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!

Shop Small, Shop Local – Lancaster

Lancaster runs on entrepreneurs. There’s the Amish with farms who produce our food, which gets purchased by local restaurants and made into the delicious meals that we purchase. Or the boutiques and artists who create their products entirely by hand. Even to the design & marketing businesses that could be working together with you on jobs you need to complete. All of these local businesses contribute to Lancaster’s economy.

Choosing to support your local community, the people who have chosen to open an independent business in Lancaster is helping to create the character of each of our towns. When you begin to frequent our small shops, you’ll get to know the owner, and sometimes the person who is making your goods. When you know them, you gain a new appreciation for the quality of their products, and they gain insights into your personality and style, and can give you expert recommendations on products, or create things custom for you and your family.

So get out there and invest in your community today – shop small, shop local at the businesses below and more!

For a “from my hand to yours” product, be sure to check out Lancaster’s Markets, Quilt Shops, Cafes, and Art Galleries.

In Lititz:

–  Spotted Owl – you’ll find an ever-changing array of clothing, hand-picked by Ali.
–  Olio – sample & purchase fine olive oils and balsamic vinegars, sea salts, peppercorns and rubs.
–  Zest – you’ll find gourmet food and tools for the foodie in everyone.

In Downtown Lancaster:

–  The Spice & Tea Exchange – specializing in spices, hand-mixed blends, sugars, salts and teas, as well as tea pots, mortar and pestles, salt blocks, etc.
–  Art & Glassworks – you’ll find custom made stained glass windows, jewelry, blown glass orbs, and more.
–  The Comic Store – featuring comic books, back issues, t-shirts, and more.

In Intercourse:

–  Treasure Place – you’ll find repurposed and refurbished furniture, art, and more.
–  The Jam & Relish Kitchen – watch them make your jam, and stop in to a variety of other shops at Kitchen Kettle including wine, sweets, leather and more.
–  The Old Country Store – featuring fabric, locally-made crafts, kitchen gadgets, and quilts.

Celebration of the Arts in Lancaster

From city to country, contemporary to classic, Lancaster is known for an eclectic variety of art and galleries. This month Lancaster is celebrating the arts in two big ways: Fall ArtWalk [10/6-7] and the Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Pennsylvania [10/21-26], where we will enjoy art all week long and finish out with a celebration of some of Lancaster’s locals.

ArtWalk – October 7-8, 2017

ArtWalk in Lancaster has a long history – with the first one beginning in 1965, known as Art Sunday. Today, ArtWalk is your opportunity to try something innovative – from participating in a public art piece to hearing a new style of music or watching a play, to seeing lots and lots of art.

To view a full list of the nearly 35 featured stops, including special exhibitions, meet-the-artist events, children’s activities and live demonstrations, click here.

Stops we don’t want to miss:

  • Meet the Artists [including some of our personal favorites Freiman Stoltzfus, Christiane David, and Cindy Schlosser]
  • Print Your Own Posters/Coasters at Typothecary Letterpress
  • Lancaster Dream Factory Video Project [stop in the “studio” and let them know what you want to be when you grow up in 5 seconds or less]. We can’t want to see the finished piece of Lancaster hopes and dreams!

Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Pennsylvania – October 26, 2017

This year we are honored to host the statewide awards ceremony, especially with some of our very own receiving awards: Barry Kornhauser – Artist of the Year, and Mayor Richard Gray and Gail Gray – Special Recognition for Public Leadership in the Arts.

This event has been a celebration of the arts since 1980, is free and open to the public. Click here to register for free tickets.

Lancaster has an opportunity to celebrate the arts all week long from October 21-26 showcasing our local talent in a variety of ways. Each day will be dedicated to a specific genre of art:

Saturday – MUSIC
Sunday – PARADE
Monday – DANCE / THEATER / PERFORMANCE
Tuesday – FILM / PHOTOGRAPHY / POETRY
Wednesday – MURALS / PUBLIC ART
Thursday – VISUAL / AWARDS CEREMONY (ceremony is at 7pm at the Convention Center)

To see all the details about this week-long celebration, click here.

Picking Pumpkins in Lancaster County, PA

Can you believe it is prime pumpkin picking season again?! We are loving the cooler temps and boots and scarves weather. As you drive around Lancaster, you’ve probably noticed that the roadside stands have switched over from their summer strawberries and melons to fall’s apples, pumpkins and squash. Whether you’re picking up a pumpkin at a roadside stand or headed out into the field to find the perfect one, we’re here to help.

Below is a roundup of Lancaster-area pumpkin patches, as well as some local choices for roadside stands. Please remember to call ahead if you have concerns about the weather or possible closings. We hope your fall is off to a fantastic start, and happy pumpkin patching!

Pick Your Own Pumpkins

Roadside Stands/Markets [local favs via Instagram]

  • Little produce stand opposite Hayloft Candles in Leola
  • Stoltzfus Gourd and Pumpkin Farm
  • Roadside Stand on Rothsville Road, across from 1509 – perfect pumpkins, perfect price
  • Fisher’s Festivals on Irishtown Road, right off Ronks Road – pumpkins, gourds, and mums

October in Lancaster Travel Guide: Halloween & Harvest

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are beginning to fall, and we couldn’t be more excited. We’re starting to see pumpkins and fall wreaths made of burlap pop up in our towns, and the farmers getting ready to harvest out in the fields. Our children are animatedly choosing their Halloween costumes and talking about the fall treats we’ll bake. However you plan to celebrate fall, October is the perfect month full of activities and events that you’ll enjoy whether your preference is Halloween or harvest.

Check out our October Travel Guide below:

Halloween

  1. Howl at the Moon
    Pack your blanket, hotdogs, and marshmallows for the bonfire, and learn about the wolves that live in Lititz during the Full Moon Tour at the Wolf Sanctuary of PA.
  2. Lancaster’s Haunted History 
    This is no hocus-pocus – you’ll hear authentic ghost stories told at the actual sites of the hauntings. These walking ghost tours take place nightly in October.
  3. Enjoy Spook-tacular Family Fun
    Put on your costumes, pack up the mini-van and head on over to Dutch Wonderland’s Happy Hauntings where you’ll see Duke the Dragon in his Halloween best. Don’t forget to trick-or-treat with the dinosaurs!
  4. Take an Eerie Three-Wheeled Tour
    Take a hauntingly fun tour of the back roads by scooter withStrasburg Scooter’s Spooky Scoot. Available October 13-14, 20-21, & 27-28. Rider’s tip: pack warm gloves and a scarf.
  5. Award-winning, Spine-tingling Chills
    When it comes to terrifying thrills, visit USA Today’s Best Extreme Haunted Attraction Field of Screams is the place to be. You can also visit the haunted hayride, attractions, and houses at Jason’s Woods.

Harvest

  1. Annual Harvest Breakfast
    Kick off the harvest season at Lancaster Central Market with everyone’s favorite Harvest Breakfast, featuring farm-to-table food, live entertainment, and family fun.
  2. Pick the Perfect Pumpkin
    Head to one of our many fields to pick the perfect carving pumpkin, and enjoy apple cider and hayrides. If you’re not in to carving pumpkins, perhaps you can head to an apple orchard and bring home some fresh apples to douse in caramel for the perfect fall snack.
  3. Fall ArtWalk
    Immerse yourself in Downtown Lancaster’s art scene at Fall ArtWalk. This self-guided tour takes place Saturday and Sunday, October 7-8.
  4. Head Outdoors with a drive, a Hike or Bike Ride.
    Grab your favorite pumpkin flavored hot beverage from one of our local coffee shops, and then head out to get lost on our winding backroads and experience the beauty of fall.
  5. Fall Fairs & Festivals
    Explore traditional fall on the farm with Fall Farm Days at Amish Farm & House or Harvest Days at Landis Valley Museum. Try some local brews with Stoudt’s Oktoberfest events, or if you’d rather go back in time, dress up in your best medieval garb and visit the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. And don’t miss our full list of our County Fairs and Farm Shows.

Favorite Lancaster-sourced Farm Fresh Ingredients

Three local chefs share their fall favorites, and which dishes you can find them in

We love when the seasons change in Lancaster for so many reasons – in autumn’s case, the air turns crisp, Mother Nature puts on another show of her vibrant colors, and for my fellow foodies, it allows us to eat flavors that may only come around once a year.

Everybody knows that one of the most-anticipated flavors of fall is pumpkin, but there is so much more to be found at the fall farmers market. Check out these three chef’s favorite autumn dishes, which all include locally sourced ingredients.

John J. Jeffries
Sweet Potatoes & Lamb

Eating seasonally is not the norm in today’s society, but Chef Cavanaugh works closely with local, small, family organic farmers to source produce and meats year-round for John J. Jeffries ever changing menu. For the fall, you’ll find Japanese white sweet potatoes and purple sweet potatoes on the menu. He typically purees the sweet potatoes for an accompaniment to meat, or you’ll find them used in vegetarian entrees.

Lamb is ready to come off the pasture in early fall. You can find the lamb used head-to-tail, so the cuts on the menu vary from braised lamb, lamb leg steaks, and lamb chops.

Forklift & Palate
Beets

For a meal that can go either casual or a little fancy, head to Forklift & Palate, where their fall menu includes locally sourced beets, Brussel sprouts, and winter squash. Who doesn’t love the sweet, vibrant and colorful beet root? This chef’s tip is to choose smaller bulbs, as they tend to have a richer flavor.

The seasonal dish of choice? Try the Beet Salad Appetizer.

Speckled Hen Coffee
Apples

This fall, the Speckled Hen will be featuring local apples from the Meck family with Meck’s Produce. You can find their apples in an Apple Pie Crumble (scratch made) which is delicious as is, or to add another local ingredient, can be served a’la mode with a scoop of vanilla ice cream from Lapp Valley Farms.

If you’re in the mood for something savory, you can enjoy a Harvest Turkey Sandwich, made with bacon, sharp cheddar, apple slices and a drizzle of maple syrup grilled on wheatberry bread.

Rainy day things to do in Lancaster County

Whether you come in the bright sunshine or come to a rainy Lancaster County, we’ve got tons of great things to do! Rain is a good thing for Lancaster, as it helps us to provide the freshest produce and ripest, juiciest fruit at our numerous farm markets and roadside stands.

So, if you find yourself here in Lancaster, looking for something to do on a rainy day, here are some suggestions for you:

Learn about the Amish
Lancaster County has a number of Amish homesteads, tours, and farms, where you can learn about the lifestyle of the modern Amish, see a farmhouse, and travel the backroads and country lanes where the Amish live. You can also take a buggy ride if it’s not raining too hard – you’ll be covered by the buggy, and you can experience riding through farmland the way the Amish do!

– Amish Farm and House
– Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides
– Amish Village Backroads Bus Tour
– Old Order Amish Tours
– The Amish Experience

All aboard
Head to Strasburg to learn everything you can about locomotives! From elaborate model train displays and historic exhibits to a ride on a historic railway, Strasburg’s attractions will all paint a picture of the colorful past of Pennsylvania’s railroad industry.

– The Choo Choo Barn
– Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
– National Toy Train Museum
– Strasburg Rail Road

Watch it being made, or make it yourself
Want to see how things are made in Lancaster? A rainy day is the perfect time to head indoors to see things being created from start to finish, and even create some things yourself! Twist your own pretzel at America’s oldest commercial pretzel bakery or create your own ice cream flavor in the Turkey Hill Taste Lab. For an adults-only trip, take a peek into the distilling or beer brewing process, and enjoy the delicious end product.

– Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery
– Turkey Hill Experience
– Kitchen Kettle Village
– Thistle Finch Distillery & Wacker Brewing Company
– Lancaster Brewing Company

A museum for every interest
I know what you’re thinking – I don’t want to spend a whole day in museums. You’ve obviously never been to our museums on a rainy day in Lancaster! For little ones, we have museums boasting hands-on learning, and where imaginations can soar. Lancaster is also home to tons of art museums, galleries, and specialty museums, exhibiting everything from clocks to cars.

– Lancaster Science Factory
– North Museum of Nature and Science
– Hands-on House, Children’s Museum
– National Watch and Clock Museum
– Demuth Museum
– AACA Museum

Catch a show
What better to do on a rainy evening than head to the theatre! Stages across the county are coming to life with broadway-caliber shows, concerts, stories from the bible, and so much more.  So pick a theatre, and prepare to be swept away!

– Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre
– Rainbow’s Comedy Playhouse
– Fulton Theatre
– Sight & Sound Theatre
– American Music Theatre

Shopping til you drop
We’ve got tons of shopping opportunities, from antiques to artisans, farmer’s markets to furniture, and local shops to sweets & treats, as well as great outlet shopping. You’ll be sure to find whatever it is you’re looking for, or even things you’re not looking for, as souvenirs to remember your trip to Lancaster County.

– Tanger Outlets
– Ten Thousand Villages
– Antiques Capital
– Lancaster Central Market
– Green Dragon Farmers Market
– Zum Anker Alley Gallery

Bounce, Climb, Race
For the active visitor, Lancaster is home to many indoor attractions where you can get your extra energy out. Laser tag, jumping on trampolines, and rock climbing will get your heart rate up, and keep the kids entertained for hours!

– Spooky Nook Sports
– Sky Zone Trampoline Park
– Go ‘N Bananas
– Laserdome
– Rocky Springs Entertainment Center

There are tons of other things to do on a rainy day, so just check out our website for a complete list. Don’t let a little rain keep you in your hotel!

Picking Peaches at Cherry Hill Orchard

If you’ve ever created a summer bucket list, whether it’s with kids or not, you may have added finding a local farm where you can pick your own fresh fruit (whether that’s strawberries, apples, or cherries). I know this is an activity that I always wanted to try with our kids.

Well June came and went, and we missed peak cherry picking season in Lancaster County. July also came and went, and we missed prime plum picking season. August started to arrive, and I was determined to pick some fresh fruit before the end of the summer. We were driving past Cherry Hill Orchards, and saw a sign that said “Pick Peaches Today!” What better sign than that for us to check something off our bucket list.

It was really quite an adventure. It was a gorgeous day, we pulled on the orchard road, stopped to let them know that we wanted to pick peaches (it’s also the season for blackberry and early apples), and were directed to the trees that would be ripest for picking, we parked, and we picked! After we were done gathering our peaches (we picked about 20), we went back to the entrance, they weighed our peaches, and we were done!

Photo C

Here are some tips for picking pretty much any fruit:

1.  Bring your own basket, box, or bag. The thought didn’t occur to me about where we would put the fruit we picked, until we pulled up and they asked us what we would carry them in. Fortunately, they have boxes on hand for people like us who forget.

2. Ask about which peaches (or any fruit) are best to pick. The kind man who gave us our box (since we forgot one) also let us know to look for peaches that were very red/orange, not a lot of yellow or any green. He also told us NOT to put them in the fridge, and that they’d be ripe in a day or so. We ended up picking some peaches that were more yellow, since we were picking so many, we didn’t want them all to be ripe the next day!

3. If you’re picking berries of any kind, it is wise to bring wipes with you – you can typically eat while you’re picking (and won’t pay for the extras that you eat), but your hands will likely be smeared with berry juice.

For a full list of fruits that are in season, see Cherry Hill Orchard’s website here.

Skip the Traffic, Take the Train!

While Lancaster County is a year-round vacation destination, the summer is definitely considered peak season for out of town travelers. That means lots and lots of cars on the road. So whether you are traveling to Lancaster from New York City, Harrisburg or Philadelphia, maybe next time you visit you want to skip the traffic and take the train!

Kid-Friendly
Did you know that if you’re traveling with kids, up to two children, ages 2-12, can receive a 50% discount on the lowest available fare? Kids under the age of two ride FREE! And it’s much easier to travel with kids when they can move around a bit, without the constraints of their car seat. They will enjoy snacking, coloring, and just watching the world whiz by (and maybe even laying across two seats and napping if the train isn’t too busy). Oh, and did I mention there’s not pulling off the highway to find a bathroom? Just walk to the end of your car, and do whatcha gotta do!

Earth-Friendly
Lancaster County is known for our green spaces, with loads of rolling farmland. We depend on the earth for our number one economic driver, agriculture. So, we like to take good care of the earth. Another great perk of riding the train is that you’ll be traveling green! Amtrak trains are 11% more energy efficient that planes and 31% more efficient than cars.

Traveler-Friendly
Whether you’re visting for just the weekend or taking a 2-week vacation, there is plenty of space to store your baggage on Amtrak trains. So pack the extra sunscreen and a few extra pairs of “just-in-case” shoes, because when you travel on Amtrak you get two carry-on bags plus two personal items for FREE. Then, when you arrive at the station, you’ll be able to easily rent a car or taxi to get to your destination.

Now if only we could get a horse-and-buggy rental at the Lancaster station… maybe on your next trip…

Unexpected Surprise: Lancaster Symphony Orchestra

Lancaster County is known worldwide for the Amish culture. I’ll be honest, when I was moving here for college from Center City Philadelphia, that’s about all that I knew about Lancaster – the Amish, Dutch Wonderland, and Shady Maple. While all of those are true, and are all great to experience, I’ve come to love all of the unexpected surprises that Lancaster has to offer.

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that this past Saturday evening was the first time that I experienced this particular surprise, but there, I’ve said it. I was invited to see Hollywood Heroes and Villains performed by the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra at the Winter Center for Performing Arts at Millersville University. Let me tell you – the performance was amazing, and our orchestra rivals the only other one I’ve seen live, the Philadelphia Orchestra. The symphony typically offers its classical music events, but this was the start of a new popular music series, POPS.

In this particular show, they performed both the dark side and the bright side of new and old favorite “hero vs. villain” stories like Batman, The Hobbit, Wizard of Oz, Frozen, and Star Wars. The conductor, Stephen Gunzenhauser, set a fun tone for the evening by walking out wearing a batman mask to conduct the first series of songs. Their tech team put together a video that was projected above the orchestra that allowed us to have an experience like you would have had back in the day when a pianist would accompany your movie in the theatre. The best part about this is that you’re overwhelmed by the passion of the orchestra. The sounds that you hear live all around you paired with the visuals seem to swallow you up.

I would highly recommend going to see the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra perform, whether you’re into classical music or not. If you are, you can pretty much see anything this season; if you aren’t, you might want to wet your feet with their POPS series.

Amish courtship

There is no PA Dutch word for “dating,” but the Amish use the English word when they need it.

The Amish consider romantic relationships to be private, so courtship is practiced secretly, while parents look the other way until the couple comes to ask their permission for marriage.

Amish young people can choose whoever they want for their mate, but if they want to remain Amish themselves, they need to marry within the faith (or date someone who has intentions of joining the faith). Very rarely, a non-Amish person might join the Amish church to be able to marry an Amish person.

Dating often starts with a boy offering to take a girl home after a Sunday evening sing, which is one of the places young people socialize. When a couple is more serious, a boy can visit the girl at her house after her parents have gone to bed on a Saturday night when there’s no church on Sunday. They sit in the living room, where most parents require a light to be on, and visit, sometimes with other couples.

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