Satiate your travelers’ curiosity about their favorite brands with engaging factory tours across the Northeast. No factory tour experience is the same as offerings vary across attractions. Some are whimsical and family-oriented experiences, while some are in-depth looks at classic American-made products. Historical walking tours, product demonstrations, or themed activities can make for a fun, yet educational group visit. No matter your group’s interest, the Northeast has plenty of factory tours that can be tailored to your needs. (Plus, you might even get to bring home a handmade souvenir!)
For instance, art enthusiasts rejoice at creative experiences that showcase the simple art of crayon production to the skill required to create glass masterpieces. The Crayola Experience in Easton, Pennsylvania, is the premier Crayola attraction celebrating the magic of color. Just a short drive from Philadelphia and New York City, the Crayola Experience invites visitors of all ages to think bigger, brighter, and bolder through its many interactive exhibits. As part of the attraction’s programming, visitors learn some little-known facts about the production of Crayola’s colorful tools that are made just down the road in Easton.
Does your group have a sweet tooth? Then Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is the perfect place to add to your next itinerary. Tourgoers can create their own candy bar with all their favorite flavors and even design the wrapper. Groups of 20 or more are eligible for ticket bundles, meal deals, and sweet treat vouchers.
Another sugary site is the Ben & Jerry’s Factory Experience in Waterbury, Vermont. This impressive facility manufactures over 350,000 pints per day while offering visitors a behind-the-scenes look at how their favorite ice cream is made. The tour includes a short movie about the company’s history followed by an explanation of how pints are created, all while groups overlook the production roomfloor and enjoy a sample or two.
Herr’s Snack Factory Tour and Visitor’s Center in Nottingham, Pennsylvania, offers the answer to the question, “What makes
a great potato chip?” On your private tour, start with a short film about the history of the company and then explore the potato chip factory with the help of a personal guide and accompanying videos. Along the way, groups will learn fun facts about their favorite salty snack and can shop for souvenirs.
The Sam Adams Brewery in Boston, Massachusetts, offers a variety of tours. Depending on your group’s selection, tours include a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process, a brewer Q&A, brewhouse tours, and beer and cheese samplings. For a nonalcoholic option, pay a visit to Avery’s Beverages in New Britain, Connecticut. Sherman F. Avery began making soda in the summer of 1904, and the company’s approach to soda-making remains largely the same over 100 years later. Today, groups can visit the property to sample and make their own craft sodas. During tours of the soda factory, groups visit the mixing room to measure syrup into each bottle, watch as the bottles are filled, and then hand shake each one. Groups can take home three bottles of their very own handmade soda and an official soda makers apron.
Some factory tours expose groups to the processes used to create products famed for their quality and longevity. Pairpoint Glass Co. in Massachusetts was founded in 1837, making it America’s oldest glassblowing company. When visiting today, groups can watch a
team of glassblowers use traditional techniques and tooling that have been handed down through generations while learning about the history of this storied company.
Mack trucks have been around for the past 100 years, and the process of making these beloved vehicles has long since been perfected. Automobile enthusiasts can visit the Mack Experience Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where visitors can take a deep dive into Mack’s rich history, complete product lineup, and manufacturing through innovative attractions. Exhibits include “Uptime in Real Time,” which simulates the operations of the Mack Uptime Center in Greensboro, North Carolina, a walk through the Mack Product Showroom, and a trip through the Mack Trucks Historical Museum’s collection of restored and preserved vintage trucks and memorabilia.
For nearly two centuries, Mason & Hamlin has used only the finest materials and methods to produce its high-quality pianos. Today, these instruments are used on stages across the country and are prized by audiences and performers alike for their distinctive, beautiful tone. Now, your group can tour the Mason & Hamlin Piano Factory Tour in Haverhill, Massachusetts, a town 45 minutes north of Boston, to learn how these instruments are made.
Lean into nostalgia with a trip to the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory in Shelburne, Vermont. Book a tour and your group can receive a Bear Ambassador escort as you learn the history of the company, how the fur is cut, and how bears are assembled, before making a stop at the bear hospital.
Written by Katherine Lawless
Main Image: Samuel Adams Brewhouse, Credit: Samuel Adams Boston Brewery