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Get Out of the RV and Stay Overnight in a…Shoe?

If you thought living in a shoe was just for little old ladies in nursery rhymes, a unique house in Pennsylvania might change your mind. 

That’s right. You can live out your childhood dream of exploring a home that looks like a stylish piece of footwear. 

Today, we’re getting our feet wet and seeing what this quirky accommodation is all about.

Let’s step out!

The Haines Shoe House is an unique structure near the Lincoln Highway in York County, Pennsylvania.
The Haines Shoe House is a unique home base for your York explorations

About the Haines Shoe House

In 1949, Mahlon Haines built this unusual home to promote his shoe stores. And it must’ve worked because he ended up with a franchise of 40 shops, earning the nickname “Shoe Wizard.” 

The wood-framed structure has a white stucco facade and stained glass windows, each featuring the profile of a similar high-top. Greeting you at the front door is an image of Haines holding up a pair of his signature kicks.

The 1,500-square-foot house stands 25 feet high. You’ll find three bedrooms, two and a half baths, and all the comforts of home, like a kitchen and recreation room. 

Initially, the owner intended to offer it as a roadside attraction and honeymoon rental. While it’s seen many iterations over the years as a museum and even an ice cream parlor, it’s once again available to overnight lodgers. 

Where Is the Haines Shoe House?

York, Pennsylvania, is a tiny town in the Susquehanna River Valley. Here, rolling hills give way to lush farmland. Vineyards, county fairs, and local festivals are in no short supply. And there’s more to love than just the close-knit communities. 

You’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor recreation. Disc golf courses, nature centers, and caverns await exploring. 

Because of York’s emphasis on the arts, entertainment is a top attraction. You can enjoy the symphony orchestra, a Johnny Cash tribute band, or a theatre ensemble just about any night of the week.

York is one of the fastest-growing counties in the state, but it still retains its agricultural roots. It’s in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, so you can usually find locally grown produce, freshly churned butter, and tasty baked goods nearby.

Is the Shoe House a Good Place to Stay?

The quirky Shoe House is more than a novelty accommodation. Modern amenities like a hot tub and a flat-screen TV bring it into the 21st century. However, it maintains many traditional touches, such as tilework and light fixtures. The house comfortably sleeps six people, so bring the whole family! 

You can listen to vinyl records from the owner’s collection or gather around the campfire and take in the fields behind the property. If you want to learn more about the home’s past, spend time reading through the extensive timeline available to guests. 

The Shoe is also close to many popular attractions. Amish Country, Hershey, and historic Gettysburg are all within a short drive. 

Speaking of shoes: Is Driving Barefoot Illegal?

Fun Things To Do Near the Haines Shoe House

During your stay at the Shoe House, be sure to explore other charming destinations in the area. With so many places to choose from, it might be hard to pick just a few. But we’ll give you three to add to your itinerary. 

Check Out the York Central Market House

Whether you want to window shop, meet the locals, or stock up on supplies for your trip, York’s Central Market House is the place to do it. The 19th-century building, included on the National Register of Historic Places, takes up nearly an entire block in the center of town. 

Over 50 vendors sell a range of locally grown items, including produce, meat, fish, cheeses, and pastries. You’ll also find home goods, soaps, candles, and artwork made by regional artisans. 

And if you don’t feel like cooking, you’re in for a treat. Whatever you’re craving can probably be found here. Shawarma, hoagies, pizzas, and waffles are a few examples. There’s even a taproom if you want to put back a cold one. 

Know Before You Go: It’s only open a few days each week, so check out the market’s website for hours of operation.

Explore the Nixon Park Nature Center

Take a walk on the wild side at Nixon Park. The 14,000-square-foot facility houses a museum and nature center with taxidermied specimens from near and far. 

Exhibits feature different habitats, plants, and geologic anomalies for a well-rounded experience. Kids and adults alike will enjoy perusing this expertly curated collection. 

You’ll have access to six miles of hiking trails outside the center. These looping paths meander through different ecosystems, where you’ll spot a range of wildlife. 

Visit the York County History Center

If cultural history is more up your alley, swing by the York County History Center. It’s not your average museum, though. Instead, it’s more like stepping back in time. Several preserved buildings from the town’s early years are open to the public. 

Additionally, the Historical Society Museum features interactive and interpretive exhibits on the town’s past. At the Agricultural and Industrial Museum, you can sit in a trolley from 1916 or try operating an old-timey switchboard. All of these options are enlightening for the whole family. 

York, Pennsylvania during the day.
York, Pennsylvania, is an excellent stop for history buffs

Best Places to Stay Near the Haines Shoe House

While the Shoe House offers delightful accommodations, it may not be your cup of tea. Here are our top picks if you’d rather crash somewhere more traditional. 

Ben Franklin RV Park

You’ll enjoy easy access to the area’s amenities at the Ben Franklin RV Park. Located just west of town, you’ll feel a world away in the middle of the excitement. 

The grounds offer full and partial hookups as well as acres of primitive sites. And big rigs won’t have a problem here as the spots are spacious. 

Upgraded laundry facilities, heated bathrooms, and oversized showers mean you won’t have to rough it. You can also fill your propane tank on-site.

Grace Manor Bed and Breakfast

Book a room at the Grace Manor Bed and Breakfast for a more private stay. Both cozy and luxurious, the home reflects the style of its owner, an interior designer. Hardwood floors, exposed brick, and lush bedding are a few notable accents. 

Start the day with a three-course, Southern-inspired breakfast. Then step out the front door onto Market Street and explore downtown York. At the end of the day, soak your bones in a claw-foot bathtub or enjoy a glass of wine on your private patio. 

The Yorktowne Hotel

Known as the “Cornerstone of York,” this hotel will transport you back to the Roaring 20s. Ornate decor, high ceilings, and a massive ballroom nod to its origins. However, you’ll enjoy modern comforts like a fitness center and high-speed internet access. 

Sip a cocktail at the Graham Rooftop Lounge and take in the city lights from above. You’ll be steps away from local restaurants but can order room service if you don’t feel like going out. 

We hear Frank Sinatra stayed here in the 1940s. And if it’s good enough for Ol’ Blue Eyes, it’s good enough for us.

Plan your day trips with Backroads & Byways of Pennsylvania.

Try On the Shoe House

Pennsylvania Dutch Country offers visitors a truly unique experience. The Shoe House is just one example of something you won’t find anywhere else. Whether you want to visit local farms, take in a play, or enjoy the great outdoors, this is an excellent place to do it.

However you choose to spend time in the Susquehanna River Valley, we think you’ll have a great time!

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