Philadelphia is my city…but Cornwall is my hometown.
Growing up on a farm in Cornwall Borough was an idyllic childhood. My roots grow deep in this area…that same farmhouse that was built at the end of the Civil War is currently owned by
the 5th generation of our family to call it home. When I left to attend Drexel University,
I had no idea I was embarking on a 25-year season of my life living in and around Philadelphia. There is so much to love about Philly but whenever the pace of the city felt too frenetic…. Cornwall was where I found my center. It was and remains my touchstone.
Several years ago, I moved back to the area and happily call Cornwall my home once again. I
live right off a stretch of the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail…next door to my childhood home. As
kids, we walked on the metal rails like balance beams. Those rails and ties have long been
removed and the rail beds have been converted to easy hiking and biking paths. It’s become a
local treasure. Visitors and residents enjoy its 15 miles of scenic views on foot, bikes, and even
Sunrises over the farmlands of Cornwall are ethereal. There is a quiet moment…almost
meditative…right before the birds find their voice. Mist hovers like a blanket above the fields
and the sun breaks the deep blue over the horizon. Some folks will understandably argue our
sunsets are equally noteworthy. The explosion of colors across the sky is often spectacularly
captured and shared across local social media. It’s like an event everyone attends albeit from
their own backyards.
A town rich in American history, Cornwall was founded by Peter Grubb. He discovered the area
was rich in exceedingly pure ore. Finding local resources for smelting iron (water, limestone and timber) Grubb built the Cornwall Iron Furnace. During the Revolutionary War, the Grubb family was a major arms provider to General Washington. After the war, Robert Coleman acquired the furnace and became Pennsylvania’s FIRST millionaire! Currently owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the furnace is a historical landmark and is open for tours 3 days a week.
Noteworthy….at one time the Cornwall Iron Mine was the largest open mining pit in the world!
My grandfather was a miner and took the last descent into the mine when it closed in 1973.
Although I don’t get to play golf as much as I’d like…. Cornwall offers two local courses I really
enjoy…Fairview Golf Course and Iron Valley Golf Club. Both have something special to offer.
Fairview is by far the best maintained public course around. If you just have time for hitting a
basket of balls after work…check out their driving range. Iron Valley lies near the old iron mines
and boasts spectacular views of Lebanon Valley. Designed by P.B. Dye, it’s a challenging course
with drastic elevation changes.
Central PA is known for good cooking and Cornwall is no exception hosting several delicious
dining institutions. The Blue Bird Inn has been serving the locals since the 1930s in a historic
building built in the late 1800s. If you go…I recommend their baked tomato soup, anything from their well-stocked bar and if you’re looking for fun with a group…go on trivia night!
Boyer’s Tavern is on the south mountain in what is known as Rexmont. They craft THE BEST
menu specials but don’t overlook their tried and true. The cheesesteak is incredible…rivaling
Philly’s best steakhouses! (yes…I said that!!) In the neighboring village of Quentin, you can enjoy cocktails on Quentin Tavern’s deck shaded by the sprawling canopy of a catalpa tree. Their Elder Mac & Cheese is legendary. Next door you can grab pizza perfection at CC’s Pizza…the sauce has that special something. Hungry for a sub? They make their own sandwich rolls and are big enough to feed 2! If you’re looking for classic diner fare, the Quentin Haus is a local favorite.
While you’re in Quentin stop by my shop…. Carriage House Style and say hello! I was inspired
by the fabulous boutiques along the Philadelphia Main Line. We carefully curate home décor,
furniture, jewelry, and gifts. Over 30 local makers and artisans call it home for their one-of-a-
kind creations. Three times a year we host a Barn Sale opening the family farm for the public to
enjoy. The barn is transformed into a magical open-air market with large furniture vignettes, food vendors, and special guest artisans.
My hometown is a gem worth discovering …and if you live in my city…you’re only a short drive away!
About the blogger: Jane Schott Yorty
Jane Schott Yorty is a proud Cornwall native and the Owner of Carriage House Style. She is a member of the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce and board member of Developmental and Disability Services of Lebanon County.