Ask Smithsonian Geico Smithsonian Discount

The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2014

From country music to herbal cocktails to horseshoe crabs to Rodin, our third annual list takes you to cultural gems worth mining

Smithsonian Magazine | Subscribe

13. Columbia, PA

(Courtesy of Flickr user Doug Kerr)

Along the banks of the Susquehanna River, 30 miles southeast of Harrisburg, sits Columbia, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1726 by Colonial English Quakers, Columbia survived a Civil War siege to become a thriving center of transport and industry into the 19th century. Now, the town of 10,334 attracts tourists looking to wander through its historic district replete with mostly late Victorian buildings, including the nationally registered historic Bachman and Forry Tobacco Warehouse.

Columbia is also home to one of the world's only horology museums, the National Watch and Clock museum, where visitors can contemplate the ever-nebulous subject of time. The museum houses over 12,000 items, from an extensive collection of 19th century American clocks and watches to Asian timekeeping pieces from China and Japan. Chronologically, the museum's exhibits explore the history of timekeeping from early, non-mechanic devices to today's most modern atomic clocks.

Outside of Columbia, visit two covered bridges or check out two state parks: Samuel Lewis State Park, which is 85-acres, or Gifford Pinchot State Park, a  2,238-acre expanse of  trails, farm fields and Pinchot Lake.

- NG


Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus