Living not too far from York, PA, I remember hearing about the shoe house. However, for the longest time it reminded me of the nursery rhyme “Mother Goose.” “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe…” But unbeknownst to me, it had nothing to do with Mother Goose. Instead it was about another interesting, but real life character.
Mahlon Haines, born in 1875, referred to himself as “The Shoe Wizard.” He was an opportunist and businessman. Haines was riding from Ohio (his home state) to Washington, D.C., when his bicycle broke down in York, PA. He used this “opportunity” to start a business for himself. He sold an engagement ring (from a broken off engagement) and made enough money to start selling shoes… (Long story short)
During Haines’ success he decided to create the ultimate marketing gimmick. He handed a workboot to an architect and the shoe house was built in 1948. Like many “roadside oddities” it was created to draw motorists in from the road (Lincoln Highway East).
He lived in the shoe house for a short time, and then moved across the street. Afterwards, he would rent the shoe house out to couples. There’s a living area in the front of the boot, a kitchen in the heel, two bedrooms, a maid/butler’s quarters and a bathroom. It’s cute and cozy.
Years later, it has become an ice cream shop and bakery. You can take a tour for $5 a person and enjoy some delicious treats. It’s a fun and unique attraction, with the perfect amount of history in the air.
The Haldeman Mansion is located on Locust Grove road in Bainbridge, PA. It’s in a small rural area, surrounded by nature. The front porch, with overhanging roof, faces the railroad, just beyond that is the beautiful Susquehanna River.
The grounds are rich in Native American History. However, as times changed, so did the property. In 1811 the mansion was completed. It became the birthplace of Professor Samuel Steman Haldeman.
The mansion is something to see. It has three floors and a basement. The grounds also contain a carriage house, summer house, and several ancient trees. When you visit this location it feels as though you’ve taken a step through time.
The Haldeman Mansion Preservation Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring this beauty. They provide open houses, and several annual events, including: the strawberry festival, Victorian tea, tavern dinner, apple fall festival, and more. Learn more by visiting their website or Facebook page.
Are you familiar with “The Great Gatsby?” The Conestoga House and Gardens may remind you of a similar time. You can find yourself mesmerized by its beauty and history. You may even daydream of Gatsby’s grand parties…
The estate was once owned by James Hale Steinman and Louise Tinsley Steinman. In fact, some people still refer to the grounds as the Steinman Mansion. The land encompasses outbuildings, a house, several gardens, and a pool (with an adorable bathhouse). The Conestoga House and Gardens are open to the public during summer months on Wednesdays and Thursdays. You can find specific dates and times on their website.
Take a step back in time and enjoy a slower pace. It’s a perfect pairing with a book, a picnic, or a simple desire to explore. Breathe easy and soak up the history.
The annual Delaware Bay Day takes place in Bivalve, New Jersey. This location was once a bustling and lucrative oyster town. Now the town appears more quaint. However, you can get a glimpse of the past by riding on their notable oyster boat the A.J. Meerwald.
Come to the Delware Bay Day and you can visit the many vendors, and take a sail on the A.J. Meerwald. Also, stay into the evening and you’ll see a lighted boat parade and end the night with fireworks.