Category Archives: Downtown Lancaster

National Farmer’s Market Week – August 6-12

Have you been to your local farmer’s market lately? If you are like us, the answer is probably yes, but just in case you need an excuse to go it is National Farmer’s Market Week! Farmer’s markets are stocked with fresh-from-the-fields produce, juicy fruits, local meats, cheeses and dairy products, and delicious baked goods. They allow us to truly “eat local,” and to know where our food is coming from. Through buying your groceries at a farmer’s market you are directly helping the community in which you live and the people that grow and produce the food you eat. Eating locally not only has health benefits, but it is also good for the environment. You can reduce your carbon footprint through eating food produced in your community, because the oil and emissions created by shipping foods are much less.

Not only does Lancaster have a large number of farmer’s markets, we are also home to the Nation’s oldest indoor farmer’s market, Lancaster Central Market. Central Market was recently named in CNN Travel’s top 10 fresh markets in the world. As they say they were “established in 1730 and still fresh.” Walking up and down the aisles you pass a variety of stands selling produce and prepared food from all different cultures. Ranging from traditional PA Dutch chow-chow to African Samosas and everything in between, there are a whole world of flavors under one roof waiting for you to taste and explore.

Different stands and markets have different schedules, but with the large number of farmer’s markets throughout the county you are guaranteed to find one that fits in with your schedule. Plus, Lancaster farmer’s markets open bright and early, so you can stop on your way to work. So why not go?

The Tastiest Tour in Town

What better way to learn about a town or city then by experiencing their food scene. Lancaster County Food Tours is offering visitors (and locals alike) a way to experience Lititz and Downtown Lancaster through a tour combining history, culture, and delicious food.

On a sunny summer day, I made my way to Lititz to meet up with the fantastic Lancaster County Food Tour guides for a tasty three-hour adventure. They opened the tour with an overview of the tour goal: to taste delicious offerings from local restaurants and shops while learning about the town and it’s history. And off we went!

The Come Eat Lititz Tour features a variety of tastes from the savory Scottish egg at General Sutter Inn to the sweet whoopie pie at Sugar Whipped Bakery. Between stops, the guide provided us with great area facts, answered questions, and offered conversation along the way. The balance of history and food was perfect!

While they discourage shopping on the tour to keep everyone moving from location to location on time, I definitely kept a running list of gift and souvenir ideas to pick up once the tour concluded.

While I could go into detail about each stop, this tour is best experienced in person. I will say, my favorite stop was the Waltz Vineyards Tasting Room. The wine tasting was thoughtfully prepared, and the sommelier was an expert in the flavors and processes behind each wine; which showed the passion put into the locally-made wines.

Stops on the Lititz Tour include: General Sutter, Olio Olive Oil & Balsamics, Waltz Vineyards, Julius Sturgis Pretzels, Sugar Whipped Bakery, JoBoy’s BBQ, and Wilbur Chocolate.

Tour Tips:

Comfortable shoes are a must!
There’s quite a bit of walking to be done, which is a great way to experience the town of Lititz and Downtown Lancaster, however, your feet will thank you if you wear comfortable walking shoes.

Check the forecast and dress accordingly.
The Come Eat Lititz Tour takes place over lunchtime so the sun may be at its peak heat. The shops (minus Julius Sturgis) provide a nice break from the heat, but for maximum comfort throughout the entire tour, dress according to the day’s highest temperature.

Come hungry!
By the time we got to Wilbur Chocolate (the last stop), I was pleasantly stuffed, so definitely come ready to eat. If you find that you could use a little something to eat after the tour, feel free to stop by your favorite tour location or another spot that may have caught your eye while walking.

More Tours to Explore:

This summer, Lancaster County Food Tours introduced their Chef’s Table Tour and Market and Beyond Tour, both featuring eats throughout Downtown Lancaster.

The Chef’s Table Tour features small bites and cocktail pairings at five of Lancaster’s fine dining restaurants. The fresh, delectable eats and spirited drinks will have your taste buds buzzing.

The Market and Beyond Tour features tasty morsels from Lancaster mainstays and a tour of historic Lancaster Central Market. This sweet and savory tour will give you a true taste of Lancaster County.

For more information and to book your tour, visit LancoFoodTours.com

Disney’s Newsies at the Fulton Theatre

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Disney’s Newsies is at the Fulton Theatre, and the show is fantastic!

Based on the newsboy strike that happened in New York in 1899, this show gives viewers a glimpse at the past as well as encourages them to Seize the Day and stand up for what they believe in- a message that is pertinent to all time periods. You will fall in love with the gritty, scrappy characters like Jack Kelly and Crutchy, plus, be amazed by the superior singing and dancing of the cast.

The show is at the Fulton through July 23. It is a wonderful way for your family to escape the heat and experience the joys of live theatre. We can guarantee you will leave humming The King of New York while you walk the around the streets of Downtown Lancaster. The Fulton Theatre has done a wonderful job with this production which is the final show of their 2016/2017 Mainstage series. As someone who grew up tapping this show definitely danced its way into my heart as one of my favorite musicals.

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

10+ Things to Do in Lancaster County in August

There’s still plenty of time to enjoy the splendors of summer in Lancaster County. Plan some last minute fun with the kids before school starts or enjoy a weekend girlfriend’s getaway.

Kid-Friendly Festivities:

Happy Birthday to Kitchen Kettle Village’s beloved gingerbread man mascot, Yummie! Join Yummie and his friends for a family fun birthday party, featuring a petting zoo, pony rides, pedal cart rides and samplings of Kitchen Kettle’s tasty jams, pickles and more. This event is best suited for children 10 and under. Before the festivities begin, party-goers can enjoy a breakfast buffet filled with Lancaster County favorites. Tickets are required for the pre-party breakfast, and can be purchased online.

Thomas is coming back to town – Thomas the Tank Engine™ that is! August 27th through September 4th, Strasburg Rail Road® will host their Day Out with Thomas™ event, featuring a train ride with Thomas, storytelling and more. Thomas won’t be traveling alone, as his friend Percy will be joining in the festivities too. Tickets can be purchased for the August and November Day Out with Thomas™ events online.

For the Art-lovers:

If you’re a fan of arts and crafts, you’ll love the art show line up this month in Lancaster County.

Shank’s Mare Outfitters hosts their annual Art & Outdoor show on August 6, featuring local artists who will be displaying and selling their works along the Susquehanna River. Local non-profit outdoor, historic, and cultural organizations will also be displaying information on their activities and programs. Show-goers can enjoy activities throughout the day.

Drawing 700 crafters from throughout the United States and Canada, the Rotary Club of Lititz Craft Show will be held along East Main Street, Broad Street and in Lititz Springs Park on August 13.

A weekend of art comes to Mt. Gretna, August 20 and 21, and features a plethora of artists, exhibitors, live music and delicious food options. Stroll the show grounds as you take in art of all kinds and activities for all ages.

Educational Family Fun:

From history to the arts and science, there are plenty of fun ways to learn in Lancaster County.

Little history buffs will love the Stories-on-the-Porch series at Rock Ford Plantation, August 3, 10 and 17. Geared towards children 3 to 7, this free program features a Rock Ford volunteer in 18th century period dress reading a story on the porch of the mansion. Following the story, children will enjoy a game or craft and light snack.

The First Friday in August brings art to the North Museum of Nature & Science with their new exhibition. The STEAM Art Gallery features creations by local artists whose work is inspired science and nature. Kids can connect with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) and the exhibition with a scavenger hunt activity. On August 5, guests can experience the museum after hours, interact with the artists and enjoy light refreshments during the First Friday Exhibition Opening.

Brews Galore:

Beer lovers will love the ale-centric festivals scheduled in Lancaster this month.

Columbia celebrates brews with Rivertown Hops on August 6 along Locust Street. With over 40 brewers, live music and food vendors, Rivertown Hops promises an afternoon of beer sampling and tasty food.

Lancaster City celebrates ales, ciders, stouts and more during the annual Lancaster Craft Beer Fest on August 27 in Binn’s Park. Last year’s festival featured 64 breweries (both local and natioanlly know), food vendors and live music, combining for an afternoon of fun in Downtown Lancaster.

Going Once, Going Twice:

Mud Sales and auctions are back with three consignment sales in August.

To benefit the work of the Mennonite Central Committee, the Gap Relief Sale will be held on August 13 at the Solanco Fairgrounds. This annual community auction features quilts and a variety of items, plus delicious food available for purchase.

On August 20, the Intercourse Fire Company Consignment Auction will be held at the Intercourse Fire Company. The following weekend, the Bareville Fire Company Consignment Auction will be held in Leola at the Bareville Fire Company.

And that’s just the short list! For a complete list of the events happening in Lancaster County in August and beyond, visit our online events calendar. Happy travels!

Over 50 Years of Music: Long’s Park Summer Music Series

Nothing to do this weekend? Got the Sunday night blues? Why not head over to Long’s Park for the Summer Concert Series– it’s free, it’s fun, and it’s guaranteed to get anyone dancing! The outdoor amphitheater is considered one of the best outdoor venues in Central PA. Built into the grassy hill of Long’s Park, listeners can sprawl out on the lawn with blankets and chairs, or sit along the top amongst the shady trees dotted with grills and picnic tables.

The performances are on Sunday evenings, beginning at 7:30 PM. This makes for the perfect time to pack a picnic dinner, or buy something from one of the various food trucks in the park. (We highly recommend the ice cream from Strasburg Creamery!) If you have little-ones in tow who can’t quite sit still for a whole concert- don’t worry the playground is at the top of the hill! They can burn off some energy before bed time, and you can still listen and enjoy the rest of the show. Also, don’t let possible bad weather deter you, rain or shine- the show goes on!

Performances range from Classical to Rock, Brazilian to Gaelic, and Folk to Blues, covering all genres of music. Guaranteeing any listener to find something they like- or try them all and expand your musical horizons. Certain Saturdays throughout the summer feature performances by talented local musicians. We recently had the opportunity to attend the concert on Sunday, July 10 featuring The Suffers from Houston, Texas. To quote one man sitting behind us who called a friend between sets “You have to come check these cats out!” The performance was wonderful, The Suffers put on a show full of soul, brass, and swing. It got everyone up dancing, young and old a-like.

Music can bring together the community, and it is great that Lancaster continues to organize this free summer series for everyone to enjoy.

The 2016 schedule can be found here.

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Local’s Tips:

1. Bring a blanket or chairs to sit on during the show.

2. Get there a bit early, the amphitheater can fill up so it is best to claim your spot in advance.

3. Pack a picnic, deck of cards, or a Frisbee to entertain kids until the show starts.

4. The program is put on by sponsors and donations, if you would like to donate, be sure to have some cash on hand to give to the “sweeps” before the show starts.

5. Don’t forget bug spray!

Countryside Breakfast or Downtown Brunch?

Rise and shine – it’s time to start your day in Lancaster County! Treat yourself to the most important meal of the day.

Breakfast or brunch – which will you choose?

For a Countryside Breakfast:

A traditional breakfast featuring eggs, home fries, pancakes and other favorites can be found at many of the local PA Dutch restaurants and buffets. Try a little bit of everything with an all-you-care-to-eat smorgasbord or order off the menu of tasty classics.

Here are some favorite breakfast spots across the county:

Shady Maple: features two hundred feet of deliciously authentic Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. Be sure to try one of their house-made doughnuts or pastries!

Oregon Dairy Country Restaurant & Buffet: serving a full breakfast menu Monday through Sunday plus a breakfast buffet Friday, Saturday and Sunday

DJ’s Taste of the 50’s: classic breakfast dishes served in a vintage diner setting

For a Downtown Brunch:

Brunch is a delicious early afternoon meal typically served on Saturday and Sunday, and featuring dishes that combine the best of lunch and breakfast. Tasty brunch spots are popping up across Downtown Lancaster, serving up brunch burgers, quiche, chicken and waffles, and cocktails.

Explore Lancaster City and stop by one of these great brunch spots:

Annie Bailey’s: a traditional Irish pub serving classic Irish breakfast items and savory lunch burgers and sandwiches

Aussie and the Fox: blending American and Australian cuisine and creating delicious brunch dishes and cocktails

Prince Street Café: serving breakfast or lunch all day, along with hot and cold espresso and coffee drinks

Bon appetite!

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…

Get Your Passport to Lancaster County

There’s so many great places to discover in Lancaster! You can visit Lancaster a dozen times and still find something new to enjoy. Here’s something that will make your trips even more fun and rewarding.

Lancaster County Wine, Spirits & Ale Trail

1. Pick up a passport at the Discover Lancaster Visitors Center.

2. Take your passport (and ID!) with you as you make your way across Lancaster, sampling locally crafted potables along the way. Learn a little, drink a little. Learn some more, drink a little more.

3. Get your passport stamped at each participating location, and with a minimum of 4 stamps, turn it in at the Discover Lancaster Visitors Center for a free t-shirt!

This trail is meant to be a fun, social way to soak up Lancaster’s drink culture, not a drunken pub crawl. By all means, indulge! But be respectful and be responsible.

Made in Lancaster Shopping Trail

1. Pick up a passport at the Discover Lancaster Visitors Center.

2. Travel across the county, scoping out, sizing up, and getting a taste of some of the best locally crafted goods Lancaster has to offer. You’ll find countless shops, kitchens, workspaces, and storefronts all over the county, whose owners and proprietors put the love for their craft into every item that walks out the door.

3. Get your passport stamped at each participating location, and with a minimum of 6 stamps, turn it in at the Discover Lancaster Visitors Center for a free t-shirt!

Fall in love with Lancaster

I love fall! It’s my absolute favorite season of the year. That’s yet another reason why I love Lancaster; it is a quintessential fall destination. The countryside is beautiful and there’s lots of fun fall activities for all to enjoy. Here are my Top 5 favorite fall activities in Lancaster County:

1. Hiking

Lancaster County offers many unique parks for your hiking and biking pleasure. Fall is the perfect time to soak in the beauty of leaves changing color, plus the temperature is perfect- the mornings are chilly and the afternoons are comfortably cool. My personal favorite spot to hike is to Chickies Rock, which is a “light to moderate” hike. Once you reach the top, you see a stunning view of the Susquehanna River and the surrounding farmland.

2. Lancaster City Cafes

When I think of fall, I think of putting on an over-sized sweater with a big scarf, drinking a cup of coffee, and reading a good book. Whether you want to get work done or meet up with friends, spend a relaxing afternoon in one of Lancaster City’s numerous cafes. My personal favorite is Prince Street Cafe, located across the street from the Fulton Theatre. The food is great and the hot beverages will warm up your heart and your fingertips.

3. Cherry Crest Adventure Farm

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is a great place for families to have a fun-filled day. The farm features a corn maize, a courtyard, and a barnyard with numerous activities. One can pet a llama, learn about farming, and go for a ride down a giant slide. A fun play area is also available for younger children. Oh, and don’t be surprised when you hear a loud train whistle – the Strasburg Rail Road steam engine passes right through the farm! It’s an incredible sight to see!

4. Haunted Attractions

For those of you who enjoy adding some thrill into your fall season, Field of Screams and Jason’s Woods are just two of many great Halloween attractions in the area.

5. Lancaster City Ghost Tours

Spend an evening walking around Lancaster City by candlelight. Explore the mysteries of one of America’s oldest cities. Experience the haunting tales of phantoms, unsolved mysteries, and star-crossed lovers. This 90-minute tour will be sure to send shivers down your spine!

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