Travel Guide PA: Antiques and Ice Cream in Columbia

I bought tickets for my friend and I to go to the Turkey Hill Experience in Columbia. Then I went on Trip Advisor to see what people had to say. Yeah, I messed up. I did it out of order. As someone who has a readership on there of 90,000 (so my account tells me), I should have known better. What I saw over and over again through the reviews are “kids”, “kids”, “family fun”, and more “kids”. My heart sank. Did I just waste $30 on some children’s activity? Their website made no mention of that. Lo and behold, about 20 reviews down, I found one which said all ages can enjoy. A couple, both in their 40’s had gone and had a blast. Alright, I felt a little better. 

The Turkey Hill Experience is about an hour or so from the actual factory. It’s a large warehouse-looking building with a gift shop on one floor and the “experience” on the other. While most of the activities are geared towards children, there is enough history, learning, and eating for adults to get their money’s worth. Yes, you can have as many samples of ice cream and ice tea as you want. You then go into the “Taste Lab”, learn about the ice cream-making process, and make your own ice cream. They give you about a pint of vanilla and then explain how to add extracts, inclusions (what people not in the industry would call “toppings”), and then variegates, which are like syrups. When you are done, they stick it in the deep freeze for re-hardening, and voila, you have your own ice cream which you must consume quickly or else you’ll have Turkey Hill soup on your hands.

For $10 you just get to walk around and have samples. $15 gets you that and the Taste Lab. There were a few couples there, so yes, people of all ages do come; but if you have a family or children it would be much more worth it. Kids will love it. I wasn’t exactly blown away, but I did have fun and will recommend it if you’re in the area. Spend the extra five bucks. Without the taste lab, it would have been a dud.

When we were done, I just happened to Google what else was nearby. An antique market called Burning Bridges popped up. It was less than a mile away, so we headed over. Wow, talk about massive. Three floors each as long as a city block were covered in antiques of all kinds. It took us two hours to do the whole thing. The prices were higher than the usual for Pennsylvania, but the range of items was incredible. I ended up with a small Dewar’s Scotch sign, while hr got a mini decorative decanter.

A minute away from that was another antique center called The Tollbooth. This was housed in an old factory and was even larger than Burning Bridges. They had more furniture and a lot of industrial items, but there was also a chance to see them restoring some of the pieces, which was pretty cool. Walking around had a unique American Pickers vibe. We didn’t buy anything, but killed another two hours. Just set your FitBit and get your daily cardio in with visits to these two antique mega-stores. I loved Columbia. We unexpectedly spent the entire day there.


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