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

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.

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.

 

Unique Lodging in Lancaster, PA

After a day of exploring Lancaster’s many offerings, it’s time to refresh and relax. When you’re looking for a place to stay, whether for a weekend getaway or a week-long family vacation, do you seek out a run-of-the-mill hotel or some place with a unique twist?

If you answered, “a unique twist” then this is the list for you! We’ve rounded up some of Lancaster’s coolest lodging options to help with your trip planning.

All aboard for our first pick – the motel that Booking.com named as the Pennsylvania representative on their list of “coolest places to stay in all 50 states.” Red Caboose Motel, located in Ronks, features 38 cabooses refurbished to sleep two to six guests. Train fans, along with fans of unique places to stay, will love the chance to climb aboard and cozy up in a train car, outfitted with great amenities. During your stay, stop by their on-site restaurant, Casey Jones’ Restaurant (also in a train car) for a bite to eat and grab ice cream at Janie Jones’.

There’s plenty to do while staying here – from their petting zoo and viewing silo to buggy rides through the countryside and free movies in the barn.

For an urban vibe, check out Lancaster Arts Hotel, a boutique hotel in Downtown Lancaster. The lobby, guestrooms and suites are filled with fabulous art and décor that sets it apart from typical hotels. Venture down to the connecting restaurant, John J. Jefferies, for superb seasonal, farm fresh offerings and artfully crafted cocktails. Lancaster Arts Hotel is located within walking distance of even more delicious dining options, exciting things to do, and great places to grab beer, coffee, and even mead.

Get a glimpse at life on the farm with a stay at Verdant View Bed & Breakfast in Paradise, where you’ll be staying on a real working farm with loveable animals and neighboring Amish homesteads. To dive deeper into the Lancaster County experience, participation in morning farm duties is encouraged… and is actually fun! Rise and shine for a family-style farm breakfast in the morning, complete with homemade goodies, fresh eggs, and more before your day of exploring nearby attractions.

Want to stay in a refurbished double-decker bus? How about a tree house? Or maybe a yurt on the lake? All of these uniquely charming rentals can be found at Lake-in-Wood Campground in Narvon, where guests can glamp (camping in style with touches of modern luxury) in the countryside of Lancaster, PA. These options are great for families, especially since the campground also has a mini-golf course, basketball courts, trading post, two playgrounds, indoor and outdoor pool, and scheduled events during the spring, summer, and fall.

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New to the unique lodging scene is Tiny Estates in Elizabethtown, featuring a variety of tiny homes available to stay in, starting April 2018. Get a taste of minimalistic living in one of these cozy abodes, complete with kitchens, full bathrooms, and flat screen TVs. You can even travel lightly, as linens, pots, pans, soap and shampoo will be waiting for you upon arrival. Pet-friendly houses are available so even your dog can experience tiny house living.

A place to stay is just the beginning! Find plenty to do, see and eat in our FREE Getaway Guide (order here) or sign up for our e-newsletter to stay in the know.

Lancaster, PA Harvest Guide

Here in Lancaster County, we take fresh produce seriously. With rich soil and acre after acre of farmland, farmers offer their plentiful bounties at farm stands and local markets, while chefs are taking advantage of the freshest offerings to add to their seasonally-changing menus. It’s truly a beautiful thing when passionate growers share their hard work with the community that embraces their craft with open arms (and market baskets).

Want to find tomatoes and strawberries at their peak? Not sure what seasonal eats to pick up during the winter? Our harvest guide is here to help you find and celebrate each month’s harvest. So as you pass the fields and farm stands, be sure to keep your eyes out for these fruits and vegetables, picked at the peak of freshness just waiting to be enjoyed.

January/February: Celery

Even in the chilly months, there’s something growing in Lancaster County. For the beginning months of the year, we’re celebrating celery. This veggie is great for snacking, in soups and stews, and in salads. Stop by Sweethearts of Lancaster stand inside Lancaster Central Market for some crisp celery, plus recipe ideas and tips from some celery experts!

March: Mushrooms

Since mushrooms can be grown indoors, they’re another ideal cold weather crop. Pennsylvania has great soil for these fungi. Iron Hill Brewery in Lancaster highlights the mushroom with their Kennett Square mushroom soup, named for the town of Kennett Square in neighboring Chester County that is known for producing this crop.

April: Asparagus

Have you ever seen how asparagus grow? It’s quite the sight to see! The stalks grow right out of the ground, just waiting to be cut and roasted. Be sure to pick some up at one of our Farmers Markets to serve with your spring dinner.

May: Rhubarb

This tart fruit (well, technically vegetable) is spring’s prize crop. Rhubarb is often paired with sweeter fruits like strawberries or made into jam with plenty of sugar. Kitchen Kettle Village celebrates the Rhubarb harvest with a two-day festival, with plenty to tasty treats, activities, and the world’s only rhubarb race-car derby.

June: Strawberries

June brings juicy, red strawberries to the fields and farm stands across Lancaster, PA. Strawberries are actually the first fruit to ripen each year. For the chance to wander the fields and pick your own, visit Brook Lawn Farm Market and Shenk’s Berry Farm – but be sure to call first to check availability and picking times.

July: Tomatoes + Corn

For July, we couldn’t pick just one! The corn and tomatoes harvested this month are both super tasty, and can be found at the majority of roadside stands and farmers markets.

Tomatoes can be found in all shapes, sizes, and colors – from the bright red, small cherry tomatoes to the bumpy purple heirlooms. Each summer, Washington Boro holds the Annual Tomato Festival, full of tasty tomato dishes and family-friendly activities, typically taking place in mid-July.

What has hundreds of ears, but cannot hear? A corn field! Corny jokes aside, late July brings ears upon ears of sweet, juicy corn from the fields and to the farm stands. As many locals will tell you, the place to go for great deals is the Corn Wagon in Millersville, PA. The corn fields even make for an exciting family activity as mazes are carved through the fields, like the maze at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm.

August: Watermelon

When the August heat sets in in Lancaster, PA, nothing is more refreshing than a slice of ripe watermelon. Watermelons are perfect for picking and savoring this month. If slicing such a melon seems like a daunting task, Lancaster Online’s article has step-by-step instructions on cutting watermelon “sticks” for cleaner eating as well.

September: Apples

Toward the end of September in Lancaster, fall is in the air – and there are plenty of apples just waiting to be picked. Orchards around the county grow a variety for baking, saucing and snacking, and can guide you to the apples that will fit your taste and purpose. Orchards like Cherry Hill Orchard in Lancaster and Weaver’s Orchard in Morgantown even offer hayrides for added family fun.

October: Pumpkins

October is prime pumpkin picking time here in Lancaster County. Pumpkins and gourds are waiting to be turned into jack-o-lanterns or pies, and both varieties can be found in our fields or at a road side stand, like Fisher’s Festivals. If you want to search for the perfect pumpkin, check out one of the fantastic pick-your-own farms and explore the patch for yourself.

November: Kale

Hail to kale in November! Bundles of this leafy green are harvested in the fall to be cooked or used as a festive fall decoration. Craving a savory kale salad? According to Yelp, eaters love the kale salads at Checker’s Bistro and Luca.

December: Beets

You can’t beat the beets in December in Lancaster, PA. Root vegetables, like beets, are a common winter harvest as they get plucked from the freezing ground. If you’re in search of the perfect jar of pickled beets, head to Kitchen Kettle Village’s Jam & Relish Kitchen. They also have great recipes to jazz up their traditional canned variety.  

Forbes names Lancaster, PA as one of the “10 Coolest U.S. Cities to Visit in 2018”

Looking for a hip city to explore this summer or even for a weekend during the spring or fall? Why not pick Lancaster – who was just named as one of Forbes’ “10 Coolest U.S. Cities to Visit in 2018.”

What makes Lancaster so cool?

Tucked amongst the beautiful, iconic Amish farmland, Downtown Lancaster has a food scene that’s on the rise. Venture beyond the PA Dutch food for out-of-this-world Italian cuisine and wood-fire pizza at Luca – where Chef Taylor Mason combines the old-world charm and flavors of distant Italy with the ultra-local ingredients grown right here in Lancaster.

Be sure to make reservations ahead of time – the more popular dining times go fast!

Lancaster’s architecture is a big part of the charm. Passionate Lancastrians are transforming old warehouses and buildings to create new spaces for eating, drinking and entertainment. Thistle Finch Distillery and The Fridge are doing just that. Located in the former Walter Schnader Tobacco Warehouse, Thistle Finch is bringing of distilling to Downtown Lancaster, creating rye whiskey, white rye, gin, and vodka – then serving the spirits up in artfully crafted cocktails.

More of a craft beer enthusiast? The Fridge is a cozy bottle shop with an impressive selection of hard-to-find craft, micro, imported and local beer, located right behind the Lancaster Arts Hotel. Pair your beer with a slice of their flatbread pizza (because few things go better together), and cozy up by their fire or enjoy their outdoor space – depending on the weather.

Our vibrant art and theatre scene also adds to the coolness of Lancaster – with a plethora of live performances and galleries to tap into your artsy side. If you find yourself in Lancaster on the first Friday of the month, enjoy the extended gallery and boutique hours, and special performances and exhibits as you get swept up Gallery Row’s creative energy on First Friday.

Live theatre lovers will adore the historic, stunning Fulton Theatre – not just for its broadway-calibur shows, but also for its ornate architecture and rich history. The theater is full of character and stories, much like the shows that take place on its stage.

Outside the wide-array of offerings in Downtown Lancaster, families can experience life on the farm, breathing in the fresh air and even petting lovable animals. Find your way through the corn maze at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm and watch the Strasburg Rail Road train chug by. You’ll love the fresh air and relaxing pace, while your kids will love all the hands-on, farm-centric activities – win win!

And that’s just the beginning – get info on Lancaster’s latest and coolest by signing up for our monthly e-newsletter, and stay in the know.

Resource: Abel, Ann, “The 10 Coolest U.S. Cities to Visit in 2018,” Forbes

Things to Do in March in Lancaster, PA

March is in like a lion, out like a lamb, and filled with great events in Lancaster, PA! With indoor events and shows for those blustery days and outdoor Easter events for when the sun comes out, this month has things to do for all weather conditions and occasions.

Start the month with a tasty meal. Lancaster City Restaurant Week kicks off the month, running through March 4, with delicious meals at various restaurants throughout Downtown Lancaster. For every time of day and budget, you’re in for a memorable meal.

In the mood for tons of great live music? Mosey down to Lancaster for the weekend (March 9-11) for Lancaster Roots & Blues. This festival is back for its fifth year, returning with a line-up packed with stellar soul, blues, funk, roots, and folk performances at nine different venues in Downtown Lancaster. While you’re venue-hopping, pick your poison – caffeine or cocktails – at one of our coffee shops or fine dining restaurants to keep you going through the late night hours.

For the history and museum buffs, March 11 marks Charter Day – the day that William Penn received the royal charter for what we now call Pennsylvania. To commemorate the occasion, three of Lancaster County’s museums and historical attractions are open, free of charge.

– Dive into the past at Ephrata Cloister, for a look at life in a religious community from the 1700s.

– Landis Valley Village Farm & Museum brings the 1800s PA German world to life.

– The Railroad Museum of PA offers locomotive fanatics the chance to explore the history of the railroad, trains and more.

Break out your boots – its Mud Sale season! These annual auctions are one of the best ways to experience Lancaster County life, as many auction-goers and auctioneers are Amish. Wander the aisles of goods up for grabs, including lawn equipment, shrubbery, housewares, hand-stitched quilts, crafts, and even the kitchen sink. Whether you’re looking for a bargain or maybe just good PA Dutch eats and to experience a slice of Amish culture, you’ll find it on Saturday at a Mud Sale.

March is the perfect time for quilters and quilt admirers to visit Lancaster, PA. This month brings AQS QuiltWeek to Downtown Lancaster for four days (March 21-24) of workshops, exhibits, vendors and contests, all focused around the art of quilting. In need of sewing supplies, inspiration or instruction? This event has everything a quilter could ask for! Plus, many of the fabric stores around the area have sales and extended hours for even more shopping.

Speaking of shopping, Tanger Outlet’s Mommy and Me event, to be held on March 28 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, offers up an afternoon of kid-friendly fun. Kids will love the games, craft activity, and guest appearances from Cylo from the Lancaster Barnstormers, Duke from Dutch Wonderland and Nano from Go ‘N Bananas. Moms will love the tasty bites from Saladworks and Chick-fil-a, and the chance to win a $100 Tanger Gift Card (especially if she wins!).

Hop on over to Lancaster for family-friendly Easter events. The Easter Bunny is in town for breakfast at Kitchen Kettle Village and a train ride on the Strasburg Rail Road – two wonderful ways to celebrate Easter as a family. Kick off the weekend with a local egg hunt, then relax with the family over brunch or Easter dinner.

For even more events throughout the year, let our Events Calendars be your guide!

A Guide to Quilting in Lancaster, PA

Whether you’re new to quilting, an expert quilter or purely an admirer, Lancaster County is a hub for the craft with a wealth of fabric stores and places to buy handmade quilts for your home.

Quilts can be passed down from generation-to-generation, reminding us of the past. They can keep us warm when winter’s chill rolls in, and add a pop of color to a wall as a decorative item. No matter what you use it for, these works of art are meant to be seen.

Whether you create your own quilts or are shopping for a handmade gem made by a local crafter, Lancaster’s quilt scene can be explored and experienced in many ways.

Just For Fabric:

Browse the aisles of expertly organized fabric to find inspiration for your next project. Fabric stores are plentiful in Lancaster County, full of classic and modern prints along with basic solids of every color. Don’t forget your thread and notions!

Fisher’s Houseware and Fabric (Paradise, PA)

Mook’s Fabric Outlet (Leola, PA)

The Quilt Ledger (Christiana, PA)

For Both:

Looking for a one-stop shop? For those who sew, find fabric, notions, thread and patterns. If you’d rather purchase a fully made, ready to cuddle quilt – they have those too. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to browse. There’s lots to look at!

The Old Country Store (Intercourse, PA)

Log Cabin Quilt Shop & Fabric (Bird-in-Hand, PA)

Family Farm Quilts & Fabric (Intercourse, PA)

Just For Quilts:

Handmade and stitched with care, you’ll find beautifully made quilts as you wander the shops below. They can range from simple colors and classic shapes to vibrant and abstract patterns. Amish, Mennonite, and local artisans create these masterpieces – some even still sew them by hand. Smaller goods like quillows (quilted pillows that fold out to a blanket), wall hangings, bags, and table runners are great for those who may not have space for a large quilt.

The Quilt Shop at Miller’s (Ronks, PA)

Country Lane Farm Amish Quilt Shop (Leola, PA)

Village Quilts (Intercourse, PA)

Riehl’s Quilts (Leola, PA)

Tip: Don’t hide your beautiful quilts away. They can be displayed on a rack or hung on the wall, and even used as a warm bed spread or a cozy cover when cuddling up on the couch.  Many are machine washable, using a mild detergent and possibly a color catcher if the quilt features white and rich reds. Some actually get better with use.

Quilting Events:

To get a taste of local life, swing by a Mud Sale in the spring or early summer. Many of these annual auctions feature handmade quilts, made by Amish and Mennonite crafters. Bid on your favorites or just check out the offerings while enjoying some tasty PA Dutch classics, like freshly made donuts and chicken corn soup.

Quilters will gather at Lancaster County Convention Center in March for AQS QuiltWeek® – the annual convention featuring workshops, exhibits, contest, vendors and more. In need of sewing supplies, inspiration or instruction? This event has everything you will need when it comes to quilts. Many of the quilt and fabric stores offer sales and extended hours during the convention.

Want to Learn How to Quilt?

Get your feet wet and learn to basics or perfect your sewing skills. The Old Country Store in Intercourse offers a variety of learn to sew and quilting classes, where their skilled instructors walk you through a project you can be proud of. Who knows – you may even find your new favorite hobby!

Resource: photos taken at the Old Country Store, tip courtesy of Jan Mast

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