Friday, December 21, 2012

Lancaster County Snow Days

                                                          Snow Days

        As the winter days get shorter, Lancaster County is gearing up for snow. For visitors this often means working trips around the weather report, but there are still plenty of things to do in Lancaster County even when the weather outside is dreary: indoor activities are everywhere.
        Hands-on House is a fun-filled children’s museum where everything is touchable. The displays speak to farming and pioneering, the early Lancaster County settlers and more.

        The North Museum of Natural History and Science is also a children’s museum geared toward the sciences. It features displays of animals and a small planetarium with special shows.

        The country’s oldest continuously operated farmers market, Central Market is a place where anyone can have fun. The stalls range from butchers and produce vendors to craft and flower vendors. Hot food and drinks are also sold throughout the market. Besides being in a central location—downtown Lancaster City—the market is also a wonderful free activity

The Lancaster Museum of Art houses permanent and changing exhibits of many artists—regional, national, and international. Also located in downtown Lancaster City, the Museum of Art is a good place to spend a snowy afternoon.

For those interested in the media, the Lancaster Newspaper Newseum may be the ticket to escape boredom during bad weather. A multi-media news museum, the Newseum displays equipment from by-gone newspaper production methods and more, showcasing the growth and change of the newspaper industry over the last 200 years.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Shop Lancaster County PA

The Gift of Lancaster
Give Friends and Family a Taste of Lancaster County this Holiday Season!
        This year, finish your holiday shopping in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. From the Jam and Jelly Kitchen and the art shops at Kitchen Kettle Village, to the vendors at Central Market and the shops in Downtown Lititz, you can find something for everyone—even the people who are impossible to shop for.

For the art and decoration lover, try stopping at the art shops at Kitchen Kettle Village. They offer a wide selection of watercolors, oils, prints and photographs by local and regional artists. Many of the works contain themes of life in Lancaster County, but they cover a wide range of subjects. Objet d’art can also be found in the Pots by dePerrot Gallery in Lititz, Central Market in Downtown Lancaster, and many other shops in between.
For the voracious reader, Lancaster County offers Aaron’s Books. In contrast to the chain stores, Aaron’s brings the customer a small-town, homey atmosphere and a choice collection of fiction, non-fiction, local authors, Amish fiction, cooking, and many more genres.
For the cook or food lover Kitchen Kettle Village is also home to the Jam and Jelly Kitchen. Here, hundreds of jams, jellies, relishes, and dips are made and sold. The store also stocks fun aprons and kitchen related gadgets. If you place an order at the Jam and Jelly Kitchen, they can ship it.  Zest! is another unique cooking and entertaining store in Downtown Lititz. They sell gourmet foods, teas, kitchen gadgets and much more.
For the crafter, or lover of crafts, the quilting and creating trade of Lancaster County is sure to satisfy. The Flower and Craft Warehouse, in Blue Ball, is stocked to the rafters with crafting supplies, fabrics, scrapbooking supplies and flower arranging supplies. Also, the many quilting shops of Lancaster County, like the Log Cabin Quilt Shop in Bird-in-Hand, sell completed quilts, quilting supplies and fabric.
For more ideas on where to shop this holiday season, visit the Lancaster County website or

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Celebrating Christmas in Lancaster County

Santa Claus is Coming to Town: Celebrating Christmas in Lancaster County
All over Lancaster County, the excitement of Christmas is approaching. The chill in the air, the scent of evergreen, chocolate and cinnamon—all symbolize the holiday season. From the city of Lancaster to the village of Intercourse, each hamlet has its own way to celebrate the holiday, some beginning even before the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Gift of Lights at Elizabeth Farms, which opens on November 18, is a new addition to the Christmas light experience. At the farm south of Shafferstown, which has been in operation since before the Revolutionary War, visitors can drive through a mile-long trail over which hundreds of thousands of LED lights have been strung.

Old Fashioned Christmas is held Fridays and Saturdays from November 23 to December 23 at Kitchen Kettle Village. In addition to holiday shopping, enjoy marshmallow roasting, holiday entertainment, demonstrations, dinner with Mrs. Claus and caroling in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

Santa’s Paradise Express is also held every weekend from November 23 to December 16 at the Strasburg Rail Road. This Christmas season, enjoy an old fashioned train ride, a 45-minute journey with Santa, on an authentic steam train, that features a pot-bellied stove and strolling musicians.

Country Christmas Village at Landis Valley Museum, a living history museum north of Lancaster City. Country Christmas Village features Pennsylvania German Christmas traditions like holiday foods prepared in the tavern and a visit from "der Belsnickel." Crafts are available for children and complimentary hot cider and ginger snaps are available in the gift shop.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Historical Figures from Lancaster County, PA

Throughout the history of Lancaster County, we see well known historical figures visit here, live here, and die here. Among them are such famous people as our fifteenth president, James Buchanan; General John A. Sutter, who figured prominently in the California gold rush of the 19th century; and Dr. General Edward Hand, one of George Washington’s chief military leaders.
Born in Baden, Germany, Johann August Sutter arrived in the United States in 1834 at the age of 31. He changed his name to John Augustus Sutter and travelled extensively, all across the continent. In the 1840’s, he settled in California at a fort he named “New Helvetica,” Helvetica being the Spanish word for Switzerland. In 1848, when gold was discovered in the area, Sutter and his family were pushed off their land.

In 1871, John Sutter and his wife, Annette, moved to Lititz, Pennsylvania. They chose this small town for the proximity to Washington, D. C., the supposed healthful qualities of the waters at Lititz Springs, and so that their grandchildren could benefit from the high-quality education offered by the town’s Moravian schools.
John Sutter died in 1880 in a hotel in Washington, D.C. and was returned to the little town he had called home for the past nine years. He was buried in “God’s Acre,” the Moravian cemetery.
Though he is often remembered as one of America’s poor presidents, James Buchanan was the only president of the United States ever to hail from Pennsylvania. His home, Wheatland, sits to the west of Lancaster City.

Buchanan was born in 1791 in Franklin County, Pennsylvania and attended Dickinson College. After graduating, with honors, he moved to Lancaster to study the law. Buchanan began his political career in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and rose from there.
Throughout his adult life he served in the political world. Under President Andrew Jackson, he served as Minister to Russia, and as Secretary of State under President James K. Polk. Prior to these appointments, he represented Pennsylvania in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

James Buchanan was elected president in the 1857 election and throughout his presidency he fought losing battle to create a peace between the secessionist states and the union. His inability to do so, however, turned popular opinion against him. Before his death in 1868, he published the first ever presidential memoir entitled “Mr. Buchanan’s Administration on the Eve of the Rebellion.” Not long after it was published, he died of heart failure at Wheatland. The house is still open for special occasions and tours.
Born in Ireland in 1744, Edward Hand received his medical degree there. He enlisted in the British military, then resigned from the service in 1774 when he moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to practice medicine. In 1775, the doctor joined the continental army as the Colonel of the 1st Battalion of Pennsylvania Riflemen. Hand became Adjutant General to George Washington in 1781.

At the end of the Revolution, Hand left the military for politics. As a Federalist, he served in Congress, the State General Assembly, and as Burgess of Lancaster. In 1794, he took up permanent residence at his plantation in Lancaster, Rock Ford, and he died there in 1802. Today the plantation, where he is said to have entertained President Washington, is maintained and is sometimes open for tours.