Pennsylvania perfection

A bit of Norwegian Bay Ridge lives on in Milford

The Dimmick Inn - Pennsylvania

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The historical Dimmick Inn stands in the center of the bucolic town of Milford, Pa. Today, the inn is run by a Norwegian-American family.

Brooklyn, N.Y.

My daughter recently moved to the bucolic town of Milford, Pa. Though small with a population of less than 1,000, it offers a funky coffeehouse, the Frisky Goat, about a dozen arts and antique shops, and great food. 

Many of its wonderful buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, and Milford has its own historic district. One of its beauties, the Dimmick Inn, rests on the crossroads of the town’s two main streets, Broad and West Hartford. Its sign reads “Jorgenson’s at the Dimmick Inn.”

This stately brick structure was built in 1855 by Franny Dimmick, replacing the prior wooden building constructed in 1828 by her father, Samuel Dimmick. The older building had been destroyed by a fire in 1854. In its heyday, it served as a hotel, restaurant, post office, and stagecoach stop. Its many uses made sense, as its location was once a main conduit to the west.

The three Jorgenson brothers—Mike, John, and Andrew—have been running the place for a dozen years. They are descendants of a Norwegian family that hails from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Their parents had moved to Milford, and when the father was badly injured in an accident, the three brothers moved there to be with him.

When he lived in New York, Andrew worked in the restaurant business as a chef. I stopped in to speak to him at the inn and get a sense of the place. It is quite large and includes a sports type bar and cozy dining spaces. One couple was enjoying a meal, by a cozy fireplace, and the overall ambience is appealing.

The inn offers weekly musical performances, predominantly acoustic. They host a variety of special events, some for holidays, including an Oktoberfest and a Halloween costume contest.  Others are more unique, such as the family friendly party “Crafts, Cocoa, and Cocktails!”

The one event that caught my eye was an annual Brooklyn Day Block Party, which began in 2008. An especially beloved and still maintained tradition in Bay Ridge, it seems wonderful that the Jorgensons wish to share this ritual with Milfordites. 

The Dimmick Inn even boasts its own ghost, Miss Fanny. Renowned for this fact, it was featured on television’s “Ghost Detectives” in 2012, as well as in an article in Milford Magazine in 2008. In the latter, John Jorgenson explained, “They thought they had gotten rid of Fanny Dimmick’s ghost,” but now he admits, “She’s still here, but we’ve all learned to get along.”

Daniel Case Grey Towers National Historic Site

Photo: Wikipedia / Daniel Case
The Grey Towers mansion was the home of Gifford Pinchot, twice governor of Pennsylvania.

One cannot blame Miss Fanny for hanging around. She was happy there and could be herself in this beautiful environment: enjoying horseback riding, shooting, fly fishing, playing the violin, and dressing in men’s clothes, as well as a more than competent businesswoman running the inn successfully and single-handedly. A newspaper article dated 1898 quoted on the inn’s menu states, “Miss Fanny, like the waterfalls, mountains and trout streams, is one of the attractions of Pike County.”

Down the road, about a five-minute walk from Jorgenson’s at the Dimmick Inn, is the Columns Museum. Magnificent, with its curving porches and plethora of arts and artifacts, its collection includes a stagecoach, a one-room schoolhouse, and the Lincoln Flag.

And just a stone throw’s away, the Grey Towers, a turreted castle comprised of stone and surrounded by lush grounds impresses. This National Historic Site, was originally the home of Gifford Pinchot, who served as the U.S. Forest Service’s first director and twice as governor of Pennsylvania.

Lovingly situated, there’s a lot to see and do in the area. Being there in winter, I found it especially enticing to visit Dingmans Falls for sightseeing and to try snowshoeing. 

Norwegian or not, no matter what season you visit you will not be disappointed by the town of Milford, where urban sophistication lives amid the riches of nature.

This article originally appeared in the March 20, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

Avatar photo

Victoria Hofmo

Victoria Hofmo was born, raised, and still lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the historical heart of Norwegian New York. She is 3/4 Scandinavian: 1/2 Norwegian and 1/4 Danish/Swedish. Self-employed, she runs an out-of-school-time program that articulates learning through the arts. Hofmo is an advocate for arts and culture, education, and the preservation of the built and natural environment of her hometown, with a love for most things Scandinavian.