Author Archives: Ally

Ally

About Ally

Ally is a Lancaster County native and self-proclaimed foodie who loves exploring what the county has to offer. In her free time, Ally can found browsing Lancaster Central Market, enjoying the outdoors with her 4 year old daughter or savoring a meal at one of Lancaster’s many eateries, whether an old favorite or a new find. Ally is excited to share her passion for the county with as the Marketing Coordinator at Discover Lancaster

Ten Things to Do in Lancaster County in June

Signs of summer are popping up across Lancaster County. From fun with the kids now that school is out to spending time outdoors in the warm sunshine, here are ten exciting events and things to do in Lancaster this month.

Live Music Galore

Outdoor music performances are plentiful in June, and what better time to enjoy the warm summer air and toe-tapping tunes.

Looking for something to do on Sunday nights this month? Grab a picnic dinner and lawn chairs and head over to Long’s Park for their Summer Music Series. Beginning on June 3, live music will be performed at the Long’s Park Amphitheater that will have you dancing along. Admission to these family-friendly, outdoor concerts is free.

Music Friday brings the energy and live music to Downtown Lancaster’s sidewalks on June 15. Find performers throughout the city plus food trucks serving up tasty bites.

A Day at the Railroad

Thomas is coming back to town – Thomas the Tank Engine™ that is! June 16 through June 24, Strasburg Rail Road® will host their Day Out with Thomas™ event, featuring a train ride with Thomas, storytelling and more. Thomas won’t be traveling alone, as his friend Percy will be joining in the festivities too. Tickets can be purchased for the June, September, and November Day Out with Thomas™ events online.

Celebrate the City and Towns

Join in the festivities as Intercourse and Lancaster City are celebrated with fun and even fireworks!

Intercourse Heritage Days will be held June 15 through 16 to celebrate the history and heritage of the town. Hosted at Intercourse Community Park, this festival includes activities for kids, a pie baking contest, musical entertainment, and more. The Taste of Lancaster Food Showcase will feature local restaurants and Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine that plays a role in the area’s heritage. A fireworks display will wrap up Saturday’s festivities.

As a celebration of culture and diversity in the growing City of LancasterCelebrate Lancaster will take place on Friday, June 29. Enjoy more than 20 food vendors, live music on two stages and beer & wine, with festivities wrapping up in the evening with a fireworks display.

Ales, Porter, Saisons… Oh my!

Tapping for the third year is the Ephrata Brewfest, to be held on Saturday June 23 at the Whistle Stop Plaza in Ephrata. Ales, IPAs, stouts and more will be available for sampling from local breweries including Lancaster Brewing Company, St. Boniface Craft Brewing Company, Mad Chef Craft Brewing, and more. Live music and food vendors round out this event which is sure to be a good time.

Relax on the River

With the cold weather behind us, the outdoors are just waiting to be explored. Take some time this month to experience water sports on the Susquehanna River.

Combine biking and paddling for a day of adventure along the river. Chiques Rock Outfitters, conveniently located at various points along the river, offers kayak, canoe and bike rentals. To ultimately cure your lingering cabin fever, opt for an hour long bike ride on the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail then trade your bikes in for a kayak for a three hour ride on the river back to where you started. The trail is fairly flat and winds through wooded areas for a shady, leisurely ride.

With a variety of events in June, Shank’s Mare Outfitters offers a few different ways to experience the river. Whether you’re a novice or a paddling pro, Shank’s Mare offers stand-up paddle boarding classes, some even incorporating yoga in to the mix, and kayaking classes and tours. Follow an evening of paddling with a dinner along the river with one of their evening kayaking tour events.

Events with a Foodie Twist

Juicy, red strawberries are the harvest of the month in June, and what better way to celebrate than with a festival. Haldeman Mansion in Bainbridge hosts the annual Strawberry Festival, highlighting this sweet berry on June 3. Fill up on treats staring the strawberry, and other savory goodies.

Experience the farms while biking through Lancaster County during the Farm-to-Fork Fondo, June 29-30. You’ll get a look at farms growing and harvesting local produce. As your after-ride reward, enjoy a delicious barbeque inspired by local fruits, vegetables and beer.

 

That’s just the short list of happenings in Lancaster County in June. For the full list of events and even more trip inspiration, visit our events calendar.

Top Family Attractions in Lancaster, PA

Memories are just waiting to be made at Lancaster, PA’s many family-friendly attractions. You’ll find amusement park thrills, hands-on learning, fun on the farm, and activities for the active families to fill your next trip to Lancaster.

Once the date has been set for your next family vacation, begin your brainstorming with these ideas, sure to please the entire family:

Lancaster County Classics

Dutch Wonderland
For the perfect first amusement park experience for your little one, head over the Dutch Wonderland – a safe, clean park featuring rides and attractions that are both kid and family-friendly, including two roller coasters for that extra special “first coaster ride.”

Tip for your Trip: Purchase tickets online before your visit. Their website offers discounts on select days and discounts for buying tickets online, rather than at the gate.

Turkey Hill Experience
Get the scoop on the art of ice cream making at Turkey Hill Experience where your family can learn more about Lancaster’s tasty Turkey Hill ice cream and iced tea. Bring your ice cream dreams to life in their Taste Lab where you can make (and eat) your own ice cream flavor.

Tip for your Trip: Be sure to bring your sweet tooth! Ice cream and tea are available for your sampling pleasure.

Choo Choo Barn
Locomotives galore can be found at Choo Choo Barn, where the sights and sounds of Lancaster are combined into a huge model train display. Follow the trains as they chug past a miniature barn raising, local attractions, and hand-built animated figures.

Tip for your Trip: Make a day of the Strasburg train attractions. All are just a short drive from each other and your little train lovers will dig the locomotive filled day.

Strasburg Rail Road
All aboard the Strasburg Rail Road – America’s oldest operating railroad. Train lovers will enjoy the ride on the steam locomotives as it chugs through the Amish countryside. Back at the station, kids can hop aboard the Cranky Cars, Pint-sized Pufferbelly and the Pump Car for extra train-themed fun.

Tip for your Trip: Keep an eye out for their special events like Day Out with Thomastm or their Christmas Train events. These special train rides add even more excitement to your visit.

Farmland Fun

Amish Farm and House
Heritage and history are brought to life at the Amish Farm and House, where your family can learn more about the Old Order Amish community here in Lancaster, PA. Kids can try out a real Amish scooter during the farm tour or take in the sights during the Amish Countryside bus tour.

Tip for your Trip: People typically spend about an hour and a half touring the farm, so plan naps and lunch accordingly to make the most of the experience.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
Find 50 farm fun activities, including adorable baby animals and a “can’t-miss” corn maze at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm. Admission includes a plethora of activities that provide a family-friendly farm experience.

Tip for your Trip: How about a picnic on the farm? Guests are welcome to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy during their visit.

A is for Amish Buggy Rides
Try a new form of transportation with an Amish buggy ride with A is for Amish Buggy Rides for an unforgettable experience. Memories are waiting to be made as you trot down the backroads.

Tips for your Trip: Check out the petting zoo, playground and silo tower while you wait for your ride or for more to do afterwards.

Amish Village
An Amish adventure awaits at Amish Village, where your family can experience an authentic farmhouse tour and learn about Amish life today. After the tour, wander the 12-acre village grounds for more discovery.

Tip for your Trip: Ask plenty of questions! There’s a lot to learn and stories to be told on this tour.

Hands-on Discovery

Lancaster Science Factory
How do you make science fun? That’s just what they’re doing at Lancaster Science Factory, where kids can experience how science works with hands-on exhibits, experiments, and mini-labs.

Tip for your Trip: Participation is key to learning here! All exhibits are meant to be touched and tried to encourage discovery.

Hands-on House, Children’s Museum
Playing and learning go hand-in-hand at Hands-on House, an interactive museum created with children ages 2-10 in mind. Perfect for the rainy day, your kids can explore the grocery store, discover life on the farm, and even build a “whatcha-ma-giggle” in the machine shop. If the sun is shining, enjoy their outdoor playground.

Tip for your Trip: Museum admission is valid for the day, so if fatigue or hunger sets in, you can leave and come back as you please.

North Museum of Nature & Science
Where can you tour the night sky after learning about dinosaurs and fossils? North Museum of Nature & Science! This awesome, kid-friendly science museum features a live animal room, dinosaur exhibit, STEAM art gallery, collections of preserved animals, flowers and rocks, and a planetarium.

Tip for your Trip: For those looking to check out the stars, the Planetarium shows run 7 days a week during the summer, but are only open Saturdays and Sundays during the fall, winter and spring.

Tiny Town
Discover this indoor, interactive play center made up of tiny houses where children can let their imaginations soar. This town is built for children 7 and under to play as firefighters, doctors, hairstylist and more.

Tip for your Trip: Tiny Town was also created with parents in mind, complete with a coffee bar and free wifi.

Active Attractions

Sky Zone Trampoline Park
When your family is full of energy, jump on over to Sky Zone for some high-flying, flipping fun. Beyond their free jump trampolines, their dodgeball court, foam zone, basketball hoops for dunking, and Sky Climb will keep you kids active for hours.

Tip for your Trip: If you have toddlers in tow, consider stopping by for Toddler Time (Tuesday – Saturday mornings) where kids five and under can bounce and jump – no big kids allowed!

Spooky Nook Sports
For the sports-loving family, head over to America’s largest sports complex for the ultimate active experience. Your kids will love the challenge of the Clip ‘N Climb, arcade, and rock climbing area, while mom and dad will love the fitness center.

Tip for your Trip: When hunger takes hold, stop by food court, smoothie bar, or in-house restaurant, Forklift & Palate. No need to leave for a great meal.

Go ‘N Bananas
Your kids will go bananas for this indoor, family entertainment center filled with fun for the family. Go ‘N Bananas features laser tag, mini bowling, ropes course, spinning bumper cars and so much more.

Tip for your Trip: For families with little ones and older kids, Go ‘N Bananas has activities for all ages.

Village Greens Mini Golf
Craving a round of mini-golf? Take the course at Village Greens Mini Golf with two spacious beautifully landscaped courses. After your game, stop by for a tasty treat at the snack shop.

Tip for your Trip: Extend your stay in Strasburg with the Strasburg Passport. Village Greens and other popular attractions on this list (Strasburg Rail Road, Amish Village and Choo Choo Barn) all participate in this money saving option.

In Nearby Hershey/Harrisburg

Hersheypark
Sweet chocolate and amusement park thrills make for an exciting day at Hersheypark, about 40 minutes away from Lancaster County. Teens will love the 13 thrilling roller coaster while little ones can take a ride on the many kid-friendly attractions. The whole family will love the tasty candy-themed treats.

Tip for your Trip: Don’t forget your swimsuits. Hersheypark’s Boardwalk area features waterslides, a wave pool, water playground and lazy river for the sunny summer days.

Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue
Dive into the chocolaty history of Hershey, PA at the Hershey Story Museum. With exhibits and activities just for kids, plus their tasty Chocolate Lab, your family will love learning about this sweet treat.

Tip for your Trip: This attraction is great for history buffs, and is close by to other great Hershey attractions if you want to experience a few in one day.

Adventure Sports in Hershey
Go-karts, mini-golf, bumper boats and more! Adventure Sports in Hershey offers active family-fun in nearby Hershey, PA. Be prepared for a little friendly competition and LOTS of happy memories.

Tip for your Trip: You only pay for the activities you would like to do, as they don’t have an admission fee. So your family can play as many or as few rounds at you would like!

Whitaker Center in Harrisburg
Learning is made fun at Whitaker Center in nearby Harrisburg. Hands-on exhibits on the human body, weather, and more plus a Digital Cinema makes for a day of fun, especially for your little scientists.

Tip for your Trip: The Whitaker Center offers a variety of 3D science movies to enjoy. Before you visit, check out the showtimes to ensure you catch the one that matches your interests.

 

Looking for even more activities for the family? Our list of Outdoor Adventures with Kids is your go-to-guide to ways to experience the great outdoors in Lancaster, PA.

10 Reasons to Visit Downtown Lancaster, PA

When you think of Lancaster County, you may picture lush, green farmland with horse and buggies trotting by, fresh produce, and a relaxing pace of life. While those things can be found here, there’s so much more to Lancaster. In the middle of the farmland sits Lancaster City, which some would describe as hip, cool, and up-and-coming. But don’t just take our word for it – Forbes named Lancaster as one of the 10 Coolest U.S. Cities to Visit in 2018.”

Here’s just ten of the many reasons to visit Downtown Lancaster while your here, whether with the family or on a romantic weekend getaway:

1] Arts & Theatre
Lancaster City is full of passionate makers and musicians, just waiting to share their craft. For fine arts, head to Gallery Row where artisans are displaying and selling their works. If you happen to be in town on the First Friday of the month, galleries and shops are open extra late for art lovers to browse and experience Lancaster’s art scene.

Want to catch a show or some awesome live music? Theaters and performance venues, both big and small, can be found throughout the city, putting on live music, Broadway-caliber musicals, play, and classical performances.

2] Awesome Activities
Whether you’re traveling with the family or as a couple, Downtown Lancaster is filled with spots to fill your day with fun. For the couple, challenge yourself to an Escape Room or experience the city and its history through an interactive (and tasty) food tour.

For the family, head over to the baseball field where the Lancaster’s minor league baseball team, the Barnstormers, play for an evening game with fireworks, or spend the day at the North Museum of Nature & Science or Lancaster Science Factory. Both are great museums geared towards hands-on learning for kids. If your family prefers arts and crafts, Pottery Works and Beadworks & Gem Dem offer a creative outlet with pottery painting and jewelry making.

3] The Food
Breakfast, lunch or dinner – Downtown Lancaster’s dining scene has never been better! Start your morning off with a cup of coffee at Passenger Coffee – named the best coffee in Pennsylvania by Food & Wine – or grab a tasty brunch to kick start your day of exploring.

When lunch and dinner roll around, there is no shortage of options – from unique international spots to phenomenal fine dining. On those sunny days, many spots offer outdoor dining options where diners can enjoy delicious bites and the beautiful weather.

4] The History
As one of the oldest inland cities in America and serving as the U.S. Capital for a day, Lancaster is filled with stories of events and people from the past. Dive into these stories as you view Lancaster’s architecture, featuring buildings with various styles – from Georgian and Federal to Modern. History is just waiting to be shared at historic locations throughout the city with a walking tour or a visit to President James Buchanan’s home and Lancaster’s historic society museum.

5] Lancaster Central Market
Featuring history, community vibes, fresh produce, and popular local goodies, Lancaster Central Market, America’s oldest continuously operating farmers market, is a Downtown “must-visit.” Be sure to visit on a Tuesday, Friday or Saturday when market is open to wander the aisles for locally sourced fruits and vegetables, baked goods, freshly cut flowers, and something tasty for breakfast or lunch. Some stands have been passed down generation-to-generation, while others are bringing new, unique offerings to the historic market.

While you’re there, don’t forget to look up – the market building dates back to 1889 and features stunning architectural details.

6] Events Galore
In addition to daily happenings, Lancaster’s special events add an extra element of excitement to the city. From the monthly First and Third Friday events featuring art and live music, to the annual Lancaster Craft Beerfest in late August and Roots & Blues in February, consider planning your trip around these festive occasions. Be sure to check out our events calendar while planning to learn more.

7] Ales, Spirits and Even Mead
Some of Lancaster’s best beer can be found Downtown from brewers like Lancaster Brewing Company (known for their Milk Stout, Strawberry Wheat and Hop Hog IPA), Spring House Brewing Company (specializing in flavorful concoctions like the Big Gruesome Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout), and Wacker Brewing Company (brewing German-style beers with roots from the 1800s) – each with their own unique story and brews.

If spirits and cocktails are more your style, Downtown Lancaster has plenty of those too. From Thistle Finch Distillery who is distilling their own rye whiskey, vodka and gin, to a number of restaurants creating artisan cocktails with locally sourced ingredients and house made infusions.

May we interest you in a little mead? This traditional alcoholic beverage is being brewed by Meduseld Meadery here in Lancaster, using honey, water, and yeast. While you’re there, try your hand at ax throwing in their indoor throwing range.

8] Walkability
What fun is driving when you’re on vacation? In Lancaster City, walkability is key with many of the popular stops within walking distance of each other. Whether you’re wandering down Gallery Row or shopping on the 300 Block of Queen Street, good eats and even more to see and do are just a few blocks away. Parking options are plentiful with reasonably priced lots and garages located in the popular areas of the city.

9] Boutiques & Shopping
How about a little shopping? Lancaster City is home to cute boutiques and shops, whether you’re searching for a special gift or something to remember your trip by. The 300 Block of North Queen Street is a shopping hot spot Downtown, with shops featuring unique gifts, antiques, clothes and jewelry, home décor, and specialty items. Shop local as you’ll find wares made here in Lancaster County by passionate makers.

10] Great Lodging Options
After all this exploring, you’ll need a place to rest up for another day of fun. Downtown Lancaster has great lodging options for this very thing. Boutique hotels like Lancaster Arts Hotel and Cork Factory Hotel provide a restful night’s sleep in uniquely decorated and beautifully renovated rooms.

If you prefer to stay in a bed & breakfast, King’s Cottage and the Lancaster Bed & Breakfast are located just a short drive from the main Downtown area, and provide cozy accommodations for your stay.

And that’s just the beginning! Discover even more about Downtown Lancaster and the county that surrounds it by ordering our Getaway Guide or signing up for our e-newsletter.

Lancaster, PA’s Ultimate Donut Guide

Breakfast, lunch or even dinner – donuts are a delicious treat for any time of day. Lancaster County is home to classic donut creations, like the Long John and Fasnacht, along with bakeries putting a spin on the traditional with made-to-order pastries and even one topped with salty bacon.

Whether you’re pairing it with your morning coffee or snacking later in the day when your sweet tooth calls, stop by for one of the fantastic fried treats below. Grab one (or even a dozen) and experience Lancaster’s donut scene for yourself:

The Classic

No, it’s not an éclair, although it may look a lot like one. The Long John is a bar-shaped, yeast donut covered in a variety of icing flavors. We opted for chocolate, but other tasty flavors include peanut butter and vanilla.

If you’re in search of an authentic long john, head over to Achenbach’s in Leola. They’re been serving up scratch-made baked goods for 60 years.

The Fruity Find

An apple fritter a day may not keep the doctor away, but they do make a nice treat every once in a while. This donut is swirled with cinnamon and apples, and topped with sugary sweet glaze.

Shady Maple is serving up this fruity fritter in the smorgasbord alongside a wide variety of house-made pastries. If you’re just in the mood for an apple fritter, stop by their Farm Market where you can buy donuts individually or by the dozen.

The MTO

Get them while they’re warm! Duck Donuts specializes in made-to-order donuts with a variety of glazes, toppings, and drizzles, allowing eaters to design their own sweet treat. Donuts are fried and decorated while customers are invited to watch the process.

Our fruity creation features lemon glaze, rainbow sprinkles, and raspberry drizzle on a warm vanilla donut. They offer suggestions in their menu, but feel free dream up a unique creation.

The Sweet and Savory

Picture this – a fresh vanilla donuts blanketed in sweet maple icing then topped with salt bacon bits. You heard that correctly; Duck Donuts is also serving up a donut with bunches of real bacon bits on top… and it’s delicious!

The Dinner Donut

What’s golden brown and cheesy in the middle? A grilled cheese donut from Tom + Chee! The folks at Tom + Chee put cheese between a sliced donut and grilled it to perfection.

And that’s just the classic version. Sweeter versions of this treat feature chocolate, marshmallows, bananas, peanut butter mascarpone, and strawberries.

The Donut worth Celebrating

Fasnachts are donuts with their own day. This delightful donut is traditionally consumed on Fat Tuesday, when households would use up their lard, sugar, butter and eggs prior to the beginning of Lent. Often times, they’re made with mashed potatoes and fried in lard – not your average donut!

On Fasnacht Day, glazed and powered varieties can be found at market stands and bakeries across the county.

The Donut of Brotherly Love

Over 30 years ago, Beiler’s Doughnuts started serving up treats at Reading Terminal Market in nearby Philadelphia. They’ve expanded west to open a shop in Lancaster where hungry donut-lovers can find flavors like triple chocolate cake, fruity pebbles, and key lime.

For the hot summer days, Beiler’s created a donut ice cream sandwich for one-heck-of-a dessert.

Cocktails with Character in Lancaster, PA

A night on the town or a memorable dinner starts with a cocktail – especially one with pizzazz and character, artfully crafted at one of Lancaster, PA’s restaurants. Drinks go beyond your standard rum and coke and classic martini, combining local ingredients with hard-to-find or locally made spirits. Some bartenders are reviving and reinventing the classics, while others are putting new flavors together to create signature concoctions.

Many of these spots have fantastic cuisine to go along with the cocktails for a one-stop-shop for a perfect evening. When you enjoy, please do so responsibly, and take advantage of Lancaster’s Uber and Lyft network.

Annie Bailey’s Irish Public House

At Annie Bailey’s you’ll find the beer and cider selection you come to expect at an Irish pub – but what about cocktails? Well you’re in luck because they’re doing those well too! Making the most of the local farm-fresh offerings, they’ve created cocktails that use goodies from Lancaster Central Market, like RiJuice (cold-pressed juice) and Kauffman’s apple cider.

A summer favorite at Annie Bailey’s are their cocktail popsicles, enjoyed on their sunny patio. When the temperatures start to rise, try a frozen Irish Car Bomb or a boozy rocket pop to beat the heat.

If you happen to swing by for brunch on Saturday or Sunday, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the many Bloody Mary and mimosa varieties to choose from. Opt for Old Bay, pepper or one of six other flavored vodkas for your Bloody Mary. If mimosas are more your style, flavor choices range from the classic orange to grapefruit, cranberry, and more.

Horse Inn

The vintage vibes at the Horse Inn will take you back to the 1920s as it served as a speakeasy during Prohibition. When you make your way to one of their two bars, you’ll be greeted by a bartender and cocktail menu inspired by the past – with classic like Tom Collins, Old Fashions and Manhattans made their way plus other beautifully curated cocktails. Not only are their cocktails tasty – they’re also beautiful, and many components are freshly pressed, zested and mixed to perfection.

Must tries include the Pistol Under the Pillow (gin, pressed lemon & grapefruit, vanilla, lavender and egg white) and the Old Fashioned #2 (whiskey of your choice, brandied cherry, orange zest, Angostura & tiki bitters, and demerara).

Don’t be shy – their cocktails may feature some unfamiliar ingredients, but the bartenders are knowledgeable and helpful when it comes to selecting the drink to fit your taste.

John J. Jefferies

Embracing a “garden to glass” philosophy, John J Jefferies is concocting fresh, seasonal cocktails to pair with their farm-fresh and sustainable food offerings. Many of the cocktail ingredients are made in house, grown nearby, or distilled in Pennsylvania. Each drink is made with care using freshly squeezed juices and herbs straight from the garden.

Their menu changes with the season and incorporates touches of nostalgia (think drinks like Sidecars and Collins). One of their signature drinks, the Colonial Margarita, features house made apple-raspberry shrub, El Jimador Silver tequila, and fresh citrus sours that are made in-house.

For the whiskey lover, try their award-winning Manhattan with Woodford Reserve bourbon, Carpano vermouth, Laird’s 12 year brandy, Crème Yvette, and barrel-aged orange bitters.

Stoll and Wolfe

New to the cocktail scene in Lancaster, Stoll and Wolfe is celebrating local distilling traditions that date back to 1753. They’re distilling Pennsylvania rye whiskey and bourbon & rye blend that are well-balanced and enjoyable on their own or shine in simple cocktails.

When you visit their tasting room in Lititz, be sure to try one of their creative cocktails like the Rock & Rye (orange, lemon and pineapple infused rye) and the Sazerac (rye, Peychaud’s bitters, and absinthe rinse).

Not a whiskey or bourbon lover? You too will feel welcome when you stop by. Their vodka and gin drinks are just as good. Try the Hold Fast (grilled pineapple, brown sugar, allspice, mint and vodka) or the Negroni (gin, vermouth, and Wilbur Chocolate infused herbal liqueur).

The Pressroom

When in Downtown Lancaster, swing by the newly renovated Pressroom for a night cap or a pre-dinner cocktail. Not only are they serving up an impressive selection of craft beers on draft, they’ve also put their famous Moscow Mule on tap – flavored with lemongrass-ginger syrup and lime.

If the weather allows, their Park Bar will be open in Steinman Park. A table by the fountain, good company and a flavorful cocktail will make for a fantastic evening in Lancaster, PA.

Their cocktails range from simple like the Mountain Pass (calvados, gentian liquor, Genepy, and hopped grapefruit bitters) to complex like the Good Medicine (blended scotch, honey-ginger syrup, lemon, Laphroaig mist, black pepper tincture).

Thistle Finch Distillery

For the ultimate cocktail experience, why not go to the source? Thistle Finch Distillery is crafting small batch white rye whiskey, gin, vodka, and straight rye whiskey here in Downtown Lancaster. With a visit to their tasting room, you can get a taste of the finished product, straight up or in an artfully crafted cocktail.

To capture the respect and time put into the spirits, Thistle Finch pairs them with house made infusions to create beautifully simple cocktails. With their vodka, they’ve created the Coming up Roses – rose vodka, house-made rosemary syrup, pressed cranberries and lemon. To highlight their rye whiskey try the classic Old Fashioned – straight rye whiskey, house made Demerara syrup, house made bitters and a twist of orange.

Thistle Finch even hosts a cocktail contest, where local bartenders are challenged to create cocktails using their locally made spirits. Cocktail connoisseurs could stop by to taste the contending drinks and support this fantastic local spot.

Lancaster, PA’s Best Burger Spots

Fewer things are better than a burger fresh off the grill. From the classic cheeseburger to one piled high with tasty toppings, this nostalgic sandwich conjures up memories of backyard barbeques and days at the diner. Here in Lancaster County, you can find restaurants inspired by the past, along with spots focused on today’s trending flavors– who are all flipping delicious burgers for you to try.

We reached out to local eaters on Facebook to get the scoop on where their go-to burger is served up. Next time you’re in town, swing by one of the places below to satisfy your burger craving.

Local Favorites:

A Blast from the Past: DJ’s Taste of the 50s

A trip to DJ’s Taste of the 50s will have you feeling like you stepped back in time – from the décor and vintage lunch counter to the all-American menu featuring burgers, fries, milkshakes and floats. Locals raved about their burgers that range from the classic (lettuce, tomato, onion & mayo) to the spunky Caribbean Burger (crushed pineapple, spicy jerk sauce & pepper jack cheese combined with crispy bacon). For the complete experience, be sure to pair your burger of choice with a creamy, dreamy shake or soda float.

Best Paired with a Craft Brew: Iron Hill Brewery

Another stellar recommendation is Iron Hill Brewery and their beer-inspired burgers. Pop in to this sleek-yet-casual brewery and restaurant for one of their signature beers and scratch-made eats. Two of their burger offerings will have your mouth watering as you read the menu, both inspired by the beer they brew – the Pimento Cheeseburger (Vienna Red Lager and Ore House IPA-pickled pimento cheese, bacon, bread and butter pickles, pickled jalapenos, crispy fried onion rings, served on potato roll) and the Drunk Monk Burger (Wee Heavy Ale-caramelized onions, mushrooms, arugula, rosemary truffle aioli, brie cheese, served on potato roll).

The One and Only: Horse Inn

At the Horse Inn, there’s only one burger on the menu – but trust us, it’s the only one you need. Locals love this burger and rightfully so. It’s custom blend of short rib, brisket, chuck & 10% dry aged beef makes for a tender, juicy and most importantly, flavorful burger that they top simply with lettuce, red onion, tomato, white American cheese and special sauce. The bun is made locally by Alfred & Sam’s and toasted to perfection. While you’re enjoying the burger paired with an artfully crafted cocktail, take in the speak-easy vibes of this restaurant that dates back to the 1920s.

From the Neighborhood Sports Bar: Station House Tavern

Cozy up with the locals at Station House Tavern for a tasty burger Lancastrians love. A true sports bar, they’ve dubbed their burgers to be “Hall of Fame Burgers” and that they are. Station House pays homage to the local minor league baseball team, the Lancaster Barnstormers, with the Cylo Burger (8 oz. burger topped with bacon, onion rings, American cheese & an over-light egg). If you’re feeling creative, their create-your-own option features a plethora of toppings to mix and match.

All-American Vibes: Route 66 Restaurant

Locals can’t get enough of Route 66 and their out-of-this-world burgers. Their burgers are more of the flat, crispy on the edges type that are ideal for stacking and layering with melted American cheese. They make a mean special sauce, then top the burger with the classics (lettuce, tomato and onion). You’ll dig this uncomplicated, classic burger while visiting Downtown Lancaster.

A New Must Try: Smokestack BBQ

New to the dining scene in Strasburg, Smokestack BBQ is a cozy spot to grab a bite with house-smoked meats and delectable mac & cheese. Also on their menu is a fantastic selection of cheeseburgers – from the simple cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, and onion to something they’ve dubbed “the MOAB (mother of all burgers)” – featuring four cheeses, bacon, pulled pork AND brisket. For those seeking a happy medium, ask for “The Pig’s Caboose” – a cheddar topped burger with pulled pork, cole slaw and their original house made BBQ.

Five Farmers Markets in Lancaster, PA

As the sun rises, market stand holders are hard at work, preparing their offerings for an exciting day at the farmers market in Lancaster, PA. From local produce picked just days before to baked goods and ready-to-eat foods cooked with passion and care, you’re sure to be pleased by the Lancaster County offerings. Wander the aisles, ask questions and enjoy the community vibes that fill the atmosphere.

Grab a basket or a reusable tote bag to carry your market finds in, and head off to one of Lancaster, PA’s fantastic farmers markets. Be sure to keep the day of the week and time in mind, as markets are open select hours on select days.

Lancaster Central Market
Open Tuesdays, Fridays & Saturdays

In the heart of Downtown Lancaster, Lancaster Central Market is the oldest continuously operating farmers market in the United States, and was honored by CNN on their “10 of the world’s best fresh markets” list. With a spectacular array of fresh local produce, specialty foods, beautiful flowers, and responsibly sourced meats and seafood, Lancaster Central Market is a “must-visit” while in the area. Experience the culture and community vibes while you grab lunch and coffee – a great way to enjoy the market.

Don’t forget to look up! The market building, built in 1889, features beautiful wooden beams that are a reminder of architecture of the past.

Root’s Country Market & Auction
Open Tuesdays

If you find yourself in Lancaster on a Tuesday, make Root’s Country Market & Auction your first spot. Root’s (pronounced with an “o” sound like “look”) has over 200 stand holders with goods ranging from antiques, collectables and sports memorabilia, to local produce, meats and cheeses, and ready-to-eat foods. Be sure to give yourself enough time to explore – Root’s is made up of nine buildings, plus some outdoor stands, when weather permits.

Craving pizza? Believe it or not – Root’s is home to the 2016 USA Caputo Cup New York Style Pizza Champion, Norma Knepp, who is serving up tasty pizza pies in building number four.

Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market
Open Wednesdays (April-November), Thursdays (July-October), Fridays & Saturdays

A popular stop in Bird-in-Hand, PA is the farmers market, which has been family owned and operated for more than 30 years. Wander the aisles in this indoor, air-conditioned market to find local produce, fresh meats, cheeses, tasty baked goods, plenty of locally made items, and ready-to-eat delights. If you’re browsing for something to remember your trip by, handmade crafts and quilts, quality leather goods and Lancaster-centric souvenirs are plentiful.

Green Dragon
Open Fridays

On Fridays, find your way to Green Dragon – a robust farmers market in Ephrata. Browse the offerings of over 400 local growers, merchants, and craftsmen while enjoying tasty food offerings, including some classic PA Dutch cuisine. Located on 30 acres, Green Dragon is one of the largest farmers markets in the area, so much like Root’s, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore. Locals know this market to sell everything – from “soup to nuts.”

Roadside Stands
Various operating schedules, many are not open on Sundays

As you drive around the county, you’re bound to stumble upon some fantastic roadside stands, offering a bounty of local produce, canned goods, bouquets of fresh-picked flowers, and baked treats. As the weather gets warmer, stands begin to open with offerings that change with the harvest. Be sure to keep cash handy if you plan to stop. Many stands only accept cash, or even work on the honor system, where exact change should be placed in a box on the stand.

Kick Off a Cool Cities Road Trip in Lancaster, PA

When the travel bug strikes and you’re looking for a new city to explore, consider a trip to Lancaster, PA, named on Forbes.com’s list of “10 coolest cities to visit in 2018.” A blossoming culinary and art scenes plus fantastic live theatre and charming architecture make Downtown Lancaster an exciting place to visit, whether your 27 or 72.

Fill your weekend with arts, shopping, and exploring the history of one of the oldest inland cities in the United States. When your tummy grumbles, you’ll find tasty treats and culinary creations that will surprise and delight your taste buds. Finish off the evening with live music and crafted cocktails, before relaxing and recharging for another day of exploring.

Popular Stops according to TripAdvisor:

– Lancaster Central Market
– Fulton Theatre
– President James Buchanan’s Wheatland
– American Music Theatre
– Dutch Wonderland

Craving more? Maybe a road trip full of cool cities and areas to discover? Forbes.com’s list of the “10 coolest cities to visit in 2018” includes three others within driving distance of Lancaster – Philadelphia, Baltimore and Richmond. So after you discover how cool Lancaster is, hop on the train or take a drive to another one of the cities below for another dose of cool.

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Philadelphia, PA

The City of Brotherly love – and the Super Bowl LII Champions!
Philadelphia is about an hour and a half drive east of Lancaster, and is also accessible by Amtrak train – making it an easy stop to add to your trip. From famous historical sites and food, to museums covering a plethora of subjects, Philly is most definitely a city worth exploring while you’re in the region.

Popular Stops:

– Reading Terminal Market
– Independence National Historical Park
– The Liberty Bell Center
– The Franklin Institute
– Philadelphia Museum of Art & Rodin Museum

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Baltimore, MD

The Charm City
Take an 80 mile (an hour and 30 minute) drive south to Baltimore for American history, their popular Inner Harbor area, and the National Aquarium. If you’re in the mood for brews and food, Baltimore is home to several breweries and a pub scene worth checking out.

Popular Stops:

– National Aquarium
– Fort McHenry
– Inner Harbor and Historic Ships
– American Visionary Art Museum
– Maryland Science Center
And more!

Richmond, VA

The Capital of the South
If you want to venture a little further south (around 5 hours), Richmond is another cool city on Forbes.com’s list, full on history, culture and southern charm. After you’ve explored the classic attractions, check out their emerging craft beer, food, fashion, and art scenes that make it a worthwhile destination to add to your trip.

Popular Stops:

– Canal Walk
– White House of the Confederacy
– Virginia State Capital
– Maymont
– Virginia Museum of Fine Art
And more!

Ten Must-Take Tours in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

While visiting Lancaster, whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth time, tours are an excellent way to experience the culture, history, sights and food while learning from passionate local experts. Some involve walking around Downtown Lancaster or a small town like Lititz, while others take you around the county by bus, bike, scooter, or even helicopter.

We’ve gathered ten must-take tours that will leave you with a wealth of Lancaster knowledge, and in some cases, a full stomach. Pick a tour (or two) to add to your trip, and get some insider information with tips from the tour guides to make the most of your experience.

Intercourse Bikeworks Tours
Experience Lancaster’s countryside by bike with the many tours offered by Intercourse Bikeworks. Fresh air will fill your lungs as you peddle along, listening to the wealth of knowledge the guides are waiting to share. For an extra taste of Lancaster culture, book one of their tours that include an Amish dinner, dairy farm tour, or even a beer tasting.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Leave your worries at home! No need to worry about the hills and speed of the ride. The tour is designed to be an experience, not exercise. The pace is slow to allow people to look around and take pictures. They also offer electric-assist bikes if the hills are intimidating.

Photo (above) credit: Intercourse Bikeworks

Photo credit: Amish Farm & House

Amish Farm and House Countryside Tours
Take the backroads to get a glimpse into Lancaster County life with the Amish Farm and House Countryside Bus Tours. This 90-minute bus tour weaves through the farmland, takes riders to a tucked-away covered bridge, and passes Amish schoolhouses, buggies, barns, homes, and farmland vistas, all while sharing stories and facts about the Amish way of life.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Have your camera at the ready, but keep in mind that it’s considered impolite to take photos of the Amish where their faces are recognizable. Refraining from taking up close photos is more than just a courtesy; it’s a respect for our Amish neighbors and their beliefs.

Historic Lancaster Walking Tours
This tour takes you for a stroll back in time around Downtown Lancaster. As you walk, the knowledgeable tour guides tell stories about Lancaster’s rich history as one of the oldest inland cities in the United States. You’ll get a taste of the diverse architecture and cultures that helped build Lancaster to what it is today.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Be sure to stop, listen to the stories, and look up at the examples of American architecture from the 1700s to today that Lancaster, PA has to offer.

 

Lancaster County Food Tours
Foodies visiting Lancaster will love the tours offered by Lancaster County Food Tours. Eat your way around Downtown Lancaster or the small town of Lititz with a variety of tours featuring the Lancaster County classic (i.e. pretzels, whoopie pies, and Wilbur chocolate) and some unexpected treats (locally made wine & beer and fine dining delights). Great food is just the tip of the iceberg – the guides also share stories and history as the tour moves from stop to stop.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Be prepared to chat, make friends, and ask questions. Tours are more fun when the entire group gets involved. And of course – arrive hungry!

Ghost Tours of Lancaster
If you’re looking for a tour of a spookier sort, discover mysteries and tales from the past on a candlelight walking tour of the city with Ghost Tours of Lancaster. You won’t have to wait until Halloween to discover the city’s haunted history – tours are held year-round.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Don’t forget your camera – you never know when the spirits will be restless!

Photo credit: Smoketown Helicopters

Smoketown Helicopters Tour
See Lancaster from new heights by helicopter! Smoketown Helicopters offers tours from an 8-minute tour flying over the Strasburg Rail Road to a 50-minute tour that flies to neighboring Hershey and Harrisburg, with a variety of times and sights in between. These high-flying flights showcase the beautiful farmland and popular attractions you’ll want to visit after you land.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Consider taking this tour at the beginning of your trip. Flying over the local area can give you ideas of other things to do while in Lancaster County. Also, make sure to have your camera or phone charged and ready to go. Taking photos is highly encouraged.

Kreider Farm Tour
What would a trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania be without a farm tour? Kreider Farms offer tours of the working dairy farm on their classic trolley bus. After getting a look into their “Cow Palace” and “Milking Merry-Go-Round,” tour takers can climb the silo observation tower for priceless, birds-eye views of the countryside.

Tip from the Tour Guide: This tour is extremely kid-friendly, with a new playground area and cow milking simulator – so bring the family!

Strasburg Scooter Tours
Scoot along the backroads for a one-of-a-kind experience in Lancaster’s countryside. Strasburg Scooters takes riders over the creeks and through the woods and fields to discover covered bridges and farms. Not only will you learn to drive a scooter or scoot coupe (no special license required), but you’ll also learn lots about Amish life, farming and the history behind the covered bridges you’ll visit.

Tip from a Tour Guide: Dress for the weather at 25+ mph! While driving, there will be a constant breeze, in addition to the weather conditions. Hot summer days have a nice breeze to them, and cool fall days will feel a bit crisper. Dress in layers on cool days. Under Armour makes a great base layer to protect against the cold.

Origins of the Underground Railroad
Discover the sites and stories of Lancaster County’s role in the Underground Railroad and African-American Heritage as you journey back to the Civil War. In addition to their Downtown walking tour, guides are available to venture outside Lancaster City on board a motorcoach or person vehicle.

Tips from the Tour Guide: Be ready to learn! Past tour-takers have been surprised by the events and people they knew nothing about prior to taking this tour.

Photo credit: Himalayan Curry & Grill

Taste the World
International cuisine is plentiful in Lancaster City, and what better way to experience it than with a food tour. Taste the World is held on the second Friday of each month, May through October, with a new theme each month. During this self-guided dining experience, restaurants provide a bite for participating foodies to try, from signature dishes (May tour) to dishes that highlight meat (September tour).

Tip from a Tour Guide: Since this is a self-guided tour, it’s best to map out your route before you start. Some suggest going to the furthest restaurant first, then working your way back. Give yourself enough time to enjoy the experience and sights around the city.

 

Best Beer Spots in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

We’ve rounded up five great bars and bottle shops in Lancaster, PA who carry a variety of local brews, rare finds, and classic ales for beer lovers to enjoy.

Seeking stouts? Looking for lagers? In search of IPAs? Hunting for hefeweizens? Look no farther!

Bulls Head Public House | Lititz

Stop by for a pint and authentic British pub vibes at the Bulls Head, located along Main Street in Lititz. Named the “best beer bar in Pennsylvania” by Craftbeer.com AND the “best beer bar in America” by USA Today’s 10Best.com, their beer selection is plentiful and impressive, with 14 rotating beers on tap, two cask condition ales, and 80 bottled varieties to choose from.

When you arrive, seat yourself and order provisions at the bar. The warm atmosphere invites superb conversation and an all-around good time. To pair with your ale, Bulls Head Public House serves up small plates and pub fare to match, including a Full English Breakfast option on Saturdays. Swing by to find out why this beer spot is a favorite of locals, visitors and even craft beer experts!

Photo above, credit Venture Lititz                                

                              

Federal Taphouse | Downtown Lancaster

How does 100 beers on tap sound? If it sounds like a dream come true, we’ve got the place for you. The Federal Taphouse, located on Queen Street in Downtown Lancaster, has tons of ales, sours, IPAs, seasonal brews, and more to choose from. Pair your old stand-by or a new favorite with their wood-oven pizza, and enjoy the atmosphere of this urban eatery.

The Fridge | Downtown Lancaster

If you’re looking to curate a six-pack that will impress your friends, stop by The Fridge, a cozy bottle shop in Downtown Lancaster. Their fridge (hence the name) is stocked with over 400 varieties of hard-to-find craft, micro, imported and local beer, just chilling and ready to be consumed. If you’re not on the go, grab a bottled beer or one of their ten on tap plus delicious hand-crafted pizza and settle in by the fire or at their outside bar if the weather is nice and sunny.

Funck’s Restaurant & Bar| Leola

Head over to Funck’s Restaurant & Bar in Leola for 100+ beers on tap and tasty all-American eats. During the warmer months, they have their outdoor bar open, complete with fire pits and live music to accompany your craft beer of choice. They have lots of brews to choose from and even host brewery takeover and sampling events.

Hunger & Thirst | Lancaster

When your tummy starts rumbling and you’re longing for a cold brew, Hunger & Thirst is here in Lancaster to satisfy your cravings. Their beer menu features 24 unique and rare craft beers, and is curated by their team of brew enthusiast. Their food selection is created to match their on-trend beer selection, and is as beautiful as it is delicious. For a great grab-and-go selection, their bottle shop is stocked with 400 varieties from across the globe.

 

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