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

Eclipse Activities in Lancaster County

Where will you be for the Great American Eclipse? On August 21, people across America will get the chance to see a total solar eclipse for the first time since 1979. This celestial event takes place when the sun, moon, and earth line up, causing the moon to cast a shadow on Earth. In Lancaster, it is estimated that about 76% of the sun will be covered at the peak of the eclipse.

If you can’t make it to a location on the line of totality, and happen to be in Lancaster, there are a couple of great places to catch eclipse coverage and learn about this rare happening.

Muddy Run Observatory:
From noon to 4:00 PM, observers can view the eclipse through solar telescopes or through a pair of solar eye glasses (limited number available). Presentations, activities for kids, solar system tours, and energy and nature displays will be ongoing throughout the event. There is no fee to attend or park.

North Museum of Nature and Science:
The Solar Eclipse Spectacular at North Museum will be an out-of-this-world way for families to experience this solar event. Throughout the day, there will be themed activities, a sundial display, and a live webcast of the total solar eclipse. Special shows, Eclipse across America and Accidental Astronauts, will be available in the planetarium for an additional fee.

Tom + Chee:
While you’re out and about, stop by Tom + Chee for Buy One, Get One Free grilled cheese sandwiches and melts. The promotion runs from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, making it an ideal lunch stop. Orders can be placed in store or by phone.

Where ever you decide to view this cosmic event, be sure to practice safe viewing habits by wearing solar eclipse shades, and not starting directly at the sun.

The Tastiest Tour in Town

What better way to learn about a town or city then by experiencing their food scene. Lancaster County Food Tours is offering visitors (and locals alike) a way to experience Lititz and Downtown Lancaster through a tour combining history, culture, and delicious food.

On a sunny summer day, I made my way to Lititz to meet up with the fantastic Lancaster County Food Tour guides for a tasty three-hour adventure. They opened the tour with an overview of the tour goal: to taste delicious offerings from local restaurants and shops while learning about the town and it’s history. And off we went!

The Come Eat Lititz Tour features a variety of tastes from the savory Scottish egg at General Sutter Inn to the sweet whoopie pie at Sugar Whipped Bakery. Between stops, the guide provided us with great area facts, answered questions, and offered conversation along the way. The balance of history and food was perfect!

While they discourage shopping on the tour to keep everyone moving from location to location on time, I definitely kept a running list of gift and souvenir ideas to pick up once the tour concluded.

While I could go into detail about each stop, this tour is best experienced in person. I will say, my favorite stop was the Waltz Vineyards Tasting Room. The wine tasting was thoughtfully prepared, and the sommelier was an expert in the flavors and processes behind each wine; which showed the passion put into the locally-made wines.

Stops on the Lititz Tour include: General Sutter, Olio Olive Oil & Balsamics, Waltz Vineyards, Julius Sturgis Pretzels, Sugar Whipped Bakery, JoBoy’s BBQ, and Wilbur Chocolate.

Tour Tips:

Comfortable shoes are a must!
There’s quite a bit of walking to be done, which is a great way to experience the town of Lititz and Downtown Lancaster, however, your feet will thank you if you wear comfortable walking shoes.

Check the forecast and dress accordingly.
The Come Eat Lititz Tour takes place over lunchtime so the sun may be at its peak heat. The shops (minus Julius Sturgis) provide a nice break from the heat, but for maximum comfort throughout the entire tour, dress according to the day’s highest temperature.

Come hungry!
By the time we got to Wilbur Chocolate (the last stop), I was pleasantly stuffed, so definitely come ready to eat. If you find that you could use a little something to eat after the tour, feel free to stop by your favorite tour location or another spot that may have caught your eye while walking.

More Tours to Explore:

This summer, Lancaster County Food Tours introduced their Chef’s Table Tour and Market and Beyond Tour, both featuring eats throughout Downtown Lancaster.

The Chef’s Table Tour features small bites and cocktail pairings at five of Lancaster’s fine dining restaurants. The fresh, delectable eats and spirited drinks will have your taste buds buzzing.

The Market and Beyond Tour features tasty morsels from Lancaster mainstays and a tour of historic Lancaster Central Market. This sweet and savory tour will give you a true taste of Lancaster County.

For more information and to book your tour, visit LancoFoodTours.com

A Breath of Fresh Air

Whether by bike or by foot, the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail, located along the Susquehanna River, is a peaceful trail worth exploring during your next outdoor adventure in Lancaster.

After lunch at a picnic table by the Columbia Crossings River Trails Center, we walked over to Chiques Rock Outfitter’s outpost to rent bikes for our ride. They offered us two colorful new bikes, and we hit the trail.

After a short ride next to the road, we were surrounded by trees, bushes, streams and tall rock faces. The trail is pleasantly paved and flat which makes it a great ride for novice bikers, families, or those looking for a leisurely walk or jog. The peaceful path winds through Chickies Rock County Park and through a cool rock tunnel.

About two and half miles up the road, we were greeted by the smell of tasty food. The Trailside Trolley was set up along the trail, serving up hot dogs, pulled pork, pizza, ice cream, snow cones and drinks for those looking to fuel up before continuing on the trail.

Continuing on the trail, we passed through a meadow of colorful wildflowers as we approached Marietta. In the town of Marietta, riders have the option of taking the “Downtown Route”, passing by houses, shops, and local watering holes including McCleary’s Pub and The Railroad House Inn. For those who prefer not to ride through town, the trail cuts through a brief undeveloped trail, and rejoins that paved section around mile marker three.

On this day, we didn’t ride past this point, but if you choose to, you’re in for a treat. The trail continues along the river and through East Donegal Township Riverfront Park. Around mile marker nine, you’ll see the White Cliffs of Conoy – a great place to stop and take a picture or two. The developed portion of the trail ends at mile marker eleven in Bainbridge, PA.

Riding the trail round-trip will be a scenic 22 mile ride, however, if you’re looking for a shorter ride, there are multiple parking and access points along the way.

For more information about the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail, stop by the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center before your adventure, or check out a map here.

Where there’s smoke, there’s flavor!

Smokehouse BBQ and Brews is bringing low and slow smoked bar-b-que, cold brews, and Lancaster County favorites under one roof just outside the town of Bird-in-Hand. Whether you’re in the area for lunch or looking for a place to kick back after a long day of exploring, a tasty meal awaits here.

I stopped by for lunch, excited to see what they are cooking up. We were greeted by our friendly server baring a basket of savory corn bread – a welcoming way to kick off the meal.

Just reading the menu made my mouth water, and indecision set in. Everything sounded delicious, from the low n’ slow, pit smoked meats (think beef brisket, pulled pork, sliced turkey, and pulled chicken) paired with sides like baked beans, mac n’ cheese, and cole slaw, to the Lancaster County favorites like fried chicken and roast beef with mashed potatoes, bread filling, and pepper cabbage.

Despite my craving for fried chicken, I decided on a sandwich called “The Legend”, featuring smoked pull pork, smothered in their Memphis Heat sauce, piled high and topped with pickles, cheddar and monterey jack cheese. The sandwich is served with cole slaw and one side. Without hesitation, I chose mac n’ cheese.

“The Legend” lived up to it’s name – a generous portion of delicious saucy pulled pork on a glistening bun. The Memphis Heat sauce had fantastic flavor with a subtle dose of heat, certainly not enough to knock your socks off but enough for you to know it’s there. I opted to put some of my cole slaw on my sandwich, adding a little more crunch to pair with the pickles. The pulled pork was so tender, displaying the low and slow cooking method. The mac n’ cheese was the perfect combination of rich and cheesy, complementing the heat of the sandwich.

Smokehouse BBQ and Brews also offers a nice rotating selection of beers on tap, including locally made brews from Lancaster Brewing Company, Mad Chef Craft Brewing and Tröegs. To make your meal complete, they offer home-style desserts like peach cobbler, sour cream apple crumb pie, and the PA Dutch classic – shoo-fly pie.

Next time you’re in town, follow the smell of smoked BBQ to Smokehouse BBQ and Brews for a stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal, sure to please.

Top 25 Things To Do this Summer

Summer fun is plentiful in Lancaster, PA – whether you’re looking for family fun, outdoor adventure or great ways to spend the evening.

Start planning your summer visit with our list of 25 things to do this season:

1] Fly through the trees on the Ziplines at Refreshing Mountain.

2] Discover new music at an outdoor concert.
Nissley Vineyards hosts concerts on Saturday evenings (adults only), and Long’s Park holds family-friendly concerts on Sunday evenings.

3] Explore the county by bike with either a self-guided or guided tour with Intercourse Bike Works.

4] Stroll around Downtown Lancaster during Music Friday with live performances scattered throughout the city.
Held on the third Friday of each month.

5] Relax while floating down the creek with Sickman’s Mill Creek Tubing.

6] Watch Fourth of July Fireworks light up the Lancaster sky.

7] Celebrate trails and the great outdoors.
The National Trails Day Celebration will be held at the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail on June 3.

8] Snap a photo and enter the
#Lancastergram contest.
#Lancastergram is Discover Lancaster’s annual photo contest hosted on Instagram with great prizes for winning photos. The contest begins on June 26 and ends on September 4.

9] Dive into Lancaster’s rich history with a Historic Lancaster Walking Tour.

10] Splash in Duke’s Lagoon at Dutch Wonderland®.
This water playground is great for kids 12 and under especially on a hot day.

11] Take your family out to the ball game to see the
Lancaster Barnstormers.
Fireworks and concerts after select games.

12] Find fresh picked produce at a local roadside stand or market.

13] Meet Thomas the Tank Engine™ when he comes to Strasburg Rail Road.
Day Out with Thomas™ takes place June 17-25.

14] Find your way through the maze and enjoy farm themed fun at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm.

15] For a little friendly competition, go for a round of mini golf.

16] Cheers to craft brews at Lancaster Craft Beerfest.
Held on August 26 in Downtown Lancaster.

17] Spend a day at Mt. Gretna Lake & Beach for swimming, picnicking, and fun.
Located 25 miles north of Lancaster County.

18] Camp out and toast a marshmallow or two at a local campground.

19] Sip wine and learn more about libations at local wineries.

20] Zip along the back roads by scooter on a memorable tour.
Strasburg Scooters offers a variety of tours daily.

21] Whether in a cup or in a cone, cool down with tasty ice cream… 

22] Or make ice cream of your own at the Turkey Hill Experience’s Taste Lab.

23] Join in the celebration of culture, diversity, and the City of Lancaster.
Celebrate Lancaster is held on June 30 with music, food vendors, pub areas, and fireworks.

24] Browse fine arts and crafts at an outdoor craft show.
Including Long’s Park Art Festival, Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show, and Lititz Outdoor Art Show.

25] Experience Lancaster in authentic fashion by staying on a farm.

For more exciting happenings, check out our events calendar.

History, Beer & Dining at Bube’s Brewery

Whether you love beer, history or both, Bube’s Brewery in Mount Joy is worth a visit. Named for it’s proprietor, Alois Bube, the brewery features unique spaces for a casual night out, a group dinner, or even a wedding.

In 1876, Alois Bube, a young German immigrant, began brewing German-style lager in Mount Joy. The brewery was one of hundreds in the United States at the time, delivering within horse and carriage range (about 20 miles). The brewery ran without the luxuries of electricity and refrigeration, hence the catacombs that lay under the building.

In Alois Bube’s time, the catacombs served as the refrigerator, chilling beer prior to delivery. Today, visitors can take a free tour of the catacombs daily between 5:30 and 9:00 PM, and even have dinner there. Select Fridays and Sundays, the Catacombs are transformed for themed feasts, including medieval, pirate, and gypsy feasts to name a few. If you’re looking to get married in a super unique space, Bube’s hosts weddings in the catacombs as well.

If you’re looking for a meal with a dash of theatrics and mystery, join Bube’s for a murder mystery dinner, either during a public dinner or with a group for a private event. You’ll be transported back in time with one of their many story lines for an entertaining evening paired with a complete dinner.

While you’re visiting, grab a bite to eat, with fine dining available in the Catacombs and casual dining in The Bottling Works. Bube’s recently brought on Executive Chef, David Nutter, who is revamping the menu to feature new seasonal items. They’re still brewing small batches of beer as well to pair with your meal.

When the weather warms up, the Beirgarten is open for outdoor dining. The Beirgarten has lots of character, with greenery, a life-sized chess board, and the huge boiler and smokestack which was used to power the brewery back in the day.

Newly added to the Bube’s Brewery complex is the Bootleggers Escape – Live Escape Room. The Escape Room takes you back in time to the roaring 20s to put your detective skills. This is a great activity for up to six people, as you work together to solve clues and puzzles.

On April 28, Bube’s will host their first Jazz Night at Alois. Kevin Valentine will be performing at 8:00 PM in the original Victorian Central Hotel. Light, tapas-style fare along with select whiskies, cocktails, martinis and homemade beer will be available while you enjoy the soulful music.

For more information on this fascinating complex, their events and happenings, be sure to visit their website!

The Bible Comes to Life!

On a hill near Strasburg, PA sits a beautiful theater, specializing in bringing stories from the Bible to life. Sight & Sound Theatres® brings tales from scripture to the stage with vivid costumes, captivating musical numbers, live animals, and sets and production that will take your breath away.

This year, Sight & Sound Theatres® presents Jonah, a whale of a tale (pun intended) featuring the prophet Jonah, his run from God, and consequences of his actions.

My family, including my theater-loving four year old, got the opportunity to see the show for ourselves. Upon arriving at the theater, my daughter was amazed at the beauty and size of the facade, lobby, and stage, as we made our way to our seats. The stage is epic, wrapping around the room, providing additional space for action to happen.

We settled in to our seats and prepared for a magnificent 2 hours and 30 minutes. I won’t dive too deep into the story itself, but I will say, the performance was spectacular! The effects, especially the scenes underwater and at the dock at Joppa took our breath away, and had my daughter on the edge of her seat.

The show is best experienced for yourself. For tickets, be sure to visit Sight & Sound’s website here.

Exciting news for 2018 – Sight & Sound Theatres® will debut their newest show – Jesus.  If you can’t make it to Jonah this year, be sure to put Jesus on your list for 2018!

* Photo and videos courtesy of Sight & Sound Theatres®

Top 25 Things To Do this Spring

It’s time to shake off cabin fever and explore all that Lancaster, PA has to offer during the spring. Whether you prefer the great outdoors, al fresco dining, or themed festivals, there’s something for everyone this season.

Check out our list of 25 things to create your spring itinerary:

1] Take a hike or go for a bike ride

2] Bid on bargains at a Mud Sale
Mud Sales are annual auctions held by communities featuring antiques quilts, locally-made crafts and more.

3] Celebrate Easter with family over brunch, dinner, Easter egg hunts, and events

4] Bounce out cabin fever at Sky Zone Lancaster

5] Discover the creative energy of the city during First Friday
Art galleries and boutiques extend their hours for browsing during this monthly event.

6] Take in the tranquil countryside from aboard the Strasburg Rail Road

7] Search for unique treasures and bargains at Lancaster’s eclectic antique shops
Spring Antiques Extravaganza is held in the Antiques Capital region, April 27-30.

8] Head to Lititz for the annual Pretzel Fest
Held on Saturday, May 6.

9] Experience the art scene in Downtown Lancaster with Spring ArtWalk
This self-guided tour takes place Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7.

10] Get a head start on your spring gardening at the Herb & Garden Faire at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum.
Held on Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13.

Credit: Dutch Wonderland

11] Fill your day with family fun at Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park.
Open weekends beginning on April 29-30.

12] Enjoy fruity festivities at Kitchen Kettle Village’s Rhubarb Festival.
Tickle your taste buds Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20.

13] Celebrate Spring at Rock Ford Plantation’s May Fair Celebration
Takes place on Sunday, May 21.

14] Catch a Broadway-caliber musical, drama, dinner theater performance or jaw-dropping concert.

15] Explore learning with a twist at a kid-friendly museum.

16] Flock to Lancaster for great birding.

17] Relax with a picnic in the park.

18] Find fun for the thrill seekers at Hersheypark’s Springtime in the Park.
Held on April 8-9 and 14-16.

19] Ride as the Amish do with an authentic buggy ride.

20] Grab a paddle for adventures on the river.

21] Stop by Central Market for local goodies.
Open Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

22] Tour the back roads and covered bridges.

23] Stop to smell the roses at Hershey Garden.

24] Refresh your wardrobe with a trip to the outlets.

25] Saddle up for a horseback ride along the trails at Ironstone Ranch.

To find even more exciting events and happenings, visit our events calendar.

Things to Do in February

The winter chill is still in the air, but that doesn’t stop the fun in Lancaster! From two exciting festivals to the first Mud Sale of the season, you’re sure to find something unique to make your trip one to remember.

Festive Festivals

Lititz presents their Fire & Ice Festival over President’s Day Weekend (February 17-20) featuring ice sculptures, great food, live entertainment and activities throughout the weekend. To contrast the frosty ice sculptures, a Chili Cook Off is held on Saturday alongside the Winter Wonderland Carnival and Vendor Fair.

The sweet, sweet sounds of roots and blues music will fill the air of Downtown Lancaster during the three day Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival, February 24-26. The 2017 lineup includes over 50 artists performing at 8 venues throughout the city. A variety of ticket options are available, from one to three day tickets along with VIP and Under 21 options.

Dinner with Your Sweetheart

To celebrate the day of love, join the Vineyard at Grandview for a five course wine pairing Valentine Dinner that will infuse your holiday with romance. Delicious dishes are paired with the vineyard’s wines made on location. Mark your calendars for February 10 and reserve your seats today.

For the craft beer lovers, the General Sutter Inn presents a Beer & Food Tasting dinner featuring Founders Brewing Company on February 27. For $38 per person, you’ll enjoy courses paired with brews that will have your tasty buds buzzing. With the popularity of this event, reservations are required.

If PA Dutch style cooking is what you’re craving, Bird-in-Hand Fire Company is hosting their first Chicken Pot Pie Dinner of 2017. They are serving up all-you-can-eat chicken pot pie, peas, pepper cabbage, rolls, desserts, and more from 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM (or until they sell out) on February 25. It’s the perfect PA Dutch meal to fill your belly on cold day.

Bring Your Boots

Mud Sale season kicks off on Saturday, February 25 with the Strasburg Mud Sale. Whether you’re looking for great bargains on antiques, crafts, furniture and quilts or spectating and enjoying the wonderful food, be sure to remember your boots. These events are classically muddy as they are held as the ground begins to thaw.

Gimme Some Sugar

So sweet – it’s time for Maple Sugaring at Lancaster County Park. On-going demonstrations in the sugar bush of the park will be held on Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26. Learn about the process from tree tapping to boiling to making the sweet product into candy. Maple products will be on sale for you to take tasty treats home to share.

Arts & History  

Browse Charles Demuth-inspired art at the Demuth Museum’s annual exhibition featuring Lancaster area artists. “Valentines for Demuth” invites Lancaster area artists to create works inspired by his work, 1896 Valentine. Works will be on display from February 4 to 26.

Rock Ford Plantation invites children ages 4 and up and their parents to celebrate the first President of the United States, George Washington. Enjoy cake and ice cream with Mr. Washington, enjoy crafts and games, and learn why we continue to celebrate his birthday. Reservations are required for this February 26th event.

For a complete list of events in February and beyond, click here

What Exactly is a Long John?

While browsing the bakeries, sweet shops, and market stands, you may come across a doughnut that looks a lot like an éclair – but with a different name.

In Lancaster County and various areas across the country, these bar-shaped donuts are called Long Johns, and boy are they delicious! Not to be confused with the long undergarment worn on cold days, Long Johns are rectangular, yeasted doughnuts that are either filled or unfilled and topped with a variety of icing flavors.

If you’re looking to sink your teeth into one of these tasty pastries, you can find one (or a dozen) here:

  • Achenbach’s: Dubbed the “Home of the Long John,” Achenbach’s is celebrating over 60 years of baking goods from scratch. Choose from vanilla, chocolate or peanut butter icing or even a Long John cakes for special occasions. Stop by on your birthday for a free Long John – sweet!
  • Shady Maple: If you happen to be at Central Market or at Shady Maple Smorgasbord, a unique Long John is just steps away. You’ll find the sweet and salty Maple Bacon Long John, topped with maple icing and strips of smoky bacon, and the straight-up-sweet Better Cream Long John, filled with light cream.

Bon appetite!

Sources: Eater.com, “Everything You Need to Know About the Great American Doughnut” 5/28/2015

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