Category Archives: Late Night

Sight & Sound Theatres® does it again

WOW! That is probably the best and most powerful word that I can think of to describe Sight & Sound Theatres® 2014 production, Moses. You gotta see this one! Trust me, I don’t get commission, no special favors, no perks, and they don’t even know I’m writing this blog. It’s just so amazing I wanted to let you know and encourage you to see it. You’ll be glad you did.

The story comes straight out of the Bible. Moses set adrift in a basket, rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter, raised as royalty, flees after killing an Egyptian, lives in the wilderness, meets God in a burning bush, returns to free the Israelites, brings plagues on Egypt, and crosses the Red Sea to escape a pursuing army as a miraculous act of God’s providence.

The music, the acting, the animals, the wrap-around stage, the acts of bringing the show into the audience, and the meticulous attention to detail all worked together in what seemed to be perfect harmony. When it comes to live productions, I typically don’t think in terms of special effects, but this show had amazing special effects! On a scale of 1 to 5, I’d give this show a 6. (You notice I’m not going into a lot of detail. It’s because I don’t want to spoil it for you… just go see it!)

Thank you, Sight & Sound Theatres®, for taking Scripture-based, live theater to an entirely new level!

This blog post was written by the Visitors Bureau’s Board Chair, Scott Miller. Scott is the Chief Marketing Officer at Garden Spot Village.

Lancaster Roots and Blues, a Downtown festival you can’t miss

The Red Rose City will turn blue in February when it hosts the annual Lancaster Roots and Blues, A Festival of Music. Past and present will converge to celebrate true American music styles as nearly sixty acts perform across nine stages in five venues. Grammy winners and rising stars will appear both nights at The Lancaster County Convention Center, The Ware Center, The Chameleon Club, Tellus 360 and The Federal Taphouse. Only Lancaster could host this volume of high-caliber musicians at such choice venues within a three-block radius. There will be performances that you will be the first to see outside of YouTube or your record collection.

Does the name Chris Thomas King ring a bell? How about Tommy Johnson, guitarist for The Soggy Bottom Boys in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? Mr. King portrayed Tommy in the film and has since sold more blues records than any other artist in this century. Did you see the bio pic Ray about Ray Charles? He played Lowell Fulsom. He has won Grammys and Oscars. Would you like to meet him and hear him play live? Lake Street Dive will be releasing their first album in February. Besides playing at Lancaster Roots and Blues, they will also be appearing on The Colbert Report, Late Night with David Letterman and Mountain Stage. The buzz they’re creating has spilled onto the pages of Rolling Stone. You can catch these awesome musicians and more during Lancaster Roots and Blues.

Click here to see a complete event schedule, list of musicians, maps, directions, ticket information and hotel accommodations. To see photos of the artists or to get the official play-by-play, you can follow Lancaster Roots and Blues on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter.

The memories you build will be unique, priceless and irreplaceable. Get tickets now for the inaugural Lancaster Roots and Blues festival. You will want to say you were there at its birth!

Post by Sam Campbell: Owner, Gigspots.com and Operations Director, Lancaster Roots and Blues.

Keeping Lancaster City’s brewing traditions alive

Lancaster Brewing Company (LBC) stands at the heart of the recent revival of craft brewing and brewpub dining in Lancaster County. Brewing at its current location in the northeast corner of the city since 1995 and under the banner of Lancaster Brewing Company since 2001, LBC produces a wide variety of celebrated beers that honor the rich brewing tradition of Lancaster County.

Head brewer Bill Moore and his crew work hard to create consistently great beer that pairs well with the excellent food served in the pub, from the sweet and roasty Milk Stout (used in a delicious mushroom gravy that tops the brewer’s meatloaf – my favorite!) to its Celtic Rose Ale steamed PEI mussels. LBC is not afraid to venture into the strong, hoppy world of more American style ales such as its award-winning Hop Hog and new Hop Buggy, brewed with Amish grains and a healthy dose of American hops.

LBC’s restaurant, situated on the open loft-style space above the brewery floor, is a great place for a kid-friendly lunch with family (the Hop Hog spiked house-smoked pulled pork is unbelievably good!), a romantic dinner date with a loved one (try the decadent Double Chocolate Milk Stout with a dessert from the a la carte menu), or even a special group outing, which can booked through their banquet manager. If it’s just drinks and snacks you’re after, there are bar specials daily and fantastic small plate options, from delicious Asian Duck Tacos to the truly unique Reuben Egg Rolls, as well as hot, buttery soft pretzels and sweet potato fries.

All of this is situated in an actual working craft-brewery setting within a historic brick building, with copper plated tables and walls adorned with black-and-white photography depicting Lancaster City’s centuries-old brewing tradition. And if you visit during the warmer months, LBC offers a beautiful new outdoor seating area surrounded by rain gardens and raised herb and vegetable beds, which the chef harvests for special seasonal dishes.

For more information and menus, visit them at www.lancasterbrewing.com.

Hauntings at the Fulton Theatre

If you’re ever at the Fulton Theatre and hear an ear piercing note shatter the air, don’t necessarily assume it’s coming from rehearsals…

Lancaster’s Fulton Opera House opened in 1852 as the Fulton Hall, and the “Grand Old Lady” has seen performances from Sarah Bernhardt, Al Jolson, Helen Hayes, W.C. Fields, Mark Twain, Irene Dunne and Marcel Marceau as well as many others. It’s a historic landmark and now is the home to wonderful Broadway calibre shows.

I’ve been told by a co-worker of mine who volunteers there on weekends that once you’re inside the old building, you can hear the sound of the piano playing itself and phantom applause. If you’re looking for local haunts, the Fulton Theatre is a great place to visit.

The Fulton House was built partially over the foundations of the old Lancaster jail. Fourteen Conestoga Indians that escaped from the Paxton Boys massacre were once housed there. They were in jail to protect them from the anti-Indian hysteria of the time, but unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned. A mob rushed the jail, took the Indians and then tortured and killed them. It’s said you can still hear the screams of the Conestogas from the corner of the building built over the old prison’s foundation.

So the next time you’re looking for a spooky place to visit, head on over to the Fulton Opera House! Have a happy Halloween!

Urban Flair at FENZ Restaurant

You’re sitting at the upstairs bar with your favorite cocktail in hand, only to still be scanning the list of impressive better-than-bar wines for a Pinot Grigio to pair with your dinner. The bartender is attentive, yet laid back. Upbeat lounge music sets the tone. Your surroundings are contemporary, sleek and sophisticated, without the pretension. You’re comfortable in this casual, urban environment. Simply put, you’re enjoying your night, and it has hardly started.

Only ten minutes away, you can find yourself on winding, back country roads, passing Amish buggies and taking in the sight of the gorgeous surrounding farmland. Surprise surprise… you’re in Lancaster County. More specifically, you’re downtown in the heart of the city’s vibrant northwest corridor at FENZ Restaurant. This former 19th century factory building has been renovated into one of Lancaster’s most recent and refreshing restaurants. The combination of historic character and contemporary design makes for a relaxed, yet stylish atmosphere. The menu items carry that same essence. Personal small -bite favorites include the French fries with truffle oil, scallops with apple-wood bacon in a Dijon mustard sauce, and the platter of assorted cheeses.

When you’re looking to cut back on vacation expenses without giving up on class, consider Lancaster County. FENZ Restaurant is just one example of such refreshing sophistication in this area. What’s more, you’re a hop, skip and a jump from Amish Country. Enjoy the diversity of Lancaster County for yourself.

FENZ Restaurant is right down the street from Franklin & Marshall College and the Lancaster Arts Hotel. It is also only several blocks from downtown Lancaster’s Gallery Row, the Lancaster County Convention Center, Central Market, the Fulton Theatre, and other center city attractions.

Reservations are highly recommended. Call (717) 735-6999.

Lunch at Isaac’s Restaurant & Deli

Today, a co-worker and I headed over to Isaac’s Restaurant & Deli. We both ordered what we always order, I got the Black Heron (Mouth-watering Black Angus Steak, sliced thin and piled high, smothered with provolone and cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and mayo) and she got the Whooping Crane (Sliced turkey, onions and fresh spinach, grilled with Swiss cheese and honey-Dijon dressing).

Isaac’s is such a great place – they’ve got the best customer service and their sandwiches are always so delicious. Downtown Lancaster has a great pickle bar for some late night fun, but when we go to lunch at work, we generally go to the Isaac’s at Greenfield because it’s right down the road from the Visitors Center (501 Greenfield Road).

We got dessert as well – the Fudgie Wudgie (Warm fudge brownie and ice cream – we had strawberry – hot fudge, whipped cream and chocolate chips). Mmm…

They have a club you can become a part of, the Flaming Fan Club, where when you join, you get a coupon for a buy one get one free sandwich (take a friend!), and then they send you different deals each month, as well as a free dessert coupon for your birthday every year – like I said – great customer service!

Halloween in Lancaster County

I know tons of people who’s favorite holiday of the year is Halloween – it’s fun to get dressed up in costumes, and take your kids out to get tons of free candy – or to go trick-or-treating yourself!

Well, fall is in the air, and that means a lot of things, but one in particular – Halloween is coming! So I’d like to share with you a few traditions that our family has taken on and some great things to do at Halloween in Lancaster County! Here are my top 3:

1. Hersheypark in the Dark is a must for the Halloween season. Are you a person who loves amusement rides but hates the lines? Well, then this is for you. Not all the rides are open, but there’s plenty and the lines are generally shorter than they are in the summertime! Also, when you go, with your park admission, you can get into Creatures of the Night & ZooAmerica! Visit their website for more details!

2. Dutch Wonderland has Happy Hauntings. It’s a family-friendly event where kids are encouraged to dress up in their costumes and enjoy themed rides & attractions, trick-or-treating, magic shows, and much more! See their website for more details!

3. Cherry Crest Adventure Farm has a Pumpkin Madness Festival. Throwing, launching, hurling, rolling, and dropping are all part of the festivities. Bring your own pumpkins or use some of their left over stash. See their website for more.

Prince Street Cafe

With what finally felt like some summer weather, last weekend involved a nice, refreshing mix of activities for me that reminded me how thankful I am to be home in Lancaster. Saturday morning started off with a successful trip to Central Market with a close friend of mine. The market bustled with people taking advantage of a nice morning to be awake and downtown. Some fresh asparagus and deep purple flowers for the house in hand, we perused the market aisles, finally deciding that bread samples failed to suffice after a good work-out earlier in the morning. All I had to do was mention Prince Street Café’s baked oatmeal, and any notion of a debate concerning what to do for lunch was gone.

One thing I have always appreciated about Prince Street Café is its large windows that let in the daylight. I tend to get a lot of my studies and work done in coffee shops, what with the regular caffeine kicks, warm environment, and periodic study breaks consisting of quality people-watching as conversations and interactions transpire. I always like to study by windows, and with the high-top tables alongside those of Prince Street Café, I have gone there several times to get schoolwork done while home on break. The free Wi-Fi is yet another reason to visit. I also value the incorporation of art into the space, pieces of local talent against the warm hues of the café’s walls. I have a lot of respect for local businesses who embrace and support the arts, serving the community beyond their primary purpose.

There is always a sense of youthfulness at the café, perhaps due to its fresh style and the many local students and young adults who frequently visit this relaxing and creative environment, much like myself. Just around the corner from Central Market, we found ourselves there in no time with cups of hot coffee, a medium roast from Ethiopia. I recently learned that Prince Street seeks to find fair trade coffees, in addition to buying their foods locally, what with all their pastries, gourmet desserts, soups, salads, and sandwiches.

On this particular visit, the café was naturally busy. My friend got her usual, a bowl of blueberry baked oatmeal and milk, while I decided to try their yogurt parfait. The baked oatmeal was delicious as always, and the parfait was a hit amongst the two of us. With fresh berries, baked oatmeal, and rich yogurt from Pequea Valley Farms, we found ourselves raving over our new find. It’s hard to find a healthy treat that remains too good to classify as anything short of a true indulgence. I’m sure I will be making my way back to Prince Street Café for a cup of coffee and a stroll through Downtown Lancaster sometime soon. And when that just doesn’t seem to be enough and a pick-me-up is necessary, I’ll know just what to get.

Stay Classy 19

The Lancaster Brewing Company

For a significant portion of my childhood, my parents owned two local pizza joints.  Owning their own restaurants had many drawbacks for Mom and Dad; the long hours, dealing with staff and the myriad of financial hurdles owners of small businesses have to attend to just to name a few.  That’s not to say there weren’t perks.  While unlimited free pizza may not have done wonders for my complexion, it did afford me a limited amount of social cache with other local teenagers.

Free food non-withstanding, I saw the toll owning your own restaurant took on my parents.   Years later, my wife would ask me if I missed the pizza shop, and I would tell her that I never wanted to be a part of the restaurant-owner lifestyle again.

Unless of course I had money to burn. Then suddenly the idea became a lot more appealing.

As a wealthy restaurant benefactor, I could sit around and dine with locals, joke around with the chef and tinker endlessly with the menu.  Now that sounded like a lot of fun.  In this scenario The restaurant I would imagine in my head was a friendly local pub in a renovated turn of the century building with a long bar accented with brass fixtures, high backed booths made of dark woods and of course me, the gregarious welcoming owner getting fatter by the day.

“So what does this have to do with Lancaster County per se?” you may be asking yourself, and for good reason having just trudged through at least two paragraphs that have nothing to do with Pennsylvania Dutch Country in the slightest.  Well, I had a photography meetup this past weekend to shoot the Lancaster Science Factory.  Afterward, we all got together for lunch and a few beers at the nearby Lancaster Brewing Company.  In my “wealthy restaurant benefactor scenario” the LBC would fit the bill as the restaurant perfectly.  Although they don’t have any high-backed booths, the atmosphere inside the old brick building is truly Lancaster County.  The history of the building can be traced back to the 1880’s.  At various times it was used as a tobacco warehouse, a clearing house for scrap metal and even housed enemy prisoners during World War II.  There’s a great bar area accented with a copper countertop, and the general seating area surrounds the gigantic silver vats used in the brewing process, spanning two floors of the building giving the Brewery a comfortable roomy feel.

Of course the main attraction is some very tasty beer brewed right on the premises, the most popular of which seem to be the Amish Four Grain Pale Ale and the Hop Hog IPA.  Although a lot of what LBC has to offer is available at beer distributors and restaurants throughout the County, many customers still come in to get their bottles directly from the source.

The lunch turned out to be terrific.  They set our group up in a back room that worked out great for photography-talk.  I had a glass of the Strawberry Wheat beer along with their Caesar Salad (pictured above).  Everyone at the meetup seemed pretty satisfied with their grub.  Most folks ordered varieties on the LBC’s Classic Angus Burger which looked plentiful and smelled fantastic. I even noticed someone with a tasty looking Beer-Soaked Brat, and coming from someone who lives to soak, par-broil and grill brats in the summertime, that’s a decent compliment.

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