Author Archives: Ally

Ally

About Ally

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

Ten Things to Do in Lancaster: November Travel Guide

November offers the best of both seasons in Lancaster – the last of the fall festivities plus the beginning of the winter holiday celebrations. It’s a wonderful month where you can go for a drive to enjoy the final colors of fall at the beginning, and start the holiday preparations toward the end, with a delicious turkey dinner in between.

Whether you’re holding on to the harvest season or are ready for mistletoe and holiday spirit, there’s something for you in Lancaster this November.

Troops & Trains | Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
November 4-5
To honor veterans and current service men and women, Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s Troops & Trains features military relics, patriotic music, and displays detailing the significant role railroads played in the defense of our nation.

Eastland Alpacas Open House | Eastland Alpacas
November 4-5 & 11-12
Get up close with the furry friends at Eastland Alpacas during their Fall Open House. After you meet and feed the alpacas, take a wagon ride around the farm or hop aboard the barrel train. The Farm Store will be open to purchase warm alpaca wool gifts.

Thanksgiving Day Tour | Strasburg Scooters
November 23
Gobble gobble! Before turkey time, take a spin around the county on a scooter to experience the Lancaster countryside and covered bridges with Strasburg Scooters. This Thanksgiving Day tour is the perfect adventure before your scrumptious dinner.

Holiday Shopping:

Museum Store Holiday Open House | Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
November 18
It’s never too early to start your Christmas Shopping, and Landis Valley has just the event for you. The Museum Store’s Open House features one-of-a-kind holiday items including ornaments, Pennsylvania German Paper Stars, wooden bowls, beautiful textiles, Belsnickels, and more.

Creatively Lancaster’s Markers Market | Tellus360
November 18
Shopping for someone who loves one-of-a-kind gifts? This is the event for you! Creatively Lancaster’s November Makers Market will feature local artists, hobbyists, crafters, creators, designers and more, selling their uniquely crafted wares. While you browse this pop-up shop, enjoy a pint of beer or cider from Tellus360.

Small Business Saturday | Various Locations
November 25
While we’re fans of shopping local every day of the year, consider kicking off your holiday shopping on the Saturday following Thanksgiving at some of Lancaster’s independently owned shops and boutiques. You’ll find goodies from kitchen wares, spices, tea and olive oil to locally crafted accessories and jewelry.

Holiday Fun:

The 2017 Christmas Show: Home for the Holidays | American Music Theatre
November 1 – December 30
There’s no place like home for the holidays! Get in the holiday spirit with American Music Theatre’s Christmas Show – Home for the Holidays, featuring holiday songs, and outstanding singing and dancing. What better way to get in the holiday spirit!

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas | Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre
November 16 – December 31
Get in the holiday spirit with dinner and a show at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, as they bring Irving Berlin’s White Christmas to life. Your toes will be tapping to the Christmas classics as you enjoy this festive favorite.

Dutch Winter Wonderland | Dutch Wonderland
November 18-19, 24-26 & December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23 & 26-30
From twinkling lights to themed rides and entertainment, Dutch Winter Wonderland is holiday fun for the whole family. Grab some hot cocoa and make your way through the beautifully decorated Dutch Wonderland for an evening of wintery excitement.

Mayor’s Tree Lighting & Tuba Christmas | Penn Square
November 24
‘Tis the season for the Mayor’s Tree Lighting & Tuba Christmas in Lancaster City. Santa Claus will make his annual appearance in Penn Square, followed by the official lighting of the tree and beautiful Christmas carols performed by the tuba choir.

Haunted Lancaster

As one of America’s oldest inland cities, Lancaster has tons of history and stories from the past. Some tales are a little spookier than others. Many of the places where these events occurred are said to be haunted, even today.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, these six places have history that may contribute to eerie occurrences.

Haldeman Mansion
Regarded as one of the most haunted places in Lancaster, the Haldeman Mansion dates back to the 1700s. Sightings, including a grouchy man, a little girl, a teenage boy, and a jovial, singing female servant, have been reported. The lingering spirits may be due to the unmarked graves found under the building when plumbing and electric were added to the property.

Fulton Theatre
Lancaster’s oldest theatre is also one of our most haunted locations. Reports of hauntings date back to before the theatre was even erected, since the theatre was built on the foundation of the old Lancaster jail. This was the location of the Paxton Boys massacre, where 14 Conestoga Indians were murdered.

Bube’s Brewery
With a history dating back to the 1800s, Bube’s Brewery may be home to spirits. Staff and customers have reported seeing a woman in a long gown and the apparition of a man. Having appeared on the TV show Ghost Hunters, Bube’s is well known for its eerie happenings.

Railroad House Inn
Dating back to the 1820s, this restaurant and inn is a haunted hot spot. From men who worked nearby to a young girl in Victorian-style clothing, customers and guests at the inn have experienced apparitions in various areas around the property.

Rock Ford Plantation
As the historic home of General Edward Hand, the sound of footsteps and muffled conversations have been reported at Rock Ford Plantation. Going beyond noises and apparitions, visitors have reported “phantom smells” – from tobacco smoke to food cooking in the kitchen.

Franklin & Marshall College
Built in the 1850s, Franklin & Marshall’s Old Main Building was reportedly built on the site of Lancaster’s “Gallows Hill,” where criminals were hanged after trial. Paranormal activity has been reported, including the bell tolling at night by itself.

If you want to learn more about the potentially haunted locations around Lancaster City and Strasburg, Ghost Tours of Lancaster has you covered, and are available nightly through October.

Resources: “Top 8 Most Haunted Places in Lancaster, PA.” HauntedRooms.com, Sept. 2018

 

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.

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