics” and enjoy providing the public with artifacts that bring the past to life.  While many of these items are way out of our league, they have pieces of history to fit just about any budget.  We found a set of Made In Occupied Japan salt and pepper shakers that didn’t break our bank. 


Our 4-legged son, Spike looking forward to doggie camp.

Our 4-legged son, Spike looking forward to doggie camp.

Being born and bred in the South - specifically, Charleston, South Carolina, a city recognized internationally for being graciously hospitable – I just always assumed that we had cornered the market  on friendliness with our y’all-come-back-now-personalities.  However, after less than 24 hours in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, I stand corrected.  From the staff at Eden Resort in Lancaster, to the folks at Turkey Hill Dairy in Conestoga, to the shops in Columbia – particularly Burning Bridge Antiques and Hinkle’s Pharmacy, I was not able to find even half a disgruntled person.  If not for their accents, I would have thought I was still down South.  Of course, I heard no y’alls and sweet ice tea was hard to come by, but I have never met a nicer, friendlier, more helpful group of people.  So I guess I’ll have to admit that the South definitely has some stiff competition above the Mason-Dixon Line.

Our trek “up North” started with packing up our four-legged son, Spike, and dropping him off for a few days of “doggie camp” at Continental Boarding in Charlotte.  Unlike most dogs, Spike hates riding in the car.  He just can’t settle down and enjoy the ride.  He whines, cries, shakes and sheds the entire time.  (Just ask Missy, she had the dubious pleasure of traveling with Spike from Charleston to Fort Mill.  Even a grandmother’s love and indulgence couldn’t soothe Spike’s travel-related woes.) Of course before he could go to camp, he made a trip to the vet, where every orifice of his body was violated.  But he passed his physical, got his shots, some drops/paste for his ears and his certificate for “camp” admittance.

With Spike all checked in, we headed towards our destination, Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County.  The Great One had a sales meeting at the Turkey Hill Dairy plant and so I tagged along to see what we could find in Pennsylvania.  

Our first stop was the Turkey Hill plant where we were given lots of advice on places to visit and directions on how to get there.  From the blank looks on our faces, they realized oral directions weren’t going to cut it and fortunately printed out maps for us, even highlighting the route.  Following their advice, we headed to Burning Bridge Antiques.  They were definitely right about this being a must-see destination for us.  After covering the entire main floor, we headed upstairs and then finally downstairs spending most of the day with them and I am sure we still missed a lot. 

When we realized the noises we were hearing were the rumbling of our empty stomachs, we followed their suggestion for a late lunch at Hinkle’s Pharmacy.  Hinkle’s is a family-owned business that in addition to its obvious role, have also been feeding the community for four generations.  They certainly know how to make an awesome club sandwich as well as breakfast, lunch and supper.     

No visit to Columbia, Pennsylvania would be complete without stopping at the Turkey Hill Experience.  It’s a great place to have some fun while learning all about Turkey Hill Dairy and the Frey Family.  The kids will have plenty to do.  There are interactive displays, “cows” to be milked, and samples to be tasted, as well as the opportunity to create your own signature flavor ice cream. 

I’ll be posting more about the shops we visited and the treasures we found on future posts, but for now, click the links below.