Though it doesn’t look like much from the highway, bypassed by both US-30 and the I-83 freeway, the medium-size town of York (pop. 43,718) claims to be the first capital of the United States: Late in 1777, the Articles of Confederation were adopted here by the 13 newly independent former colonies, and (arguably) it’s in that document that the name “United States of America” was first used. A significant number of historic buildings still stand in the quiet low-rise downtown area, including the medieval-looking circa-1741 Golden Plough Tavern and other colonial-era structures along Market Street at the west edge of the business district, plus the spacious and popular Central Market House (34 W. Philadelphia St.) farmers market.
For all its historic importance, self-proclaimed “Factory Tour Capital of the World” York is best known for its industrial prowess, which is saluted at the Harley-Davidson assembly plant (877/883-1450, Mon.-Fri. 9am-2pm, free), a mile east of town off US-30 on Eden Road. The Classic Factory Tour takes about one hour and begin with a brief history of the company, which is still based in Milwaukee. The tour also gives you the opportunity to sit on current models of the Touring, Softail, SVO, and Trike motorcycles and a chance to visit the shop floor for a close-up (and noisy) look and listen as the bikes get put together: Sheets of steel are pressed to form fenders and fairings, and once assembled, each bike is roll-tested at full throttle on motorcycling’s equivalent of a treadmill. A souvenir store is stocked with all manner of things with the Harley-Davidson logo, from T-shirts to leather jackets.
Downtown York has a handful of cafés and restaurants. On the west edge of town, where the US-30 bypass rejoins the old Lincoln Highway (Hwy-462), Lee’s Diner (4320 W. Market St., 717/792-1300) is a classic early-1950s Mountain View prefab diner, still serving up hearty breakfast all day long.