Sunday, May 27, 2012

Making Mini Memories in Lancaster County PA

The sunshine and the fresh spring air have grown irresistible to many Lancaster County residents and seasonal attractions are open for business. This spring, take the time to spend an hour outdoors enjoying a fun family pastime—miniature golf.

Lancaster County has beautiful and unique miniature golf courses located near many small towns. They create an opportunity to spend time together that you will never forget with very small admissions fees.

These are just a few suggestions for an afternoon of outdoor fun.

Strasburg, home of the Strasburg Railroad, the Country Store and Creamery, and the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum, also lays claim to a small, well maintained miniature golf course called Village Greens. The course contains multiple water features, tunnels, and small buildings, all worked around the landscaping.

Overlook Falls Mini-Golf is located in Overlook Community Campus on Fruitville Pike, just north of Lancaster City. This wide open course features water hazards and challenging yet accessible holes. It is also centrally located near Park City Mall, Longs Park and other attractions that make Overlook Falls a relaxing place to end a busy day.

High Sports, Inc. is located on Route 501 north of Lititz. This company offers a unique miniature golf course build in the top of a hill. The holes are located close together, yet the course has an exotic feel. Besides a miniature golf course, High also offers Go Karts, batting cages, and a driving range.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bird Watching in Lancaster, PA

Have you seen the movie “The Big Year”, with Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black? It’s an intriguing movie about birding where these bird enthusiasts set aside everything in their lives to see how many different types of birds they can see in one year. This would be a great movie to bring with you on your trip to Lancaster County. After you watch it, you can have a friendly competition with your travel partner by visiting parks and birding trails to see who can spot the most birds. To spice things up, the winner can choose where they would like to be treated for a dinner of their choice. With the amount of birding conservatories in Lancaster County, you just might be surprised at how big your list will be!

Here are a few suggestions to get you started on your adventures:

Muhlenberg Native Plant and Wildflower Meadow: This meadow is located within Lancaster County Central Park. Don’t forget to visit the Farmhouse to catch a glimpse of the Baltimore Oriole and the Eastern Kingbird. There have also been sightings of the Red Tailed Hawk, so keep your eyes open!

Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area: Download the self-guided driving tour to get the most out of your trip. You’ll travel through fields, ponds, grasslands, and marshes while looking out for the Tundra Swans, Snow Geese, Osprey, Hawks, and Eastern Meadow Larks.

Chickies Rock County Park: This park includes trails and a large rock outcrop overlooking the Susquehanna river. Watch for Bald Eagles, Double-crested Cormorants, and migrating songbirds.

Speedwell Forge Park: Hiking trails surrounding a lake lead to marsh areas that are great for seeing migrating waterfowl, Great Egrets, and Black-crowned Night Herons.

So grab your checklists, a bird identification book, and set out to see what beauties you discover during your “Big Vacation” in Lancaster County!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Shopping Spree in Lancaster PA!!

Don’t miss any of these unique spots as you shop your way across Lancaster County. From Downtown Lititz to the rolling countryside of Honey Brook, the experience at each of these shops can be savored, like rich chocolate or aged cheddar.

Wilbur Chocolate makes the entire town of Lititz smell like chocolate when the wind blows just right. The chocolate, which is made nearby, is sold in the old brick factory. Visitors can enjoy a display of period candy making equipment and free samples. Also, watch a short documentary on the process of chocolate-making and see the staff hand make some of the items available for sale in the store.

The Shaker Shoppe is located between Lititz and Rothsville. Here, customers will find a unique collection of simple, Shaker-style furniture. The craftsmanship makes this an essential stop for all those looking for an additional piece of furniture for their home.

September Farm is a tiny specialty shop located in wide open Honey Brook. The owners of the farm prepare and sell their own cheese. From cheddar to Swiss, their products are sure to please. Located off of Route 322, this stop on our shopping spree is easy to access.  

Kitchen Kettle Village is a small group of specialty shops located in Intercourse. It is a good place to shop for souvenirs or gifts if you prefer to shop in one place. The shops include the Leather Shop, art shops, and many others. While you are there, be sure to visit the Jam and Jelly Kitchen for dozens of free samples.

Old Village Store is Bird-in-Hand’s version of a country store. With a hardware section, circa 1890, and a collection of goods like handcrafts, cast-iron cookery, unique kitchen wares and old-fashioned candy, this stop offers products that may sometimes be difficult to find.

Susquehanna Glass, a store that sells just what its name implies, is located in downtown Columbia. The glass products offered within are varied and original. The store offers personalization services and takes orders for large quantities.

Smuckers Quilts, of New Holland, is run by Rachel Smucker and located on her Amish farm. She offers a collection of more than 100 quilts crafted by local Amish and Mennonite women. Other quilted products like dolls and wall hangings are also displayed.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Free is always better in Lancaster, PA

These days it seems like everyone is into couponing and finding deals on just about anything. So it’s no surprise that vacationing is at the top of the list when trying to save money. Lucky for you, Lancaster County has a variety of activities that are free (as long as you don’t empty your wallet at some of the specialty shops)! So go ahead and splurge on a luxurious stay at one of the Lancaster County Bed and Breakfast Inns, because you’re guaranteed to find affordable fun. From art galleries and local markets, to parks and factory tours, Pennsylvania Dutch Country holds adventures for every family.

The Lancaster Art Market, an outdoor gallery for artists to sell their items, has finally opened. Feel free to peruse the artwork, just like you would in the many other galleries Downtown. The market is only open during First Fridays, so plan your trips accordingly!

Another popular outing is antiquing in Adamstown, the antique capital of the world. With many shops to choose from, you will be surrounded in treasures and memorabilia from days past. For a local treat, head to the Kitchen Kettle Village, a fun time for any age. Known for their canning kitchen, they also have specialty stores, educational activities, and many festivals throughout the year. Two of the summer events include the Rhubarb Festival the weekend of May 18th, and the Music Festival, on Saturday June 16th.

If you have young kids in your family, a visit to the
Hayloft Petting Zoo, will surely delight! The grounds are filled with tame animals (sheep, goats, donkeys, deer, and peacocks) that are anxious to meet their visitors. They have a gift shop and candle making, but the best part has to be their homemade ice cream!  

Of course it wouldn’t be a trip to Lancaster County, without visiting the famous town of Hershey! In the “sweetest place on Earth”, you’ll enjoy a free tour ride simulating the journey of a cocoa bean from the rainforest to your favorite chocolate candy. Then on Sunday evenings swing by Long’s Park to listen to their summer concert series. While music flows through the evening air, enjoy the playgrounds, tennis courts, lake, and fitness trail. What’s your favorite affordable activity in Lancaster County?