Only in York County

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This property, known as Roundtop, sits high above the Susquehanna River. Only in York County author Joan Concilio took this photo of the property from Marietta in 2012.

Memories along the Susquehanna River

One of my favorite things to do is go kayaking in and around York County. It’s WAY too cold to really get out on the water now, so I’m indulging myself in some Susquehanna River-themed memories and questions instead.

An image shows the phrase Ask Joan in large letters above a line and the phrase What's to love about York County below it.

What’s inside

1. Accomac Inn and Holtzinger Boats
2. Revisiting the river house

1. Accomac Inn and Holtzinger Boats

In October 2018, most of York County was pretty crushed to hear that the Accomac Inn, along the Susquehanna River in Hellam Township, closed and was put up for sale.

But at the very end of 2018, we found out that the Inn has been purchased – and its quirky new owner says at least part of it will remain a restaurant!

Upon hearing that news, I received a note from Fred Messerly, who I’ve heard from here and there for several year. Fred wrote, “Joan, when you have lived in York County all your life (80 years) you remember a lot of wonderful places and people.”

He continued, “I was lucky to grow up at my father and mother Bill and Hazel Messerly’s summer home along the Susquehanna River, a few miles downstream from the Accomac Inn. Just a block or so from the Inn a man (Paul Holtzinger) operated a boat rental place and a small snack bar, now a closed-up booze joint.”

“When I was very young,” Fred wrote, “my parents would take me to the Inn on some nights for chicken and waffles; the price was only $2 or $3 and the food was really good. Sitting on the Accomac Inn porch and eating was always special.”

Fred added, “My dad purchased a flat-bottom boat from Paul Holtzinger; he was a really good boat-builder and did a nice job building it. For several years we powered it with less than 3 HP outboards. Dad and I even rigged it with a steering wheel. One of my favorite Christmas presents was a new 5 HP Mercury 2 cylinder motor. The boat really went pretty fast with the bigger outboard.”

Then he wrote, “Almost every afternoon I would take the boat up the river to Holtzinger’s Boathouse. Somehow I met the then-owner of the Accomac Inn. I think he was an airline pilot. When I was old enough to start dating and had a few extra dollars, I would take my dates to the inn for the cheap chicken and waffle dinner. He always made a special fuss over us. That date never failed to impress the girls!”

“When I grew a little older,” Fred wrote, “I would drive my dates to the inn. My wife, Pat, got the Accomac Inn treatment. It worked; we have been married for 59 years. It has remained a favorite place, but you can no longer get the chicken and waffles for $3. Our visits have been fewer as the price increased. We are very pleased that the Inn will go forward in some form. I am looking forward to having dinner along the river again.”

And, Fred concluded that he’d be very interested in hearing from folks that remember the Inn and Holtzinger Boats. He invites you to call him at 717-246-7895!

2. Revisiting the river house

About every year or so, I get a note from a reader who’s spotted a certain house along the Susquehanna River.

Recently, I heard from Sue Spittle, who wrote, “Do you know anything about the structure on Roundtop Lane off Dark Hollow Road near Wrightsville? The home is huge and can be seen from across the river in Marietta as well as from the hill at Sam Lewis Park. According to Trulia it was built in 1860 and sits on 77 acres. Bet there is some intriguing history there!”

In fact, Sue, the property’s name is Roundtop, and we’ve talked about it pretty extensively in past columns! Before I sum up a little about that, though, I want to note very clearly that this is a private home, so while it’s notable thanks to its visibility, I’m specifically asking you please NOT to go try to get an up-close look!

According to research from earlier columns, Roundtop was once owned by the Phillip Geiselman Loucks family and was originally built by Robert Zanker, a Marietta businessman who could only approach it by boat from the Lancaster County shore.

Later, it was offered to the government for use as a veterans’ rehabilitation home after World War I; in the 1980s, it was a bed-and-breakfast owned by Judith and Michael Loucks.

Details from all those periods are available by going to There, you can see newspaper clippings from throughout the property’s history shared by a former owner.

I always love getting a chance to mention Roundtop again; Sue, thank you for the impetus to do so!

Have questions or memories to share? Email me at or write to Ask Joan, York Daily Record/Sunday News, 1891 Loucks Road, York PA 17408. We cannot accept any phone calls with questions or information.

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