Category Archives: Downtown Lancaster

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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Twist on a summer favorite

It’s summer! Need an excuse to celebrate? I’ve gotcha covered. Grab your friends and get on deck. I’ve tasted something you’re going to crave… all summer long. You’ve heard the news about Annie Bailey’s, right? Beer and Boozy Pops are making a seasonal appearance on the Annie Bailey’s menu!

In other news, Annie Bailey’s has new owners, two brothers, Jake and Josh Funk. With their reintroduction back into the Lancaster scene they are feeding our need to be outdoors and celebrating time away from chores or the clock on their outdoor deck. The owners kept the restaurant’s crowd favorites but their vibrant and traveled palettes are playfully reflected on the menu. Seasonal offerings like the adult versions of frozen popsicles are an outlet for their creativity.

On a recent visit, Dan and I enjoyed a tasting from the always popular happy hour menu, a menu designed with sharing in mind. Though the bites were perfect for a light summer dinner, it’s dessert I’d like to dish about.

Beer and Boozy Pops. Yes, you heard it correctly.  Frozen cocktails on a stick. (Secretly, I hope they develop a boozy version of the pudding pop.) We licked out way through 3 flavors and after each taste the newest nibble became our favorite (in my case anyway, Dan was more decisive). Loving them all leaves me a bit stuck on just one I’d recommend. The best part is the offerings will vary throughout summer. I’d encourage sampling.

Who doesn’t love a good sweet and sour cocktail? The Cheery Blueberry was just that and some, it was Dan’s favorite. Sweet and sour inspired but with a blend of berry vodka and fresh berries. Then came Wine a Bit. Oh. It was grape and apple studded, St. Germain, frozen sweetness. Favorite! Wait… Then there was the Blue Raspberry. This pop screams summer! Raspberry vodka with strawberry chunks makes it crave worthy. (craving it now)

Hold on to your blueberry loving pants! As soon as they are in season, Josh will be heading to Lancaster Central Market for blueberries and you can be sure you’ll love the popsicle it inspires.

Listen, let me just put it this way. You will need to make this a regular summer thing. Nibbles from the happy hour menu, conversational food, enjoying your friends and sampling the Beer and Boozy Pops on the Annie Bailey’s patio. See ya’ there!

Author: Phoebe Canakis, Blogger for Fig
With memories of dinner around the table that were created on a budget and not from a box and with roots in a Greek heritage, Phoebe was prepared to appreciate the whimsical way of taking time in whipping together the most palate-pleasing yet healthy, whole foods. Inspired by seasonally chic, seductively wholesome and garden to plate eats, Phoebe stirred to life her venture, phoebe’s pure food, bringing loving-you-back nosh in the form of delivered meals, pure food pantry staples and small event catering.

More POUR please

If you’re looking for a great place to meet friends for drinks and small plates in a fun atmosphere, it’s time to check out POUR. Located at 114 North Prince Street, behind the Artisans Gallery on Gallery Row, POUR opened a few years ago as a wine bar that featured a small list of draft beers and a limited seasonal menu of small plates. Since then, POUR has grown its menu to include larger entrée items, that continue to change seasonally and even serves brunch on Sundays. The last couple visits I made to POUR, it was hard to get a table on a Saturday night without a reservation. As the restaurant has grown, so has its customer following.

The menu still consists of mostly small plates, but does offer a small selection of larger plate items and a few dessert choices. The highlights of the menu include the duck fat fries, YUM! Trust me, they’re served with a roasted garlic aioli that you’ll want to dunk the rest of your food into for the entire evening; they’re a great start to the night and a great dish to share with friends.

I also suggest trying a few items from the charcuterie menu. Order these delicious items with a glass of wine from the extensive wine list and you’ll be set. However, if you’d like to extend your evening you can stay and have a large plate item or a few more small plates followed by dessert and/or a cocktail and you’ll go home happy.

The cocktail list is fun and inventive. There are a select few restaurants whose cocktail menus I truly enjoy ordering from here in Lancaster and POUR is one of them. They’ve got some fruity options and some stronger options but nothing I’ve tried has been too strong or not to my liking. I highly suggest trying one of their cocktails and this is coming from the girl who usually sticks to wine. And of course I can’t forget the beer selection. Though “smaller,” the beer that is chosen to be on tap is high quality and pairs well with many of the menu selections.

Some other highlights of POUR are its al fresco dining, it’s so nice to sit outside in the warmer months, and its location in Downtown Lancaster. This is a great location to meet up with friends on a First Friday but don’t forget that reservation, you can easily go online and make one with Open Table, which is so convenient.

I hope you’ll take an evening to enjoy POUR soon, I know I can’t wait to go back!

Marah Harbeon is the writer and creator of The Red Velvet Blog (www.theredvelvetblog.com). Marah created the blog a few years ago to document her cooking and eating adventures as a home cook and self-proclaimed foodie in Lancaster County. The blog includes recipes, travel insights and local restaurant reviews. Aside from writing about food, Marah is also a stay at home mom and shares her love of food with her husband and Bernese MountainDog. If not eating, you can find Marah golfing with her husband or enjoying a long walk with her family.

The city is alive with art and creativity

I love the energy that is in the air right now. The buds on the trees have burst open, and the downtown art gallery scene is staged to burst open too. After one of the hardest winters on record, it’s time to put my feet to the pavement and see what’s new at some of the premier stops in the bustling art scene.

Tucked in the thick of Gallery Row, Freiman Stoltzfus Gallery, one of several individual artist-centered galleries on the block, is one of my personal favorite. Freiman, a native of the Lancaster County’s Amish-Mennonite community, has a great love of travel and has made many trips to Europe. While living in Italy and France, he studied language, music and art. “Music is liquid architecture; Architecture is frozen music.” This quote by Goethe is a guiding principle for his newest collection of paintings, entitled “Lyrical Stones,” which opens on May 2 and continues through June. I’m excited to see this collection firsthand when it opens.

From j.a. sharp, I can walk across the street to Art & Glassworks. It’s one of the best sensory art experiences in the entire city. Glass art in every form and every color from floor to ceiling greets you as you enter Art & Glassworks. They represent over 150 American and International artists including many from the city and county. Whether you’re looking for stained glass, fused glass, blown glass orbs, paperweights, and even modern ceramics, you simply can not go wrong at this stop for either gift buying or splurging on something special for your yourself. I highly recommend a visit to this unique shop.

Take my advice; don’t stop there. There’s so much more art to see in town. Enjoy!

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.

A haven for foodies

If you’re a self-proclaimed foodie, no visit to Lancaster County would be complete without a trip to Lancaster Central Market.

Lancaster Central Market is the country’s oldest farmers market, located in a beautiful 120 year-old building in the heart of downtown Lancaster.  Featuring gourmet and ethnic foods, local specialties, and unique gifts and souvenirs, Lancaster Central Market was recently listed as “one of the 10 best fresh markets in the world” by CNN Go, the global and travel website of the international cable news network.

During a recent visit I decided to stray outside of my comfort zone to try some things I may not typically sample.

My first stop was at Pureblend Tea where I enjoyed my first tea latte.  It was a nice change from my usual café lattes. They can be ordered in a number of different flavors… mine was salted caramel.  Devine.

I was craving comfort food so my next stop was Spring Glen Fresh Foods for some delicious macaroni and cheese.  Spring Glen features everything from chicken pot pie to potato salad to chow chow.  If their other food offerings are as good as their mac and cheese, you’re in for a real treat.

On my way to satisfy my sweet tooth I was distracted by the tantalizing smell of… horseradish?  Yes, the smell of fresh grated horseradish drew me to Long’s Horseradish where owner Mike Long was making a fresh batch.  In addition to horseradish, Long’s offers a number of selections including gourmet horseradish mustard, cocktail sauce, horseradish pickles, and horseradish BBQ sauce.  Per Mr. Long’s recommendation, I later tried the BBQ sauce on meatloaf.  Fantastic!

Then I was off to get my sugar fix at Shady Maple Bakery where I had the best peanut butter filled whoopie pie I have ever tasted.  It was so fresh and moist… I can’t believe I had enough self-control to only eat one.  If you want to try this yummy PA Dutch classic, this is the place to go.

Finally, I was feeling a bit edgy so I thought I’d try a bit of Thai.  I headed over to Narai Exotic Thai Cuisine for their Panang Chicken Curry.  It was flavorful, spicy, and oh so delicious.

So for all those foodies out there, Lancaster Central Market is a must for your “To Do” list.  Open year-round on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, more information can be found at www.centralmarketlancaster.com.

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