Author Archives: Andrea Glass

Andrea Glass

About Andrea Glass

Andrea has lived in Lancaster over 10 years and recently completed her coursework for a Ph.D. in American and Urban Studies. In addition to writing her dissertation on the social and cultural effects of gentrification, she is also currently the Executive Director at the Ephrata Chamber of Commerce and a volunteer for a number of community organizations. She loves to write about Lancaster as locals see it. To learn more about Andrea, visit her website,

Through Our Eyes: 2015 #Lancastergram Contest

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” ~ Elliott Erwitt

Did you see that Lancaster made The New York Times this past week? The article featured some of my favorites: Lancaster Central Market, Prince Street Cafe, Thistle Finch Distillery, and PhotOle Photography. Entitled, “Amish Country Embraces Farm-to-Table,” the author praised some of our new businesses and art studios, joking that Lancaster had become more instagrammable than ever as a result. Why yes, we sure have! Did you know that the hashtag #Lancastergram currently has almost 17,000 entries? 

That is why I was particularly thrilled that The Times decided to highlight Ole Hongvanthong and his photography studio and store on West King Street. Like other Lancaster photographers, I initially discovered Ole through Instagram @photole_photography and was immediately intrigued by both his work and the restored cameras that he was selling. When I reached out to Ole, he was already familiar with my work on Instagram @urbansocialblend (which made my day) and offered to capture my likeness downtown.

I start with Ole because he is just one member of our very active and growing photography community here in Lancaster. Lancaster has a great support system, both professional and personal, for photographers at all levels of experience and with diverse interests. At a professional level, PCAD offers a degree and continuing education opportunities in photography, Sunshine Art + Design has a darkroom available for its members, and The Perfect Image has photography equipment available to purchase or to rent.  At a personal level, one can sign-up for photo walks at the Lancaster County Photography Meetup page or simply reach out to the many Lancaster photographers that you will see working offline or online. I have watched Nikki Weems in action at Lancaster Transplant events, seen Seth Dochter from the Amish Road Show capture the Ephrata landscape, and literally posed for Ole in Steinman Park. I have found that Lancaster’s photographers are more than willing to share their craft with you and help you in any way that they can.

You will also discover that Lancaster’s photography community is very active on Instagram and quite enthusiastic about showcasing the faces, places, and spaces that make our community so special to others. This is one of the many reasons that Discover Lancaster decided to launch the #Lancastergram photography contest last year and to publicly recognize those efforts.

And we are at it once again… from June 21 to August 9, Discover Lancaster, in partnership with consultant Paul Anater, will be sponsoring the second annual #Lancastergram contest! I am thrilled to be a part of the Locals Love Lancaster team and honored to be one of the judges for this year’s contest. I invite, encourage and challenge you to respond to our call for photographs. We are looking for local and visiting photographers, amateur and professional photographers, portrait and landscape photographers, and everyone in between, to participate this summer and to start tagging their Lancaster photos with the #Lancastergram hashtag. Be creative! I want to see Lancaster through your eyes and am particularly interested in new perspectives. Participating photographers will automatically be eligible to win amazing Lancaster County prize packages, be featured in a gallery show this fall, and recognized at a public event on September 5, 2015.  For official details and to read this year’s press release, please click here.

Click here to see Top Picks from each week of the #Lancastergram contest.

Lancaster in Love

Ok, on one hand, I am a romantic. I am guilty of singing along to cheesy love songs, crying at Hallmark commercials, and quoting the Moulin Rouge. On the other hand, I have never thought much of the commercial side of Valentine’s Day. I am a firm believer in presence versus presents and the importance of sharing priceless experiences with those we love. This holiday weekend, there are plenty of ways to both love Lancaster and experience Lancaster in love.

First, there is the Fire and Ice Festival in Lititz this weekend from February 13-16. See over 50 amazing ice sculptures, have fun at the Block Party and the Winter Wonderland Carnival, and support local charities while eating your way through the annual chili cook-off. I will be rooting for the Ephrata VFW and my good friend Rebecca Gallagher, owner of the Smithton Inn. Check out her 3Bs Chili – made with Beef, Bison, and Boniface.  If her chili is anything like her breakfasts, you will fall in love at first bite.

Looking for a unique culinary experience? Several local restaurants are hosting pop-up BYOB dinners this Valentine’s Day.  Tomato Pie Café in Lititz will feature a special Prix Fixe dinner with local chef Katie Horst on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and Commonwealth on Queen is hosting a four-course dinner from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. on Saturday in Downtown Lancaster.

Rather have brunch? Have you been to Wynridge Farms yet? This weekend is the perfect excuse. The site features a tasting room, their own craft beer, cider, and soda, and a rustic backdrop for weddings and special events. You will fall in love with the view alone. Their “Celebrate Love” event not only features dinner on both Friday and Saturday nights, but also a brunch on Saturday morning. Check out the gallery of pictures below from my tour of the site and click here to view the menu.  I also do not want to forget Pour. Their Valentine’s brunch this Sunday features everything from banana pancakes to fresh-squeezed mimosas.

Want to stay in on Valentine’s Day and avoid the crowds? The Lancaster Central Market will have everything you need to cook a special breakfast, lunch, or dinner that features local favorites. I have often created my own pop-up meal by stopping first at Central Market for fresh produce, breads, meats, and cheeses. I will then grab a bottle of “Family Reserve” olive oil from the Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom, a bottle of Baron red wine from Waltz Vineyards, and dark chocolate truffles from Cafe Chocolate. It may be cold outside, but the location for a private pop-up dinner is only limited by your imagination.

Both Cafe Chocolate and Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom even have special products available to purchase this Valentine’s Day. Seasons has a Valentine’s Day sampler that includes Blood Orange Fused Olive Oil, Black Cherry Balsamic Vinegar, and a recipe card to make a delectable chocolate cake with both ingredients. Yum! So, no excuses! If you are looking to partner any experience this weekend with amazing food, Lancaster has got you covered.

What are your Valentine’s Day plans this weekend in Lancaster? How do you like to celebrate? A show at the Fulton? Music at Tellus360? An outdoor adventure at one of our County Parks? Are you going out or staying in? We want to hear from you! Tag your favorite photos on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with #LancasterinLove and let us hear your weekend story! We may feature the 10 best on the site next week!

Click here to see Andrea’s blog.

P.S. Just in case you were looking for a soundtrack for the weekend…Here is Billboard’s current list of the 50 greatest love songs. I swear I was not singing along to David Cassidy as I wrote this.

A Prince, a Fox, and a Queen Walk Into a Room

I am currently working towards my Ph.D. in American and Urban Studies and I spend a lot of time writing, photographing, and (most importantly) eating my way across New York City, the subject of my dissertation. I have a go to restaurant in most neighborhoods – establishments at all price points that feature every type of cuisine imaginable. One of the greatest myths is that dining in Manhattan is expensive; it doesn’t have to be.  All of this to say… I like food, a lot! I am willing to try (just about) anything once.

Don’t hate me, but I will be the first to admit that I was slightly hesitant about the available options for dining in Lancaster. Where would I find that magical spot with character and coffee to write? Who would do brunch well? Who would not only have fresh food and craft cocktails, but would also offer great happy hours and affordable dining options? Little did I know that some of my favorite culinary spots would turn out to be right here in my own backyard!

My Prince
Starting with the Prince Street Café. Have you ever sat at one of their window seats on a snowy day? Have you ever left with a piece of art you just had to have from the
6 x 6 show by Infantree? Have you ever had an unforgettable meeting there that turned out to be about much more than the coffee? (You will want to answer yes, yes, and yes by the way.) My daytime drink of choice is a London Fog (warm or iced) – Earl Grey tea steeped in vanilla steamed milk. While it sounds like a simple concoction, no one makes that drink the way that Prince Street can and no one makes it well iced. Believe me, much to the chagrin of my friends, I have asked baristas all over the country to try and replicate it.  Nothing can come close. So, good coffee (and tea)… check. Character… check. Spot for potential romance…check.

The Dapper Fox 
Now to brunch!  How does candied grapefruit with whipped Mascarpone and blackberries, chicken and waffles, and a Bloody Mary sound? Not hungry yet? How about a Crab Benedict and a Pear Bellini? Aussie and the Fox does both brunch and cocktails extremely well. As a matter of fact, some of my most memorable cocktails have been mixed there. You will discover that I have a weak spot for anything with Gin, St. Germaine, or Chartreuse in it. I still reminisce about both their Berry Basil Smash and their Frankenstein. Their offerings change seasonally and incorporate the freshest of ingredients. Plus Aussie and the Fox now features occasional movie nights and a cozy atmosphere, perfect for snuggling up and sharing a plate with someone on a cold winter night.

Fit for a Queen 
Since I like to do a lot of my work from cafes, I have had the pleasure of experiencing breakfast, brunch, and lunch at Commonwealth on Queen. However, it was a special experience on a Saturday evening with Chef Nick Furrow this past fall that really “wowed” me. The restaurant, which is typically closed for dinner, opened its doors for an Italian pop-up dinner event, “Mangiare Bene.” Chef Furrow personally greeted each table and explained his menu choices.

Plus the event was BYOB as is their weekly Sunday brunch. Red wine, fresh local food, and good company, there is simply nothing better. The Commonwealth on Queen team is also fabulous at photography. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to check out their Snickerdoodle Belgian Waffles and other fabulous drinks.

Just like photography, food (and drinks) will play a major role in this column each week. I will return to these favorites in much more detail, but will also feature some of my other beloved haunts such as Sa La Thai, Checkers Bistro, and Pour in future entries.  While admittedly I am a city girl, I also promise to include culinary choices throughout the county too.

The Beauty and Diversity of Lancaster on Instagram

Due to the recent success of Discover Lancaster’s #Lancastergram contest on Instagram, this past fall the Ephrata Merchants Association and the Historic Ephrata Cloister decided to launch #Ephratagram, a photography contest (also on Instagram) designed to showcase the beauty and diversity of Ephrata. During the contest, Instagram users tagged their favorite Ephrata photographs with the #Ephratagram hashtag. Three local photographers blindly judged the 238 entries that were submitted. The judges scored all entries and selected ten finalists and five honorable mentions. All fifteen photos are featured here and will be on display at the Historic Ephrata Cloister during the month of February. The winning photographs will remain on display for the rest of 2015 at various Ephrata businesses. The grand prize winner has been featured on a special note card set that the Ephrata Merchants Association has been selling at local businesses to benefit area non-profits.

Several photographers who had “finalist” photos for both #Lancastergram and #Ephratagram contests have also been featured by @DiscoverLancaster – specifically, @SethDochter and @Dave_Berk. Seth and Dave can be found documenting local landmarks throughout the year and at all times of the day. The Instagram community in Lancaster is very active, sponsoring Photo Walks and meet-up events throughout the year.

For this – the Locals Love Lancaster blog – the photography is just as important to me as the words. I use Instagram as a way to showcase where I live, my personality, and interests. Feel free to follow along @urbansocialblend.

Remember to use the hash tags #localslovelancaster and #discoverlancaster. We can’t wait to see your photos!

Locals love Lancaster… and here’s why

This will be my 12th year living in Lancaster County. I spent 11 years in Denver before moving to Harrisburg to pursue my Ph.D. in American Studies. Now that my coursework is complete, I will be moving just north of Lancaster city to Manheim Township in just a few weeks. I have witnessed a lot of positive changes to our region in the past decade and this column is my way of rediscovering and sharing with readers and friends everything that our county has to offer.

In addition to writing my dissertation, I am currently the marketing and development coordinator for the Historic Ephrata Cloister and am involved with a number of community organizations in Central PA. This column will pay particular attention to places, events, and opportunities that will be of interest to locals – a chance for readers to discover hidden gems and perhaps experience something new. Every week, I will visit a new location and discuss everything from breweries to county parks, arts and culture to artisanal cocktails, First Friday to country fairs. I will also be interviewing Lancaster County residents and business owners so that you can hear firsthand why locals really do love Lancaster. So please join me on this exciting new journey!

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