Friday, March 30, 2012

Mud Sales in Lancaster County, PA

Visiting Lancaster County Pa anytime is a great idea, but if you happen to be in town during a mud sale, then you’re in for a real treat! These sales are traditionally held in the spring when the ground is thawing and there’s lots of rain, hence, a muddy place in which a sale is held! There have already been a number of great sales this year, but don’t fret because more are planned through the summer.

Some people enjoy the mud sales for the auctions and great bargains, while other people go just for the food and camaraderie. Sometimes there are thousands of people, from various towns and states. The local food is a huge hit, and keeps you satisfied while you’re hunting for the perfect bargain. You never know what you’ll find, but some of the more popular items include: quilts, crafts, furniture, antiques and produce. Start planning which sale you’ll go to, and be sure to let us know what you discover at the mud sales!  

March 31: Robert Fulton Volunteer Fire Company Mud Sale
7 a.m. breakfast: Crafts, plants, tools, antiques, farm equipment, furniture, food, horses.

April 14: Rawlinsville Annual Mud Sale
8 a.m:Quilts, horses, crafts, building materials, lawn equipment, new and used furniture.

May 5: Gratz Area Mud Sale
8:30a.m: Equipment, nursery stock, quilts and crafts, tools, antiques, flowers, building materials, children's toys, appliances, furniture, animals and more.

May 12: Honeybrook Annual Auction/Mud Sale
8 a.m: Quilts, crafts, new furniture, Winross trucks, Smuckers bells, tools, buggies, heifers.

June 29: Bird-in-Hand Mud Sale | Lancaster County Carriage & Antique Auction
8 a.m: Antiques, harness and tack, specialty items, quilts, crafts, carriages, buggies, wagons.

June 30: Refton Fire Company Sale
7 a.m. breakfast: Hardware, shop tools, plants, furniture, antiques, crafts, hay and straw, quilts, horses, food and more.

August 18: Intercourse Fire Company Fall Auction
8:30am: Quilts, crafts, furniture, buggies, tack, tools, antiques & Sauder's Nursery stock.

August 25: Kinzers Fire Company Mud Sale
7 a.m. breakfast: Plants, groceries, antiques, furniture, lumber, tack, sheds and gazebos, equipment, buggies, quilts, horses.

October 27: Cochranville Fire Company Mud Sale
7 a.m. breakfast: Tools, household goods, shrubbery, horse tack, quilts, horses, sheds, furniture.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dining in Lancaster County, PA

~ Where the Locals Go: Dining in Lancaster County ~
            Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is rich in cultures—and food. Anyone who lives here can tell you what his or her favorite restaurant is. Some people love the elegant styles of the fine dining options; some the quaint, hearty fare of the Pennsylvania Dutch eateries. But one thing is sure—people love great food. And no one knows where the great food is better than people who have been eating here all their lives.
Fine Dining
        If you are looking for somewhere unique, maybe going with someone special, try these suggestions for a spectacular fine dining experience.

·         Lily’s on Main, in the center of the hustle and bustle of downtown Ephrata, provides an atmosphere like no other. With pristine, modern décor, and menu options with that special something that makes them memorable, Lily’s is a good choice for those who enjoy simple modern elegance.

·         In Lancaster County, the General Sutter Inn is a landmark. Located on the town square in Lititz, the inn was built in the late 1860’s by John Sutter. The dining rooms reflect the era of the building in the details, with just a touch of the rustic. The food is normal fine dining fare: good, filling and nicely presented.

·         Haydn Zugs, which sits on the site of a former East Petersburg general store, was transformed into a restaurant in the 1960’s and named after the owner of the property. Today the restaurant maintains a colonial atmosphere and serves classic American food. The setting is candlelit, intimate and cozy. The restaurant has been recognized as one of the best in Pennsylvania and won national awards.

·         If you are in the mood for a drive through the country, Reflections may be the destination for you. A favorite of many of Lancaster’s residents, Reflections provides tasty food in a quiet and restful atmosphere. Set near two major roads, Routes 222 and 272, it is easy to access and easy to find.

·         The Pressroom Restaurant, located in a Victorian building that has been a landmark in Lancaster City for nearly a hundred years, serves distinctive food and drink. The Pressroom has a classic newspaper feel—even the menu reads like a newspaper—that is warmed by the mahogany décor. During the summer months, guests may dine outdoors in Steinman Park.  

Casual Dining
        For the casual and family mealtimes when you are looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, try these special Lancaster County secrets.
·         Café Chocolate, a unique little café in Lititz, offers an eclectic assortment of goodies from chocolate chili to chocolate covered strawberries.

·         The Strasburg Country Store and Creamery, located in the middle of Strasburg, Pennsylvania, offers a great selection of ice cream in an old fashioned soda fountain atmosphere. They also offer diner-style food and freshly made fudge.

·         Brickerville House Family Restaurant, a mix of Mediterranean and good, old-fashioned Pennsylvania Dutch, is a great place for the casual family dinner. The food is satisfying and the aesthetic, charming. Guests may dine on an enclosed porch during all seasons. It is located in Brickerville at the junction of Route 501 and Route 322.

·         The Stoltzfus Farm Restaurant offers both an a la carte menu and a family-style dining option. Located in Intercourse, it is a few short miles from Kitchen Kettle Village.

·         Dienners Country Restaurant, located in Ronks, is a very casual place. The food is excellent Pennsylvania Dutch and the service is efficient.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Girlfriend Getaways in Lancaster County, PA

Every woman deserves a weekend with her girlfriends every once in a while. Lancaster County has so many activities, you’ll be able to plan the perfect weekend, even for your pickiest friend. To start planning your weekend, choose a bed and breakfast that fits the needs of your group. Consider what activities they are closest too, and their availability. Some inns also have larger spaces for scrap-booking or quilting parties, so ask about those if you’re interested.

Once you’ve decided on lodging and cleared your schedules for the weekend, it’s time to start planning what you’ll do! I recommend searching through previous posts for information on local wineries, history, and food before delving into other possibilities. Make sure that you don’t over-schedule and run yourselves ragged. Plan a simple combination of relaxing and exciting activities so that the weekend is enjoyable for all. Here are just a few suggestions that might interest your group:

Day Spa: Bernards at Brighton,

Theatres: Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, American Music Theatre

Shopping: Lancaster Outlets, Stoudtburg Village and Shops, Downtown Lancaster

Chocolate Factories: Wilburs, Cafe Chocolate of Lititz

Something Different: Red Rose Segway Tours, Hot Air Balloon Rides, Horse and Buggy Rides
Contacting your innkeeper is another great way to get personalized recommendations, and tips on local gems. Remember to keep the weekend simple and have plenty of time to relax, read books, play games, and of course laugh! Don’t forget to bring snacks for those late nights you’ll stay up chatting and mix cd’s for the long car ride. Go ahead and start planning today; you deserve it!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Farmers Markets-Lancaster, PA

Farmers Markets: a Staple of Lancaster County

As the first day of spring approaches, most of the seasonal farmers markets in Lancaster County are starting to do business again and the ones open year-round are becoming more inviting.  The warmer weather and the sunny skies make a trip to the markets an excursion both visitors and locals look forward to.

The produce, baked goods, handcrafts and other products, characteristic of Lancaster County, make these markets special. Some are small enough to work into a crowded itinerary, some large enough to turn into a day trip, but all of them have something in common—they are the places to shop from early spring through fall.
Ø  Central Market is the country’s oldest continuously operating farmers market, having been open for 275 years. Year-round, the market is held in an old building at 23 Market Street, Lancaster, every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. The stands offer everything from fresh food and produce to textiles and knick-knacks. For more information on this cornerstone of Lancaster County society, visit their website.
Ø  Green Dragon, located in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, sits on thirty acres of land. Every Friday morning, the market and auction come alive with activity. The vendors are as varied as the many visitors who stop by each week, ranging from local growers to craftsmen to merchants. Their hours are 9:00am- 9:00pm every Friday except during the months of January and February, when the gates close at 8:00pm. Enjoy easy access to Green Dragon from the Kimmel House Bed and Breakfast.
Ø  Roots Market and Auction is located just outside of Manheim, Pennsylvania and has been operating for nearly 90 years. With both indoor and outdoor stands, Roots is a Lancaster County destination in all weather. Roots Market is open only on Tuesdays. From April to October the doors are open 9:00am-9:00pm and from November to March, 9:00am-8:00pm. Roots is near several bed and breakfasts, including Rose Manor in Manheim, and the Alden House and Swiss Woods in Lititz.Ø  Lititz Farmers Market is a small farmers market consisting of vendors from the Lititz area who bring and set up their own stands. The market is held 8:00am-12:00pm every Saturday from the end of May to September in a parking lot on Water Street in downtown Lititz. The location is half a block off Main Street and within easy walking distance of the Alden House Bed and Breakfast.

Ø  The New Holland Farmers Market is an open-air market on the corner of Main St. and South Robert’s St. in New Holland. It takes place every Saturday from May to September from 8:00am-1:00pm. This market brings fresh produce, cheese, dairy, baked goods and handcrafts to the people of Lancaster County.

Monday, March 5, 2012

With the 3rd Annual American Quilter’s Society Quilt Show coming up this month on March 14-17, I was interested in learning more about the history of the Amish Quilt. Amish homes are abundant in Lancaster County, and one of their traditions they’ve shared with the surrounding communities is their beautiful craft of quilt making. Art, in the traditional sense, is not accepted by the Amish because it serves no real purpose. Fortunately, quilts were used to keep people warm, and given as dowries and gifts. Dating back to the 1800’s, the first quilts were simple, yet elegant in their own way.

Over time, their style has changed by incorporating more colors and patterns into the designs. So the older the quilt is, the less color and embellishments it has. By the 1970’s, their quilts caught the eye of local folks, who would even steal them off their wash lines. This led to the decision to start selling the quilts at local markets, but did challenge the Amish to keep their life separate from the modern world. Over the years, Amish quilts continued to evolve and use updated styles that appealed to their customers.

To learn even more about quilting and its history, I encourage you to spend a day or two at the AQS Quilt show. Held at the Lancaster County Convention Center, this international quilting event will display hundreds of quilts, host many workshops and lectures, and give you the opportunity to connect with other avid quilters.

Some classes and lectures that you can attend include: machine applique technique, beading and embellishment, successful needle turn, caring for and repairing quilts, and ideas for using fabric scraps. There will also be a few special events such as a class on how to get the best experience while at the quilt show, techniques and demonstrations from instructors, a trunk show from a husband and wife team, and brunch with a presentation of Amish quilts and history.

If you’re still wanting to see more quilts and learn more history, make sure to visit the Lancaster Quilt & Textile Museum! And since you’ve chosen the best lodging in the county, ask your innkeepers if they have any quilts around the inn.