Welcome to Wine Country
North East's claim to this descriptive name is an old one. In 1850 two men with the last names of Hammond and Griffith planted the first vineyard in North East. They suspected that the combination of soil conditions and climate just inland of the Lake Erie shore was right for growing grapes. Their hunch was correct. In 1869 the South Shore Wine Company was formed. Eventually other wineries followed.
Today there are five thriving wineries, thousands of acres of vineyards, and two large fruit processing plants in North East. Grapes are not only a major industry here, but a source of identity for residents and of great beauty for everyone.
Agriculture is a big part of North East. The cherry crop is celebrated each July with our annual Cherry Festival.
During the fall, the smell of sweet grapes ripening on vines mingles with the scent of apples, peaches, and pears from the many orchards in the community. North East public school sports teams have embraced this agricultural heritage: they are known as the Grapepickers.
There are other advantages to North East's location. It is relatively close to three major cities: about 80 miles west of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, 180 miles north of Pittsburgh, 120 miles east of Cleveland and closer to home, 16 miles east of Erie.
It is also close to a major ski resort in New York: Peek 'n' Peak, about fifteen miles southeast of North East.
Another asset: Lake Erie. The community owns a beach with a park that is now the site of a monument to North East's Halli Reid, who became the first woman to swim across Lake Erie, in 1993. the park, names after Reid, features picnic areas, volleyball pit, and playground equipment. A second recreational area has just been acquired on Route 5, by 20-Mile creek, and will be developed by North East Township.
A marina is operated on Route 5, east of the borough, providing public and private access to Lake Erie. This is the only protected port between Erie and Barcelona, NY.
If you are a new resident, or a visitor, we bid you welcome.