Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer of Food in Lancaster County, PA

Lancaster County has a rich history of Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. From traditional Amish foods to canning, you’ll discover a wide variety of new foods and cooking techniques. Thankfully these aren’t secret family recipes, so they share tips and tricks of their delicious foods. The Intercourse Canning Company, Weaver’s Orchard, and the Good Cooking Store all host demonstrations and cooking classes. Make plans to participate in a class this summer, or get some tips from your local innkeepers of the Lancaster County Bed and Breakfast Inns Association!
The Intercourse Canning Company is having Salsa Saturday on July 7th. This informational and delightfully tasteful session focuses on Amish layer dips and fresh fruit salsas. Then on July 14 they are having a Hot Dog Bash. They’ll offer so many toppings you will need to eat more than one hot dog!
The Good Cooking Store has hands-on classes for appetizers on July 12, and cooking with fresh herbs on July 10. Don’t let the cost deter you because it’s a great date night idea, especially since you get to eat the food you make!

Weaver’s Orchard, in Berks County, is offering FREE interactive classes on cooking, canning, juicing, baking, and more. While you’re there, see what’s in season, and you might be able to pick your own blueberries.
If all these cooking classes have you wondering about a traditional Amish meal, then take the opportunity to dine with the Amish this summer. Hosted by Strasburg Rail Road, you’ll have the chance to learn about their cultures while eating a traditional meal. Reservations and prepayment are required for this special event.
I hope these classes inspire you to cook and learn about different customs and cultures. Feel free to share what your favorite class or dining experience in Lancaster County is!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Summer Events in Lancaster Pennsylvania

Festive Lancaster

This summer, Lancaster County is overflowing with activities and events. Some of them are annual and some are once in a lifetime, but all of them are worth considering as you plan your vacations. These events are often advertised only by word of mouth and posters stapled to telephone poles, but here are a few that deserve a special mention.
For those who are interested in the art of storytelling, or merely enjoy listening to a good story, Lititz is hosting their first Storytelling Festival. Housed in the Steinman Arts building at the Linden Hall School on Main Street, the festival  last for two days. The first day, a collection of stories from various genres will be told. The second day is devoted to two different performances—one of tall tales and exaggeration, the other a “storytelling concert” about the things that we call home. The event will take place over the weekend of September 14 & 15. Tickets and more information are available at www.StoryPartners.net.
Music lovers will enjoy the Long’s Park Summer Music Series—a summer long series of beautiful music in a wide open, manicured yet slightly wild park. This event has been held annually for fifty years and this year is becoming one of the best.  From a Latin-Jazz orchestra to an Army band, the park will be filled with music every Sunday evening from June 3rd until the end of the summer. Concert attendees should plan to take chairs or blankets to sit on. All concerts begin at 7:30pm. More information may be found at the park’s website.
An interesting event for history buffs and fans of railroads may enjoy the Reading Railroad Days, held in Strasburg at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Guests may view the museum filled with real train cars and participate in the many special activities, including tours, designed for the entire family. The event will take place from July 3rd through July 8th. Admission for this event is the regular admission rate for the museum.
Another event to intrigue history lovers—or parents who wish to instill a love of history in their children—is the Hans Herr House driving tour, which will take place on Sunday, September 15th. Visitors will be greeted at the visitors center and given a map and directions to all of the historical sites on the property. This property is the site of the first permanent European settlement in Lancaster County, and was founded in 1710. It is also the site of the oldest home still standing in Pennsylvania and the oldest remaining Mennonite meetinghouse in the country.
These are merely a few of the hundreds of events that will take place in the Lancaster County this summer. Explore more by visiting www.lancasteronline.com , the Lancaster County Visitor Center, or the Lancaster County Bed and Breakfast Inns Association website. Have a great summer!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Garden Tours in Lancaster County, PA

With summer quickly approaching, gardens are in full bloom. Many of the Lancaster County Bed & Breakfast Inns have flourishing gardens that are available to guests. Enjoy your morning coffee among the roses, or relax in the evening near the herb garden. If those gardens have you curious for more, then there are others to visit scattered throughout Lancaster.

Both Longwood Gardens and Hershey Gardens are large enough to spend a few hours exploring. They are so large that I could write a blog on each one individually, but I’ll leave some surprises for you and just outline the main attractions. Longwood Gardens has 1,050 acres of gardens, meadows, and greenhouses. They have fountain and firework displays that are set to music, garden demonstrations, and musical performances. There is a rose arbor, wisteria garden, and conservatory of spring flowers. The scenery and plants are constantly changing, so no matter what season you visit, there are sure to be vibrant colors, flowery aromas, and entertainment. It’s impossible to describe how truly beautiful these gardens are, so I encourage you to visit.

Hershey Gardens opened in 1937 and consists of 23 acres of roses, trees, japanese gardens, and a butterfly house. There are 11 different theme gardens that showcase each season’s beauty with a variety of flowers, trees, and herbs. The summer brings black eyed susans, joe-pye weed, colorful annuals, and more. The rock garden is popular in every season, and the arboretum offers shade for hot summer days.

There are two garden tours in Lancaster this month. The Secret Gardens of Strasburg Tour is on Saturday, June 23, and Sunday, June 24. It features seven different gardens, a couple of which are landscaped behind historic homes. Also, the Old Town of Lancaster City, is hosting their Beyond the Garden Gate Tour on Sunday June 17th. It showcases 10 historic homes and their gardens.

If you can’t get to all these gardens this summer, then just pick one to explore. And be sure to let us know what your favorite garden was!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Amish Culture in Lancaster County, PA

When touring around Lancaster County, it becomes apparent that the lifestyle of the Amish has been incorporated into daily life. From the farmers markets, to horse and buggies, shops, and even restaurants, you will experience Amish flavors throughout your entire visit in Lancaster. To fully immerse yourself into their culture, try visiting the following places and learning about their history and customs.

To tour Amish farms, choose between the Amish Village or the Amish Countryside Tour. The Amish Village features a farm, horses, and a school lesson with a real Amish school teacher. The Countryside tour takes you through the Amish farmlands while a knowledgeable driver shares history, culture, and stories. You’ll also get to visit a one room schoolhouse and explore original buildings from the Old Order Amish. If you visit during the  summer season, you’ll also stop at a roadside stand and have the opportunity to buy fresh produce and homemade breads. If you enjoy stands, then be sure to visit Zooks Roadside Stand. They sell everything from produce to crafts, and hex signs to homemade root beer.

To see the countryside as the Amish do, hop on a horse and buggy at Kitchen Kettle Village. Choose to visit covered bridges and back roads, or ride through historic towns of working farms. Once you’re finished your ride, grab some lunch at the Village, or head over to the Bird-in-Hand farmers market. The market is indoor (and air conditioned!) and has fresh produce and baked goods, as well as a snack counter, bakery, and homemade soups. Once again, these shops have everything you could be looking for: wooden crafts, spices, flowers, quilts, baskets, candies, jewelry, and shoo fly pie! For some other neat shops visit Riehl’s Quilts and Crafts, Country Creations, the quilt shop at Miller’s Smorgasbord, and the largest flea market in the area, Green Dragon Farmer’s Market and Auction.

For a more intimate Amish experience, visit the Plain & Fancy Farm where they have a theatre featuring a recreated story of Amish today through the eyes of the Fisher family. They also give you the chance to visit 3 Amish properties and chat with with the families in their homes, discussing topics from unique handcrafts, to milking cows, and authentic cooking. For dinner, the next best thing to Amish cooking, will be a family style meal from the Stoltzfus Farm Restaurant!

These are just a few suggestions to start your discovering of the Lancaster County Amish. As always, ask one of your Lancaster County Bed and Breakfast Inns Innkeepers where they like to escape the modern world to, in order to learn the history of this Plain sect.