Beth Lennon sits in a vintage trailer, wearing a white dress with big black polka dots and a red sweater. Her laptop is open in front of her so she can share all her insights.Mod Betty is the pen name of Beth Lennon, creator of Retro Roadmap. When not sitting in her vintage camper plotting her travels she’s a GenX life coach helping people get unstuck and driving towards their dreams (road trip style, of course!) at Just Drive Your Life. Follow her on Instagram at @retro_roadmap or @justdriveyourlife.

Here’s her sweet valentine.

Having traveled many a mile while Retro Roadmapping in my adopted home state of Pennsylvania over the past 15+ years, I’ve discovered numerous places worthy of my admiration and appreciation. But this Valentine’s season Mod Betty has declared the object of her affection to be the Wellsboro Diner (Tioga County).

Exterior angled view of the vintage Wellsboro Diner, its yellow and green panels contrasting with the restaurant signage in red.
The Wellsboro Diner in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. Photo by Beth Lennon
Red and white diamond-shaped floor tiles frame a metal plate that says "Sterling Diner"
A Sterling Diner (it says so on the floor!) by the J.B. Judkins Company of Massachusetts. Photo by Beth Lennon

Open since 1939, this beautiful porcelain enamel-clad diner was built in Merrimac, Massachusetts, (Mod B’s home state!) by the J.B. Judkins Company. According to the book Diners of Pennsylvania (2nd Edition), the Wellsboro Diner is the only existing example of a New England Barrel Style Roof in Pennsylvania. Branded as one of their Sterling diners, you’ll spy that name embedded on the floor between the diner’s original red and white diamond pattern and the thoughtfully replicated modern flooring. (See the photo at right)

Under the diner’s curved roof you’ll find an interior so spic and span that it is hard to believe it has been serving customers for over 80 years. Seating for singles can be had at the rare glass-topped counter in front of the grill, and their tufted vinyl booths are the perfect place for two or more. Their menu is filled with homemade classics and breakfast is served all day, a wonderful diner tradition.

Interior view of the diner, with its distinctive barrel-vaulted ceiling. Take a seat at the counter on the left or plop into a comfy booth on the right.
The Wellsboro Diner is the only existing example of a New England Barrel Style Roof in Pennsylvania. Photo by Beth Lennon
Should one use a knife and fork or fingers to dig into this perfectly-browned, delicious-looking cinnamon roll?
Pure YUM in a cinnamon roll. Photo by Beth Lennon

Trust me when I insist that you order one of their Diner Made Cinnamon Rolls. Mere words cannot describe the deliciousness of this seemingly simple baked good, the memory of which has had me seriously considering driving the almost 4-hour one-way trip to indulge in ordering an entire sweet, gooey, sticky roll just for myself.

Situated along Pennsylvania’s scenic Route 6, the town of Wellsboro also has its many charms on display, also enticing me to make that multi-hour drive. Highlights on their downtown thoroughfare include the 1920’s era Arcadia movie theater (with its Instagram-worthy neon marquee), family-owned Dunham’s Department Store, and a plethora of independent and locally-owned shops. No need to worry about that long drive home when there’s the historic Penn Wells hotel making it convenient to spend the weekend nestled in this adorable downtown.

Whether your heart leaps at the sight of a diner, the streets of a historic downtown, or simply a sweet cinnamon roll, Mod Betty can assure you that Wellsboro has got you covered.

Planning a Road Trip

Are you convinced you should add Wellsboro to your road-trips-to-take list? Visit Retro Roadmap for more ideas. Wellsboro is located in two of Pennsylvania’s 12 Heritage Areas. Visit the PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor website to check on special places and events to help you with your itinerary. The Lumber Heritage Region website is also a great resource to learn more about places, events, and the history of the area.

Particularly in these COVID-19 times, small businesses are working hard to adapt and stay in business. As Mod Betty always says: Support them or lose them! Here are her tips for showing them some love all year round.

  • Have a favorite local spot? Tell a friend, take a friend, plan to order take out or meet up there. (Observe safety protocol like masks, social distance, etc.)
  • Let the owner know that you’re shopping there because you love that they have preserved the place!

When you spend your money and time in places that are important to you, you’re investing in the kind of world you want to live in. – Mod Betty

Spread the word

A Legacy Business has been in the same location for 50+ years or owned by the same family for at least three generations. Preservation Pennsylvania encourages you to share your favorites on social media by adding  #legacylovePA. Follow the hashtag to discover new places to visit! Tell us about a Legacy Business you love in the comments. (Comments are moderated and will appear after they’ve been approved.)


February 23, 2021 – The National Trust for Historic Preservation, with American Express, just launched a national search for beloved historic small restaurants that have stood the test of time and served their communities for decades—but now face their biggest challenge yet from the COVID-19 pandemic. Do you know of a historic small restaurant in your community that would benefit from a $40K grant to improve and preserve its exterior space and online business?

Click here to learn more about the program and nominate your favorite eatery.

Deadline March 9, 2021