As you drive into Kutztown, you pass by the most idyllic looking farms with tall corn in the summer and roadside stands
It has often been said that the state of Pennsylvania is Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg with lots of farmland in between. I would say this is more or less accurate, but I want to quickly qualify that by saying that the small towns and farms in the “in between” parts of PA are exactly what make the state what it is, and what makes it such fun to explore! I grew up in one of the in between towns, of West Reading, and recently I spent a morning rediscovering a nearby University town: Kutztown, Pennsylvania, and I was pleasantly surprised by all I found.
As you drive into Kutztown, you will pass by the most idyllic looking farms, tall corn in the summer, roadside stands, as well as a flying school and more than likely a few yard sales and flea markets. This town dates back to the year 1815, making it one of the oldest towns in Berks County after Reading. The area is mainly known for its German heritage, and each year the Kutztown Folk Festival draws a lot of visitors for crafts, food, and music.
Kutztown’s claim to fame might be the University, which brings in a lot of amazing musical groups, theater companies and artists. It is also artist Keith Haring’s hometown (By the way, if you aren’t sure who Keith Haring is, google him now. I’ll wait. You are back? Did you recognize his work? Yup, he’s from Kutztown!) And, just outside Kutztown is Crystal Cave where you can pretend you are a spelunker and see these amazing rock formations right in our own back yard.
As a college town, there are obviously lots of affordable places to eat, as well as neat little shops and art galleries along Main Street. We wandered around Firefly Used Bookstore and found so many great titles in the space of 10 minutes. Other shops had unique clothing, and of course the New Arts Gallery. There is a recently opened wine shop with tasting and sales, the Frying Dutchman doughnut shop, and a Mexican Restaurant where George H.W. Bush stopped on his trip to Kutztown back when he was president.
Mixed in with all these neat shops is that distinct vibe of a college town, where you might find a visiting French professor talking wildly on her cell phone at the local coffee shop, or a group of kids on their way to get a slice of pizza. There are gorgeous houses that have been restored to their victorian area style, and the small town feel is comfortable, and academic at once. My favorite picks? The Uptown Espresso Bar for coffee or tea, and Betty’s for a delicious salad or wrap. We ruskommend a visit to Kutztown with 4 boquerones. I should also mention that Kutztown is only a 2 hour bus ride from New York City, and the station is well within walking distance from all the good stuff, so no car is needed. What are you waiting for? Go explore this artsy little town in that cool “in between” area of PA!