Category Archives: Next-door Neighbors

PADCVB Members that are not within the county limits

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!

Reading Art Works, the perfect venue

Surprises are few and far between when you have lived in the same place for your entire life; especially when it comes to aspects of culture you love like food, wine, and entertainment, but recently I was pleasantly surprised. The revelation: a trip to a local event rental and art gallery space called Reading Art Works (RAW).

Located just outside of the historical section of Reading, PA, RAW impresses from the second you walk through the door. Owners Janice and David Telstar are celebrating RAW’s 8th year in business in the old Pattern Works building, originally known for producing railroad engine parts. When they bought the building it suffered from typical abandonment issues: stained floors, broken windows, leaking roofs, and an overall state of decay. What they have done with the place is astonishing. David combined his love for refurbishing old items and carpentry with Janice’s 30+ years of event planning knowledge to create a space that screams “industrial chic.” Beautifully restored sliding garage doors separate the available studio spaces (available for rent starting at $350) while David’s furniture creations, ranging from birdhouses to high top tables made from old shutters, leave no doubt in any potential renter’s mind of the infinite possibilities available at RAW.

Simply put, this space is gorgeous. With its two levels, RAW can hold events for up to 800 people including holiday parties, weddings, photography shoots, and more. The space lends itself to the imagination, and with the help of the on-site interior designer, Karen Weinberger, any event can be transformed into your wildest dreams. Karen is a talented self-taught artist, and RAW is home to her event décor business, British Brat @ Studio #5.  She offers Decor Rental and Design Services to assist RAW customers in fulfilling their vision of a picture perfect day, all while keeping your budget intact. Decor Rental items include lounge areas, chalk boards, old windows, new crystal chandeliers and much more.  In addition Karen can design and customize ceremony backdrops, create ceiling decor, photo backdrops, etc. You can see some her work on RAW’s facebook page.

The studio spaces on the first floor are spacious with radiant light shining through the building’s restored windows. The art gallery featured on the first floor is breathtaking on its own. Presently adorned with pieces by a local Philadelphia artist, Kathleen Shaver, the space is clean, modern, and leaves you with a sense of sophistication and creativity. If the first floor left me breathless, entering the loft sent me to heaven. The short staircase to the second floor leads into an open room with hardwood floors, industrial beams, and gorgeous light through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Walking around this loft, even devoid of event decorations, would give any past, present, or future bride chills. I could not stop thinking about the possibilities for such a space and neither can David. We spent an hour talking about his ideas for expansion, some including the addition of gardens and decks; let me tell you, these ideas will only amplify the success of this business.

With its unique location, interior aesthetic, and personable staff, I highly recommend Reading Art Works to anyone looking for gallery space, event space, or even a wedding location. You would be crazy not to take advantage of the natural sunlight, the exceptional artwork, and the simple industrial beauty that RAW has to offer. I can only thank David and Janice enough for enlightening me to such a wonderful surprise so close to home!  Visit RAW’s website at http://readingartworks.com.

Snow Tubing: Not Just For Kids (But They’ll Love It Too)

I didn’t have snow pants. I didn’t have gloves. But that didn’t stop me from reveling in my first snow tubing experience at AvalancheXpress. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Here’s what you need to know:

Hot chocolate bar. First things first—there is a hot chocolate bar where you can add your own toppings including sprinkles, whipped cream, smashed up M&Ms and Oreos, and (most importantly) AS MANY MINI MARSHMALLOWS AS YOUR HEART DESIRES.

Racing is a thing. There are 8 lanes at the top of the hill. You can pick a hill next to your friend, launch at the same time, and race to the bottom. If you’re tubing with your lover (also a thing), you can pick a wide lane and hold onto each others tube as you speed to the bottom. If this can’t save a relationship I don’t know what can.

Tow rope-lines. The worst thing about sledding growing up was walking back up the hill. The struggle is real. Not at AvalancheXpress, however. There are two powered rope-lines that will pull you (in tube!) back up to the top of the hill. Of course, fitness buffs can choose to walk up if they choose; it’s a good way to wear your kids out. But being pulled up backwards feels almost like a fun ride in and of itself.

To get to the bathrooms you have to pass right by the hotel bar. Self explanatory, yes?

FIRE. At the bottom of the hill (protected by nets and bumpers for those exuberant tubers) are four fire pits, complete with chairs. It’s the perfect spot to stop between downhill trips to warm your hands and thaw your face. And if tubing isn’t your thing, it’s the perfect place to watch the fun.

Night tubing. Did I mention I did all of this at night? AvalancheXpress does night tubing from 8-10 PM (weekdays & Sundays) and 9-10 PM (Fridays & Saturdays). It’s so worth it. I only had to stand in line once, with about 5 people in front of me. There were very few children. Plus, hurtling through the darkness?? Nearly indescribable.

Make no mistake, this hill is BIG. It was intimidating at first, then immediately addictive. I couldn’t stop laughing each time I flew down, and by the end of the night, I wasn’t sure if my face hurt from the cold or from smiling.

About the author: Erin moved to Lancaster from upstate New York. She enjoys exploring Lancaster’s flourishing arts and literary scenes. Learn more about Erin at erindorney.com or follower her on Twitter at @edorney.

Find the antique you’ve been looking for

Family, friends, and reminiscing about fun memories are some of the best things on Earth. Going antiquing is one way to combine all three of these things into one lovely package. So on a lazy, end-of-summer Saturday morning, I rounded up one of my best friends from college, Laura, and my sister-in-law, Sue, and we headed to Hershey to do a little sightseeing. Our main destination was Crossroads Antiques, conveniently located off Rt. 743 and Rt. 322 – one of the main “cross roads” through Hershey and only about 30 minutes from Lancaster.

Crossroads Antique Mall features two floors of antique amazingness! Over 85 unique vendors share the space in a co-op style antique market. The vendors each display their own antiques that they have collected from estate sales, personal collections, etc.

We barely set foot in the door when we started pointing out things that made us smile. “My dad had one of those!” “My mom loves those dishes!” “Oh my gosh, remember THESE? I was obsessed with these as a kid!” There is no limit to what you might find at the Crossroads Antique Mall. We spent over two hours perusing the rows and rows of curiosities including glassware and dishes, vintage games, toys, jewelry, furniture, hats, figurines, vintage memorabilia, posters, magazines, books, records (remember THOSE?) and everything else in-between. Even an antique prosthetic leg, which gave Laura quite a laugh, since she’s a physical therapist! “Imagine actually wearing that clunky old thing?”

Laura made two fantastic purchases – an irresistible Hershey Chocolate cook book, with every recipe even more tantalizing than the one before it. She also found a vintage brand name purse that was in excellent condition, at a great price. Sue and I were simply satisfied with our fun adventure and together-time.

If you’re looking for a great day trip destination near Lancaster be sure to stop by the Crossroads Antique Mall to make some new memories while enjoying the old.

Made by hand (and passion)

Eldreth Pottery was started over 30 years ago in a dank cellar by Dave Eldreth, who at the time, was a full-time teacher trying to supplement income to support newly born twin daughters.

Without much money, he was motivated to make things work. His first potter’s wheel was an improvised conversion of a washing machine. His first pottery kiln was borrowed. He dug his own clay from a local Southern Lancaster County quarry. With many years and many fortunate twists along the way, Eldreth’s determination, ambition, and creativity drove his company’s growth.

When it was time to expand into a larger space, he went to see the local banker, who as luck would have it, just started collecting Eldreth’s pottery. The banker believed in the vision, and put money behind the ideas.

Eldreth recounted a few other serendipitous stories including the time he hired a mason to build a salt-kiln. The mason abruptly quit because he didn’t want to do that kind of work. Devastated, Eldreth thought his plans to set up a pottery factory were doomed from the start. Fortunately, his neighbor turned out to be a distinguished engineer who built the kiln, and then wouldn’t accept payment for his work other than “the first four pots that come out of the kiln.”

Now with about 35 talented artists and three locations, Eldreth Pottery is a renowned name in the pottery business showcasing creativity in salt glaze, redware, and stoneware. They’re known for many different items and varying styles sure to fit everybody’s tastes. Their most popular pottery are painted birdhouses, and their annual limited edition carved Santas.

Every piece is made by hand in Lancaster County. All of the pottery is one-of-a-kind as every single item gets hand-painted.

The showroom and factory in Oxford at 902 Hart Road is stocked to the brims with high quality ceramics. You can also get a tour of that factory generally anytime between 10:00-3:00 PM from Monday to Friday. Watch the pots being made or glazed by the studio artists. Explore the studio space, which includes old clay molds, kiln room, potter’s wheels, etc.

If you’re visiting the Oxford location in early May, don’t miss their annual Open House, which includes demonstrations, kids’ pottery wheel activities, pig roast, and more.

Eldreth Pottery also has a showroom in Strasburg at 246 N Decatur Street. If you’re looking for a good time of year to visit there, go on the second weekend of November to catch their annual Holiday Open House to see all of the new limited edition Santa creations.

Either way, seek them out. Reconnect with craft that’s locally made by hand. Eldreth’s passion is contagious, and I think you’ll find his pots as inspiring as his story.

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Cars, motorcycles, buses… and a Kissmobile

My husband and I recently made a trip to the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum and were totally amazed by the themed areas and the variety of transportation vehicles on display there.

I should say up front that I am not a car person. I like them as well as the next person I guess, but I’m not crazy into them (I prefer trains actually), so I was a little worried that I’d spend a couple hours being bored while my husband “the car guy” enjoyed the museum.

Let me tell you, I had no reason to worry. The AACA Museum has plenty to keep anyone fascinated. From a replica Drive-In theater (can you find the bathing beauty?) to a full size diner, the museum is full of the history that everyone can find something to enjoy.

The AACA Museum opened in 2003 as a separate entity from the Antique Automobile Club of America, but the two organizations work together to expand the knowledge and enjoyment of antique automobiles, motorcycles and buses. The museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute; it changes exhibits throughout the year and includes special activities for Halloween and Christmas.

On our trip we were lucky enough to see the Indian Nation: Indian Motorcycles & America exhibit and the Motoring Mysteries of the Far East – A Curious Collection of Asian & Pacific Vehicles display. Yes, you read that correctly, motorcycles and non-American cars! The AACA Museum prides itself on variety and wants to offer something for everyone. The special collections change several times a year so there is always something new to see.

The exhibit called From Sea to Shining Sea features a changing collection of American vehicles from the 1800’s to the 1970’s with dramatic scenery, a gas station reproduction, a drive-in, and the Floinn Cafe Diner. There are interactive features in many of them with sound and video recordings, and they are adding iPads to certain exhibits to provide even more interaction and information.

The museum doesn’t just feature cars; they also have motorcycles and The Museum of Bus Transportation. They have twelve full-size buses on display… it’s so fascinating to see how buses have evolved over the years. Also featured is a model train display of O Gauge trains, many with buttons you can push to make the scenery move and light up.

There is a children’s play area downstairs where toy trucks and cars are set up for kids to play with, and there are two antique cars they can have their picture taken in. Refreshment machines and rest rooms are available which make this the perfect place for families to take a rest before heading out to explore more.

The museum is planning several future exhibits such as 100 Years of Dodge beginning in September 2014, Lotus: The Art of Lightness coming in January 2015 and A Family Affair: Station Wagons coming in May 2015, but the real excitement is brewing over the Cammack Tucker Gallery being opened late in 2014. The AACA Museum will be home to the largest collection of Tucker automobiles in the world when this exhibit opens.

The museum has a gift shop full of items for every age and budget. From t-shirts to travel mugs, puzzles to postcards, and models to magnets, you can find it with a car or a bus on it.

I have to admit I highly enjoyed my trip to the AACA Museum and would recommend it to anyone. If you’d like to visit, the AACA Museum is open daily, but please check their website for hours, pricing and special events. Group events can be held at the Museum, and it is also a popular spot for weddings and car club events.

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A Behind-the-Scenes Tour of QVC

Do you like to “shop till you drop?” Of course! That’s one of the reasons why you love visiting Lancaster, right? You can always go home with some incredible deals from the outlets, markets, and gift shops. But we know that for the true shopaholics among us, the shopping doesn’t stop when you go home. You may enjoy searching for bargains online, in catalogs, and more. But I’m going to guess that one of your best go-to spots is QVC.

Just the sound of those three letters rolling off the tongue puts me in a happy, shopping mood. Well, let’s be honest. It puts us all in a shopping mood. Thankfully, Lancaster is home to a QVC outlet store, a distribution center, and we are next door to their Studio Park in West Chester, PA. Just recently, I got the chance to visit their expansive studio and take a behind-the-scenes tour with one of QVC’s wonderful guides. We had a blast!

Some Quick Facts

In order to really appreciate the size, reach, and quality of QVC’s production, it’s helpful to know a few statistics. QVC stands for “quality, value, convenience” and is the world’s leading video and e-commerce retailer. They broadcast live 24 hours a day, 364 days of the year. That’s right. So while you may be fast asleep, the team at QVC’s Studio Park is hard at work. QVC is available in 300 million homes worldwide through its broadcast programming in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Japan, Italy and a joint venture in China. In 2013, they shipped more than 169 million products to these markets. Wow! I knew QVC was big, but I had no idea it was quite that big until I visited Studio Park.

You can read more about these impressive statistics on QVC’s fact sheet. But for now, I think you’ve got a pretty good idea of how vast their work is. So let’s talk about their fascinating tour!

The QVC Experience

Upon entering QVC, I was introduced to my tour guide, Joan, and we set off on our way. One of our first stops was in front of about ten TV monitors, showing a live feed of QVC’s programming worldwide and online. It was wild to think that QVC teams were filming in multiple countries and reaching people all over the world at the exact same time. After this, we enjoyed a short video that provided an overview of some of the things we were about to see throughout the studio. This was very helpful because it enabled me to recognize what certain pieces of equipment did and how they contributed to the overall production.

Our guide then led the group down a glass-lined hallway where we could see one of the network’s live beauty segments being filmed. It was so neat! I saw robotic cameras moving around, monitors showing the program hosts what shots to prepare for, large sets of lights, and more! We also saw the program guests and models on set. After that, we took a stroll down QVC’s “hall of fame.” This is where guests can learn about some of the network’s accomplishments and sales records that have been set over the years. Do you own a Halo portable cell phone charger? Well, this piece of technology has earned a coveted spot in the QVC hall of fame.

Up next was the prop room. Don’t you love how QVC films each of their segments in the perfect atmosphere? One of the ways they are able to do this is by using a variety of props to transform their studio into different spaces with distinct aesthetic appeal. But as you know, it takes a lot of props to ensure that every set has the right look for a 24/7 production. Studio Park is home to thousands of different props including pillows, chairs, beds, blankets, dishes, picture frames, and pretty much anything under the sun that might come in handy for a segment. I can imagine it would be pretty easy to get lost in this prop room for a day or two… maybe three.

Before visiting Studio Park, I would have guessed that most of QVC’s tour guests were women. However, our guide explained that she sees a good mix of both men and women on their tours – the main difference is that most of the women love seeing the merchandise and catching a glimpse of their favorite hosts, while a majority of the men get caught up in the studio’s cutting edge production equipment and technology. If that’s the case, then the next part of my tour must be a very popular stop for the men visiting Studio Park. We walked by several production rooms where every QVC program is monitored. The technology here was unbelievable!

One of the last stops on QVC’s regular tour is the observation deck. This is the perfect opportunity to see one of your favorite program hosts filming a live segment. It also gives you the chance to see just how large the 58,000 square foot studio space is.

The All-Access Tour

For visitors who would like a closer look at what goes on behind the scenes at QVC, you can take part in their all-access tour. This tour puts you right in the action, and it is so much fun! I got to go on-set, visit the Talent Service Center, see a Green Room, and more. All-access visitors even get to enjoy lunch in the Studio Park Café with their tour guide. I love this aspect of the all-access experience because it gives visitors a chance to get to know their guide and ask additional questions about the QVC broadcasts.

Planning Your Visit to QVC

Tours are available seven days a week at 10:30 AM, Noon, 1:00 PM, 2:30 PM, and 4:00 PM EST. Admission is only $7.50 per adult and $5 for children ages 6 to 12 years. Reservations for this tour are not required for parties of nine or less. All-access tours are offered once a week on Fridays and require reservations. Admission for the all-access experience is $75 per person. More information about QVC’s tour packages can be found on their studio tour page. And don’t forget to stop in for a little shopping at the Studio Park store before you head home!

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Emily is a Lancaster County native, singer/songwriter, and all around music lover. She is an Online PR Specialist and, on the side, works at her family’s business, Long’s Horseradish, at Lancaster Central Market. To learn more about Emily, visit her website: www.EmilyLongMusic.com.

Summer fun kicks off at Hersheypark

One sure sign of spring in Central Pennsylvania is the opening of Hersheypark for their annual Springtime in the Park. During this two weekend summer-preview event, my family always finds time to visit the park.

Our tram ride from the parking lot gave us a good view of the new Ticketing Services building across from the Chocolate World attraction. Guests must purchase their Hersheypark tickets before arriving at the main gate. Ticketing Services can also assist guests with reprints of online tickets if they have lost the originals or do not have a printer at home. We found that not having to wait for people to pay for tickets at the front gate made everything smoother and faster. What a wonderful improvement!

There is nothing quite like the first view of the Hersheypark carrousel to get you in the mood for fun. This classic Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel was made in 1919 and installed in the park in 1945. It features a 1926 Wurlitzer organ that plays traditional carousel music as well as special songs for patriotic holidays, Halloween, and Christmas. It is always our first and last ride of the day.

New to Hersheypark this year are three family rides: the Cocoa Cruiser roller coaster, the Sweet Swing family swing ride and a classic Teacup ride. Only the Sweet Swing was open when we visited, but by the time the park opens for the summer I’m sure we’ll be able to ride all three. My kids are really looking forward to riding the Cocoa Cruiser since the Trailblazer is still a little too scary for them.

Even though the park was busy we were able to ride the Monorail, the Dry Gulch Railroad, and many of the children’s favorite kiddie rides. We also had our favorite Turkey Hill soft serve ice cream from the Crossroads Creamery and delicious fries from Tower Fries.

After enjoying our ice cream we went to ZooAmerica to visit with the bears, otters and other North American wildlife. Admission to the zoo is free with your park ticket and it is a great place to let the kids unwind after all the excitement of the amusement park. Be sure to bring some quarters to feed the ducks. They walk right up to you as you feed them and the kids love it.

By the time we finished at ZooAmerica my little ones were tired of walking, so we left the park and stopped at Hershey’s Chocolate World to ride the free factory tour. Chocolate World is under renovation right now, but we still loved seeing the scenes from the factory and getting our free chocolate sample at the end.

What a great way to spend an early spring day. Can’t wait to go back in the summer!

A day of Hersheypark thrills

Dutch Wonderland, a premier amusement park located within the heart of Lancaster County, is geared toward families with kids up through 12 years of age.  Since my children are now teenagers and self-proclaimed thrill seekers, a visit to nearby Hersheypark – with its 11 exciting roller coasters and expansive waterpark – was in order.

Hersheypark is only a 20-30 minute drive from Lancaster County and is great fun for families of all ages.  In addition to the roller coasters and waterpark, it boasts numerous rides for younger children, live entertainment, games, gift shops and more.  Their one-price admission gets you access to everything for the entire day.

My kids love going to Hersheypark – in fact they’d probably go every day if they could.  The rides are diverse and thrilling, the games are fun, and the waterpark is refreshing.  From a parent’s perspective, there are plenty of shaded areas, lots of beautiful hanging plants, and an extremely clean environment.

Speaking of clean, when I was part of the Hersheypark management team years ago, the General Manager was passionate about maintaining the cleanliness of the park.  Whenever we managers were in the park, which under his leadership was quite often, it was our duty to make sure things were running smoothly and that any trash was picked up promptly.  There were many 90 degree days I spent wearing high heels and a suit, picking up sporadic pieces of trash in the park.

So for fun, I told my oldest daughter Maddie I was going to look for trash during our visit and count the number of pieces I saw.  There’s always SOME trash at amusement parks, right?  So any guesses as to how many pieces I saw?  ONE.  Yes, in an amusement park of over 120 acres, I only saw one piece of trash the entire day.

For for a fun and thrilling day with the kids, in a safe and clean environment, Hersheypark is the place to go.

As part of the Lancaster County tourism team, I feel we are extremely fortunate to have two world-class theme parks in such close proximity to each other, one suitable for families with children up through 12 years of age, and the other for more thrill seekers.

Hersheypark is open weekends through the end of September, then opens for seasonal hours & events around Halloween and the holidays.  At only 20-30 minutes away, it’s the perfect day trip during your stay in Lancaster.  For more information, please visit www.hersheypark.com.

Wine and cheese, please

Whether it is their artisan wines, the spell of the old Farmhouse or the little piece of heaven by their natural spring pond, you will be captivated by your visit to The Vineyard at Hershey. From whimsical and refreshing whites to bold and flavorful reds, The Vineyard at Hershey handcrafts every bottle of wine for the enjoyment of new and and the most experienced of palates.

In the Tasting Room in the Farmhouse you will be invited to taste five of our wines for $3.00. No reservation is necessary. They also offer VIP Tour & Tasting packages and One-on-One time with their Winemaker (call for reservations). And, if you are not in a rush, you should plan to have a glass of wine and wander around the Vineyard or sit out on their deck and enjoy the beautiful view.

Along with handcrafted wines, they also offer a selection of locally made cheeses from September Farms. Each batch of September Farms cheese is made on their Honey Brook farm following time proven traditions for the hand crafting, hand waxing and aging of artisan-style cheese.

The Tasting Room is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11AM to 6PM. I hope you visit soon!

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