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Exploring Corry, Pennsylvania: A One-Day Guide

Thursday Apr 6th, 2023

Corry, Pennsylvania has reinvented itself from a quiet small town of a few businesses and numerous empty storefronts into a revitalized, energetic town filled with a strong sense of community spirit, rich history, and new growth. Located in a relatively rural part of Pennsylvania, Corry is surrounded by farmland and forests on the edge of eastern Erie County along historic Pennsylvania Route 6. Backed by the Downtown Corry Business Association, a group of merchants representing locally owned and operated businesses, the area has worked together to make Corry a beautiful and inviting place to shop and socialize. If you haven’t visited yet, now is a great time to go and experience for yourself why Corry is becoming such an incredible destination. (Header photo by donnierosie)

When you arrive, a few things will catch your eye:

  • Historic architecture: The area is home to several well-preserved buildings that date back to the early 1900s. In 2022, downtown Corry was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Parking: Street parking is in abundance (no parking meters either!) on the main street, Center Street, and in parking lots at nearby businesses.
  • Natural beauty: Corry boasts two scenic parks, Mead Park and City Park, and the area is surrounded by rural landscapes, farms, and fields.    
  • Small town charm: Corry is oozing with it, especially downtown with inviting storefronts and warm welcomes, that make you feel right at home.
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Morning

Start off the day with a visit to Mead Park, breathe in the fresh air, and immerse yourself in Corry’s natural beauty. Known as “the place to picnic since 1949”, Mead Park is a 48-acre landscaped, well-maintained park named after Glenn Mead, a Corry native who wanted residents and its visitors to have a place to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Strolling through the peaceful park’s tree-lined pathways and flowering shrubs and bushes is a relaxing and refreshing experience. Parkgoers also have access to a variety of recreational activities such as a 15-station fitness trail, picnic tables and shelters, basketball hoops, tennis and pickleball courts, and a sizeable children’s playground. Be sure to stop and get a photo at Mead Park’s most scenic attraction, a sparkling pond with a whimsical water feature. Admission to the park is free and there is ample parking.

Located just inside the main entrance to Mead Park, is the Corry Area Historical Society Museum. The museum tells the story of Corry’s history through various artifacts and exhibits. Its star exhibit is the Climax locomotive. Built by the Climax Manufacturing Company of Corry, Pennsylvania, this fascinating locomotive was one of many used on logging railroads all over the world. Despite being designed to run on the lightest rails and rough, uneven road beds that were often cheaply constructed, the Climax locomotive proved to be a true engineering marvel and rightfully earned its place in history as a masterpiece of locomotive engineering. The Corry Area Historical Society Museum is free and open to the public on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or by appointment by calling 814-664-4749. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the museum is free and open on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  

Epiphanys Emporium MM

Afternoon

When it’s time for lunch, downtown Corry has a pleasantly surprising number of dining options from healthy cafes to indulgent pizzerias. The Twisted Sisters Café is “keeping it twisted from breakfast to lunch” with a nutritious selection of smoothies, juices, salads, and soups. If you prefer melted cheese over leafy greens, KC’s Xpress, at 130 North Center Street, has a mouth-watering Italian-style menu of wood-fired pizzas, calzones, and subs.

After lunch, stretch your legs on Corry’s main street, North Center Street, and peruse a variety of specialty stores, antique shops, and gift shops. The upgraded downtown streetscaping gives the area an inviting feel, making it a delightful place to do some afternoon shopping. Some of the new upgrades include park benches, historical markers, flower planters and sidewalk trees, interpretive panels, and period lampposts. As you pass the White Butterfly gift shop at 26 North Center Street, take note of the large mural covering its south side wall. Originally created in 2000 and receiving a facelift in 2018, the mural celebrates Corry community businesses and the Climax locomotive at the Corry Area Historical Society Museum.

Next door are two neighboring shops with bright colorful storefronts. The Painted Finch Gallery and Epiphany’s Emporium, are both owned by Corry businesswoman and Downtown Corry Business Association member Wendy Neckers. The shops are part of the PA Route 6 Artisan Trail, a diverse range of artists, shops, craftsmen, and cultural organizations found along historic Route 6. The Painted Finch Gallery showcases artwork from local and regional artists in various mediums such as paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and woodworking. Next door at Epiphany’s Emporium, the shelves are stocked with an eclectic selection of leather journals, an assortment of gems and minerals, soft stuffed animals, and handcrafted sterling silver made-in-the-USA jewelry. “I love the exciting vibration or expectancy in Corry” stated Neckers. “When I moved Painted Finch Gallery into historic downtown Corry in 2015, there were just a few retail businesses and numerous empty storefronts. Now our storefronts are filling up with new businesses and the area has expanded to include a new distillery, photography gallery, women's clothing, fresh juices, and wood-fired pizza. Perfect compliments to our existing offerings.”

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Evening

Speaking of the new distillery, the next stop is Before the Barrel Distillery. Located at 11 South Center Street, it’s an easy walk or a very short drive from the shops on North Center Street. Opening in 2022, Before the Barrel is a craft distillery specializing in un-aged spirits and flavored moonshines. Owner Bernie Blore has a background in chemical engineering and a passion for distilling and making alcohol. “I bounced around a bit, moved back, and then found this spot in Corry. I fall more in love with it every day and I love how the community comes together to support their local businesses. It’s got a small town feel and likable local character.” Before the Barrel’s spirit selection leans more towards a selection of crafted moonshines including gingerbread and hot pepper honey, but their most popular ‘shine flavor is salted caramel pecan. This heavenly combination blends the rich and creamy sweetness of caramel with the salty crunch of pecans and can be enjoyed on its own, on the rocks, or even in your morning coffee.   

If your visit happens to land on one of the first Fridays in May through December, it’s worth making time to check out Corry’s popular “First Fridays” celebrations. First Fridays features 22 participants from downtown shops to independent vendors selling everything from infused oils, spices, and cheeses to custom-tailored children’s clothing, stained glass, home decor, and artisan gifts. During these events, downtown Corry comes alive with music, food, art, and entertainment, and the local shops and businesses stay open late, with many offering special deals, promotions, and discounts. Street performers, local food trucks, artists, and musicians line the sidewalk, creating a festive and welcoming atmosphere for everyone. Each month features a different theme. The 2023 line-up: Cinco de Mayo (May 5), Art Walk (June 2), Jeep & Retro Car Show (July 7), Wine Walk (Aug 4), Bigfoot Bash & Cornhole (Sept 1), Climax and Corsets (Oct 6), All Things Turkey (Nov 3), and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree (Dec 1). First Fridays are free to attend and begin at 5 p.m.

Even by spending just one day in Corry, Pennsylvania, it’s obvious why this charming eastern Erie County town is getting more and more recognition. Despite its smaller size, Corry has big offerings for everyone. Chuck Gray, executive director of Impact Corry, sums up what Corry has become. “Our area is unique, remarkable, and artisanal. As a community, we are working together to reinvent rural and build the best small city living there is, encouraging growth and welcoming visitors.”

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