Situated along the Susquehanna River, Columbia was founded in 1728, and was originally known as Wright's Ferry. The town served as a major transportation hub for those traveling along land, rail, and river routes to other destinations. One of Columbia's key businesses in its early history was shuttling passengers and cargo across the river, but the town later grew into an industrial hub for lumber, coal, and assorted goods.
It was John Wright, a Quaker who traveled to Columbia to preach to Indians, who established a ferry in 1730 that provided access to land beyond the western banks of the Susquehanna. The Wright's Ferry Mansion is still located at Second and Cherry Streets in the town, and can be visited today with tours held May through October.
Today, these preserved houses are interspersed with warehouses and former factories - all of which are a piece of Columbia's industrial past. The town plays host to a variety events and activities that celebrate the community's rich stories, past and present. It's flanked by neighboring river town Marietta, just a few miles down the road.
Ice cream lovers young and old will be in heaven at Turkey Hill Experience, where you can get the scoop on how ice cream and Turkey Hill iced teas are made. For extra cool fun, add the Taste Lab experience to your visit and make your own ice cream flavor, complete with tasty mix-ins options.
Watch time tick by as you explore the massive watch and clock collection at the National Watch & Clock Museum, also located in Columbia, PA. This fascinating museum features interactive exhibits, special collections, and a museum shop.
Located along the Susquehanna River, Columbia offers plenty of outdoor adventures including hiking, biking, rock-climbing, and activities on the water. Before you hit the trail, stop by the Columbia Crossings River Trail Center for trail maps and more information about the area. If you happen to be in town at the beginning of June, catch the National Trails Day event that celebrates the local recreation trails throughout the area.
Antiques are plentiful in this area of the county with over 10 large shops to explore. Located in restored, historic buildings shop like Burning Bridge Antiques Market and Rivertowne Antiques Center are filled with hidden gems and items from the past that antique-lovers will enjoy browsing for hours.
In October Columbia holds their annual community celebration, Bridge Bust, where they close down the bridge that connects Columbia with the neighboring town of Wrightsville. Vendors, from shopping to food, line the bridge for visitors to enjoy and browse.
Other popular events held in Columbia, PA:
Fourth Friday, held each month
Taste of River Towns, April
Strawberry Festival, June
Annual Antiques, Art & Craft Show, June
Thunder on the River Car Show, June
Rivertown Hops, August
Apple Festival, October
Where to Eat
For a dose of nostalgia and heart home cooking, head to Hinkle’s Restaurant, located in the Columbia’s old Hinkle’s Pharmacy. Grab a seat at the diner counter for a filling, traditional breakfast or cozy up in a booth with your family for that classic American cuisine you crave.
If you’re looking for a cold pint after an afternoon hike, head over to Columbia Kettle Works, specializing in hand-crafted ales, IPAs, porters and more along with sandwiches, meat & cheese boards, and bar snacks.
For a local favorite for fine dining, head across the river to John Wright Restaurant where you can enjoy delicious dishes served in the restaurant and wood-fire pizza served on their pizza patio all while taking in the beautiful river views. Their monthly cigar and dinner events are a great way to experience the cuisine and views, for those who enjoy cigars.
Bird-in-Hand Restaurant & Smorgasbord
If you crave home cooking and farm-fresh goodness, the Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant & Smorgasbord offers smorgasbord, menu dining and a kids' buffet.find out more
Jesus at Sight & Sound Theatres
Experience the musical stage adventure about the most famous person ever to walk the earth and the everyday people whose lives he changed forever.find out more