Category Archives: Amish

Five Farmers Markets in Lancaster, PA

As the sun rises, market stand holders are hard at work, preparing their offerings for an exciting day at the farmers market in Lancaster, PA. From local produce picked just days before to baked goods and ready-to-eat foods cooked with passion and care, you’re sure to be pleased by the Lancaster County offerings. Wander the aisles, ask questions and enjoy the community vibes that fill the atmosphere.

Grab a basket or a reusable tote bag to carry your market finds in, and head off to one of Lancaster, PA’s fantastic farmers markets. Be sure to keep the day of the week and time in mind, as markets are open select hours on select days.

Lancaster Central Market
Open Tuesdays, Fridays & Saturdays

In the heart of Downtown Lancaster, Lancaster Central Market is the oldest continuously operating farmers market in the United States, and was honored by CNN on their “10 of the world’s best fresh markets” list. With a spectacular array of fresh local produce, specialty foods, beautiful flowers, and responsibly sourced meats and seafood, Lancaster Central Market is a “must-visit” while in the area. Experience the culture and community vibes while you grab lunch and coffee – a great way to enjoy the market.

Don’t forget to look up! The market building, built in 1889, features beautiful wooden beams that are a reminder of architecture of the past.

Root’s Country Market & Auction
Open Tuesdays

If you find yourself in Lancaster on a Tuesday, make Root’s Country Market & Auction your first spot. Root’s (pronounced with an “o” sound like “look”) has over 200 stand holders with goods ranging from antiques, collectables and sports memorabilia, to local produce, meats and cheeses, and ready-to-eat foods. Be sure to give yourself enough time to explore – Root’s is made up of nine buildings, plus some outdoor stands, when weather permits.

Craving pizza? Believe it or not – Root’s is home to the 2016 USA Caputo Cup New York Style Pizza Champion, Norma Knepp, who is serving up tasty pizza pies in building number four.

Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market
Open Wednesdays (April-November), Thursdays (July-October), Fridays & Saturdays

A popular stop in Bird-in-Hand, PA is the farmers market, which has been family owned and operated for more than 30 years. Wander the aisles in this indoor, air-conditioned market to find local produce, fresh meats, cheeses, tasty baked goods, plenty of locally made items, and ready-to-eat delights. If you’re browsing for something to remember your trip by, handmade crafts and quilts, quality leather goods and Lancaster-centric souvenirs are plentiful.

Green Dragon
Open Fridays

On Fridays, find your way to Green Dragon – a robust farmers market in Ephrata. Browse the offerings of over 400 local growers, merchants, and craftsmen while enjoying tasty food offerings, including some classic PA Dutch cuisine. Located on 30 acres, Green Dragon is one of the largest farmers markets in the area, so much like Root’s, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore. Locals know this market to sell everything – from “soup to nuts.”

Roadside Stands
Various operating schedules, many are not open on Sundays

As you drive around the county, you’re bound to stumble upon some fantastic roadside stands, offering a bounty of local produce, canned goods, bouquets of fresh-picked flowers, and baked treats. As the weather gets warmer, stands begin to open with offerings that change with the harvest. Be sure to keep cash handy if you plan to stop. Many stands only accept cash, or even work on the honor system, where exact change should be placed in a box on the stand.

Ten Must-Take Tours in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

While visiting Lancaster, whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth time, tours are an excellent way to experience the culture, history, sights and food while learning from passionate local experts. Some involve walking around Downtown Lancaster or a small town like Lititz, while others take you around the county by bus, bike, scooter, or even helicopter.

We’ve gathered ten must-take tours that will leave you with a wealth of Lancaster knowledge, and in some cases, a full stomach. Pick a tour (or two) to add to your trip, and get some insider information with tips from the tour guides to make the most of your experience.

Intercourse Bikeworks Tours
Experience Lancaster’s countryside by bike with the many tours offered by Intercourse Bikeworks. Fresh air will fill your lungs as you peddle along, listening to the wealth of knowledge the guides are waiting to share. For an extra taste of Lancaster culture, book one of their tours that include an Amish dinner, dairy farm tour, or even a beer tasting.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Leave your worries at home! No need to worry about the hills and speed of the ride. The tour is designed to be an experience, not exercise. The pace is slow to allow people to look around and take pictures. They also offer electric-assist bikes if the hills are intimidating.

Photo (above) credit: Intercourse Bikeworks

Photo credit: Amish Farm & House

Amish Farm and House Countryside Tours
Take the backroads to get a glimpse into Lancaster County life with the Amish Farm and House Countryside Bus Tours. This 90-minute bus tour weaves through the farmland, takes riders to a tucked-away covered bridge, and passes Amish schoolhouses, buggies, barns, homes, and farmland vistas, all while sharing stories and facts about the Amish way of life.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Have your camera at the ready, but keep in mind that it’s considered impolite to take photos of the Amish where their faces are recognizable. Refraining from taking up close photos is more than just a courtesy; it’s a respect for our Amish neighbors and their beliefs.

Historic Lancaster Walking Tours
This tour takes you for a stroll back in time around Downtown Lancaster. As you walk, the knowledgeable tour guides tell stories about Lancaster’s rich history as one of the oldest inland cities in the United States. You’ll get a taste of the diverse architecture and cultures that helped build Lancaster to what it is today.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Be sure to stop, listen to the stories, and look up at the examples of American architecture from the 1700s to today that Lancaster, PA has to offer.

 

Lancaster County Food Tours
Foodies visiting Lancaster will love the tours offered by Lancaster County Food Tours. Eat your way around Downtown Lancaster or the small town of Lititz with a variety of tours featuring the Lancaster County classic (i.e. pretzels, whoopie pies, and Wilbur chocolate) and some unexpected treats (locally made wine & beer and fine dining delights). Great food is just the tip of the iceberg – the guides also share stories and history as the tour moves from stop to stop.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Be prepared to chat, make friends, and ask questions. Tours are more fun when the entire group gets involved. And of course – arrive hungry!

Ghost Tours of Lancaster
If you’re looking for a tour of a spookier sort, discover mysteries and tales from the past on a candlelight walking tour of the city with Ghost Tours of Lancaster. You won’t have to wait until Halloween to discover the city’s haunted history – tours are held year-round.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Don’t forget your camera – you never know when the spirits will be restless!

Photo credit: Smoketown Helicopters

Smoketown Helicopters Tour
See Lancaster from new heights by helicopter! Smoketown Helicopters offers tours from an 8-minute tour flying over the Strasburg Rail Road to a 50-minute tour that flies to neighboring Hershey and Harrisburg, with a variety of times and sights in between. These high-flying flights showcase the beautiful farmland and popular attractions you’ll want to visit after you land.

Tip from the Tour Guide: Consider taking this tour at the beginning of your trip. Flying over the local area can give you ideas of other things to do while in Lancaster County. Also, make sure to have your camera or phone charged and ready to go. Taking photos is highly encouraged.

Kreider Farm Tour
What would a trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania be without a farm tour? Kreider Farms offer tours of the working dairy farm on their classic trolley bus. After getting a look into their “Cow Palace” and “Milking Merry-Go-Round,” tour takers can climb the silo observation tower for priceless, birds-eye views of the countryside.

Tip from the Tour Guide: This tour is extremely kid-friendly, with a new playground area and cow milking simulator – so bring the family!

Strasburg Scooter Tours
Scoot along the backroads for a one-of-a-kind experience in Lancaster’s countryside. Strasburg Scooters takes riders over the creeks and through the woods and fields to discover covered bridges and farms. Not only will you learn to drive a scooter or scoot coupe (no special license required), but you’ll also learn lots about Amish life, farming and the history behind the covered bridges you’ll visit.

Tip from a Tour Guide: Dress for the weather at 25+ mph! While driving, there will be a constant breeze, in addition to the weather conditions. Hot summer days have a nice breeze to them, and cool fall days will feel a bit crisper. Dress in layers on cool days. Under Armour makes a great base layer to protect against the cold.

Origins of the Underground Railroad
Discover the sites and stories of Lancaster County’s role in the Underground Railroad and African-American Heritage as you journey back to the Civil War. In addition to their Downtown walking tour, guides are available to venture outside Lancaster City on board a motorcoach or person vehicle.

Tips from the Tour Guide: Be ready to learn! Past tour-takers have been surprised by the events and people they knew nothing about prior to taking this tour.

Photo credit: Himalayan Curry & Grill

Taste the World
International cuisine is plentiful in Lancaster City, and what better way to experience it than with a food tour. Taste the World is held on the second Friday of each month, May through October, with a new theme each month. During this self-guided dining experience, restaurants provide a bite for participating foodies to try, from signature dishes (May tour) to dishes that highlight meat (September tour).

Tip from a Tour Guide: Since this is a self-guided tour, it’s best to map out your route before you start. Some suggest going to the furthest restaurant first, then working your way back. Give yourself enough time to enjoy the experience and sights around the city.

 

Top Five Things to do in Lancaster, PA for First Time Visitors

If this is your first visit to Lancaster, PA – we welcome you with open arms and warm Pennsylvania-Dutch hospitality. If you are eager to learn what all the fuss is about, we have compiled a list of five great things to do while you are in town. These activities are “classic” Lancaster at their core. They help to make up what Lancaster is all about and have led to the development of so many of the wonderful experiences and traditions around the County.

  1. Visit Amish Country

When we say “Lancaster” you say “Amish.” These two often go hand in hand, being that Lancaster, PA is home to one of the largest Amish populations in the United States. Our county is known for its rolling hills, beautiful farmland, and relaxing way of life. Try taking a buggy ride with Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy Rides or Ed’s Buggy Rides to have a truly authentic experience on the back roads. If you prefer to move at a faster pace, opt for a scooter ride through the countryside with Strasburg Scooters. Attractions like the Amish Farm & House, the Amish Village, and The Amish Experience are also great places to learn about the plain lifestyle. You can see first-hand what an Amish home or one-room schoolhouse looks like plus learn traditions and customs of this unique culture.

  1. Stop by Lancaster’s Central Market

Located in our beautiful and bustling downtown, Lancaster Central Market is the country’s oldest continually operating farmers’ market. Open on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, this market is the perfect place to see the combination of diverse cultures and cuisines that make up Lancaster County. Be sure to pick up some locally-grown produce, freshly-baked goods, meats, or cheeses to take home with you. If visit doesn’t coincide with Market days, don’t worry, there are plenty of other farmers’ markets around the County which you can visit.

  1. Try some traditional PA Dutch food

Traditional PA Dutch food is truly a treat. Prepared from scratch with simple, hearty, ingredients, you can taste the love in every bite. From chicken pot pie, to pork and sauerkraut, or shoofly pie to whoopie pies you are sure to find something to indulge in while you are here. Our many PA Dutch restaurants like Miller’s, Good ‘N Plenty, or Shady Maple, offer all the traditional dishes for you to sample and enjoy. Not sure what you will like? Check out some of our recommendations and explanations here.

  1. Shop for antiques and hand-crafted goods

Here in Lancaster we like to make things by hand, the old fashioned way. We value quality, crafted goods that are passed on to generations and hidden gems scoured from our many antique stores. Each item has a story, and more than likely someone around to tell you about it. If you are looking for the perfect piece to add to your home be sure to head out to Adamstown to check out the many antique malls, markets, and auctions.  Downtown Lancaster also offers a number of artisans and galleries for you to explore on Gallery Row.

  1. See a show

Lancaster is home to a number of theatres with performances ranging from musical, to dramatic, to comedy, or even spiritual. While in town you can visit the largest faith-based theatre in the United States, Sight & Sound Theatres®or catch a broadway caliber musical at the oldest working theatre in the United States, The Fulton Theatre.

If this isn’t enough to keep you busy while you are in town, there is plenty more to do! Stop by our Visitors Center for more ideas and recommendations. We are positive that you will want to come back again to do some more exploring, when you do we will be ready with more suggestions. If you want to learn more of what all there is to do in Lancaster, check out our Getaway Guide (order here) or sign up for our e-newsletter to stay in the know.

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

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.

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!

Things to Do in February

The winter chill is still in the air, but that doesn’t stop the fun in Lancaster! From two exciting festivals to the first Mud Sale of the season, you’re sure to find something unique to make your trip one to remember.

Festive Festivals

Lititz presents their Fire & Ice Festival over President’s Day Weekend (February 17-20) featuring ice sculptures, great food, live entertainment and activities throughout the weekend. To contrast the frosty ice sculptures, a Chili Cook Off is held on Saturday alongside the Winter Wonderland Carnival and Vendor Fair.

The sweet, sweet sounds of roots and blues music will fill the air of Downtown Lancaster during the three day Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival, February 24-26. The 2017 lineup includes over 50 artists performing at 8 venues throughout the city. A variety of ticket options are available, from one to three day tickets along with VIP and Under 21 options.

Dinner with Your Sweetheart

To celebrate the day of love, join the Vineyard at Grandview for a five course wine pairing Valentine Dinner that will infuse your holiday with romance. Delicious dishes are paired with the vineyard’s wines made on location. Mark your calendars for February 10 and reserve your seats today.

For the craft beer lovers, the General Sutter Inn presents a Beer & Food Tasting dinner featuring Founders Brewing Company on February 27. For $38 per person, you’ll enjoy courses paired with brews that will have your tasty buds buzzing. With the popularity of this event, reservations are required.

If PA Dutch style cooking is what you’re craving, Bird-in-Hand Fire Company is hosting their first Chicken Pot Pie Dinner of 2017. They are serving up all-you-can-eat chicken pot pie, peas, pepper cabbage, rolls, desserts, and more from 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM (or until they sell out) on February 25. It’s the perfect PA Dutch meal to fill your belly on cold day.

Bring Your Boots

Mud Sale season kicks off on Saturday, February 25 with the Strasburg Mud Sale. Whether you’re looking for great bargains on antiques, crafts, furniture and quilts or spectating and enjoying the wonderful food, be sure to remember your boots. These events are classically muddy as they are held as the ground begins to thaw.

Gimme Some Sugar

So sweet – it’s time for Maple Sugaring at Lancaster County Park. On-going demonstrations in the sugar bush of the park will be held on Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26. Learn about the process from tree tapping to boiling to making the sweet product into candy. Maple products will be on sale for you to take tasty treats home to share.

Arts & History  

Browse Charles Demuth-inspired art at the Demuth Museum’s annual exhibition featuring Lancaster area artists. “Valentines for Demuth” invites Lancaster area artists to create works inspired by his work, 1896 Valentine. Works will be on display from February 4 to 26.

Rock Ford Plantation invites children ages 4 and up and their parents to celebrate the first President of the United States, George Washington. Enjoy cake and ice cream with Mr. Washington, enjoy crafts and games, and learn why we continue to celebrate his birthday. Reservations are required for this February 26th event.

For a complete list of events in February and beyond, click here

Recipes to Inspire Your Holiday Baking

It’s the holiday season, and whether you’re baking cookies for a cookie swap or for your family to enjoy, we’re sharing some Amish and Mennonite-inspired cookie recipes to add to your recipe box.

From the seasonal favorite, sand tarts, to the unique Amish cookies, we hope that you’ll find a tasty treat or even a new Christmas tradition!

cookies1 cookies2 cookies3

Recipes from: Good, Phyllis Pellman, and Rachel T. Pellman. From Amish and Mennonite Kitchens. Intercourse, PA: Good, 1984. Print.

Make a Friend in Lancaster, PA

Make-A-Friend Workshop allows kids of all ages to create a one-of-a-kind memento of their trip to Lancaster County. From wooden toys to Amish dolls, your child will enjoy this hands-on activity, and will love showing off their creation with pride.

The friend-making process begins by choosing a doll, either male or female, with a variety of hair colors to choose from. Then, clothes are chosen for the doll. The Amish-style dresses and shirts come in a variety of colors, from dark to light. Each piece is sewn with care and features snaps, much like real Amish clothes. Lastly, children get to pick a name card for their doll. The names, many traditional Amish names, are listed along with their meanings. The children can sign and date their card, remembering when they made their new friend.

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The doll with a dress or shirt and pants along with the name card is $25, and accessories like bonnets, aprons, hats and vests, are available to add to the doll, ranging from $8 to $12.

For the little carpenter, wooden toys like trains, barns and airplanes, can be built using hammers, nails, and wooden pieces. Kids will love making their very own wooden toy, which range from $17 to $25.

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Make-a-Friend Workshop also carried doll cribs, and rocking chairs and Amish-style dress for children, all unique mementos from Lancaster County.

You’ll find Make-a-Friend Workshop next to the petting zoo and playground in Kitchen Kettle Village. Through September and October, they’re open Saturdays from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, as well as on Columbus Day.

Visit MakeAFriendWorkshop.net for more information.

When in Amish Country…

Driving along the country roads in Lancaster County, you are bound to see and share the road with plenty of horse and buggies, but have you ever thought about what it’s like to travel in one? Growing up in Lancaster County, I’ve wondered what this alternative form of transportation is like. I finally got the chance to find out with a buggy ride at Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides, located just outside of Bird-in-Hand.

My daughter, who has been fascinated with horse and buggies since she could look out the car windows, came along on this adventure with me. The weather the morning of our ride was absolutely perfect, with abundant blue sky and even a refreshing breeze. Aaron & Jessica’s was quite easy to find, as it’s located right off of Old Philadelphia Pike, neighboring Plain & Fancy Farm Restaurant and Amish Experience Theater (a convenient stop for after your buggy ride to learn more information on the Amish or a home-style meal).

We met our driver, Ben, as we climbed up into the buggy and took a seat on the benches that are along the windows of the buggy. It was certainly cozy, but with the open windows it was quite comfortable.

As we hit the open road, Ben told us more about his family and Amish background, and introduced our horse, Al, who walked and trotted along the country road. As we passed fruit trees and fields of alfalfa wheat and corn, Ben talked more about the farming customs here in Lancaster County. He was happy to answer questions that we had along the way, and was enjoyable to talk to. My daughter was taking in the sites, looking out the windows as we rode down the driveway towards the farm we were stopping at.

Upon pulling up to the farm, we were greeted by a young Amish girl who told us about the homemade cookies, honey mustard pretzels, root beer and fresh squeezed lemonade they had available for sale that day. To satisfy our sweet tooth, we chose a bag of fresh chocolate chip cookies and a root beer. The cookies looked delicious, and we couldn’t wait to take a bite.

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While on the farm, Ben told us about Amish farms, houses and little more about family life. Even though I have lived here the majority of my life, I learned so much about the Amish community from Ben, and was so thankful he was willing to share his stories.

We headed back to the roads, chatting, learning and enjoying a cookie along the way. The farm looked beautiful from the road, especially with the clear skies and green fields. At 8 to 10 miles per hour, traveling by horse and buggy is significantly slower than traveling by car, but it was far less bumpy than I anticipated. Nature provided us with refreshing “air-conditioning” as Al trotted along the road.

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The buggy ride was a unique experience, and a must do if you’re looking to learn more about life on the farm. We went on a 30-minute ride which was an ideal amount of time for a young child, but Aaron & Jessica’s does offer longer rides that include a tour of the farm. Reservations aren’t required for regular rides, but they must be made for private tours.

Learn more about Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides and stop by for a buggy ride next time you’re in Lancaster!

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