Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What Can You Do In Lancaster County In March

Even though March typically blows in like a lion in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the great events taking place throughout the month are innumerable. From cozy shows to events taking place outdoors in the unseasonably warm weather, there is something happening in Lancaster County for everyone.

First Fridays
These events are free and open to the public!

  • The first Friday of every month, the city of Lancaster holds an event known as First Friday in the downtown area that is attended by thousands of people. The merchants stay open later, the streets are filled with performers and vendors, and fun activities abound during this celebration of the arts. The event takes place in Downtown Lancaster from 5-9 pm, and it will be held on March 2nd.
  • Second Friday, a smaller, more intimate version of Lancaster City’s First Friday, is held on the second Friday of every month in the small town of Lititz, a few miles north of the city. This event, intended for the entire family to enjoy, is a celebration of the town and everyone has a wonderful time. The restaurants and merchants along Main Street are open late, vendors set up stands along the sidewalk and performers are prevalent. Second Friday is on March 9th, 2012.

Shows and Museums
  • The Lancaster County Gun Show is coming in March. Open to the public, this event will take place at the Lancaster Convention Center with an admittance fee of $8.00 per person over the age of 12. The weekend of March 3rd and 4th, the show is open 9am-5pm on Saturday and 9am-4pm on Sunday.

  • Sight and Sound Theatre is opening a new show in March. Starting on March 10th, 2012 they are proud to introduce “Jonah!” a spectacular show that is sure to amaze. From the breath taking sight of a whale swimming overhead to the effects of a great storm, “Jonah!” should be on any itinerary.

  • The North Museum of Natural History & Science, a children’s museum located in Downtown Lancaster, is the perfect destination for children of all ages. During the month of March, the museum is hosting several different activities. Through the entire month, the museum is hosting a special exhibit of bugs, featuring sculptures of many unusual bugs. Also, for homeschoolers who need a science credit, Home Schoolers Day at the North Museum (March 2nd) is the perfect way to earn credit and have fun. Check their website for more exciting events.

Dates to Remember

  • The first day of spring will be on March 20th, 2012. Celebrate by taking a trip outdoors into the serene Lancaster County countryside!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lancaster, PA Food

Ever stop to think about all the food that is native to your area, but half the people in the country have no idea what it is, or know it by a different name? It becomes more apparent when you move to a different state, or when you’re on vacation and suddenly hit with culture shock. Granted, Lancaster County isn’t going to put you over the edge with the cultural differences, but they are proud to share their local foods and recipes that have originated from their Pennsylvania German or Amish roots. Traveling throughout Lancaster County will allow you to taste different foods, and you could even see some made during factory tours.
Have you ever eaten a whoopie pie, or drank birch beer from a keg? Perhaps you’ve never heard of eating pork and sauerkraut on New Years, or tried teaberry ice cream. (I’ll save you from that second one, and just let you know it is bright pink and tastes similar to pepto bismol!) Other tasty snacks include apple butter, shoo fly pies, scrapple, and lebanon bologna. Not sure where to try all these delectable treats? Try visiting Kitchen Kettle Village, the Lancaster Central Market, or any Amish store.

Do you think your town has the best chips and pretzels? Sorry to burst your bubble, but Pennsylvania also holds the award for best snack foods. If you don’t believe me, then make sure to visit the Intercourse Pretzel Factory, or the Julius Sturgis Pretzel factory. Herr’s has a local snack factory, but I’ll recommend Utz or Diefenbachs while you’re in the area. The secret ingredient that inhibits you from putting the bag down, is what the chips are cooked in, lard! And don’t forget what chips are the perfect sides to... Hoagies! (No, not subs, or grinders...)

If you’re ready to move onto heavier fare, stop by a traditional dutch restaurant for hot turkey sandwiches, kielbasa and pierogies, chicken pot pie, or green beans with ham and potatoes. Oh and don’t forget to start your meal with a salad consisting of lettuce and hot bacon dressing, and wash it down with a beer from America’s oldest brewery, Yuengling.

And because every meal needs to end with something a little sweet, Lancaster definitely has you covered. For chocoholics, visit Hershey Park for a tour and many sweet activities. The Cafe Chocolate of Lititz and the Wilbur Chocolate Company are also great places to satisfy your sweet tooth. If you’re more of an ice cream lover, no worries, as Turkey Hill is native to the area and recently opened their Turkey Hill Experience.
After eating your way through Lancaster County, you’ll definitely be ready for some relaxation and a long nap. Conveniently for you, you’ll be near one of the 14 Inns of the Lancaster County Bed and Breakfast Association. The innkeepers will continue your journey with gourmet breakfasts, and give you more tips on where to go for the local fare. Make your reservations today, because I know you’re too anxious to wait any longer for your first taste of scrapple (don’t ask what it is).

Monday, February 13, 2012

Touring Lancaster County on Bicycles

            The soft rolling hills and quiet fields of Lancaster County’s countryside are ideal for a bike trip. Whether you travel with a group or enjoy solitude while you ride, there is somewhere in Lancaster County for you. The inns of the Lancaster County Bed and Breakfast Inns Association enjoy accommodating bikers anytime of the year!

Rail Trails You Don’t Want to Miss

·      Lititz/Warwick Trailway. For those who are interested in a short stretch of the legs, the Lititz/Warwick Trailway may be just what you are looking for. Running 2.9 miles from Lititz, PA into Warwick Township, the trail is paved over what used to be a section of the Reading Railroad. The trail is accessible at several places including Oak St. in Lititz and at the Warwick Township Municipal Complex on Clay Road.
·      The Lancaster Junction Trail. This trail was originally a branch of the Reading & Columbia Railroad, used for hauling anthracite coal until the late 19th century. Abandoned in 1985, it became a trail in 1987. Wending through rich Lancaster County farmland, this trail follows Chickies Creek for 2.3 miles.
·      The Conoy Canal Trail. This rail trail is a segment of the Northwest River Trail, the entire length of which is planned to be 14 miles long and run from Falmouth to Columbia. This completed segment of the trail goes from Falmouth to Bainbride along the Conewago Canal, part of the original Mainline Canal. It is approximately 3.7 miles long.
Tours of Lancaster County
For those interested in a longer ride, the Lancaster Bicycle Club has mapped many different bike routes, which they made available to the public. These are a few, but many more are available at their web site.
·      12 miles. A scenic loop around Ephrata, PA offers a taste of the farmland with the town of Ephrata nearby. The directions for the ride may be found here.
·      25 miles. For those wishing a slightly longer ride, this route makes a stop at Oregon Dairy, a supermarket, restaurant and ice cream shop rolled into one attraction. Be prepared for some scenery; this route passes two covered bridges!

·      58.5 miles.  Starting at the Landis Valley Museum, this ride takes a trip through everything that makes Lancaster County special—the history, the scenery, the quaint small towns and the tourist attractions.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Arts in Lancaster, PA

When I think of Downtown Lancaster, I recall the shows I’ve seen at the Fulton Theatre, and the eclectic art in the local galleries. My favorite piece of art is still a life sized chess set made for the backyard. If I had the money, and a backyard, I would have taken it home with me! With all the galleries and shows in Lancaster, you definitely need to visit a few times to appreciate the vibe of the artistic district. And now you have another reason to visit because Millersville University has opened the Ware Center at their downtown Lancaster Campus, right on Prince Street.

The Ware Center houses a movie theatre and an acoustically perfect stadium-seating theatre. Sounds fancy, huh? There’s also an indoor music cafe overlooking the city where they perform cabarets and intimate dinner presentations. Their events consist of the following: operas, ballets, piano recitals, concerts, cabarets, movies, and rotating art exhibits. Check their calendar to find your preferred artistic style.

The biggest news is the opening of Lancaster’s own movie theatre! For half the price of a commercial theater, you’ll get to see films by local filmmakers and also attend discussions with the artists. Offering a wide variety of movies, the theatre will show a series of foreign, documentary, independent, and award winning films that will challenge and interest your mind.

Your senses will be overwhelmed during your trip that you’ll want to satisfy your taste buds at local restaurants. Then you’ll be thankful that you booked a PA Dutch Inn for the night, to rejuvenate your body, and enjoy a gourmet breakfast in the morning, before diving into more art galleries. Contact an innkeeper from the Lancaster County Bed and Breakfast Inns Association to begin your artistic walk through Downtown Lancaster.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lancaster County PA: a Historical Treasure Trove

Lancaster County: a Historical Treasure Trove

    From the rustic banks of the Susquehanna River to Adamstown’s antique malls, Lancaster County, PA is rich with the lives and dreams of generations. Officially founded in 1729, Lancaster County has seen centuries of living life. Today, many of the famous historical sites in Lancaster, PA are kept open to the public.  All are within an easy drive from one or another of the inns belonging to the Lancaster County Bed and Breakfast Inns Association. Many of these sites are destinations for people from around the country. Whether the objective is to relax and enjoy the sites or study history more thoroughly, these seven vibrant pieces of Lancaster County shouldn’t be missed.

Seven Must-See Lancaster County Historical Sites

·      The Hans Herr House, in Willow Street, Pennsylvania.  Built in 1719, the Hans Herr House is the oldest Pennsylvania German home still standing in Pennsylvania and the oldest Mennonite meetinghouse in the United States. The tour of the home and grounds is well worth the visit.

·      The Ephrata Cloister is in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. The cloister was founded in 1732 and served as home and sustenance to followers of Conrad Beissel. The group collapsed with the death of the last remaining member in 1813. This site contains many of the original buildings or replicas of them, and makes an interactive learning and sightseeing experience.

·      The Lititz Museum and Mueller House, is located in downtown Lititz, Pennsylvania. The museum, housed in the Christian Shropp home, was built in 1793, not long after the Johannes Mueller House in 1792. The Museum and Mueller House contain many things of interest--pieces of the lives of Lititz’ citizens in the 1790s and beyond.

·      Built in 1793, Historic Rockford Plantation sits just south of Lancaster City and was the residence of Revolutionary War General Edward Hand. The Georgian style mansion is well preserved and also utilized as a museum. Open for special occasions and events, the plantation house is shown mostly by appointment for group tours.

·      Home of the popular Pennsylvanian president, James Buchanan’s Wheatland is located off of Route 23 in Lancaster City. It is as easy to access this vibrant piece of United States history as getting in your car. The estate is open for tours spring through fall of the year.

·      The Strasburg Railroad, founded in 1832, is located in quaint Strasburg, Pennsylvania. With an operating train on which passengers may take short rides through the countryside, this is a fun stop for everyone.

·      The Fulton Opera House, located in downtown Lancaster, has been entertaining the people of the area since the 1870s. This gem of historic architecture is a lovely experience. With different plays each year, this antique treasure keeps itself new and exciting.