Yearly Archives: 2012

Dutch WINTER Wonderland

My wife and I always set aside an evening during the holidays to take the boys over to Dutch Winter Wonderland.  Dutch Wonderland is such a special place for young children during the summer it’s easy to overlook they have special hours during the fall for Happy Hauntings, and then again over the holidays as well.

The main attraction for us is always the Royal Light Show.  DW literally has tens of thousands of lights strung up throughout the hub of the park all synched to a stirring holiday soundtrack.  Make sure to take the sky ride, or take a drive with the antique cars to either get a birdseye view of the show, or drive right through the heart of it.

Of course, many of our favorite rides are open in addition to the holiday specific attractions.  My 2-year-old is a fan of Duke’s Dozers (miniature bulldozers), the Off-Road Rally (nice and tame Monster Trucks!), and of course taking a tour of the light be-decked park on their miniature train, the Wonderland Special!  The older boys (6 and 9 respectively) ride the Twister, hit up the bumper cars, and take a swing on the Space Shuttle (a space-themed Viking ship type ride).

If you have any budding young female royalty in your family, you might want to check out Storytime with the Princess.

With so much to see and do and at a great price, Dutch Winter Wonderland is another budding holiday tradition for the Evans family right here in Lancaster County.

Bad weather? No problem!

Bad weather doesn’t have to stop you from having fun… at least not here in Lancaster. There are plenty of great museums, art galleries, and restaurant that can keep you entertained while you’re visiting.

Learn about the Amish
Lancaster County has a number of Amish Homesteads, and the Amish Experience Theatre, where you can learn about a boy who is faced with the decision to stay in the Amish faith, or become English.

Check out our Trains
The Choo Choo Barn, National Toy Train Museum and Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania will all paint a picture of the colorful history of Pennsylvania’s railroad industry, and are all indoor for staying dry! Right next to the Choo Choo Barn, you’ll find Uncle Leroy’s for some sweets and treats, and Isaac’s for a delicious lunch or dinner!

Watch it being made, or make it yourself!
Want to see how things are made in Lancaster County? A rainy day is the perfect time to head indoors to see things being created from start to finish, and even create some things yourself! Head to Intercourse Pretzel Factory or Julius Sturgis Pretzel House and learn to twist your own pretzel! The Wilbur Chocolate Factory is where you can watch the candy makers at work hand-dipping homemade marshmallows into luscious Wilbur Chocolate. If art is more your style, you can head downtown to the Bead & Pottery Works to paint your own piece of pottery or create jewelry.

Museums and Historic Sites
I know what you’re thinking – I don’t want to spend a whole day in museums. You’ve obviously never been to our museums on a rainy day in Lancaster County! If you’ve got little ones with you, head to the Lancaster Science Factory, where they have tons of hands-on activities for kids of all ages. Lancaster has tons of art museums and galleries, both Downtown and around the County. Historic sites include the Demuth Museum, the National Watch & Clock Museum, President James Buchanan’s Wheatland, and Rock Ford Plantation.

Theatre
What better to do on a rainy evening in Lancaster County than head to the theatre! We have a few dinner theatres including the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre and the Rainbow Dinner Theatre. For Broadway caliber shows, head Downtown to the Fulton Theatre. Sight & Sound Theatre is known around the world for their shows, and American Music Theatre has excellent concerts and shows. So pick a theatre, and be swept away in the show!

There are tons of other things to do on a rainy day, so just check out our website for more things to do!

Proper road etiquette around buggies

The question usually arises, “What’s the proper etiquette  for driving on the road with buggies, visiting their farms, or taking photos of the Amish.” We’ve pulled together a few bullets here for you, if you happen to be wondering!

  • Do not trespass on Amish farms, homesteads, or schools in session. There are several settings where you can visit a working farm, take a buggy ride, or ever stay over at an Amish farm. These experiences will definitely give you a taste of Amish lifestyle.
  • Photographs. The Amish have a strongly held belief that photographic images violate the biblical injunction against graven images and promote the sins of personal vanity and pride. Taking pictures of their land and animals is permissible; taking pictures of them is not.
  • Watch the road! Roads in Lancaster County have especially wide shoulders to accommodate horses, buggies, and tractors. Buggies are marked with red reflective triangles and lights at night. It’s preferable to slow down to Amish paces. Honking disturbs the horses. You can pass buggies, but be cautious, ensuring there is no oncoming traffic.

We hope these three things will help you to be more informed on your next visit to Lancaster! Thank you for being respectful of our culture.

Ready, set, go – the joy of Easter egg hunting

Looking at the numerous options for our three boys ( Ages 1, 5, and 8 ) to hunt Easter Eggs in the area, we decided to head out to Strasburg to Village Greens Miniature Golf. The folks over at Village Greens do such a great job maintaining their grounds, especially the gold course with its amazing landscaping in the summer time, we were sure they would bring that kind of care and attention to the Easter Egg hunt.

We weren’t disappointed. Besides having three separate hunts for three different age groups (fitting our sons’ ages perfectly) with lots of prizes, they had a bunch of different activities for the kids to participate in while they were waiting for the hunts to start. The boys got to visit with the Easter Bunny, pet a real bunny and chick, get their faces painted, chalk the sidewalks, putt for free game, and fish for prizes in a small duck pond.

You could really tell the employees and volunteers at the hunt were truly enjoying themselves and were excited to see how excited and happy the children were. It’s fun local events like this that are run by small-businesses that truly enhance the fabric of our community in Lancaster County, and make it a special place to live and visit.

Village Greens has always been one of our favorite place to go miniature golfing (ever since my wife and I started dating, in fact), and their annual Easter Egg hunt has only solidified that position in our hearts. The boys had a great time, and we’ll be sure to come back soon to hit the links.

Some Amish neighbors enjoying the spoils of the egg hunt.

Mom introducing Emerson to the Easter Bunny

The hunt is on!

 

5 Reasons Lancaster is an RV destination

Country villages, unforgettable landscapes and the simple joys of Amish life are just three of the many reasons to visit Lancaster County by RV. The family-centered attractions of Pennsylvania Dutch Country make it easy to bring the kids along on your journey. Here are five fascinating reasons to start planning a Lancaster County adventure for the whole family.

  1. Kitchen Kettle Village, a delightful collection of vintage homes filled with goody-filled shops, is located in Intercourse, PA. Take the family on a buggy ride, stop for a memorable lunch at the Kling House Restaurant and purchase local specialties as you stroll through the village shops. Be sure to take the kids to the Bake Shop for freshly-baked cookies and whoopie pies!
  2. It wouldn’t be a Lancaster County adventure without a side trip or two to photograph the area’s many covered bridges. Enduring structures like the White Rock Forge Covered Bridge near Quarryville and the Forry Mill Bridge over Chickies Creek near Marietta draw photographers from all over the world. CoveredBridgeSite.com contains an excellent guide to Lancaster County’s historic bridges.
  3. Take the Old Philadelphia Pike to the village of Bird-in-Hand to experience the joys of a farmers’ market. Vendor stalls line the Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market every weekend year-round, and their hours are expanded during warmer weather. Comfortable indoor shopping in a quaint setting with something everyone in the family will enjoy — the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning. An RV travel tip: just five minutes out of town you’ll find Country Acres Campground, a highly-rated RV paradise waiting to be your home away from home.
  4. Follow Lincoln Highway over rolling hills dotted with neat and prosperous Amish farms to find Flory’s Cottages and Camping in the borough of Ronks, PA. Not only will your RV camping family enjoy the serenity of this rural campground, they’ll also love such local attractions as Lapp’s Wooden Toys and Furniture on Irishtown Road.

We’ve barely scratched the surface on why RV travelers should be planning a Lancaster County road trip! Whether your family comes for the quaint villages, glorious scenery or exceptional lessons in history, Pennsylvania Dutch Country doesn’t disappoint. There’s a Lancaster County adventure for the whole family waiting for you in South Central Pennsylvania.

Guest post by: Joe Laing, the Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals. You can see more great RV vacation ideas in their Monty’s Musings RV Travel Blog and be sure to check out their RV Camping Pictures.

Train rides, ice cream, horses and more

Located in Lancaster County, Strasburg is a quaint town just a few miles south of the hustle and bustle of the county’s busy thoroughfare, and it is the perfect location to see our country as it was amid what it has become. The town of Strasburg is a trip into a simpler, yet more complex, time. It offers you an honest view of living history while never leading you more than a few steps away from comforts that are modern and convenient.

The Amish culture survives and thrives in Strasburg. Unlike other experiences, the people you will see here are not part of productions staffed by actors but real people who walk their talk. For a full eye-opening view of the Amish in the area, try Ed’s Buggy Rides or take a ride on the Strasburg Rail Road. You can visit The Amish Village for a tour which provides a more comprehensive education about the Amish and their culture. And there’s always The Lil Country Store & Miniature Horse Farm, where miniature horses welcome you to a real Amish farm.

For the train aficionadas, Strasburg, known as “Train Town USA” offers not only the rail road, but the National Toy Train Museum, The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and the Choo-Choo Barn. If you’ve got an addicted train enthusiast with you, plan to spend at least one full day here.

But Strasburg has so much more to offer! Weather permitting, you can get in your daily exercise with a round at Village Greens Miniature Golf or get lost in the maze at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm. Not into the out-of-doors? Strasburg offers unique shopping like Eldreth Pottery. (Oh, and if you simply must power shop, Strasburg is only minutes away from Rockvale and Tanger Outlet centers.)

All that travel made you hungry yet? The town of Strasburg offers a variety of dining options that cater to all of our visitors’ needs. Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn hosts a smorgasbord for the truly famished, or try out Isaac’s for unique deli-style sandwiches as well as soups and salads. The Springerle House Tea & Cookie Café is just the place if you want to nibble on a light lunch and save room for dessert from their bakery. For fine dining and spirits, The Iron Horse Inn has an eclectic menu that combines local fare with sophisticated recipes, amid quaint surroundings and with great service. And then, there’s ice cream! Oh, and fudge! For a treat to satisfy your sweet tooth, stop by the Strasburg Country Store and Creamery. You’ll find homemade ice cream in some pretty unusual flavors and some truly creamy homemade fudge in a variety of flavors that will make it difficult to choose!

Strasburg is home to the renowned Sight & Sound Theatres, which produces stage shows that, as their mission statement says, bring “the Bible to life”. In addition to matinee and evening shows, the theatre also provides some ‘behind the scenes’ adventures. You’ll want to make sure to see one of their spectacular shows!

If you’re not afraid of the dark, and have no fear of the paranormal, consider making reservations for the Ghost Tour of Strasburg. This walking tour provides a spirited adventure in historic – and haunted – Strasburg.

Now, all that fun and food means it’s time to rest and rejuvenate! From camping to bed & breakfast to hotel, Strasburg offers plenty of options for getting a good night’s sleep away from all of the traffic of the busier towns. White Oak Campground, which is open year-round, provides sites for everyone from the rough-it-with-a-tent to the fully-self-contained-model camper. If you’re looking for charming and quant accommodations, then try a bed and breakfast, such as Rose Garden Bed and Breakfast or Verdant View Farm Bed & Breakfast. In addition to the inn at Hershey Farms, the town of Strasburg offers rustic inns such as the Carriage House Motor Inn, The Iron Horse Inn, The Limestone Inn and the Strasburg Village Inn. For the train lover, continue your experience by spending the night at Red Caboose Motel. And, if you really want to hold onto the familiar, stay at the Clarion Inn by Choice Hotels.

As you can see, the quaint, small town of Strasburg can offer you plenty of things to see and do to fill multiple days if you choose. Are you planning this adventure for a group and feeling overwhelmed by the choices? Strasburg even has a solution for that! Amish Neighbor Tours can put together a package for your group that includes attractions, lodging and meals!

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