Author Archives: Sarah

Sarah

About Sarah

Sarah grew up in Philly and moved to Lancaster permanently after meeting her husband. She loves being outside, and finds joy in little wonders, taking her kids for a stroll downtown or a hike in the southern end, and is always up for trying something new. If you're familiar with Lancaster County at all, and have been to Central Market, you may run into her father-in-law, as he's the owner of Long's Horseradish!

Top Outdoor Things to Do with Kids in Lancaster, PA

The best spots for kids and families to play, learn, and discover

Lancaster, PA is full of great opportunities to head outside with your kids. So slather on the sunscreen and scoot outside for some good old-fashioned family fun. The destinations below are designed to offer great experiences and new discoveries for the entire family.

Top things to do with kids in Lancaster County, PA

[1] Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
With more than 50 farm fun activities for the whole family included in your admission, and lunch and dinner options on site, Cherry Crest is the perfect destination for a day out with the family. From the famous Amazing Maize Maze and wagon rides to pedal karts and baby chicks, there is something for every age in your family.

[2] Eastland Alpacas
Take some time to tour the 30 acre farm at Eastland Alpacas, and enjoy petting and feeding these gentle, adorable alpacas. The farm is typically open from 10 AM to 4 PM, but feel free to call ahead to ensure that you will get the full experience. In addition to visiting with the alpacas, check out the on-site store stocked with various items that are all made from alpaca fiber.

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[3] Indian Echo Caverns
No matter the season, did you know that caves stay an average temperature year round? Indian Echo Cavern is 52 degrees inside, rain or shine. Year round, 7 days a week, you can explore the cavern, and enjoy a petting zoo and playground. Plan about 45 minutes for the full tour, and pack your lunch as not to interrupt the little explorers!

[4] Wolf Sanctuary of PA
In a natural woodland in northern Lancaster County, you will find the home of the Speedwell Wolves. Your kids will love the guided tour where they’ll get to view wolves in their natural habitat and learn about their behavior.

[5] Amish Attractions
Experience Lancaster’s heritage at one of our three indoor/outdoor Amish attractions! From exploring the farm and interacting with the animals at the Amish Farm & House, to having the unique experience of “learning a lesson” in an Amish one-room school house at the Amish Experience, or climbing aboard a buggy and running through a covered bridge at the Amish Village, you’re sure to enjoy learning and fun at one of these great attractions.

[6] Nookside Stables / Ironstone Ranch
What better way to experience Lancaster County’s farmland than horseback riding! At Nookside Stables, you’ll learn about the horse and enjoy navigating an obstacle course on your house as you enjoy the picturesque views of surrounding Amish farms. Beginners are welcome, ages 10+ for the horseback adventure; Children 10 and under can enjoy pony rides, playground and wagon rides. For a trail ride experience, head to Ironstone Ranch, where you’ll find gentle, well-mannered horses and experienced guides who will navigate you through 275 acres of trails. Please make advance reservations.

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[7] ZooAmerica & Hershey Gardens
Hershey’s ZooAmerica is home to more than 200 animals, all native to North America. You’ll find everything from reptiles to porcupines to otters and mountain lions. Admission is free with your ticket to Hersheypark, or there is also a separate, year-round entrance specific to the zoo. You’ll also want to stop at beautiful Hershey Gardens, featuring 23-acres of breathtaking flowers, shurbs, and trees in addition to a butterfly atrium and hands-on children’s garden.

[8] Gretna Lake & Beach
Looking to spend the whole day outdoors while vacationing in Lancaster? Look no further than Mt. Gretna Lake & Beach, where you’ll find eight-acres including a beach, recreation lawn and picnic grove, in addition to the Jigger Shop, serving delicious ice-cream and treats and an open-air theatre.

[9] Intercourse Bike Works / Strasburg Scooters
For older children, you may want to tour Lancaster County on two wheels rather than four! Stop by one of Intercourse Bike Works locations to pick up your bike, and find the tour that’s right for you – from and Amish Dinner Tour to Covered Bridges on Electric Bikes, (or if you’re taking an excursion sans kiddos, the Bikes, Barns and Beers tour), there’s sure to be something for you. If you’re brave, and would rather try a scooter ride, or scoot coupe, head over to Strasburg Scooters, where you’ll enjoy a guided scooter tour on the back roads of Amish Country. You’ll pass exceptional views of the countryside, including Amish farms and schoolhouses, in addition to covered bridges and incredible backroads. You’ll truly be enjoy the fresh air with either of these options! NOTE: Please see websites for age guidelines.

[10] Chiques Rock Outfitters / Shanks Mare
If you’re looking to just take a hike, or kayak along the river, you’ll want to check out this list of Lancaster County Parks & Preserves. Didn’t pack your kayak? That’s okay, we’ve got you covered. Chiques Rock Outfitters and Shanks Mare have kayaks, paddleboards or canoes for rent, and will help you enjoy your time on the river.

[11] Zip Line at Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center
You won’t want to miss the chance to zip line through the canopy at Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center – you’ll have your options from the Flying V Ziplines (2 ziplines, great test run for those who aren’t sure they want to do the whole course), the Challenge Adventure Tour (5 zip lines, 9 challenge elements) or the Aerial Excursion Tour (7 zip lines, 3 sky bridges, 40’ rappel ending). You’ll also find horse rides, farm animal experience, and NEW for 2018, a Challenge of 22 obstacles, suspended 6-25 feet in the air.

[12] AvalancheXpress Snow Tubing
Traveling in the winter? You won’t want to miss a trip to AvalanchXpress at Heritage Hills Resort. There’s plenty to do, including 10 lanes of snow tubing, fire pits that are perfect for warming up and roasting marshmallows, an ice skating rink that’s open through the evening, and great food to warm your belly after a day of outdoor adventuring!

For even more fun, check out the Top Family Attractions in Lancaster, PA.

Top Things to do in April in Lancaster, PA

Spring fever has officially arrived, and Lancaster begins to bloom into April with plenty of activities for everyone. With the warmer weather, the farmland is turning from rich browns of turning the soil to green and gold of crops beginning to poke through the ground.

The spring also brings great things to do in Lancaster, from getting outside and active, to performances, beer and food. Keep reading for our guide to the biggest events in Lancaster this April.

Get Outside + Active!

Get outside – whether you’re taking a hike through one of Lancaster’s amazing parks or exploring a tectonic cave, it’s the perfect season to come out of your winter hibernation and stretch those muscles. It’s also the perfect time to enjoy our covered bridges or rail trails on your bike.

Want to stretch out, but hiking and spelunking isn’t quite your idea of an adventure? Maybe yoga and wine in a barn is more your thing. Don’t forget to pack your yoga mat!

Have little ones traveling with you who need to get some energy out, but it’s raining? Check out Sky Zone – a Trampoline Park. If you happen to be traveling over Earth Day, you can celebrate with crafts, snacks, and jumping at their Dr. Seuss Lorax event.

Explore History in Lancaster

Lancaster’s unique heritage and rich history is tucked into a variety of attractions – and this month, there are three special events you won’t want to miss.

Hop on board for this craft beer tasting event in a unique venue – the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Enjoy viewing tons of historic trains – yes, the real things, not just models, while you taste 20+ local and other craft brews.

Get ready for high tea at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum – you’ll enjoy a tour and then a Victorian Tea and a light lunch served in the historic 1856 Landis Home. If you have a little one with you (who might enjoy cookies and tea) head to the children’s event, Tea with Kitty Hand at the historic Rock Ford Plantation. This fun and informative event is open to boys and girls, recommended for ages 5-12.  Reservations are required for both of these events, so plan accordingly!

Enjoy the Arts

There are plenty of shows in Lancaster that you won’t want to miss in April, including Blackbird playing at the Fulton Theatre, JESUS playing at the Sight & Sound Theatre, Whose Wife is it, Anyway? playing at the Rainbow Comedy Playhouse, Showboat at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, The Home Game and Magic & Wonder: Dream playing at the Bird-in-Hand Stage.

You also won’t want to miss Straight No Chaser – the Speakeasy Tour playing at American Music Theatre on April 10 – where the captivating sound of ten voices come together to make extraordinary music.

Also, if you love the symphony, but are on a budget, check out the free Lancaster Symphony Orchestra Open Rehearsal at the Fulton Opera House on April 5. Seating is limited, and on a first come first served basis, so register today!

Shop ‘til you Drop

Enjoy some local culture at one of our Amish Mud Sales where you’ll find bargains on things like furniture, livestock, produce, baked goods, antiques, housewares, and more. In addition, you’ll get a sense for Lancaster’s community and tradition.

Looking for more unique shopping? Head to Adamstown for the Spring Antiques Extravaganza where you’ll find more than 3,000 antique dealers. You’re sure to find something special, even if you go without a specific need in mind!

Whatever you choose, Lancaster has so many things to do in April. For even more events throughout the year, let our Events Calendar be your guide!

Guide to Hotel Pools in Lancaster

Where to splash and swim indoors and out, and then spend the night.

Many of our hotels in Lancaster, PA offer visitors (and staycationers!) a chance to hang out poolside, and the opportunity for your little ones to play in a zero depth a splash zone. After a long day exploring Lancaster, hotel guests can lounge outside (or indoors), or take a lap or two in the pool.

Below is a look at some of Lancaster’s best hotel pools for beating the summer heat or to get your energy out during the winter blues.

Note: The below list is in alphabetical order.

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[1]  AmishView Inn & Suites
Enjoy your stay in an upscale hotel where you can draw back your curtains and see the lush Amish farmland, and to top it off, you’ll love their indoor pool, fitness center and whirlpools

[2]  Best Western Plus Intercourse Village Inn
With some much to do in Lancaster, save some time to take a dip in the indoor pool and hot tub. Located in the heart of Intercourse, you can conveniently stay within walking distance of many of the local attractions and shops.

[3]  Bird-in-Hand Family Inn
With both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, the Family Inn is the perfect place for an active family, no matter the season of travel. In addition, your family will love the tennis and basketball courts, and more.

[4]  Circle M RV and Camping Resort
If you’re truly up for an adventure, enjoy 104 acres of land surrounded by the Conestoga River, mini-golf, pitch and putt golf, and an indoor water park.

[5]  Clarion Inn at Historic Strasburg
Take a dip in the outdoor heated pool at the Clarion Inn, right in the heart of Lancaster County. If you are looking to visit Sight & Sound Theatres, the Strasburg Rail Road, or Lancaster’s Outlets, this is an ideal location.

[6]  Comfort Suites Manheim/Lancaster
Centrally located between Hershey & Lancaster’s attractions, and right up the road from the largest indoor sports complex in the U.S., the indoor salt-water pool will be the perfect addition to your stay.

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[7]  DoubleTree Resort by Hilton – Lancaster
Your kids will love the indoor water playground – complete with slides, dump buckets, and water sprayers – also featuring a shallow wading area with a frog slide and rainbow sprinkler. And don’t forget to grab a warm and gooey DoubleTree Cookie when you check in!


[8]  Eden Resort & Suites
If you’re looking for a little luxury with your family fun, the Eden Resort is the hotel for you. Enjoy both a heated indoor and outdoor pool and Kidz Water Zone spray park. In addition, the lighted outdoor ping pong, billiard, and shuffle board tables, basketball court, Boccee, and putting green will add even more chances for fun.

[9]  Fulton Steamboat Inn
Savor the full service accommodations in addition to a heated indoor pool & whirlpool. And if it’s nice outside, head out to feed the ducks and koi in the pond, or spend the evening by the fire-pit on the patio, overlooking beautiful Lancaster County farmland.

[10]  Greystone Manor Victorian Inn
Enjoy a stay in a beautiful Victorian Mansion, built in 1883 on 2 park-like acres including beautiful gardens and a pool and hot tub. Greystone Manor truly offers a unique stay in a serene setting in Lancaster County.

[11]  Hampton Inn Lancaster
You’re sure to enjoy the seasonal heated outdoor pool and patio area, and less than a block away, you can relax on a paved walking trail with ponds, water fixtures, a playground, unique sculptures, and more.


[12]  The Hotel Hershey
For year-round fun, relax by the indoor pool, and don’t miss the spa, located in the hotel. Whether you want a couples retreat or a family fun vacation with Hersheypark as part of your trip, this is the hotel for you.

[13]  Lake-in-Wood Camping Resort
From an indoor heated pool and spa to a larger outdoor pool complex, your family is sure to remember your stay at Lake-in-Wood – featuring two fun playgrounds, a total fitness hiking trail, rec room, and paddle boats.

[14]  Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square
Located in the center of Downtown Lancaster, the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square is perfectly situated for a night on the town. After exploring the city that was recently named one of Forbes Top Ten Cities to Visit in 2018, relax in their indoor pool.

[15]  Tru by Hilton Lancaster East
Featuring an indoor heated pool, the new Tru by Hilton Lancaster East is perfect for the traveler who’s looking for affordable travel with upscale amenities. This hotel features a lobby with areas to let you work, play, lounge and eat, and a fully equipped fitness center.

Fun Family Weekend in Lancaster

A Fun Family Weekend in Lancaster, PA

Do you feel the need to escape the cabin fever of late winter and create memories with the ones you love? Looking for something close by? Easy to plan? We have just the thing for you! Conveniently located within a couple of hours from most cities in the Mid-Atlantic region, Lancaster, PA offers a combination of small-town charm, historical appeal, and vibrant city amenities that your whole family will enjoy.

We rounded up a list of recommendations for a 3-day weekend trip, removing the stress of planning from the equation. With a focus on quality family time together, hands-on learning, and partaking in the unique foods Lancaster offers, we hope that you find this weekend one to remember. If you’re more of a planner, and want to add your own twist on what’s recommended below, we’ve got the perfect Lancaster County Destination Guide for you – and it’s free!

Day 1: Friday Night in Lancaster

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We know you’ll appreciate staying in Marriott in Downtown Lancaster, as its location provides the perfect backdrop for the start of your weekend. There are over 60 delicious dining options and 80 shops all within walking distance. If you don’t want to spend too much time on your phone, scrolling through the whole list of restaurant options, we recommend Isaac’s Downtown Bar and Grill. It’s an award-winning, bird-themed restaurant featuring grilled sandwiches, homemade soups, fresh salads, and a fun, interactive Kid’s Menu. After dinner, take some time to unwind. There’s nothing quite like sinking into a comfy hotel bed at the end of a long week. Plus, you’re going to want to be well rested for your Saturday adventures.

Day 2: Saturday in Lancaster

Morning: For a great start to your day, grab a hearty breakfast at the Baker’s Table, which offers coffee, tea, pastries, and their spin on old-fashioned treats like whoopie pies. They also offer a crowd-pleasing breakfast buffet featuring homemade waffles, made-to-order omelets, and all-you-can-eat bacon. After breakfast, head to the Lancaster Science Factory, which is located in the same historic complex as the Baker’s Table cafe. The Science Factory features 65 interactive exhibits, workstations, and mini-labs, offering engaging, open-ended learning experiences for kids ages Pre-K through 8th grade.

Afternoon: The best part about the Science Factory is that your pass is good all day, so you can come and go as needed. When everyone is tired and hungry, you can fuel up at Cork and Cap, also located in the same complex as the Science Factory. They’re known for their Pennsylvania Dutch fare, which they offer up with a contemporary, cosmopolitan twist. There’s no need to pack up the car and drive to multiple locations!

Night: After a long day of discovery, you can always head back to your hotel for a break and take a dip in the pool. If you ended up craving a late night snack, the Lancaster Sweet Shop has a selection of Stroopies and a large variety of ice cream flavors. Take our word for it: mixing ice cream with a local favorite like Stroopies, is a perfectly delicious way to cap off your busy day.

Day 3: Sunday in Lancaster

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Morning: Why not start off your morning at the Prince Street Cafe? Just a block and a half walk from your hotel, they serve a satisfying selection of egg sandwiches, breakfast wraps, smoothie bowls, coffees, and teas. After breakfast, we recommend taking a trip back in time to experience the historic Strasburg Rail Road. Only a 20-minute car ride away from Downtown Lancaster, you won’t regret climbing aboard an antique train car from the 1800’s as you witness the beautiful countryside pass outside your window. Be sure to get your tickets in advance to guarantee you get the seats that work best for you!

Afternoon: If you’re hungry before you hit the road toward home, The Fireside Tavern is a cozy spot located in Strasburg just minutes away from the railroad. The restaurant offers a great selection of casual dining fare for both kids and adults, and in the winter, you can enjoy the warmth of three working fireplaces.

We hope our ideas provide you with some inspiration for creating new memories with the ones you love, all while helping you beat those winter blues.

20 Things to do in Lancaster in February

From Valentine’s Day to Black History Month and even Fasnacht Day, there’s plenty to do in Lancaster this February for both locals and visitors alike. Turn up the romance with a date night at one of our theatres or special events, or skip the chilly weather and spend some time being active with one of our many indoor adventures. With events for the whole family, this is your guide to some of the best happenings in town.

Enjoy the Arts & Culture

Masters of Illusion: Believe the Impossible with the largest magical touring show in the world. Witness grand illusions, levitating women, appearances and vanishes, escapes, comedy magic, and slight-of-hand, all LIVE, and amazing.

Bernstein Meets Rachmaninoff – Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story will get your fingers snapping and toes tapping as you relive the music of this romantic musical drama.

Peter Kenote and The Trust Collective – Join New York Philharmonic violist, Peter Kenote, and The Trust Collective as they present favorite selections from Baroque to Broadway.

Don’t miss out on our amazing shows in February:

The Mousetrap – A riveting whodunit that will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish!

Cash – Ring of Fire – From the opening chords of vintage country to rockabilly, rock ‘n roll, searing ballads, and gentle songs of love and deep faith, you’re sure to love this classic.

Death at the Garage Sale – It’s hard to imagine that an older couple could get in trouble organizing their ‘downsizing’ garage sale, but find out how at this hilarious comedy.

First Date – imagine you’re on a blind date with your opinionated best friend, your therapist and a bevy of broken-hearted exes show up. Throw in a soundtrack to rival the Top 40 and you’ve got First Date, a non-stop laughter-inducing Broadway musical.

Celebrate Black History Month
Enjoy the smooth voice of jazz vocalist and composer Milton Suggs – dubbed “Chicago’s next rising star.” Suggs’ approach to music is a reflection of the many great voices in Black music and culture from the past century and beyond. On February 3, enjoy his lush baritone on original compositions, vocalese tunes and time-honored standards.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day
Throughout the month, visitors to the AACA Museum can enjoy Chocolate Covered February and participate in a Hershey’s Kisses Scavenger Hunt throughout the Museum – how many Hershey’s Kisses can you find?

The Ultimate Date Night with Jay & Laura Laffoon – The Ultimate Date Night is an evening of non-stop music, comedy, and laughter!

Book a B&B with a loved one! Curl up by the fire with a loved one, cozy up in a blanket, and read a good book, enjoy slow and simple conversations, or just listen to the silence. Book one of these great Bed & Breakfasts to rent this winter in Lancaster.

For more winter date night ideas, click here.

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Spend some time indoors
The weather is frigid- what’s there to do to burn off some pent-up energy? Plenty! Not only does Lancaster have beautiful outdoor resources for hiking, biking, and exploring, we also have loads of indoor adventures as well. Come check out some of the locations below to start off the new year with active, healthy activities that will keep you busy all day long.

 

Bed & Breakfasts in Lancaster to rent this Winter

15 Bed and Breakfasts to Rent This Winter in Lancaster

*Pictured Above: #6, Speedwell Forge Bed & Breakfast

There are certain things we crave in the wintertime – we can pick up the scent of chimney smoke in the cold air, think of snuggling up indoors, and we certainly drink a lot more hot coffee or tea. We long to curl up by the fire, cozy up in a blanket, and read a good book, enjoy slow and simple conversations, or just listen to the silence.

Lancaster is the perfect place to enjoy a winter getaway – below is a round-up of fifteen Bed and Breakfasts in Lancaster that will help you to relax this winter.

Twin Pine Manor Bed & Breakfast

[1] Twin Pine Manor Bed & Breakfast
A spacious mansion with nine luxurious guest rooms, all with Jacuzzi tubs and fireplaces. Located in the heart of PA Dutch Country, it’s the perfect romantic countryside retreat for you to enjoy.

From $169/night

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[2] The Hurst House
Located in the heart of Ephrata, the Hurst House Bed & Breakfast sits at the top of the Katche Boucle (Cat’s Back Hill), and overlooks traditional Lancaster County – hundreds of beautiful Amish and Mennonite farms. Your hosts, Bert and Rich will make you feel right at home.

From $170/night

[3] The Hertzog Homestead Bed and Breakfast
Maybe you’re not a morning person, or the idea of making small talk with strangers is not your thing, or you just want to focus on your partner. This is the B&B for you – it’s Lancaster County’s only private, in suite breakfast B&B. Built in 1786, the Hertzog Homestead has been in the family for nine generations and is an excellent place to experience the tranquility and peace that’s needed for a winter getaway.

From $149/night

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[4] Strasburg Village Inn
The Strasburg Village Inn puts you right in the middle of the action in Strasburg, with walkable dining and shopping, and attractions like the Strasburg Rail Road and Sight & Sound, just a five minute drive away. But be careful – you may not be able to resist the smell of freshly baking waffle cones wafting from the Creamery next-door.

From $120/night

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[5] B. F. Hiestand House Bed & Breakfast
If you enjoy local history and architecture, this gracious home is the one for you. You’ll appreciate the rare American Chestnut foyer and staircase, and the mahogany wainscoting and coffered ceiling in the formal dining room. The two parlors with pocket doors and fireplaces are the perfect place to snuggle up with a good book.

From $113/night

[6] Speedwell Forge Bed & Breakfast
If you’re looking to retreat from the world, Speedwell Forge is the best place for you – offering three elegant guest rooms and three cottages on 120 acres, between rolling hills and a natural park. And you’ll be sharing the property with some resident wolves at the Wolf Sanctuary!

From $150/night

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[7] Harvest Moon Bed & Breakfast
Located in the center of New Holland, an area known for its organic and sustainable farming, the B&B offers exciting culinary activities that include lectures, demos, tours and weekend events. All of the beautifully appointed rooms feature goose down comforters which are sure to keep you snug and warm.

From $109/night

[8] Greystone Manor Bed & Breakfast
The Greystone Manor is an elegant Victorian Mansion and carriage house with 13 beautifully appointed rooms/suites. Perched atop a hill in Bird-in-Hand on two park-like acres, beautiful gardens and ponds of abundance.

From $129/night

[9] Amethyst Inn Bed & Breakfast
Sitting high on a hill with a magnificent view of historic Main Street, the Amethyst Inn is a massive, heavily veranda home built in the 1830s. You’ll be welcomed by a huge nine foot, intricately carved front door, and the guest rooms are true to Adamstown’s heart of antiques – featuring period furnishings, captivating two-person Jacuzzis, charming log fireplaces, and some rooms feature steam showers.

From $129/night

French Country Manor

[10] French Country Manor Bed & Breakfast
For another true escape, French Country Manor is located on a secluded 40-acre estate in Southern Lancaster County. Originally built in 1776 as a 30-room iron master’s mansion, it was rebuilt in 1813 with an added mill race. This unique & historic B&B has many gardens, paths, woodlands, bridges, a barn and even an old mill stream with a waterfall.

From $295/night

Australian Walkabout Inn

[11] Australian Walkabout Inn
Featuring hardwood floors, oriental rugs, Jacuzzi soaking baths, hot tubs, luxury linens and massage therapists, this is the perfect place for a relaxing getaway. Australian Walkabout’s logo says it all – an Aborigine symbol which means “a journey with a resting place.” No matter what part of your life’s journey you are on, you are sure to find rest here.

From $119/night

[12] Historic Smithton Inn
The Smithton Inn has been welcoming guests for over 246 years, and their rooms are set up to afford you as much privacy or socialization as you’d like. The traditional old-world charm is paired with modern comfort and convenience, including a wine tasting room right in the Inn.

From $149/night

Kings Cottage Bed & Breakfast

[13] King’s Cottage Bed & Breakfast
Located just a few minutes away from the buzzing city of Lancaster, with a thriving arts scene and fabulous restaurants, the King’s Cottage is elegant with luxurious rooms that have cozy fireplaces. Spoil yourself (and your loved one) with a massage or a rose petal bath with chocolate covered strawberries.

From $175/night

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[14] Cameron Estate Inn
Step back in time to this 1805 Mansion featuring 15 acres of lawns, gardens, babbling streams, and woodlands. To top it off, there’s a restaurant on-site featuring farm-to-table hot-served breakfast every day, and imaginative and skillfully prepared meals for lunch and dinner.

From $149/night

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[15] The Lancaster Bed & Breakfast
The Lancaster Bed and Breakfast is an historic inn centrally located in Lancaster, PA, between its energized downtown and the heart of Pennsylvania Amish Country. Their spacious living room is the perfect place to snuggle up with a good or enjoy a game with a warm cup of coffee by the fire.

From $145/night

If you still haven’t quite found the B&B for you, you can see a full list of Bed & Breakfasts in Lancaster County here. We hope you enjoy your warm & cozy stay!

Top Soup Spots in Lancaster according to Yelp.com

Best Soup Spots in Lancaster according to Yelp

No matter the weather, isn’t it always just the best to compliment your meal with a warm cup of soup? In Lancaster, there are tons of great restaurants, but here, we’re recommending the top restaurants to visit in Lancaster when you want to order soup.

The first four on our list below are part of the top 10 on Yelp.com, a website that allows real users to write reviews on the best businesses in town – from burgers and hotdogs to soup and sandwiches.

1. Zoup!
At Zoup!, you’ll find twelve, always rotating daily varieties of soup, each served with a hunk of freshly baked bread. Customer top picks include Chicken Potpie, Lobster Bisque and Vegetarians Split Pea – but find your own favorite by sampling soups before you order. You will also find sandwiches and salad on their menu.

2. Tom + Chee
Soooooup! What better to pair with your grilled cheese on a cold day (or a hot one) than soup. With seasonal soups like the Blue Cheese Chili or Tomato Gazpacho, you’re sure to find a pairing that you’ll love. Or you can always get the classic favorites like Classic Tomato or Creamy Tomato Basil.

I’m 14 different kinds of happy

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3. Ploy Thai Kitchen
What better way to warm your belly than Thai soup. If you’re looking or a little kick to add to your meal, order the Tom Yum Shrimp Soup. My personal favorite is Tom Kha Chicken Soup, made with coconut milk, mushrooms, lemongrass and lime juice. Whatever you choose, pair it with some Thai Dumplings or Crab Ragoon.

4.  Saladworks
Looking to eat healthy in the New Year? Why not head to Saladworks and pair your favorite salad with a delicious, warm, filling soup. Two fan favorites are the Turkey Sausage and Kale and the Chicken Tortilla.

Here are some more of our personal favorite soup spots you may want to check out:

5. Isaac’s Restaurants
Isaac’s soup is so delicious that they have a soup calendar each month that you can check out to see if they have your favorite today – and during the months of January, February & March, Isaac’s donates one gallon of soup to a local soup kitchen or shelter for every 100 cups of soup they sell. So warm up your belly, and contribute to warming someone else’s too! Local favorite? The pepperjack tomato soup.

6.  Annie Bailey’s Irish Public House
In the heart of Downtown Lancaster, you don’t want to miss out on some deliciousness in their seasonal menu and the warm, authentic Irish Pub atmosphere. Our personal favorites is the Five Onion Bisque, made with Irish ale, cream, and bleu cheese croutons. If you’re thinking of French Onion, it’s nothing like that – the cream makes it a thick, rich consistency, and the blue cheese croutons add the perfect crunch.


7.  The Brasserie
Looking for a homey setting to sit by the fire and dine? Head over to the Brasserie, which literally was a home, built back in 1925. Whether you’re stopping in for lunch or dinner, enjoy their famous tomato bisque. In the warmer weather, ask to be seated on their back deck and enjoy the breeze.

8.  Commonwealth on Queen
A trendy farm-to-table spot in Downtown Lancaster, Commonwealth on Queen features two soups daily – black bean soup (vegetarian & gluten free) and a soup of the day – both made from scratch, with love, and served with homemade bread. If you get their early, you can snag one of the armchairs by the fire place.

9.  Café Chocolate
Head into Lititz for a globally inspired menu featuring homemade soups like Mulligatawny Soup (lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes & broth), Portuguese Chicken & Rice, and West African Peanut Chowder. And true to their name, you’ll find everything chocolate – hot chocolate, chocolate dipped fruit, chocolate crepes, chocolate cake & truffles, and you can even try chili made with chocolate.

10.  Tomato Pie Café
Here’s another favorite in Downtown Lititz – a restaurant with a simple, but artful menu, and lots of charm. The flavors, textures, home cooked comfort and savory spice combine in each dish to give your world a vibrant, fresh perspective on food. They live by the motto “everything tastes better with friends,” so grab a few friends, and head on over for a warm conversation over a warm cup of soup.

Holiday Light Shows in Lancaster, PA

Holiday Light Displays in Lancaster County

There are so many signs of the holiday season here in Lancaster. Stores put up their holiday displays, the Mayor officially lights the tree downtown, and gingerbread and peppermint flavored goodies start appearing everywhere.

Nothing quite puts me in the mood for the season like the lights displays. Especially when holiday budgets are tight, driving around to see neighborhood lights can be a less costly tradition.

With the help of our friends over at LancasterOnline, and the local community, we’re providing a map below for you – so pile in the car, turn on some holiday tunes (or tune to the station noted for a synchronized performance), and enjoy!

If you’d like to do some activity along with your lights, you may want to check out Dutch Winter Wonderland (for the littles), Hershey Sweet Lights, Kitchen Kettle Village or Longwood Gardens (for all ages).

 

 

Lancaster County Holiday Traditions

The holiday season in Lancaster County is a joyous time of fond memories and festive traditions. If you are weary of the consumerism and crowded shopping malls, step back into a simpler time and enjoy some old-fashioned Lancaster holiday traditions, and draw the focus back to your family, faith and community. Here are ten local Lancaster County holiday traditions:

1. A very old PA Dutch Christmas Eve tradition (originating in Germany) was to hide a pickle ornament deep in the branches of the family Christmas tree. The parents hung the pickle last, after all the other ornaments were in place. In the morning, the child who found the pickle first would receive an extra gift. The first adult to find the pickle traditionally would get good luck the whole year.

2. Instead of leaving a treat for Santa on Christmas Eve, PA Dutch youngsters would leave an empty plate under their Christmas tree for the Grishkindel (Christ child) to fill with sweets for them to eat.

3. One of the first known written mentions of a Christmas tree in America is found in the 1821 diary of Matthew Zahn, who lived right here in Lancaster.

4. The Belsnickel is a traditional German character known for visiting children a few weeks before Christmas to help determine who was naughty and who was nice.

5. The Moravian Star was adopted by the Moravian Church as a symbol of the birth of Jesus, and represented the star of Bethlehem. Traditionally, the star is hung on the first Sunday of Advent and remains up until Epiphany, January 6, or the time of the coming of the Magi. You can see Moravian Stars throughout the county, but especially in the town of Lititz.

6. Early Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas traditions include dying eggs with onion skins – we now associate that practice with Easter, but it was an originally a Christmas activity. The festive eggs would then be used to decorate the tree. Another traditional holiday decoration in Lancaster is a pretzel.

7. Among the unusual items that will be dropped to ring in the New Year in various towns around Lancaster are a red rose, a shoe, and a 100 pound bologna.

8. Springerle cookies were among the traditional ornaments used to adorn PA Dutch tabletop trees. They are made plain (anise, almond or vanilla flavored) or painted with edible gold. Some are also in the form of hand painted ornaments. You can find them locally handmade, one at a time, as they have been for hundreds of years.

9. The traditional PA Dutch New Year’s Day meal is pork and sauerkraut, which is thought to bring good luck and good fortune in the coming year because, as the saying goes, “the pig roots forward while the turkey scratches backwards.”

10. The biggest Lancaster Christmas tradition comes from the influence of the Amish culture in our area. Giving back to others. The Amish share what they have with their neighbors – from helping an elderly neighbor put up their tree to volunteering in the local shelter and inviting others into their home for Christmas dinner. Afterall, that is what the true Christmas spirit is about.

Part of the joy of the season is reminiscing about what makes your family unique. Ask your parents & grandparents about their holiday customs growing up. Whether you choose to begin new traditions with us here in Lancaster County, or to continue old ones from years past, celebrate what makes you family, and enjoy this holiday season.

How do the Amish Celebrate Christmas?

Visitors are typically curious about the differences between the Amish way of living and ours – things like not using electricity or traveling by horse & buggy or scooter rather than cars. This time of year, that curiosity turns to the Christmas holidays, and wondering how the Amish celebrate Christmas. Do they give each other presents? Do they have a big holiday meal?

To help you understand how the Amish celebrate Christmas, we talked to a local culture expert, Brad Igou of the Amish Experience.

Let’s start off with the obvious one. Do the Amish celebrate Christmas?

Yes, they do, although their customs are much simpler than our “English” customs. They are oriented toward the family and the religious meaning of the holiday.

What do you mean by English customs?

“English” is the term that the Amish use for non-Amish.

Do the Amish put up a Christmas tree, or lights around the house?

There are no lavishly decorated trees or lights around in the house, and the Amish children do not visit Santa Claus to have their picture taken, or tell him their wish list. They do share the making of special Christmas cookies and candies with us though, and they might decorate with greens and candles.

Do the Amish exchange gifts?

School children often pick names and exchange small gifts, such as writing paper or needlepoint kits. Families also exchange some small gifts – and some send Christmas cards, often to their “English” friends. Christmas card making is a very popular tradition – adults & children make handmade “stamped” Christmas cards – some of them are now even sold in Amish stores.

Interesting – if we wanted to pick some up, could we find them at the Amish Experience?

Absolutely, and at the Gordonville Bookstore has an entire “hand-stamping section.”

Do they have Christmas Eve & Christmas Day church services, and sing carols or traditional hymns?

The Christmas church service may or may not be held on December 25, but both Christmas and the following day, sometimes called “second Christmas,” are holidays for the Amish. The second day is usually one to relax or visit others.

Amish children put on a Christmas program each year in their one-room schoolhouse – this is probably the only time you’ll see Amish children on a “stage.” During their Christmas program, the children sing songs, perform skits and recite poems. This is not something that visitors would get to see. Typically just family will attend, and occasionally, they’ll invite their “English” neighbors or friends to come as well.

Okay, last question – do the Amish eat a special Christmas dinner?

Christmas dinners are absolutely a big part of the holiday for the Amish. They are usually large meals, not unlike those served at weddings, and various groups besides the family will hold get-togethers, such as single women, teachers, and others of like interest. These gatherings may continue into January and February of the new year.

Any last comments or tidbits of information for us?

I think that, although we all share our own holiday traditions, what any holiday is about is enjoying cherished memories and traditions with family and friends, as well as remembering those less fortunate than ourselves.

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