Category Archives: Amish

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!

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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!

What Exactly is Chow-Chow?

Chow-Chow, not to be confused with the breed of dog hailing from China, is a sweet and sour mix of pickled vegetables often served as a side dish next to PA Dutch classic cuisine.

Not only is chow-chow delicious, it’s also a resourceful use of odd amounts of vegetables left at the end of harvest, giving it the nickname “end of season relish.” Left-over carrots, onions, cauliflower, cucumbers, celery, corn, peppers, beans, etc. are canned together with a sweet and sour pickling liquid.

While the origin of the name isn’t officially known, there are a few theories. Some believe it comes from the French word for cabbage, Chou. Others say it comes from the Indian squash, chayote, which is also known as chow-chow.

Regional flavors and variations do exist, including the less-sweet southern version and varieties that are chopped and shredded.

Pick up a jar of the Pennsylvania Dutch version and try it for yourself! Find chow-chow along with many other jams, sauces and pickles at Intercourse Canning Company.

Thank you to Intercourse Canning Company assisting with the chow-chow facts.

Take a Step Back in Time this Holiday Season

Terry w Triunial jpegI am addicted to technology, especially my phone – I will never go anywhere without it. This weekend, I took a step back to a time where there were no phones, televisions or even cars. The Magic Lantern Show, run by the Amish Experience, at Plain and Fancy Farm, let me escape from modern times and enjoy entertainment of the past.

Contrary to the name, a magic lantern is not what you would expect. This lantern is a brass lantern with three lenses to project hand painted illustrations on a projection screen. The magic lantern was developed in the 1850’s and was a precursor to movies. When first developed, the lantern used a candle to project and later, kerosene light.

The theatre is completely transformed to feel as though you are sitting in a barn. Before the show began, the showman, who was the host and storyteller, made sure the entire audience was in the Christmas spirit with a game of Christmas trivia. After we were in the holiday spirit, our showman began the show which consisted of classic Christmas stories, such as a Christmas Carol. My favorite part was the new Christmas stories, including a story about a giant snowball causing havoc on a town! All of the stories were narrated by the showman and accompanied by handmade illustrations and music.

The show lasted approximately an hour. During that time, I completely forgot about my phone and became immersed in a time less complicated. After the show I went to the local town, Bird-in-Hand, for homemade Amish foods and handcrafted goods. This show was a great way to experience a different form of entertainment and get into the Christmas spirit. The magic lantern show will definitely be a new holiday tradition!

Delicious PA Dutch Food is plentiful here

The other day I realized that I have never experienced Pennsylvania Dutch food, which is odd since I grew up near Lancaster County. If you are even slightly familiar with the Lancaster area, you know that food is part of the culture. Because I love food, I decided to give it a try. I invited my friend Jason to go with me to Good ‘N Plenty Restaurant and Bakery.

Good ‘N Plenty is a Pennsylvania Dutch restaurant with two dining options and a bakery. We had the choice of traditional dining or an all-you-can-eat, family-style dining (family-style dining is the most popular). There was no question about it. We were hungry and ready to try something new – family style dining was the clear choice!

Family style dining is one of the most unique dining experiences I have ever had. We walked into a huge, open room with rows of long tables. Each table had seating for 12 people. The hostess seated us next to a young couple and shortly after another couple joined us. As we waited for the meal to be brought to us, the table had a few of Lancaster’s favorite appetizers such as chow chow and pepper cabbage along with fresh baked bread accompanied with fresh apple butter. As we ate the appetizers, we got to know the others at our table. Both couples were from out of town visiting Lancaster County, one from Georgia and the other from New York.

After a few minutes of learning more about each other, bowls among bowls of food were brought to our table. Everything you could imagine of the home cooking variety was placed in front of us including meats, vegetables, and my personal favorite, mashed potatoes. The food was delicious. After everyone at our table helped themselves to the endless amount of food, it was time for dessert. Our waitress brought five different desserts to the table, including pies, homemade ice cream, and cheesecake.

Choosing my favorite part of our dining experience is extremely hard to do. Family dining is a unique experience that everyone should try. Good ‘N Plenty did a great job preparing delicious Pennsylvania Dutch food that was served hot and quickly replenished when empty.

After dinner, be sure to stretch your legs by walking out back and visit the petting zoo!

My favorite place for PA Dutch Specialties

If you’ve traveled to Pennsylvania Dutch Country you may have heard about the custom of putting seven sweets and seven sours on the table at mealtime. The idea of putting such variety on the table is to provide a varied and balanced diet to a hard working family.

If you think it is hard to come up with seven sweets and seven sours for a meal, look no further than Intercourse Canning Company. Located at 13 Center Street, just off the Old Philadelphia Pike in Intercourse, PA, this store features everything you need to set a PA Dutch inspired table.

When you walk in the door you will be greeted by their helpful staff and rows upon rows of colorful jars filled with amazing new things to try. Intercourse Canning Company offers over 300 varieties of canned goods and other products and has samples for you to test of many of their top sellers.

My family is partial to their pickled beets and Jalapeno Pepper Jam. However, to get the true PA Dutch experience you must try the chow chow and the apple butter, two staples of Lancaster County cuisine. Boxes and rows of jellies, relishes and salsas fill the aisles just waiting to go home with you.

I can a little bit myself, but I learned even more on my visit. Did you know that Napoleon was a big part of canning history? Intercourse Canning Company offers lessons in canning history with their educational video which runs every day. They also have a demonstration kitchen which showcases their Amish canning kitchen cooks whipping up batches of homemade goodness for your table from April through December.

Not sure you have room in the car for that case of canned deliciousness? No worries, Intercourse Canning Company will ship to your home or a friend’s home. And if you eat up all that great Amish Meatloaf sauce (trust me, it is amazing) you can order some from your comfy couch using their online ordering at their website.

I highly recommend that you visit Intercourse Canning Company and plan to spend at least an hour browsing and tasting your way through the store. In addition to canned goods they have candy, homemade noodles, gourmet mixes, and delicious coffee (ever have Whoopie Pie coffee before?). If you have holiday shopping to do, Intercourse Canning Company makes it really easy on you with gift baskets and smaller sizes of jars if you want to make your own.

Though my family was just there in mid-summer, we plan to go again closer to Christmas since their stock and specialties change with the seasons. Next time I go I’m going to make sure I pick up two jars of their Amish Sweet Mustard. It goes great with my kids’ favorite snack of bologna and cheese. Definitely give it a try!

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Covered Bridges of Lancaster County

Covered bridges are an iconic symbol that bring to mind a more simple time, a more simple way of life. Pennsylvania has approximately 219 covered bridges that have withstood the test of time, more than any other state. Lancaster boasts over 25 of those bridges, each with its own unique story.

The purpose of the covering is to protect the wooden structural members from the weather. Uncovered wooden bridges have a life span of only 10-15 years because of the effects of rain and sun. Thanks to the covering, we have many bridges that have been around a long time.

The longest covered bridge at 5,960 feet once spanned the Susquehanna River from Columbia to neighboring Wrightsville in York County. Built in 1814, it was unfortunately destroyed by high water and ice in 1832. But, many others remain, ready for you to discover and enjoy.

We’ve developed five driving tours of covered bridges in Lancaster County. For a PDF version, click here. If you prefer to use our Google Map tours, click here and choose the tour that most interests you. To learn more about our covered bridges, be sure to stop the Discover Lancaster Visitors Center to purchase the book, Covered Bridges of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

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Strasburg: A Town with History, Part 2

This past week my Strasburg journeys lead me to the Strasburg Creamery and Country Store, Ed’s Buggy Rides, National Toy Train Museum, and The 1786 Limestone Inn Bed and Breakfast.

I was blown away by the strong aroma of fresh waffle cones and homemade fudge. I knew I was at the right place.

The Strasburg Creamery and Country Store is the place for sweets and a neat, vintage atmosphere. I met with Robin, the manager, to get the inside scoop of this space. Before the creamery and country store opened up in 1984, it used to be the town’s pharmacy and grocery store. This centrally located shop is filled with character – from the antique counter tops and booths to the vintage water fountain in the middle of the store (so convenient!). Not only does the creamery serve delicious ice cream and candy, you can also order sandwiches and hot fare (I suggest the Amish Rachael sandwich).

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In the country store, they sell all things Lancaster. Perfect place to pick up souvenirs from your trip. They provide country decor and homemade treats. From butter braided pretzel sticks to homemade butterscotch peanut butter, I was in foodie heaven! This is a great space to start and end your day trip. You can grab lunch, head off to other attractions and then end with some delicious ice cream and candy treats. The Strasburg Creamery and Country Store is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM and Sunday from Noon to 10:00 PM.

After my double dip mix of strawberry lemonade and almond joy ice cream, I needed to sit back and relax.

Ed’s Buggy Rides was the perfect way to relax and enjoy the countryside. Ed’s Buggy rides offers two different tours; one 35 to 40 minute tour through the historic Amish farm lands or a one hour Farm Tour that stops on a real Amish farm. I had the chance to ride on the Farm Tour so I hopped in the front seat with an Amish buggy driver, Ike. A buggy holds about 7 or 8 people, so you can bring the whole family. As the horses trotted down the gravel driveway and onto the country road, Ike spoke about the horses and the Amish lifestyle. As we passed by different fields he talked about the crops grown and when they are harvested. As a Lancaster native, it was interesting to hear all this information from an actual Amish man. After hearing about farm life, we got the chance to explore one for ourselves! We looked in the horse barn, the farm owner’s quilt shop and small roadside stand where they sell homemade root beer, lemonade, and whoopie pies.

After being in the sun, I needed to cool off indoors. I headed over to the National Toy Train Museum to check out unique vintage trains. To read about the rest of my trip, click here!

Want up to date information on Historic Strasburg? Like them on Facebook!

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The author of this post, Julie Press, is currently the Marketing Intern at Discover Lancaster. She encompasses the Lancaster brand. Growing up in a farm house in Adamstown, she identifies with the rustic, homegrown feel Lancaster brings. Now relocated only minutes away from Lancaster City, she feels a strong connection to the City’s creativity, culture, and innovation. Julie studies Public Relations at Millersville University.

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