Category Archives: Downtown Lancaster

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…

Make our Visitors Center your first stop

Located directly off the Greenfield Road exit of Route 30, a well-known highway that snakes through Lancaster County, you will find the Discover Lancaster Visitors Center. Make this place your first stop and your trip will be off to great start!

Here are 6 reasons to stop at our Visitors Center:

1. Restrooms, ATM, and Wireless Internet Access

Take advantage of our free wireless Internet access, onsite ATM, and clean restrooms. If you like coffee, grab a FREE cup of Lancaster County Coffee Roasters coffee courtesy of Discover Lancaster.

2. Informative brochures, maps, and expert advice

Do you want to find out what Lancaster County has to offer? We can help! From brochures and maps to advice from our experts, we’ve got you covered. Our friendly travel consultants can assist you by offering restaurant suggestions, helping with last-minute lodging needs, and giving directions to special, out-of-the-way places.

3. Art Gallery

Our Art Gallery displays a wide variety of local art ranging from quilts to pottery to paintings. Best of all, it’s all available for purchase.

4. Marketplace

Browse our marketplace filled with Lancaster County items from popular places such as Intercourse Canning Company, Kitchen Kettle Village, Good ‘N Plenty Restaurant, and more. This is the perfect place to pick up a souvenir (or a tasty treat!) before or after your stay in Lancaster.

5. Amish Countryside Tour

Enjoy a 90-minute Amish Countryside Tour operated by Amish Farm & House. Sit back and relax as you wander deep into Lancaster County’s heartland and learn about the area’s history, culture, and Amish lifestyle. Open Memorial Day (end of May) through October 31.

6. Mr. Sticky’s Homemade Sticky Buns

Directly outside of the Visitors Center, you will find delicious and downright addictive sticky buns. Be sure try one before you head out. Here’s a coupon! Open March throughDecember.

For more information about our Visitors Center, hours of operation, and directions, click here.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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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!

Scientific and Spectacular

The newly renovated North Museum of Nature and Science is a fascinating place for all ages. In my early 20’s, I was learning, having fun, and genuinely interested in the exhibits and collections. This space holds a new SciDome Theater, Nature Explorer Gallery, Nanotechnology exhibit, mineral collection and mid-Atlantic region bird collection.

Photography by Alysha Laird

Photography by Alysha Laird

As you walk into the North Museum, you are welcomed by their baby t-Rex and a massive globe displaying active weather patterns. To the right of the globe, you enter SciDome Theater, a touch digital system that projects high definition video and images onto a 41-foot aluminum dome. SciDome could be compared to a planetarium, but one difference is the type of shows. This theater expanded its programming to earth science shows to give guests a new experience on topics they would never have seen in a planetarium. Right now, SciDome is showing One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure, Super Volcanoes, and Magic Treehouse: Space Mission. The imagery in SciDome is astonishing; shows give real life perspectives in a movie-like experience. On June 20, SciDome will be presenting shows daily!

Photography by Alysha Laird

Photography by Alysha Laird

Past SciDome Theater, you enter the Nature Explorer Gallery, a combination of former Discovery Room and Live Animal Room. This gallery is filled with displays of unique shells, rocks, insects, and fossils. Children can examine different objects in nature like horns, furs, and space in the hands-on section of this gallery.

The most unique portion of this gallery is a tie between the bird call drum kit and the functioning beehive. The bird call drum kit collaborates creativity with nature. You might find your child has a hidden musical talent with this interactive piece! If you’re not a beekeeper, you don’t find yourself getting too close to beehives. With the functioning beehive display, you are able to examine how the bees interact and watch how they sustain the hive! To the left of the Nature Explorer Gallery, the Live Animal Room is occupied with unique reptiles, arachnids, and amphibians and with the help of the staff you can interact with these animals and learn more about them.

The nanotechnology exhibit is a small portion of the first floor but it is fascinating! This exhibit highlights the application of nanotechnology in our everyday life in basic terms. Past the nanotechnology exhibit is the featured Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils, New Ideas. This exhibit is organized by American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, The Field Museum, Chicago, Houston Museum of Natural History, and North Carolina Museum of Natural Science. This exhibit will be on display until June 21.

The antique cabinet museum, displayed on the bottom floor, holds a large collection of male and female birds native to the Mid-Atlantic region. Past the aisles of cabinets is one of the largest mineral collections I have ever seen.

Photography by Alysha Laird

Photography by Alysha Laird

After this experience, I realized the North Museum holds innovative and cutting-edge technology and exhibits. From SciDome Theater to the bird call drum kit, live animal room, and the nanotechnology exhibit I was truly impressed. This museum would be great for a day trip with your kids. After the museum, kids can play in Buchanan Park.

The North Museum summer hours are listed below.

June 1 – August 31
Monday – Saturday:
10 am to 5 pm
Sunday:
12 noon to 5 pm

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.

 

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. – See more at: http://padutchcountryblog.com/#sthash.E0rTYOAa.dpuf
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. – See more at: http://padutchcountryblog.com/#sthash.E0rTYOAa.dpu

Annual Fall ArtWalk in Downtown Lancaster

Art Walks have a long history in the City of Lancaster. Back in 1965, the first art walk was organized by the Community Gallery, now the Lancaster Museum of Art. The event was called Art Sunday and occurred on the first Sunday in October. It was a special day for promoting local artists and galleries, and included both city and county venues. Arts venues were fewer and farther between at that time. Downtown was a quieter place and there were no First Fridays. Thanks to the Community Gallery/Lancaster Museum of Art, Art Sunday continued every year and became well-established in the yearly calendar of events. Over time, Art Sunday grew and became more diversified in the types of venues participating.

Leap forward to 2014, and ArtWalk buzzes with energy two times every year. One ArtWalk in the spring, and one in the fall. This year’s Fall ArtWalk features 35 stops within 4 square blocks. You could say Lancaster’s art community is highly concentrated in the center of town.

The best part about ArtWalk is it’s yours to shape as you wish. Some people go for the exhibitions, some go for the activities, and everyone plots their lunch/coffee/ice cream breaks in between.

There are 35 stops, which can feel daunting, but you truly can do all of the stops. But don’t get hung up on the achievement, the day will unfold with unexpected surprises along the way. Linger in the galleries as long as it feels right. ArtWalk is meant to be a contemplative tour. No hurrying necessary.

Seek out the stops that offer a lot of activities such as the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen who on this instance have a blacksmithing demonstration in their back lot on Saturday. Inside they’ll have a group exhibition titled Unmasked, and they’ll also have fraktur, and needle felting demonstrations.

From there you can head to Building Character for more demonstrations in their courtyard, scoot down the Market Street alley to Hidden Treasures to shop an outdoor arts market, and walk across Prince Street to Isadore Gallery to see pottery by Angela Suehr and paintings by Steve Wetzel, one of the highlight exhibitions of the weekend.

Now you’re on Gallery Row, so continue south on Prince Street to see the Gallery at PA College of Art & Design, City Folk, Freiman Stoltzfus Gallery, Liz Hess, Red Raven Art Company, and Christiane David Gallery. You get the idea. This town is a buzz with things to do during ArtWalk.

For a full listing of activities, events, and exhibitions, visit LancasterArtWalk.org or follow the hashtags #lancartwalk and #lancphotowalk on Twitter and Instagram.

Come take a tour, research, and explore

If you love history like I do, you must visit LancasterHistory.org.

Located outside Downtown Lancaster, the LancasterHistory.org campus includes the historic grounds and gardens of Wheatland (President James Buchanan’s home), the Louise Arnold Tanger Arboretum (featuring more than 100 species of trees from around the world), and the headquarters of the Lancaster County’s Historical Society (including 15,000 objects, 45,000 historic photographs, and 1 million archival manuscripts).

Wheatland is the historic house museum of the 15th President of the United States, James Buchanan, the only bachelor president and only one from Pennsylvania. You will start your tour at the Wheatland Visitor Center where you can see on display rare political memorabilia and personal artifacts belonging to Buchanan and other members of the Buchanan family and watch a short introductory film in preparation for your tour. Your knowledgeable guide will take you through both the public and private rooms of the Federal style mansion, giving glimpses into Buchanan’s everyday life both as a public servant and family man. Unlike many other house museum, Wheatland has historically precise rooms and many original artifacts.

The Historical Society’s research library houses documentation of births, deaths, divorces, as well as tax records, ownership records, directories, and maps. Not only to guests to the library have access to these documents and records, they can also use the library’s Ancestory.com membership to research genealogy. Want to learn more about Lancaster County’s history and how your family may be connected? This is the place to start. If you get stuck, helpful staff members are ready and eager to assist. The current Historical Society exhibit is “Country, Commonwealth, and Country, A Guide to the Exhibition.” It intertwines the stories of Lancaster, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the United States of America. If you venture downstairs, you can get a glimpse, through an observation window, of their collection in storage.

While you’re on site, be sure to check out the frog pond next to the campus entrance. Although now artificial, it’s where Buchanan’s spring-fed pond was once located. It was his favorite place to sit and reflect. And don’t miss the green ash tree next to the drive way near the corner of Wheatland – it’s estimated to be over 350 years old!

Before you leave, stop by the museum store for your choice of historical books, period art, local goods, and more. Don’t leave without a treasure to take home.

Visit www.lancasterhistory.org to learn about special events, tours, exhibitions, lectures, and more. And remember, for those history buffs who are impossible to buy for, yearly memberships are available!

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