Dills Tavern and Plantation is a historic site owned and operated by the Northern York County Historic and Preservation Society (NYCHAPS). The site was purchased by Matthew Dill in the 1740s. The 12-room stone structure, as it exists today, was erected from 1794-1819. it was acquired by NYCHAPS in 2001 through the generous gift of Charles and Lucille Vogelsang.
The Tavern is now open as an Interpretive & Educational Center. Visitors are encouraged to use the building and its period contents to experience tavern life in the 18th and 19th centuries. Sit in the chairs, lie in the rope beds, watch dinner boiling in the fireplace, and even try hearth cooking yourself. Explore all twelve rooms and handle the items contained in those rooms.
The tavern is the only remaining original building on site. Other current structures on the property are all reconstructions and include a summer kitchen (which houses a modern kitchen and restroom facilities), a wood shed, bake oven and the wheelwright shop which is the headquarters for the restoration team and visiting craftsmen.
The late 1700s log barn currently being reconstructed on the site will house a visitor center on one side. The remainder of the barn will be outfitted as a period barn and be the center for our special agricultural events.
NYCHAPS is in the process of returning a functioning distillery to the property. This distillery will use period equipment to produce rye whiskey and peach brandy, among other period liquors. Distilling spirits was a major operation at the tavern and huge quantities of whiskey were hauled south to Baltimore according to surviving accounts.
Numerous events are held on the tavern site each year including First Fridays with games and music by candle light; hearth-cooked dinners; historical seminars; World War II Day with the Will Fisher Orchestra; Balderdash, a beer-tasting festival; 18th century Gaming Day; Agricultural Day with butchering and sauerkraut making, plus many smaller events. During many of these events, garbed reenactors and craftsmen are on site showing various early trades including blacksmithing and carpentry.
The tavern is open for tours each Sunday from 2 to 4 pm from April to November. The tours include an orientation, 8-minute video of the early history of the plantation and families who lived here, and our walking tour. The walking tour includes the Dill Tavern and the Eichelberger residence. The smokehouse and bake oven, the wheelwright shop, distillery, and the barn are also shown and explored during the tour session.
Groups: Groups can rent the tavern and its two acres of lawn, for meetings, lunches, dinners, overnight stays, weddings or other appropriate functions. Open-hearth dinners can be scheduled upon request. In keeping with early building amenities, the tavern is heated with fireplaces and 10 plate wood stoves. Light is supplied from both candles and fireplaces. There are modern bathrooms and a summer kitchen located behind the main building in a new structure.