Schaefferstown: A Historic Small Town

Schaefferstown holds a sense of abundant community and sweet nostalgia. It is the town that shaped my life, and it is now the town where I run my business and raise my children. In a world that is moving a million miles a minute this town is set apart. It is a town filled with hidden gems, much history, and a small town charm that invites you to “slow down and enjoy life”. 

My personal philosophy when planning a trip, whether it be a day trip or an overnight trip, is to start with the food. What Schaefferstown lacks in quantity they make up for in quality. When planning your visit you must stop by the beloved town gem that is “The Franklin House Tavern”. Established in 1746 by none other than Alexander Schaeffer, the founder of Schaefferstown. This restaurant has passed through many hands in its history, and has never lost its undeniable charm. Their moody romantic atmosphere is perfect for date night, or you can sit outside on their front porch and dine Parisian-style with a gorgeous view of the town square.  We love the “no rush” vibe here, making it the ideal place to enjoy a signature cocktail, their notable appetizers, and whatever you do, don’t forget to try their famous grilled Caesar salad- it does not disappoint! They also have sublime seasonal specials and my current favorite is their shrimp corn chowder, perfect to eat on a cool fall evening. 

If you’re looking for a more casual dining experience, enjoy the comfort food that Caruso’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria offers. There is something for the whole family here, and their pizza is unparalleled. We recommend ordering a side of their Pepe’s fries and my personal favorite, their fried pickles with ranch dressing. Our favorite way to enjoy this delectable fare is by ordering to-go and enjoying a picnic at Schaefferstown’s own Fountain Park. 

Fountain park is home to one of the United States’ oldest documented public water systems. It is a quaint public park on the outside of town, making it the perfect place to picnic. The shaded pavilion and playground make it the ideal location for little ones to explore and use their imaginations. Nestled into a plot of woods, there is a wealth of natural and historic sights all in one small area. I have personally enjoyed strolling around Heidelberg Ave with my daughters and finishing our walk off at Fountain Park. 

If you are in search of more family-friendly activities, plan a visit to Alexander Schaeffer Farm. The original homestead of Alexander Schaeffer is rich in history and beauty. They are open throughout the year for festivals, historic presentations, workshops, and more. Visit the Historic Schaefferstown website for details about upcoming activities. Our favorite event is the annual Traditional Cherry Fair and Market, which is a perfect way to celebrate the changing of the season. 

In addition to enjoying a day filled with nature and food, I know for myself a trip isn’t complete if I haven’t spent a little time perusing a shop or two. My favorite in town is the renowned Tweed Weasel Folk Art & Primitives. They have a vast selection of gorgeous antiques and original folk art. The shop has such a pleasant atmosphere and it smells divine, reminding you home. Intentionality and craftsmanship is of the highest value in their line of work, and you feel that the moment you walk into the store. They also have jewelry and clothes that span a wide range of size and taste, which I love.

In addition to the “The Tweed Weasel” take time to swing by “Good’s Store” not only do they house a variety of hardware and houseware essentials, but their toy section is prime. I enjoy finding gifts for my children and nieces and nephews there. They have a selection of toys that promote imagination and discovery over “gizmos and gadgets”.  We always find a classic puzzle or two to enjoy at Christmas time at Good’s Store.

Overall Schaefferstown offers a variety of unique experiences and sights that prioritize family and history. It’s a journey away from the big box stores and a way to enjoy a variety of small businesses and local color. It’s delightful in any season and we know you won’t regret a day of “small town living”. 


Guest Blogger, Janae Tomas

Janae Tomas is a long-time resident of Schaefferstown. After growing up there in her childhood, she decided to settle there and raise a family of her own and start her own business. See what Janae has to say about this historic small town and all there is to do!

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