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Exploring Edinboro, Pennsylvania: A One-Day Guide

Wednesday Apr 26th, 2023

Edinboro, PA is a small idyllic college town and resort community located 18 miles south of the City of Erie. The town itself was formed between 1801 to 1825, but Edinboro’s roots trace back further to the Eriez, Iroquois, and Cornplanter Native American tribes when it was just a territory. The tribes were the first known residents and called the region Conneauttee, or "land of the living snowflake”. Given that Edinboro is located in Ere County’s snow belt, an area known for historically receiving greater amounts of snowfall than surrounding regions, it’s a fitting name. Edinboro is a friendly, funky, artsy town brimming with antique and thrift shop options, delicious cuisine, and a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities. Its strong sense of community pride only adds to its irresistible charm.

Here are a few notables about the area:

  • Edinboro is the home of Edinboro University, recently renamed PennWest Edinboro. Founded in 1857 as Edinboro Academy, a private training school for Pennsylvania teachers, PennWest Edinboro is a public liberal arts university and is an integral part of the town’s economy, providing jobs and attracting students from across the country.
  • Historic downtown Edinboro is a walkable neighborhood with a welcoming atmosphere of well-lit streets adorned with beautiful trees, flowers, and period lampposts. The wide sidewalks and inviting benches make strolling around safe and enjoyable.
  • Edinboro has stunning natural scenery, including Instagram-worthy views of Edinboro Lake, rolling hills, rich farmlands, and lush wooded areas that are perfect for outdoor discovery.


Start the morning with breakfast at Flip Café. The trendy and eclectic café in downtown Edinboro serves platefuls of incredible food at wallet-saving prices in an intimate space. Flip’s takes breakfast to new levels with outside-the-box menu items such as the nacho chicken omelet, cream puff pancakes, buckwheat berry French toast, or a smash, which is a loaded-up breakfast casserole of eggs, meat, cheese, potatoes, and vegetables. Flip Café also offers gluten-free and vegetarian plates.

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Do a little treasure hunting in downtown Edinboro and burn off those extra breakfast calories. While the downtown doesn’t have a bustling atmosphere, it does have a cozy, down-home feel that is reflected in its walkable neighborhood of shops, restaurants, and businesses. Centered on and around Meadville Street (State Route 99), the area is a mix of historic buildings and newer developments, with shops that feature thrifty, vintage, and unique finds ranging from apparel and furniture to household items, and accessories. Downtown shop owner and Edinboro Community and Economic Development board member Gina Mussett remarked, “When my husband and I came back to the area, we fell in love with the Edinboro community and saw so much potential in the downtown area. When this particular building came up for sale four years ago, we renovated it and opened The Cottage Rose. It’s been a lot of fun.” Also located downtown is the popular Edinboro Market, providing residents and visitors access to fresh, high-quality produce and goods grown or made within 150 miles of Edinboro.

Goodell Gardens 2022 from Goodell


Fill your afternoon with an exploration of Edinboro’s great outdoors. Meander through 78 beautiful blooming acres of Goodell Gardens and Homestead, Edinboro’s public garden, arboretum, and community event space. Goodell Gardens was created at the behest of sisters Carrie and Margaret Goodell, the sole remaining heirs to the Goodell family who owned the farmstead property since 1876.  From the delicate roses and fragrant herbs flourishing in the Welcome Garden to the vibrant nectar-rich blooms and carefully curated host plants in the Pollinator-Friendly Demonstration Garden, the landscape is a stunning tapestry of trees, shrubs, and flowers. Goodell Gardens is open from May through October and offers public programs, live music, guided tours, and special events including free Along the Garden Path Guided Tours every Sunday at 1 p.m. from May to October (except May 21 and September 17), and the Homegrown Harvest Festival in September (2023 date coming soon).

Continue to Mount Pleasant of Edinboro, an attraction traditionally known for its winter snow sports transforms into an outdoor haven for hiking enthusiasts, cycling aficionados, leisurely walkers, and trail runners in the summer. There is no set admission fee to enjoy Mount Pleasant’s trails, however, donations are accepted near the main lodge door. Summer Access Passes are also available for more frequent visitors.

cart horse distillery challenge MM 2023

Give your palate a mid-day treat of exceptional hand-crafted spirits at Cart/Horse Distilling. The first-generation woman-owned small-batch distillery uses locally grown ingredients to support area growers, keeping agricultural traditions alive. Owners Jessica Lemmon and John Fetzner named their business after the process they went through to obtain a distilling license. Before getting a federal license to own and operate a distillery, you have to have land, a building, and the equipment in place, essentially putting the cart before the horse. Cart/Horse produces quality rum, whiskey, vodka, gin, and specialty liquors such as ginger habanero and spiced coffee. Elevate your taste buds with a vibrant Raspberry Herb Smash cocktail or sample a variety of spirits with a tasting flight. Cart/Horse Distilling is open Thursdays from 3 to 8 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 3 to 10 p.m.

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End the afternoon with a restful pontoon ride on the tranquil waters of Edinboro Lake, a 245-acre picturesque oasis in the heart of Edinboro. With a lush backdrop of rolling hills and forests, it’s the perfect setting to unwind and enjoy nature’s beauty. Pontoon rentals are conveniently available at Edinboro Lake Resort, a recreational complex nestled along the lakeshore featuring cozy log cabins, outdoor recreational activities, live music, and the Sunset Grill restaurant. Once you’ve returned to shore, the Sunset Grill will welcome you with an unparalleled waterfront dining experience of breathtaking views, a diverse menu of casual fare, and an impressive beverage selection. The Sunset Grill’s signature spinach artichoke pizza is a must-try for those looking to indulge in something new and exciting. It’s a flavor bomb of tangy, creamy, cheesy goodness on a crispy crust. Pair it with a cocktail made with locally distilled spirits for a complete and authentic taste of the region. The Sunset Grill is open daily May through September from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Photo by @_eyes_wild_.

A visit to Edinboro, PA is a peaceful retreat to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Brenda Cannell, Chair of Edinboro Community & Economic Development has high praise for her town, “Whether you’re admiring the vibrant fall foliage, savoring the flavors of local cuisine, or attending one of our many community events, there’s a palpable energy in Edinboro that is hard to replicate anywhere else. It’s a town that invites you to slow down, savor the moment, and connect with the people and the natural beauty that surrounds you.”


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