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

Iconic Desserts of Lancaster

With National Dessert Day on October 14, and let’s be honest – every day when your sweet tooth strikes – we’ve gathered our favorite desserts that have roots in Lancaster. Whether you’re roaming around Central Market, or venturing to bakeries in our small towns, you’re sure to stumble upon these sweet treats that capture the comforts of the county.

Whoopie Pies

A favorite for locals and visitors alike, the whoopie pie is a classic PA Dutch treat. Legend has it that whoopie pies were first made from leftover cake batter, and those who found this treat in their lunch pails would shout “whoopie!” – Hence the name.

This treat is made from two cake-like cookies with cream in the center. The traditional chocolate cake with vanilla cream version is still quite popular, with new tasty variations debuting over the years.

Where to find them: Hershey Farms Restaurant in Strasburg, Shady Maple in East Earl, and Bird-in-Hand Bakery & Café in Bird-in-Hand

Shoo-Fly Pie

Me oh my – it’s shoo-fly pie! This fluffy molasses dessert is a Lancaster tradition that got its name because the molasses attracts flies. As the pie cools on the window sill, you’d constantly be shooing the flies away.

Two versions of this pie can be found around the county – wet bottom and dry bottom. The wet bottom version is cake-like on top with a gooey custard consistency underneath. If you prefer a cake-like consistency through-out, opt for the dry bottom version.

Where to find it: Dutch Haven in Ronks, Good ‘N Plenty in Smoketown, and Bird-in-Hand Bake Shop in Bird-in-Hand

Ice Cream

Not only is Lancaster home to Turkey Hill Dairy, who has been churning up ice cream since 1980, it’s also home to a plethora of small business whipping up artisan ice cream made with local dairy products.

Whether in a cup, a cone, or blended into a milkshake, ice cream is a tasty treat year round. Find unique flavors like Chai Stroopie at Lancaster Sweet Shoppe or Pumpkin Pie at Bird-in-Hand Bakery & Café.

Where to find it: Fox Meadows Creamery in Ephrata, Lapp Valley Farm in New Holland, Strasburg Country Store & Creamery in Strasburg (in addition to the two mentioned above)

Apple Dumplings

Just in time for fall, this local favorite combines orchard-fresh fruit and rich, buttery pastry dough. Apple Dumplings begin popping up on bakery menus especially when the apple harvest is at its peak.

Simplicity is key with this dessert. Cored apples are wrapped in a simple, butter pastry dough then baked with cinnamon, brown sugar, and of course, more butter, and served either alone or ala mode.

Where to find them: Kauffman’s Fruit Farm in Bird-in-Hand, Byer’s Butterflake Bakery in Leola, and Zig’s Bakery at Central Market and in Lititz

Capital for a Day

What do Annapolis, Princeton, Philadelphia, and Lancaster all have in common?

Believe it or not, all of these cities were once the capital of the United States.

Of all the places listed above, Lancaster was the capital for the shortest amount of time – one day to be exact!

So how did Lancaster become the third capital location of the country?

During the Revolutionary War, British Troops were on a mission to take Philadelphia, the capital prior to Lancaster. They were successful in capturing the city after defeating George Washington’s men at the Battle of Brandywine. This led the Second Continental Congress to search for a new, more secure capital.

The day after the British invaded Philadelphia, the Continental Congress met in Lancaster at the Courthouse that once stood in the town square – making it the Capital for the Day.

After September 27, the Continental Congress moved once again to distance themselves further from the British Troops. They chose to move to York, across the Susquehanna River from Lancaster, increasing the distance from Philadelphia and adding a physical barrier. They stayed in York until June 1778, before making their way back to Philadelphia.

When visiting Lancaster today, you unfortunately won’t be able to see the courthouse where this meeting took place. The original courthouse, constructed in 1737, was destroyed by a fire in 1786.

Happy Capital Day, Lancaster!

Resource: Trex, Ethan. (2017, September 27) Glory Day: Lancaster’s Brief Stint as Our Nation’s Capital. MentalFloss.com

On Tap: Fall Edition

As a fall beer lover – September feels like Christmas morning. The first time I see a pumpkin beer on tap is like waking up to gifts under the tree. It’s a surefire sign that fall is quickly approaching.

Lancaster has some great local brewers, passionately crafting ales, ciders, IPAs, stouts and some tasty seasonal beers to enjoy as the leaves change. [see the full list of local breweries here]

Find these on tap at various locations across the county throughout the season:Baked Pumpkin Ale & Oktoberfest from Lancaster Brewing Company

Lancaster Brewing Company (locals may refer to it as LBC) produces two great fall brews with different flavor profiles. Their Baked Pumpkin Ale (ABV: 7.5%) packs a pumpkiny punch. Its rich flavor features notes of pumpkin pie spice and vanilla, and is best enjoyed while munching on sweet potato fries.

For the lager lover, LBC’s Oktoberfest (ABV: 5.5%) is a full bodied brew that pairs well with pizza and roasted or grilled meats. You’ll find this deep copper beer has a lingering malt sweetness to go along with its full body.

Find both brews at Lancaster Brewing Company in Downtown Lancaster and Lancaster Brewing Co. Taproom & Grill, along with select locations around the county.

Braaaiins! Pumpkin Ale for Zombies from Spring House Brewing Company

Whether you’re a zombie or a human, Braaaiins! Pumpkin Ale (ABV: 7.8%) is for you! Brewed with fresh pumpkin, this is fall in a glass. It features a fresh pumpkin flavor, complimented by autumn spices and bold malt flavors that will warm you up as the air chills.

Head over to Spring House’s Hazel Street Brew Pub or the Taproom on King Street for your taste of Braaaiins!

Madtoberfest from Mad Chef Brewing Company

This season, we’re mad about Mad Chef Brewing Company’s Madtoberfest (ABV: 5.5%) – a clean, crisp seasonal beer featuring notes of caramel and toffee.

You’ll find this brew, along with other hand-crafted ales and tasty all-American fare (including fantastic french fries with a wide array of sauce choices) at Mad Chef’s Brew Pub in East Petersburg.

Pumpkin Cider from Lancaster County Cider

If you prefer cider to beer, we’ve got you covered. Lancaster County Cider has created their seasonal Pumpkin Cider (ABV: 5.5%) by combining spiced apple wine, pumpkin wine, hard cider, and fresh pumpkin puree, and adding a pinch and a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar. Truly a glass of autumn, this cider is a great gluten-free alternative to beer.

Try it for yourself at Mount Hope Estate & Winery.

Top 10 Things to Do in Lancaster: September Travel Guide

September brings the beginning of fall, cooler weather, pumpkin flavored goodies, and great events to Lancaster. It’s time for football tailgates and evenings at the farm show, as the days get a little bit shorter and the air gets a little bit crisper. Whether you’re a local discovering what’s in your own backyard or in town to explore during the weekend, you’ll find something that strikes your fancy and gets you in the mood for fall’s exciting offerings.

Check out our list of 10 things to do this month in Lancaster (just to name a few):

Kids will love…

The Corn Maze at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm | All Month
Find your way through the Amazing Maize Maze, an interactive corn maze filled with twists, turns, and clues along the way. Once you’ve found your way out of the corn, Cherry Crest Adventure Farm has loads of fun farm-themed activities, friendly farm animals, and a pick-your-own pumpkin patch to experience life down on the farm.

Day Out with Thomas™ at Strasburg Rail Road™ | September 16-24
Thomas the Tank Engine is back in town for railroading fun. Join Thomas and his pal Percy for a ride on the historic railroad, activities, and more. This is a “must-do” for families with little train lovers. They’re sure to remember the time they got to meet Thomas the Tank Engine himself.

Foodies will love…


The Whoopie Pie Festival at Hershey Farm | September 9
Celebrate this Lancaster dessert at Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn. Treat yourself to a traditional whoopie pie or try a more adventurous combo while you enjoy games, activities, unique craft vendors, and more. It’s the most delicious day of the month!

Fall Bluegrass Concert at the Vineyard at Grandview | September 9
Sit back and enjoy an afternoon in the vineyard featuring live bluegrass music, locally-crafted wines and brews, and tasty fare from local food trucks. Two great bluegrass acts, Porthouse Yard and Hog Maw, will provide lively entertainment to keep your toes tapping.

Restaurant Week in Lancaster City | September 18-24
Explore the diverse culinary offerings Lancaster City has to offer during Fall Restaurant Week. Participating restaurants offer deals from $10 to $40 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including some offerings created just for this week. Be sure to come hungry, and share your delicious moments using #LCRW2017.

Runners will love…

Run, Ride & Soar Weekend | September 8-10
Lace up your sneakers for the annual Run, Ride, and Soar weekend in Bird-in-Hand. Runners can participate in the Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon or 5k, while bikers can take to the backroad for the Amish Country Classic Bike Ride. If you’d rather catch the action from above, the Amish Country Hot Air Balloon Fest features launches in the morning and evening for a birds-eye view of the farmland.

Shoppers will love…

Wool Frolic at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum | September 16
Are you a fan of knitting, crocheting, or other fiber arts? Find yarn of every texture and color, fleece, and more at this artsy event. Crafting demonstrations will be going on throughout the day, along with hands-on activities for kids.


Fall Antiques Extravaganza in Adamstown | September 28 – October 1
Find dozens of antique shops including outdoor markets as you explore the Antiques Capital in Adamstown. Browse the plethora of wares as dealers and shops extend their hours for this weekend. If you’re looking for that one-of-a-kind item, chances are you’ll find it here.

The whole family will love…

Tailgate Festival at Kitchen Kettle Village | September 15-16
Touchdown! Time to get in the spirit of football season at Kitchen Kettle’s sports-themed festival. There will be tons of tasty homemade tailgate foods to sample, activities for kids and adults to enjoy, and lively musical performances along the shop-lined paths of the village. If you’re in the competitive spirit, participate in their Pumpkin Whoopie Pie filling Contest to test your skills.

Fairs & Farm Shows | All Month
September brings fairs and farm shows to the communities throughout the county. Time for funnel cakes, Ferris wheels, farm animals, and fun! Enjoy the brisk evening air as you stroll down the midway at the following fairs this month: York (September 8-17), Denver (September 12-16), Solanco (September 20-22), Ephrata (September 26-30), and West Lampeter (September 27-29).

For a full list of September events, check out our events calendar.

 

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!

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