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

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.

A post shared by Tiny Estates (@tiny_estates) on

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

The Wacky Town Names of Lancaster County

As you drive through Lancaster County, you may come across some towns with tongue-and-cheek and just plain wacky names. Or maybe you saw the video of the Chicago news anchor fumbling over the pronunciation of “Lititz”.

How did these names come to be? We’re digging through the history books to find where these unique names originated, giving a rhyme and reason to the names that make us giggle.

Lititz

The town of Lititz traces its name back to Germany, where the founder – Count Nicholas Ludwig – hailed from. The Count left Saxony, Germany, and settled in this area of the state in 1741 with Moravians who were seeking religious freedom. The name “Lititz” was inspired by a Bohemian Castle near Kunvald that held the name “Litice.”

Resource: Venture Lititz

Blue Ball

While this name may make us chuckle, its origins are pretty straight-forward. The town is named after an 18th century inn, located in the town. The owner hung a blue ball on the building, referring to the inn as “The Sign of the Blue Ball.” The name stuck – and the rest is history.

Resource: WGAL

Paradise

Welcome to Paradise – Paradise, PA that is! Two people, Joshua Scott and Mary Ferree, are commonly credited with the naming of this town. While standing in the middle of the road, Joshua Scott stated that the town should be called Paradise because of the beauty he saw around him.

Mary Ferree’s story, on the other hand, has a little more legend involved. After fleeing France, Ferree and her family received a land grant for the acreage in PA. Her family arrived and lived peacefully among the Native Americans who called this area home. Legend has it that upon arrival, Mary said “this is truly a paradise,” giving the town its name.

Resource: Amish Country News & Lancaster Online

Intercourse

There are a couple theories behind this cheeky town name. The first theory comes from an old race track located on Old Philadelphia Pike, called “Entercourse.” Some think that the name “Entercourse” evolved to “Intercourse” and became the town name in 1814.

The second theory stems from the two famous roads that intersected in the town, one running east and west from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and one running from Erie to Wilmington. Because of this, the town was called “Cross Keys” which may have eventually became “Intercourse.”

The third theory concerns the language used during the town’s early days, when the word “intercourse” described fellowship and social support in the community. The town name of Intercourse would have described the comradery of the town.

Resource: Intercourse Heritage Days

Bird-in-Hand

Have you heard the saying “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?” Legend has it that the saying played into this unique town name. Two men were surveying the highway between Philadelphia and Lancaster. Needing a place to stay, they found an inn (a simple log hut), quoted that saying, and stayed for the night. The inn became known as “The Bird-in-Hand,” giving the town its name.  The sign outside the inn depicted a man holding a bird, which made it easy for travelers to find.

Resource: Bird-in-Hand

Local Picks: Best Pizza in Lancaster

What makes the perfect slice of pizza? Whether it’s thin, crispy crust topped with exotic toppings and fresh mozzarella or thick, fluffy crust topped with cheese and classic pepperoni – Lancaster has the perfect slice for you.

We’ve rounded up the cheesiest, tastiest and most unique pies for you to sink your teeth into. Check out some local picks that will satisfy your pizza cravings.

Federal Taphouse

201 N. Queen Street, Lancaster, PA 17603 | FederalTaphouseLanc.com
Ally says “I love the pizza at Federal Taphouse – they use a wood-fire oven so the crust is nice and crispy. Their toppings range from traditional to seasonal and unique, like drunken figs and sweet corn. As an added bonus, the Fed has around a 100 beers on tap to pair with your pie.”

Pie to try: 3 Little Pigs – red sauce, house pork belly, house ham, pepperoni, mozzarella, provolone

Norma’s Pizza at Roots Country Market

705 Graystone Rd, Manheim, PA 17545 | Facebook.com/NormasPizzaAtRootsCountryMarketAndAuction
Nate says “My family loves Norma’s pizza, done to perfection in either boardwalk or Detroit styles. Pro-tip – since she’s only open on Tuesday’s when Root’s Market is open and she sells out nearly every Tuesday, get there early or place your order ahead of time to ensure that you get a slice!”

Norma is the 2016 USA Caputo Cup New York Style Pizza Champion, beating out pies from Chicago, New York, Las Vegas and beyond!

Pie to try: Sicilian style pizza with pepperoni

Luca

436 W. James Street, Lancaster, PA 17603 | LucaLancaster.com
Liz says “I love the unique combos that you can find a Luca!”

Andrew says “Luca’s pizza is out of this world. The pizza is baked in a Neapolitan wood-burning oven, and you can taste the love and care they put into each pie.”

Luca recently appeared in the New York Times, who raved about their wood-fire appetizers, artisan cocktails, and handmade pasta that are featured alongside their tasty pizza.

Pie to try: Piccante – crushed tomato, hot soppressata, mozzarella, pecorino, shaved garlic, hot honey

DiMaria’s Pizza

1183 Erbs Quarry Road, Lititz, PA 17543 | DimariasLititz.com
Katie says “I love Grandma Pizza from DiMaria’s in Lititz. It requires extra wait time when you order it, but it’s so worth it!”

Pie to try: Grandma Pizza – thin square pizza with chunk tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil pesto, garlic & olive oil

Steel Peel

611 Harrisburg Avenue, Lancaster, PA 17603 | Steelpeelpizza.com
Sean says “Steel Peel’s specialty pizzas – like the Quattro Gusti pizza – are truly special. The combination of toppings make for a flavorful pizza.”

Pie to try: Chesapeake Chicken – chicken steak, bacon, bruschetta tomatoes, old bay, ranch, cheddar & mozzarella with pizza sauce

Thom’s Bread

Lancaster Central Market or 113 Butler Ave, Lancaster, PA 17601 | Thomsbread.com
Tisha says “My favorite right now is Thom’s tomato pie from Thom’s Bread. It can be bought at Lancaster Central Market or their bakery location off of Oregon Pike.”

Pie to try: Tomato Pie – house made crust, tomato sauce

Espino’s Pizza

323 W. Lemon Street, Lancaster, PA 17603 | Espinospizza.com
Lauren says “Espino’s pizza is delicious – the crust is crispy on the bottom, yet fluffy. He also has Latin items on the menu if you aren’t in the mood for pizza.”

Pie to try: Veggie Pizza – peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives

Parma Pizza

301 W Main St, Landisville, PA 17538 | Parmapizzaandgrill.com
Nicole says “It’s hard to pick just one! Our favorite local spot is Parma Pizza. We especially like the Holiday pizza which has spinach, broccoli, tomato, and ricotta- yum.”

Pie to try: Holiday Special – white pizza with fresh garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, ricotta, mozzarella cheese

Carr’s Restaurant

50 West Grant St, Lancaster, PA 17603 | Carrsrestaurant.com
Sarah says “Carr’s dough is soft, not too overdone, making the crusts a warm, delicious breadstick of sorts. The sauce is light and sweet. These pizzas make a great lunch on their own, or appetizer with friends.”

Pie to try: White pizza with garlic and sweet basil or their Pizza of the Day

DiCarlo’s

155 E King St, Lancaster, PA 17602 | Dicarlospizzalanc.com
Matt says “DiCarlo’s pizza is unique and super tasty. Rather than cooking the pizza with cheese on it, they add grated cheese to the sauce and crust AFTER it comes out of the oven.”

Pie to try: the original – it’s unique enough you won’t need toppings (although you can get pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, hot peppers or black olives if you’d like)

Or Try These –

Mod Pizza

Pasquale’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria

Lancaster Brewing Company

Alley Kat

Warm & Hearty PA Dutch Dishes in Lancaster County

Who doesn’t love the occasional indulgence in the comfort of a hearty meal? It warms your body all the way through, and you can almost taste the love in every bite.

That’s what Pennsylvania Dutch food is all about – it is wholesome, stick-to-your-ribs dishes, made from scratch with plenty of love and care.

Below is a list of some of our favorite traditional dishes to try and where to find them. Next time you visit Lancaster, be sure to come hungry and prepare to leave full.

Main Dishes:

Chicken Pot Pie- Now, most of you think you have tried this dish before, but here in Central PA it is prepared a little differently- there is no crust! Chicken Pot Pie in this area is a tasty, stew-like meal, complete with hearty broth, tender slow-cooked chicken, carrots, potatoes, and savory square noodles. It’s like a hug in a bowl.

Try chicken pot-pie at: Dienner’s Country Restaurant, Good ‘N Plenty Restaurant, or Oregon Dairy Country Restaurant & Buffet

Ham Balls- This PA Dutch delicacy is similar to meatballs, but prepared with ground pork and ground ham. To pair with the savory flavors of these meaty morsels, ham balls are commonly served with sweet pineapple glaze. You won’t be able to eat just one!

Try ham balls at: Yoder’s Restaurant & Buffet, Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant & Smorgasbord, or Oregon Dairy Country Restaurant & Buffet

Pork & Sauerkraut- While this dish is traditionally served on New Year’s Day for good luck, it can still be found year-round at many PA Dutch restaurants and smorgasbords. Juicy pork is slow-roasted with tangy sauerkraut, creating the perfect meal for a fall or winter day.

Try pork & sauerkraut at: Katie’s Kitchen, Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant & Smorgasbord or Lititz Family Cupboard

 

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Chicken Croquettes- Chicken croquettes or turkey croquettes are like gourmet, grown-up chicken nuggets. They’re fried to perfection, creating a crisp outer shell covering the rich, velvety inside. Commonly served with mashed potatoes and gravy, this meal will have you in carb heaven.

Try Chicken Croquettes at: Shady Maple Smorgasbord or Miller’s Smorgasbord

 

Sides Dishes:

Brown Buttered Noodles- Some Lancaster County cuisine is rooted in simplicity – much like the tasty side, brown buttered noodles. Soft egg noodles are tossed in nutty browned butter for a scrumptious side enjoyed by diners young and old.

Try brown-buttered noodles at: Yoder’s Restaurant & Buffet, Dienner’s Country Restaurant,  or Katie’s Kitchen

Chicken Corn Soup- Ask a Lancastrian what they think about chicken corn soup and their face will instantly light up- it’s that good. With every spoonful of this rich soup, you’ll find tender chicken, sweet corn, rivels (small dough balls, sort of like miniature dumplings), and sometimes hard boiled eggs, all swimming in savory broth.

Try chicken corn soup at: Good ‘N Plenty Restaurant or the Cloister Restaurant

Potato Filling- What do you get when you cross mashed potatoes and stuffing? PA Dutch Potato Filling. Classic filling is mixed into creamy potatoes, making one big, happy, side-dish. While it’s commonly served at Thanksgiving, you can also find it on smorgasbords year-round.

Try potato filling at: Yoder’s Restaurant & Buffet, the Cloister Restaurant, or Miller’s Smorgasbord

 

Desserts:

Whoopie Pies- This dessert makes everyone “whoop” with joy! Soft cream is sandwiched between two cake-like cookies – like an oreo but better. The traditional variation is chocolate with vanilla cream, but there are new combinations are popping up in bakeries and market stands.

You can try whoopie pies at: Shady Maple Smorgasbord, at Lancaster Central Market, or Lititz Family Cupboard Restaurant & Buffet

Apple Dumplings- Simplicity is key with this dessert, featuring just a few staple ingredients. A cored apple is wrapped in buttery pastry dough and baked with brown sugar and cinnamon which creates a sweet, gooey sauce. It’s a great way to wrap up a PA Dutch meal – especially in the fall.

You can try apple dumplings at: Shady Maple Smorgasbord, Bird-in-Hand Bakery & Café, or Zig’s Bakery

Shoofly 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. It comes in two varieties – dry bottom with a cake-like consistency throughout, and wet bottom with a cake-like top and gooey custard underneath.

You can try Shoofly pie at: Yoder’s Restaurant & Buffet, Hometown Kitchen, and Fisher’s Amish Restaurant

Say Cheese … and Wine!

Not many things go better together than cheese and wine. Creamy, hard, tangy or mellow cheese can be paired perfectly with wines – from white to red or in between with a rosé.

Find the cheeses on our list at Lancaster Central Market or local shops that are making the cheese themselves from dairy sourced from neighboring farms. For a bottle of vino, head to one of the local vineyards where winemakers are growing the grapes and creating delicious wines.

We challenged our taste buds and rounded up five fantastic wine and cheese pairings – matching a cheese found or made locally with a wine, crafted at a Lancaster County vineyard. Try them yourself, or get inspired and create your own.

Bon appetite!

Linden Dale Farm’s Chevre from Lancaster Central Market paired with Waltz Vineyard’s Sauvignon Blanc

Our first pairing features creamy, spreadable goat cheese, Chevre, found at Linden Dale Farm’s stand at Lancaster Central Market, paired with the award-winning Sauvignon Blanc from Waltz Vineyard. The chevre is fresh and locally made, and can be spread on crackers or raw veggies. Waltz’s Sauvignon Blanc is a dry white wine with notes of green apple, citrus and honeysuckle. The crispness of this wine pairs well with the rich, creaminess of the chevre.

Delgiorno’s Italian Specialties’ Mozzarella from Lancaster Central Market paired with Weathered Vineyard’s Pinot Gris

Next up, we’ve paired a creamy, mild fresh mozzarella with a crisp Pinot Gris. The mozzarella, a classic Italian cheese, was found at Delgiorno’s Italian Specialties at Lancaster Central Market. The freshness pairs well with Weathered Vineyard’s Pinot Gris, a fruity white wine with citrus, pear, white nectarine and apple notes. The fresh cheese paired with the fruity wine is a match made in heaven.

September Farm Cheese’s Honey Brook Jack paired with Nissley Vineyard’s Merlot

Our third pairing features a locally made Monterey Jack cheese from September Farm Cheese and a merlot with moxie from Nissley Vineyards. This fresh, mild cheese is made in Honey Brook with dairy from the neighboring farm. If you’re a fan of dry, medium-bodied Merlots, Nissley’s is for you. With hints of black pepper, the wine goes well with the tasty, mild cheese.

S. Clyde Weaver’s Smoked Gouda paired with Vineyard at Hershey’s Firefly (Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot Blend)

For this pairing, we picked up a classic smoked Gouda from S Clyde Weaver, which offers a nutty, smoky flavor. This semi-hard cheese is perfect for snacking while sipping on the Vineyard at Hershey’s red-blend, Firefly. An artful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this wine is full-bodied with notes of plum, currant, and spice. The warm finish of the wine pairs well with the smokiness of the cheese.

Lancaster Farmhouse’s Balsamic Fig White Cheddar from Lancaster Central Market paired with The Vineyard at Grandview’s Cabernet Sauvignon

To wrap up our pairings, we paired a flavorful cheese with a wine to match. Hand-rubbed with balsamic from Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom and figs, this cheese is a party for your taste buds. A cheese like this deserves a rich wine. The Vineyard at Grandview’s Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied wine aged in oak barrels, with notes of red fruit and spice. Together, this combo is yum-o!

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What’s New for 2018 in Lancaster?

With a new year comes new things to explore, experience, and eat in Lancaster – whether you’re visiting for the first time or fiftieth time, or even if you’re a local. We’ve got new exhibits, activities, and shops along with vibrant shows and new ways to experience the tastes of Lancaster.

Dive deeper into the new and upcoming offerings for an exciting year in Lancaster.

Explore

It’s tea time at Turkey Hill Experience! With their new Tea Discovery, you can see, smell and taste delicious Turkey Hill iced tea, all while learning where the flavors come from. A Tea Expert will walk you through the experience as you sip black tea, green tea, hibiscus tea – and more!


Slated for spring 2018, Refreshing Mountain Retreat is offering new challenges with a 2-tier Aerial Obstacle Course. With 20+ new elements that range from 10-25 feet off the ground, those up for the challenge can experience the excitement of maneuvering through the course while floating above the ground. Package this activity with even more outdoor adventure, including ziplining, horseback riding, and more.

Explore great deals on popular brands at Tanger Outlets, who recently expanded and added 23 new stores. Browse old favorites like Gap, Yankee Candle and J. Crew, and check out the new offerings including Francesca’s, The North Face, Under Armour, Columbia Factory Store, H&M, and Express.

For the train enthusiasts, the Railroad Museum of PA will be overhauling their exhibits to present new improvements, exhibits, and innovations to museum-goers, young and old. If you love trains, mark your calendars for June 2018 when renovations are slated to be finished.

Experience

New thrills, twists and turns are awaiting at Dutch Wonderland this summer as they unveil their new family-friendly suspended roller coaster, Merlin’s Mayhem. Guests will soar to up 60 feet above the ground, twist through two helix turns, and twist and dip as they zoom along. Dutch Wonderland is also home to more mild rides for younger children, making it fun for the whole family.

Sight & Sound Theatres is bringing the powerful story, Jesus, to life this spring. Known for their epic productions filled with beautiful costumes & sets, talented performers (and even live animals), and fantastic effects, Sight & Sound presents this story that focuses on a love that rescues.

Bird-in-Hand Stage’s newest musical, The Home Game, hits it out of the park. Debuting March 27, you won’t want to miss this new show, paired with a tasty PA Dutch meal.

2018 brings exciting changes for Zoetropolis Art House. This year, they will be moving to Water Street (just blocks away from Lancaster Central Market), expanding to include a restaurant and distillery, and changing their name to Zoetropolis Cinema Stillhouse. Their lineup includes independent, documentary and foreign films, art shows, and community events. They’ve even secured a famous investor – Lancaster native, Taylor Kinney of “Chicago Fire” fame.

Movie buffs will love American Music Theatre’s new original show – Songs of the Silver Screen. Experience the talented AMT cast and live band as they perform cinematic songs, made famous by icons like Elvis Presley, Julie Andrews, Bette Midler, Rosemary Clooney, Barbra Streisand, John Williams and more.

Eat

Believe it or not, Lancaster has distilling traditions that date back to 1753. Stoll & Wolfe is reigniting these traditions at their distillery and tasting room in Lititz. Stop by for a taste of their Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey or the Blend of Straight American Whiskeys (or both), and try a hand-crafted cocktail that is sure to put some pep in your step.

After eight months of renovations, the Downtown Lancaster corner bar, Yorgos is open for the new year. This multi-level bar/restaurant features a sports bar (first floor), upscale steak and seafood restaurant named Kefi at Yorgos (second floor), and a cocktail lounge and roof deck (third floor). They’ve expanded their menu and beer offerings to match their renovated interior and exterior, adding to Lancaster’s night-life offerings.

After all this…

Once you’ve experienced all the new thing to do and see, why not rest up for another day of fun at the new Hotel at Rock Lititz (slated to open in fall 2018). While the hotel’s primary purpose is to serve the rock and pop bands and production crews that practice at neighboring Rock Lititz, the everyday traveler can kick their feet up there too. To add an extra splash of uniqueness and a “backstage” vibe, many of the decorations and furniture will be crafted out of repurposed gear cases, tech items and the like.

Want to experience life in a tiny house, without abandoning your not-so-tiny house lifestyle? Tiny Estates, opening this spring, could give you that experience! The former Ridge Run Campground in Elizabethtown will soon be outfitted with half a dozen tiny houses for visitors to stay in, giving them a taste of minimalist living.

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