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Day Trip: Hex Sign Barn Tour

Take drive through scenic Berks County and see colorful hex signs on local barns

Hex Sign Barn Tour

Cost: Free except for gas for your vehicle

When: Daytime - perfect for a late summer or autumn adventure

Where: Begin at Kutztown exit of Route 222

Take a ride through the greater Reading area's farm country and discover hex signs, a uniquely American art form and best known symbol of the Pennsylvania Dutch. The Greater Reading Convention and Visitors Bureau offers a free Hex Tour brochure that you can download online.

The 28-mile self-guided tour starts at the Kutztown exit of Route 222. Call the bureau at 800-443-6610 or 610-375-4085 for more information. 

According to Wikipedia, "Barn paintings, usually in the form of "stars in circles," grew out of the fraktur and folk art traditions about 1850 when barns first started to be painted in the area. By the 1940s commercialized hex signs, aimed at the tourist market, became popular and these often include stars, roses, stylized birds known as distelfinks, hearts, tulips or a tree of life.

Two schools of thought exist on the meaning of hex signs:

  • One school ascribes a talismanic nature to the signs
  • The other sees them as purely decorative, or 'Chust for nice' in the local dialect."

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