Amazing Historic Hotels of Pennsylvania

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The small towns of southern Pennsylvania exude charm and hospitality. The area is filled with historic hotels. Read on for our favorite historic hotels of Pennsylvania. 

There’s nothing like staying in a small, historic Pennsylvania Inn. Over the last 15 years, I’ve explored southern Pennsylvania and found many reasons to visit. Come along for a ride through American history at its best and learn about these beautiful historic hotels of Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

A Salute to the General

The General Warren Inne has existed in one form or another since 1745. Its success is due to its proximity to the busy road between Philadelphia and Lancaster. During the Revolutionary War, both sides frequented the inn, and the battle of Paoli took place just a mile away.

A fine-looking historic inn that doesn’t look a day older than 200 years! Photo by Kurt Jacobson

One of the more interesting points about the General Warren Inne is that America’s first modern highway passed by the property. This “macadamized” toll road linked the farm country of Lancaster, PA, with Philadelphia, providing a fast route to deliver farm goods and other important products between the two cities. When train service opened up the area, the inn lost customers until the motor touring craze of the 1920s once again brought travelers to the General Warren’s doorstep.

I got a history lesson about the General Warren before even setting foot in the door. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

My first visit took place in October 2023 on a fine fall day. Chef/Owner Patrick Byrne helped carry my baggage to the reception room as I entered the inn. After unpacking, I explored the inn’s gardens, dining rooms, and bars. The downstairs bar opens to a cozy patio area, perfect for outdoor dining. I had all the time I needed to try out the bar and dining room’s food and wine offerings and found both exceptional.

This elegant fine dining room serves top-notch cuisine at the General Warren. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

Deluxe Dinner

I ordered the Je Suis le Petite Homard, which is basically a lobster pot pie. The quality was excellent, and unlike some versions that use excessive rubbery parts of a lobster claw, this version was full of high-quality lobster in a cream sauce topped with a croissant crust. Jamie, the bartender, was a pro and took excellent care of me as I asked questions about the inn, the menu, and the wine list.

Jamie is a true pro who took good care of me while I had dinner at the bar. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

After my appetizer at the bar, I chose to stay put for the entrée even though the dining room looked elegant and comfortable. Close by was the Spring House Terrace. This private dining venue seats about two to six guests in the old stone spring house, which looks amazing for outdoor dining. For my entrée, I ordered the smothered pork rib eye with spicy gochujang potatoes and broccolini.

The pork loin with spicy potatoes was amazing! Photo by Kurt Jacobson

With dinner over, I strolled the grounds before retiring to my third-floor room. The William Penn Suite, like all the rooms, was well equipped for a weekend stay and had a private bathroom. I found the third floor surprisingly quiet and barely heard the bar and dining room crowd below. Parking was free and easy, making this a good weekend trip choice. Special events are held in one of several spaces and can accommodate up to 50 guests.

The Spring House patio is a perfect place for a private event. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

Lititz, Pennsylvania

The small town of Lititz is known as a great place to visit, live, or work. But the big news to me was the opening of the Wilbur Lititz Hotel, a Tapestry Collection by Hilton property. Anyone who has been to Lititz in the last 100 years knows about the Wilbur Chocolate Company factory, now home to this boutique hotel.

The Wilbur Chocolate Co. name still graces the Wilbur Hotel. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

A New Beginning

The factory closed in 2016, and Oak Tree Development Group, a Hilton Hotel brand-approved developer, bought the property to reimagine it as a boutique hotel and private residences. The building was remodeled to modern hotel standards but has kept the aura of a chocolate factory. All outside walls are original red brick, and guests can see the massive wooden beams supporting the five-story structure in many parts of the building.

In the lobby, two high-back armchairs face a gas fireplace and bookshelves with books, artwork, and some vintage chocolate molds from when this factory churned out tons of delicious chocolate products. Near the reception desk, Henry’s Hub sells snacks, wine, soda, and a few over-the-counter medications.

The high-back chairs in front of the fireplace were a good place to sit during my March visit. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

Two elevators seemed ample to whisk guests to the 2nd through 5th floors. My room was a Factory King with Park View. I loved the view of Lititz Springs Park, allowing me to see the duck pond, creek, vintage railroad station, and part of downtown. The bed was comfortable, and the room decorations, while sparse, were enough. I especially loved the vintage posters signifying three different names given to the chocolate factory over its long history.

The view from my room was a nice perk, and I loved the vintage Wilbur Chocolate Co. art. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

The bathroom carried on the Wilbur chocolate theme with a classic bunny mold print that would have seen a lot of use during Easter. I liked that the hot water came quickly to the shower and that the bathroom was spotless. A robe was provided, and I suspect two robes would have been there if my wife had joined me. The room also provided a working desk, plenty of USB charging ports, a room safe, a coffee set, and a fridge.

This vintage chocolate bunny mold was one of several authentic molds throughout the hotel. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

Dinner Time

I decided to try Blackworth Live Fire Grill for dinner during my stay. I’m usually hesitant to try a hotel’s onsite restaurant, but the menu looked so good I tried it. The bar was my choice for dining solo, and I started with a glass of the excellent French sauvignon blanc. For my dinner, I decided to go vegetarian. I ordered the carrots with brown butter and fennel dust, the arugula salad, and the cornbread with maple butter. My choices turned out to be spot on, and I loved every bite.

The Balackworh Live Fire Grill is a mix of old and new architecture. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

I noticed a group of about 20 guests in the back of the dining room, indicating that the restaurant and hotel are popular for group events. With a full slate of amenities like a fitness center, business center, meeting rooms, and an onsite restaurant, it’s easy to see that the Wilber Lititz Hotel will be a huge asset for the town of Lititz for years to come.

Another historic hotel in Lititz is the Lititz Springs Inn and Spa, which John Sutter of Sutter’s Mill, California, started. Sutter moved to Lititz in the mid-1800s, attempting a new start after his ill fortunes in California caused him to depart for the Eastern US, where he attempted to get restitution from the government. It’s a fascinating story worth looking up, as it deserves a story on its own.

I’ve not stayed at the Lititz Springs Inn but have eaten at their pub, Bull’s Public House. I recommend checking them out, as the pub is good, and the hotel is on my list of places to stay.

The lobby of the Lititz Springs Inn features a portrait of John Sutter. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

Other Interesting Hotels

On a recent trip, I finally made it to some of the small towns in Lancaster County that I’d meant to visit. My first stop was in Marietta, where I stopped at the Railroad House Inn. As you’d expect, the Inn was by the railroad tracks and has been there since 1823. According to their website, the inn has been remodeled and updated. All guests’ rooms are on the second floor, and with trains coming through and sounding their horns, this is not a place for light sleepers!

The Railroad House Inn stands tall by the train tracks in Marietta, PA. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

Based on conversations with locals, the restaurant is quite popular. With a gorgeous backyard, patio, and gardens, this is a place I want to visit in warm weather. The restaurant is only open Wednesday through Saturday for dinner and Sunday for Brunch. While I wasn’t able to fit in a meal or overnight stay, I loved the vintage character of this Inn.

I can imagine this is a very popular outdoor space in warm weather. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

After my stop in Marietta, I proceeded to the nearby town of Mt Joy, where I found a Victorian-era hotel and brewery. It was a lucky break to show up unannounced and meet the general manager at Bube’s Brewery and Hotel while shooting photos in front of this gorgeous ‘painted lady.’ I was given a tour even though they were hosting a group of bus tour operators for a murder mystery lunch.

Bube’s Brewery still serves up good times in Mount Joy, PA. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

Much of the original brewery and its working parts are still visible and well-preserved. Multiple dining rooms and bars are open to the public and are perfect for private events. Here’s another place I couldn’t stay or eat at, but I was very impressed with the ability of the owner, Sam Allen, to make the hotel and brewery shine. I look forward to returning and trying out the food and beer.

This dining room is deep underground at Bube’s Brewery. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

Lancaster Historic Hotels

I stopped by two historic hotels in Lancaster on my recent trip. The first hotel was the Lancaster Arts Hotel, a business that began as a warehouse in the 1880s. The last building out of four was sold to developers to begin a new history as a luxury boutique hotel. The hotel lives up to its name as an art hotel with over $300,000 in artwork throughout the property.

The lobby of the Lancaster Arts Hotel hints at the building’s $300k worth of art. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

Although I couldn’t stay the night, I did realize my wife and I had been here years before to have dinner next to the hotel at John J. Jefferies. I don’t remember what we had, but I do remember it was a good meal. I noticed that on the Tripadvisor reviews, most of the reviewers gave John J. excellent ratings. Based on what I saw in the lobby and the hotel’s website, I think the Lancaster Arts Hotel would be a good place to stay. Room rates ranged from $159-$300 or more based on dates.

The Inn at Leola Village is a collection of buildings knitted together to form the Inn, restaurant, and spa. Rooms on offer include club rooms, Parlor suites, signature suites, and extended-stay suites. The last time we stayed at the Inn was in 2018, and my wife and I were impressed with the lodging and food. With a Forbes Four Diamond Award, this is a good bet for lodging, dining, and special events.

The Inn at Leola Village offers a luxurious place to stay or dine. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

A Cool Factory Redo

The Cork Factory Hotel is yet another impressive redo of a vintage factory building. I hadn’t seen the hotel until March 2024 and was very impressed with the meeting facilities, restaurant, and lobby. The old smokestack, adorned with the words Urban Place, stands tall at the reception entrance. There’s something about old brick that has a beauty of its own, and like the Wilbur Lititz Hotel, the Cork Factory Hotel has saved many of the original brick walls.

The towering smokestack and brick facade greet guests of the Cork Factory Hotel in Lancaster, PA. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

This 1860s factory-turned-hotel offers 93 rooms and suites. I recently stayed in a corner suite and can see why the hotel was sold out that night. On-site amenities include free parking, a fitness center, meeting rooms (very popular for weddings), ADA-accessible rooms, and a quality restaurant. Room rates are reasonable, starting at $134 and up for a classic king room, while suites start at $189.

My suite at the Cork Factory Hotel was modern and comfortable. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

The Cork and Cap Restaurant provides local fare from scratch using old-school cooking methods. Part of the fun of visiting Lancaster County is the farm-to-table Dutch cuisine. I recently dined at Cork and Cap and had a very good meal. The first course was pan-seared diver scallops perfectly seared and paired well with the sparkling rosé. The meatloaf is superb and is a blend of beef, pork, and veal, the way meatloaf should be made. It was such a large portion that I took half of it home for my wife to try the next day, and she agreed it was excellent.

What’s not to love about perfectly made meatloaf with a side of mac and cheese? Photo by Kurt Jacobson

During my recent stay at the Cork Factory Hotel, I discovered how easy it is to walk to downtown Lancaster from the hotel. I walked to Musser Park and stopped off at the Lancaster Art Museum, then to the Demuth Art Museum in the center of downtown Lancaster. The walk took me 20 minutes and allowed me to see the classic rowhomes and other historic homes along the way. Lancaster is a pedestrian-friendly town worth discovering on foot.

The Redbud trees were in bloom next to the Lancaster Art Museum on my walk to downtown Lancaster. Photo by Kurt Jacobson

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When You Visit

Both Lancaster and Lititz are great towns to visit. Amtrak has service to Lancaster from Philadelphia and other cities. Most visitors will want to drive to the area to explore the gorgeous farm country. Spring, summer, and fall are my favorite times to visit to allow time to take a walk in one of many area parks.

We invite you to explore Wander With Wonder for more things to do in the Mid-Atlantic states. We also have more great content on other historic hotels.