Located about an hour east of Columbus and 2½ hours from Pittsburgh, Dresden is home of the Longaberger Basket Company. Longaberger put Dresden on the map when it began in the 1970s. The drive from the Columbus area takes you through the peaceful countryside, passing many farms with cows.
If you are going to Dresden from Columbus, take Route 16 East and you’ll pass the world-famous basket office building in Newark. (From other points west, take the Pataskala exit off of I-70, then go north to Route 16 East.) This building, which looks like a giant basket just dropped there from outer space, houses the Longaberger Basket Company’s corporate headquarters. It is located just south of Route 16—you can’t miss it. I felt like I was on the set for "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids" as we approached the basket in our car. I recommend stopping here and admiring the detail in the building before driving the remaining 20 minutes to Dresden.
When you arrive in Dresden, The Longaberger Homestead will be to the left of Route 16. The Homestead contains many restaurants and shops featuring Longaberger products. Through people in town we learned that The Homestead is fairly new. Many of the shops and restaurants that were originally located in downtown Dresden, moved over to the Homestead. Unfortunately, The Homestead was closed for Memorial Day—the day we went to Dresden. So, we continued on to the town of Dresden, which is above five minutes away. From Route 16, head south on Route 60, then make a left onto Dave Longaberger Way.
We were looking forward to eating lunch in this quaint town, but since all of the restaurants in town were also closed, we had to eat at the local McDonald’s instead. Fortunately, about ½ of the shops in town were open. My biggest piece of advice is to call first and check hours before going to Dresden.
We didn’t have any trouble finding parking in town. We were able to park along the streets. Dresden is a small town—there are only a few stoplights. I most enjoyed walking along the sidewalks admiring the Victorian gingerbread architecture. Most of these well-kept homes have been turned into B&Bs, shops, and other small businesses. Other highlights in Dresden are the huge baskets of flowers located up and down the sidewalks. These baskets added a lot of charm that I haven’t seen anywhere else in my travels. There are also a couple of beautifully maintained gardens—one with a huge basket that took more than 2000 man-hours to complete.
The shops in Dresden sell not only baskets, but also other collectibles such as bears and country crafts and accessories for the home. All shopkeepers we encountered were extremely knowledgeable and friendly. They filled us in on the Longaberger family, history of the company, and how you can find out how much baskets you own are worth.
Longaberger baskets are manufactured right in Dresden (adjacent to the Homestead) from trees grown locally. Tours of the manufacturing facility are available Monday through Friday.