Downtown Lancaster is a lovely place to walk around (sidenote: when did I start using the word “lovely” to describe things?). There’s Central Market, plenty of shops and restaurants and enough bars to some damage. If you’re wandering down East King street, just past the Marriott, you’ll encounter Tellus 360, a sprawling storefront complex that may confuse you. Is it a store? Is it a bar? Can you eat there? Is it some sort of entertainment complex? Yoga? I had the same question when I visited Tellus360 a couple of weeks ago to gather information for the Duffy’s Cut post I was working on. Joe Devoy, the owner, was kind enough to not only answer a couple of questions I had about that but to also give me a tour of the quickly developing Tellus 360 building.
If you’re familiar at all with Lancaster, I live on the 200 block of N. Duke street (that’s vague enough to put on the internet, right?) so Tellus 360 is only a couple of blocks away from me. When I first moved down here, I knew it as a storefront I’d pass occasionally when walking to and from various places. One of my buddies is sort of obsessed with it and would always visit whenever he came to Lancaster, so it was after hearing him rave about the place that I walked in for the first time a couple of years ago while out doing some Christmas shopping.
I didn’t end up purchasing anything but did leave impressed. The store, which is located at 24 East King street, carries literally all sorts of things, but what stood out to me as impressive were their reclaimed woodworking pieces. You could purchase everything from tables made from old barns to recycled guitars to a vast array of Irish antiques. As we’re sadly apt to do with so many locales that are literally right in our neighborhood, I didn’t step back into Tellus 360 for some time, caught up in the typical stuff that ends up clogging your life and causing you to put so many “should’ve” activities on the backburner. I did pass it often enough and follow them on twitter, so was cognizant of the fact that they’d started evolving into more than just a store.
I knew they offered photography classes, rooftop yoga, photography lessons and hosted musical performances. I also knew they were expanding somewhat more into the building Tellus 360 is housed in, but it took this visit for me to fully realize the extent of what they now offer. If you read my Duffy’s Cut post, you know that I initially met Joe in their basement recording studio. That’s correct, a recording studio. Tellus 360 is not just a story but several musical venues of various sizes, the Farmette a café that specializes in local cuisine, classes, gatherings of various types and Lancaster’s newest bar.
The bar itself, is of the 100 year old variety, and naturally imported from Ireland, which gives it extra character. In fact, much of the inside of Tellus 360 is reclaimed or recycled, even the bathrooms. The rooftop I mentioned, where yoga is practiced in the summer (it’s since moved indoors) is a green roof, which Joe brought me up to, where I was able to snap a couple of shots of Lancaster city from above. Because I’m super slow and terrible at photo opportunities, these were some of the only photographs I took during that tour. I should have taken the bathroom, or the bar or the art gallery they had in their elevator, but luckily you could see all of that on the Tellus 360 website or by visiting yourself.
Back now to our original question. What exactly is Tellus 360 and furthermore, what does it mean?
Well, Tellus is the Roman God of the Earth and productivity while 360 simply refers to everything coming full circle. Simple enough.
What it is? Their website says simply that it’s a gathering place, the type of place every town should have where people and ideas are able to come together. That works for me.
Travel-wise, Tellus 360 is getting into trips. Because the owners are from Ireland, last year they ran a 9 day trip there. They chartered a bus and tried to give travelers a more “authentic” experience than perhaps one would get if traveling with the Irish tour companies (which I did two summers ago).
There’s an additional trip set for May of 2014 that’s already sold out, being led by Mr. Devoy as well as Mairtan Lally. I attempted to try and discuss my Irish experiences but unfortunately Joe is from Waterford, where we missed and Mairtan is from Galway, where I always tell people was my favorite Irish city. Unfortunately most of my Galway experience was spent inside of 2 bars, so I mean I have that going for me, but still, while I had a blast I saw very little of it.
The tour itinerary looks fantastic and basically hits everywhere I didn’t go (with the exception of Dingle, which is the number one place I’d like to revisit) and the price includes bus fare, lodging breakfasts, some dinners and daily activities. I also love that the itinerary includes a “pub of the day.” I asked Joe if they would think about expanding their trip guiding services which he said they’ve definitely thought about. I think that’d be great and that Lancaster would really benefit from a local travel outfitter.
If you’re in Lancaster city, definitely make sure to check out Tellus 360 if you haven’t already. Even if you aren’t from here, it’s worth a trip as it’s becoming a destination in it’s own right. No matter what, with it’s plethora of offerings, everyone should find something that suits their fancy (look, I ended as cheesily as I began).