The Hershey-Harrisburg area attracts millions of tourists each year with the area’s great museums and chocolate attractions. However, very few visitors to the region make the short drive up the Susquehanna to the small borough of Duncannon in Perry County.
Many visitors hike through the Duncannon, PA for the Appalachian Trail, which runs through the town on its way between Georgia and Maine. And, while there’s definitely some great hiking to do in the area, there’s plenty to keep non-hikers busy as well.
So, whether you’ve visited the Harrisburg area for a vacation, hiking the Appalachian Trail, or just checking out a new area close to home, here are my top picks for things to do in Duncannon, Pennsylvania:
The Old Sled Works
Describing exactly what The Old Sled Works is can be quite difficult. It’s mostly an antique mall, but it also has a craft section, several penny arcades with old games, a museum, and an old soda fountain.
The Old Sled Works is housed in the old Lightning Guider Sled factory. From 1904-1988 millions of sleds were made here, more than any other factory in America. However, in 1991, the factory was given new life when it opened as The Old Sled Works.
Inside, there are over 100 antique and craft stalls featuring nearly anything imaginable, including vintage sleds that were made in the building. There are also several small arcades scattered throughout the building that offer vintage arcade games that you can still play!
For those that want to learn more about the building’s past, there is a small sled museum that features some of the most popular and rare models to be made in the factory.
And, once you’re done, you can sit back for a snack or ice cream at the vintage soda fountain.
Even if you aren’t interested in shopping, The Old Sled Works is definitely worth checking out!
The Doyle Hotel
Duncannon might not hit the tourist radar very often, but if it does, there’s a good chance you’re heading for the Doyle Hotel.
The building that houses the Doyle was built in the early 1800s to replace an 18th-century wooden hotel that had burned down. Over the years, it changed hands many times, including being owned by Adolphus Busch of Anheuser-Busch fame, but was eventually bought in 1944 by Jim Doyle, who gave the hotel its current name.
When the Appalachian Trail was completed in 1937, it passed right through Duncannon, making the borough one of the many small-town stops along the trail. Over the years, The Doyle has become a must-stop destination for hikers passing through the area.
While hikers do spend the night, the real reason to visit is the amazing food, which is offered for great prices and in very generous portions, and the super friendly owners. The Doyle might look like a bit of a dump from the outside, and even the inside, but this is definitely a gem in the area. While there, make sure to check out the trail information and postcards from hikers that have passed through.
The Doyle Hotel’s website isn’t working at the time of publication, so instead check out their Yelp page for information about visiting.
Buddy Boy Winery and Vineyard
I’ve been to a lot of wineries in Pennsylvania, but I don’t know that I’ve ever visited one that’s as unique as Buddy Boy Winery in Duncannon. Really, the rural setting of the winery almost seems like a more appropriate place for a distillery than a winery, but the dozens of awards that Buddy Boy has won prove that this is one of the best wineries in the area.
What I liked about Buddy Boy Winery, in addition to their unusual vibe, was the variety of wines that they have. Like most wineries in the area, it’s the sweet wines that stand out here, but they also feature a variety of unique offerings, from fruit wines to wines featuring their very own wild grapes.
Trust me, a stop at Buddy Boy Winery is something that you won’t soon forget. Visit their website for information about visiting.
Hawk Rock and Cove Mountain Overlooks
Located just outside of Duncannon is the trailhead for Hawk Rock Overlook. The one-mile trail to the top takes you up 750 feet above the valley below, and offers an expansive view over the Susquehanna River Valley. Depending on which way you go, you may or may not be hiking along the Appalachian Trail to get there. However, both trail options end in the same place, a wide rock at the top of the mountain.
If you want to get a different view, hike along a side trail that branches off the Appalachian Trail near Hawk Rock. Soon you’ll reach another overlook with a great view of Duncannon and another great view of the Susquehanna River below.
The views along this trail are widely considered to be some of the finest in the area and definitely worth the short hike to the top. Information about how to get to the vistas can be found here.
The Old Log Church and Baskinville Cemetery
One of the coolest places in to visit in Duncannon is also one of the least known. Hidden away behind several residential streets is Duncannon Cemetery. And, in the back corner of this small burial ground is an area formally known as Baskinville Cemetery.
Located on a small hill above the town, this area of the graveyard dates from the first half of the 19th century, making them some of the oldest grave sites in all of Perry County. Despite its hilltop location, there isn’t much of a view from the cemetery, but walking around the cemetery is interesting by itself.
Also worth checking out is the replica log church along the edge of the cemetery. This replica was built in 1970 and shows what the old church looked like in 1804, just 12 years after Duncannon was founded. While it might not be old, the log church is interesting to check out simply because it gives a great feel for what the cemetery used to look like.
The Baskinville Cemetery and the Old Log Church are located at the following coordinates: 40.404821, -77.021324.
Dellville Covered Bridge
Located just a few miles outside of Duncannon are the charred ruins of Dellville Covered Bridge. Constructed in 1889, the bridge spanned 174-feet over Sherman Creek in Wheatfield Township. There are a total of 14 covered bridges in Perry County, but the Dellville Covered Bridge was the closest to Duncannon.
Unfortunately, in November 2014, shortly after my first visit to this bridge, it was destroyed in an arson fire. Today, the charred remains of the bridge still span Sherman Creek as a sad reminder of the beautiful bridge that once stood there. In fact, I would say that Dellville Covered Bridge was one of my favorite covered bridges in Pennsylvania.
As of mid-2017, work has begun to rebuild the bridge, and it was reopened to the public in 2019.
However, the area where the bridge was stood is still interesting to visit. Not only can you see the charred remains of the bridge, but there are several picnic tables and an access point for non-motorized boats, fishermen, or swimmers to reach the shallow water around the bridge.