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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

GETTING THERE: Harley-Davidson's York Vehicle Operations is at 1425 Eden Rd. in York, Pa., about 100 miles from Washington. From the Capital Beltway, take Interstate 95 north to I-695 north, then I-83 north, crossing into Pennsylvania. Take the Arsenal Road/U.S. Route 30 E exit.

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HARLEY-DAVIDSON FACTORY TOUR: Free hour-long tours of the manufacturing plant are offered Monday through Friday 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (also on Saturdays during the summer). Tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis for each day's tours. The factory is closed for tours on major holidays and during production changes and year-end maintenance. Factory visitors must be 12 or older (although younger children can visit the tour center) and must wear fully enclosed shoes. For more information, call 877-883-1450, http://www.harley-davidson.com/experience.

OPEN HOUSE: The plant's 24th annual open house is Thursday through Saturday. Self-guided factory tours are 8 a.m.-3 p.m. those days, although the factory is not in operation on Saturday; the tour center and gift shop are open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The open house also features food and merchandise vendors, a biker parade through downtown York and demo rides of 2009 models for licensed motorcycle riders with helmets.

WHERE TO STAY: Built in 1925, the Yorktowne Hotel (48 E. Market St., 800-233-9324 or 717-848-1111, http://www.yorktowne.com) is a National Historic Landmark. Public spaces are spiffy, with high ceilings and ornate chandeliers; however, our room was a bit tired. (Double rooms $126-$139, junior suites $144.) Nevertheless, the hotel's downtown location offers prime viewing of the bikers' parade on Friday, and it is a five-minute drive to the factory and the York Expo Center. Note: There are also chain hotels in York, but their sites list them as fully booked during the open house.

WHERE TO EAT: Food vendors at the open house will serve pizza, Italian sausages, crab cake sandwiches, funnel cakes, french fries and more. Restaurants in downtown York include the Market Street Saloon (25 W. Market St., 717-854-9164). Central Market House (34 W. Philadelphia St., 717-848-2243) is a 120-year-old indoor farmers market downtown that features breakfast and lunch items as well as produce, meats and specialty items. (Open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 6 a.m.-2 p.m.).

-- L.S.J.


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