Category Archives: Seasonal

Holiday Light Shows in Lancaster, PA

Holiday Light Displays in Lancaster County

There are so many signs of the holiday season here in Lancaster. Stores put up their holiday displays, the Mayor officially lights the tree downtown, and gingerbread and peppermint flavored goodies start appearing everywhere.

Nothing quite puts me in the mood for the season like the lights displays. Especially when holiday budgets are tight, driving around to see neighborhood lights can be a less costly tradition.

With the help of our friends over at LancasterOnline, and the local community, we’re providing a map below for you – so pile in the car, turn on some holiday tunes (or tune to the station noted for a synchronized performance), and enjoy!

If you’d like to do some activity along with your lights, you may want to check out Dutch Winter Wonderland (for the littles), Hershey Sweet Lights, Kitchen Kettle Village or Longwood Gardens (for all ages).

 

 

Things to do in Lancaster this December

The holidays are here again. Despite the busyness of the season, Christmas is a great time to reconnect with friends and family in Lancaster. Soak in the season with traditional favorites as well as a few fresh twists for 2017. Here are some unique ways to participate in the merriment of a Lancaster County Christmas.

Outdoor Festivities

1). The Christmas Spirit Light Show at Manheim Township’s Community Park

This show is a one-of-a-kind Christmas light display you can enjoy from the warmth of your vehicle. On the mile-long track you will experience the latest in intelligent lighting solutions, including smart pixel technology, that fully integrates with holiday music to bring the magic of the season to life!

Running now through January 1.
For pricing and hours, visit this page.

2). Strasburg Railroad

Take a train ride with Santa, a Christmas tradition in Strasburg since 1959. Your family will be greeted by St. Nick as he climbs aboard the train and travel down the historic tracks to Paradise, Pa. As the anticipation of Christmas Day grows, board the Night Before Christmas Train or the Christmas Feast Train – featuring festive treats aimed to satisfy your holiday appetite.

Running on select days through December 21.
For location, tickets, and dates, visit this page.

3). Scootin’ with Santa

Join Santa on a 19th-century covered bridge holiday tour while riding a Scoot Coupe on the back roads of Lancaster to find the ever elusive Amish Christmas Lights. Enjoy the brisk December air in your hair with this unique holiday excursion on the open road.

Tour runs on select days now through December 17.
For location and reservations, visit this page.

Indoor Merriment

1). Sight & Sound

The Christmas Story comes alive right in front of your eyes at Sight & Sound’s Miracle of Christmas production. All ages will love the high drama, spectacular special effects, and live animals – all on a panoramic stage. Journey back in time to witness the telling of the season’s most memorable story in an unforgettable experience that will leave you breathless.

Running now through December 30.
For location, tickets and showtimes, visit this page.

2). Kitchen Kettle Village

Experience the cheer of the season with Winter Holiday Fun at Kitchen Kettle Village. With over 40 shops, Kitchen Kettle is the perfect place for holiday shopping, tasty treats, and festive Christmas decorations.

Open now through December 24.
For location and more details, visit this page.

3). Yuletide at Wheatland

Take a trip back to 1875 with former U.S. president James Buchanan’s niece, Harriet Lane Johnston, who has decked the halls for an authentic Victorian Yuletide experience. Enjoy an elegant, timeless holiday tradition your whole family will love.

Running now through December 30.
For locations, tickets, and showtimes, visit, this page.

 

For more great holiday events, visit LancasterCountyChristmas.com.

Lancaster County Holiday Traditions

The holiday season in Lancaster County is a joyous time of fond memories and festive traditions. If you are weary of the consumerism and crowded shopping malls, step back into a simpler time and enjoy some old-fashioned Lancaster holiday traditions, and draw the focus back to your family, faith and community. Here are ten local Lancaster County holiday traditions:

1. A very old PA Dutch Christmas Eve tradition (originating in Germany) was to hide a pickle ornament deep in the branches of the family Christmas tree. The parents hung the pickle last, after all the other ornaments were in place. In the morning, the child who found the pickle first would receive an extra gift. The first adult to find the pickle traditionally would get good luck the whole year.

2. Instead of leaving a treat for Santa on Christmas Eve, PA Dutch youngsters would leave an empty plate under their Christmas tree for the Grishkindel (Christ child) to fill with sweets for them to eat.

3. One of the first known written mentions of a Christmas tree in America is found in the 1821 diary of Matthew Zahn, who lived right here in Lancaster.

4. The Belsnickel is a traditional German character known for visiting children a few weeks before Christmas to help determine who was naughty and who was nice.

5. The Moravian Star was adopted by the Moravian Church as a symbol of the birth of Jesus, and represented the star of Bethlehem. Traditionally, the star is hung on the first Sunday of Advent and remains up until Epiphany, January 6, or the time of the coming of the Magi. You can see Moravian Stars throughout the county, but especially in the town of Lititz.

6. Early Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas traditions include dying eggs with onion skins – we now associate that practice with Easter, but it was an originally a Christmas activity. The festive eggs would then be used to decorate the tree. Another traditional holiday decoration in Lancaster is a pretzel.

7. Among the unusual items that will be dropped to ring in the New Year in various towns around Lancaster are a red rose, a shoe, and a 100 pound bologna.

8. Springerle cookies were among the traditional ornaments used to adorn PA Dutch tabletop trees. They are made plain (anise, almond or vanilla flavored) or painted with edible gold. Some are also in the form of hand painted ornaments. You can find them locally handmade, one at a time, as they have been for hundreds of years.

9. The traditional PA Dutch New Year’s Day meal is pork and sauerkraut, which is thought to bring good luck and good fortune in the coming year because, as the saying goes, “the pig roots forward while the turkey scratches backwards.”

10. The biggest Lancaster Christmas tradition comes from the influence of the Amish culture in our area. Giving back to others. The Amish share what they have with their neighbors – from helping an elderly neighbor put up their tree to volunteering in the local shelter and inviting others into their home for Christmas dinner. Afterall, that is what the true Christmas spirit is about.

Part of the joy of the season is reminiscing about what makes your family unique. Ask your parents & grandparents about their holiday customs growing up. Whether you choose to begin new traditions with us here in Lancaster County, or to continue old ones from years past, celebrate what makes you family, and enjoy this holiday season.

How do the Amish Celebrate Christmas?

Visitors are typically curious about the differences between the Amish way of living and ours – things like not using electricity or traveling by horse & buggy or scooter rather than cars. This time of year, that curiosity turns to the Christmas holidays, and wondering how the Amish celebrate Christmas. Do they give each other presents? Do they have a big holiday meal?

To help you understand how the Amish celebrate Christmas, we talked to a local culture expert, Brad Igou of the Amish Experience.

Let’s start off with the obvious one. Do the Amish celebrate Christmas?

Yes, they do, although their customs are much simpler than our “English” customs. They are oriented toward the family and the religious meaning of the holiday.

What do you mean by English customs?

“English” is the term that the Amish use for non-Amish.

Do the Amish put up a Christmas tree, or lights around the house?

There are no lavishly decorated trees or lights around in the house, and the Amish children do not visit Santa Claus to have their picture taken, or tell him their wish list. They do share the making of special Christmas cookies and candies with us though, and they might decorate with greens and candles.

Do the Amish exchange gifts?

School children often pick names and exchange small gifts, such as writing paper or needlepoint kits. Families also exchange some small gifts – and some send Christmas cards, often to their “English” friends. Christmas card making is a very popular tradition – adults & children make handmade “stamped” Christmas cards – some of them are now even sold in Amish stores.

Interesting – if we wanted to pick some up, could we find them at the Amish Experience?

Absolutely, and at the Gordonville Bookstore has an entire “hand-stamping section.”

Do they have Christmas Eve & Christmas Day church services, and sing carols or traditional hymns?

The Christmas church service may or may not be held on December 25, but both Christmas and the following day, sometimes called “second Christmas,” are holidays for the Amish. The second day is usually one to relax or visit others.

Amish children put on a Christmas program each year in their one-room schoolhouse – this is probably the only time you’ll see Amish children on a “stage.” During their Christmas program, the children sing songs, perform skits and recite poems. This is not something that visitors would get to see. Typically just family will attend, and occasionally, they’ll invite their “English” neighbors or friends to come as well.

Okay, last question – do the Amish eat a special Christmas dinner?

Christmas dinners are absolutely a big part of the holiday for the Amish. They are usually large meals, not unlike those served at weddings, and various groups besides the family will hold get-togethers, such as single women, teachers, and others of like interest. These gatherings may continue into January and February of the new year.

Any last comments or tidbits of information for us?

I think that, although we all share our own holiday traditions, what any holiday is about is enjoying cherished memories and traditions with family and friends, as well as remembering those less fortunate than ourselves.

Which Lancaster Christmas Show Should You See?

‘Tis the season for holiday cheer – and what better way to get in the spirit than with a Christmas show. Theaters across Lancaster are decking the halls and bringing inspirational, toe-tapping holiday hits to the stage.

Take our quiz and find out which show you should see this season:

1] First things first – what comes to mind when you think about the holidays?
A. Christmas Carols
B. The perfect gift
C. The birth of Jesus
D. Snow

2] Which Christmas tune fills you with joy?
A. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
B. Jingle Bells
C. Silent Night
D. White Christmas

3] If you could pick a winter getaway, where would you go?
A. New York City – Radio City, lots of holiday shopping & a stay at a luxury hotel
B. Cross-Country Road Trip – Making memories & seeing relatives
C. Disney World – Spending time as a family for wholesome fun
D. A Ski-Resort in the Mountains – Skiing, hot chocolate & relaxing by the fire

4] Which Christmas movie could you watch over and over again?
A. Elf
B. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
C. The Nativity Story
D. It’s a Wonderful Life

5] The first snow is falling. How do you spend your day?
A. Baking cookies while listening to holiday tunes
B. Having a snowball fight
C. Sledding and warming up with hot cocoa
D. Sitting by the fire with a good book

6] Christmas dinner is served! What do you fill your plate with?
A. Decadent desserts
B. Traditional turkey
C. Savory stuffing
D. Classic mashed potatoes & gravy

7] What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
A. Black Friday shopping for great gifts and deals
B. Visiting with Santa
C. Going to church with my family
D. Christmas caroling

 

The Results:

Mostly A’s:
Home for the Holidays at American Music Theatre
Broadway-caliber song and dance will have your toes tapping as you get in the holiday spirit. American Music Theatre’s annual Christmas Show features dazzling sets and costumes, and a sprightly live band.

 

Mostly B’s:
A Christmas Story at Fulton Theatre
For those looking for laughs (and a little bit of family chaos) this holiday season, the Fulton has the show for you. A Christmas Story has been brought from the movie screen to the stage for laughs and holiday antics.

 

Mostly C’s:
Miracle of Christmas at Sight & Sound Theatres
Celebrate the season with the story that captures the true meaning of Christmas. Sight & Sound’s Miracle of the Christmas captures the magic of the season, and is great for adults and children alike.

 

Mostly D’s:
Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre
You’ll love this classic tale that brings the songs of Irving Berlin to life. Dutch Apple is pairing this traditional tale with an all-American menu for dinner and a show to get you in the holiday spirit.

No matter the results, we’re sure you’ll love the festive Christmas shows performed at theatres around Lancaster. For a full list, visit our Holiday Shows & Performances page.

Cut-your-own Christmas Tree

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner, time to break out the tinsel and start whistling Jingle Bells while you work. With so many things to do and places to be during the holiday season, it is nice to take a day to enjoy time with your family and slow down for a while.

We suggest a family outing to cut your own Christmas tree! It makes for a day of old-fashioned fun filled with fresh-air and lots of hot-cocoa to warm up. You don’t have to be a lumberjack to cut down your own tree, often tree farms are willing to help you with the cutting and tying down of your tree – all you have to do is seek out the perfect pine.

We have complied a list of several places around the county where you can cut your own trees. Take a look and plan a day to find the Fraser fir that fits your family’s home.

Abe’s Tree Farm
2305 Butter Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601
Friday: 12– 5 PM
Saturday: 8 AM – 5 PM
Sunday: 12 PM – 5 PM

Bowser’s Christmas Tree Farm
551 Stauffer Rd., Lititz, PA 17543
Monday-Saturday: 10 AM – 5 PM
Sunday: 1-5 PM

Country Barn Farm Market
211 Donerville Rd., Lancaster, PA 17603
Saturdays (Nov. 28- Dec. 19): 11 AM – 5 PM; Market open 9 AM – 6 PM

Elizabeth Farms
262 Homeland Rd., Lititz, PA 17543
Saturdays and Sundays: 9 AM- 5 PM
Tuesday – Friday: 1 PM – 5 PM
Closed on Monday

Heritage Tree Farm
142 Church Rd., Lititz, PA 17543
Fridays 12- 7 PM
Saturdays 9 AM – 4 PM
Horse-drawn wagon rides 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM on Saturdays

Hunt’s Christmas Trees
465 Stehman Church Rd., Milersville, PA 17551
Thanksgiving Day – December 23rd
Sunday- Friday: 12 – 5 PM
Saturday: 8 AM – 5 PM
Other hours by appointment

Log Cabin Trees & Trim
252 Hideaway Dr., Quarryville, PA 17566
717-786-4003
Monday – Saturday: 10 AM- Dusk
Sunday: 1 PM – Dusk

Sand Hill Farms
543 Panorama Drive, Denver, PA 17517
717-445-6240
Call for hours.

Stauffers of Kissel Hill
120 W. Airport Rd., Lititz, PA
Monday – Friday: 8 AM – 8 PM
Saturday: 8 AM – 6 PM
Sunday: 9 AM – 5 PM

Map Source: “Where to cut your own Christmas Tree in Lancaster County,” lancasteronline.com, Nov. 2015

Lancaster County Turkey Tips 2017

When thinking about the month of November, one of the first things to come to mind is Thanksgiving. From Thanksgiving, your mind will wander to Turkey. And then when thinking about Turkey, you’ll think of the Turkey Lady (at least here in Lancaster).

Lancaster Central Market is home to a number of various stand holders, and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, Market will be packed with people looking to get their hands on the freshest ingredients for their holiday feast.

There are a number of stands that I can think of that would make complete sense to stop at for your meal: Barr’s or Meck’s (depending on your preference) and Ric’s Bread or Thom’s for the bread, celery and onions for your stuffing. The Herb Shop for the various spices you need, and Wendy Jo’s for your pumpkin flavored sweets. But the one stand you just cannot miss for your Thanksgiving meal is The Turkey Lady.

We chatted briefly with The Turkey Lady herself to get some Turkey Tips for you this year – so whether you’re a local, or just passing through, stop at Lancaster Central Market and pick up some turkey sausages, or the whole turkey, and enjoy some local flavor this holiday season.

What are some of your most popular products?

We offer 20 flavors of Turkey Sausage made from boneless skinless turkey thigh meat.  For the upcoming holiday season, we will be featuring our Winter Wonder Turkey Sausage which is a mix of cranberries and apples with a hint of orange.  It works great for breakfast casseroles as well as in your favorite stuffing recipes.  Turkey Snack Sticks, which we offer in 6 different flavors and Turkey Jerky are popular items for those looking for a protein rich snack on the go.

How do people use your products?

We have a mix of ready to eat items which can be enjoyed as is and many essential items to be used as a low fat protein rich substitute for beef or pork in your favorite recipes.  Recipes are posted at our stand featuring flavors reminiscent of the current season and quick weeknight dinner ideas for those with busy schedules.

How do you cook Turkey at your house for Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is an intimate traditional affair at my house.  We enjoy our turkey slow roasted with turkey sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans (cooked with smoked turkey hock) and cranberry relish.  My dad and I do the cooking as my mom and husband usually work the day of the holiday.

What tips do you have for someone making turkey the first time?

A cooking bag is a great option as this ensures a moist breast and lots of juice for gravy making – perfect for a first timer wanting to make a positive impression!

Pass the Pumpkin, Please…

Did you know that Lancaster County is one of the top ten pumpkin-producing counties in the United States, with over 1,000 acres of pumpkins! This year’s crop has been particularly plentiful. Although the pumpkin growing season is over, you can enjoy pumpkin flavored treats all the way through November. (As most pumpkin lovers know, the season doesn’t end with Halloween).

Below is a list of some of our premier pumpkin goodies to try while you are out and about in Lancaster. Whether you prefer sweet, savory, or just a little sip we’ve got you covered.

A pumpkin whoopie pie (a Lancaster County classic) or a pumpkin crueler from Shady Maple Smorgasbord, are always a place to start.

Pumpkin scones or pumpkin cake with chocolate and nuts from Wendy Jo’s Homemade pair perfectly with your coffee as you stroll through market. If you prefer muffins to scones, the pumpkin muffins from Ric’s Bread are perfection.

The pumpkin mousse from Speckled Hen Café is simply delectable, plus the presentation doesn’t disappoint either.

Classic Pumpkin Pie from the Bird-in-Hand Bakeshop is a good stand-by, try it á la mode with a scoop of their pumpkin-pecan ice cream, yum!

Try the pumpkin and sweet potato bisque or the poached beet, pumpkin and pear salad at John J. Jeffries for a healthier (but still delicious) take on a pumpkin meal.

The pumpkin ravioli from Lancaster Brewing Company is stuffed with fall flavor, order a pint of Baked (their pumpkin ale) to complete the meal.

Winter squash & red lentil fritters with pumpkin seed and basil pesto from Ma(i)son are a culmination of autumnal goodness all in one dish.

Pumpkin Linguine at The Horse Inn with duck sausage, butternut & acorn squash and sage will satisfy any pumpkin (or pasta) lover.

Pumpkin spice tea from The Herb Shop- Central Market is pumpkin spice and everything nice all in one mug.

Pumpkin cold brew at Tomato Pie Café is perfect for when you need a mid-day pumpkin pick-me-up.

If you are craving an adult beverage try ordering the Nutty Irish Pumpkin Cocktail from Annie Baileys. It made with Slane Irish Whiskey, House Pumpkin Liqueur, Frangelico & Cranberry – yum!

Cocktails aren’t your thing? There are plenty of pumpkin beers and ciders on tap at the Federal Taphouse.

Ten Things to Do in Lancaster: November Travel Guide

November offers the best of both seasons in Lancaster – the last of the fall festivities plus the beginning of the winter holiday celebrations. It’s a wonderful month where you can go for a drive to enjoy the final colors of fall at the beginning, and start the holiday preparations toward the end, with a delicious turkey dinner in between.

Whether you’re holding on to the harvest season or are ready for mistletoe and holiday spirit, there’s something for you in Lancaster this November.

Troops & Trains | Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
November 4-5
To honor veterans and current service men and women, Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s Troops & Trains features military relics, patriotic music, and displays detailing the significant role railroads played in the defense of our nation.

Eastland Alpacas Open House | Eastland Alpacas
November 4-5 & 11-12
Get up close with the furry friends at Eastland Alpacas during their Fall Open House. After you meet and feed the alpacas, take a wagon ride around the farm or hop aboard the barrel train. The Farm Store will be open to purchase warm alpaca wool gifts.

Thanksgiving Day Tour | Strasburg Scooters
November 23
Gobble gobble! Before turkey time, take a spin around the county on a scooter to experience the Lancaster countryside and covered bridges with Strasburg Scooters. This Thanksgiving Day tour is the perfect adventure before your scrumptious dinner.

Holiday Shopping:

Museum Store Holiday Open House | Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
November 18
It’s never too early to start your Christmas Shopping, and Landis Valley has just the event for you. The Museum Store’s Open House features one-of-a-kind holiday items including ornaments, Pennsylvania German Paper Stars, wooden bowls, beautiful textiles, Belsnickels, and more.

Creatively Lancaster’s Markers Market | Tellus360
November 18
Shopping for someone who loves one-of-a-kind gifts? This is the event for you! Creatively Lancaster’s November Makers Market will feature local artists, hobbyists, crafters, creators, designers and more, selling their uniquely crafted wares. While you browse this pop-up shop, enjoy a pint of beer or cider from Tellus360.

Small Business Saturday | Various Locations
November 25
While we’re fans of shopping local every day of the year, consider kicking off your holiday shopping on the Saturday following Thanksgiving at some of Lancaster’s independently owned shops and boutiques. You’ll find goodies from kitchen wares, spices, tea and olive oil to locally crafted accessories and jewelry.

Holiday Fun:

The 2017 Christmas Show: Home for the Holidays | American Music Theatre
November 1 – December 30
There’s no place like home for the holidays! Get in the holiday spirit with American Music Theatre’s Christmas Show – Home for the Holidays, featuring holiday songs, and outstanding singing and dancing. What better way to get in the holiday spirit!

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas | Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre
November 16 – December 31
Get in the holiday spirit with dinner and a show at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, as they bring Irving Berlin’s White Christmas to life. Your toes will be tapping to the Christmas classics as you enjoy this festive favorite.

Dutch Winter Wonderland | Dutch Wonderland
November 18-19, 24-26 & December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23 & 26-30
From twinkling lights to themed rides and entertainment, Dutch Winter Wonderland is holiday fun for the whole family. Grab some hot cocoa and make your way through the beautifully decorated Dutch Wonderland for an evening of wintery excitement.

Mayor’s Tree Lighting & Tuba Christmas | Penn Square
November 24
‘Tis the season for the Mayor’s Tree Lighting & Tuba Christmas in Lancaster City. Santa Claus will make his annual appearance in Penn Square, followed by the official lighting of the tree and beautiful Christmas carols performed by the tuba choir.

What to Wear, Where – Lancaster Fall Edition

Fall is a great time to visit Lancaster- with so many harvest festivals to attend, apples to pick, and leaves to peep by who wouldn’t have fun? One way to ensure you will have a successful weekend is to pack the proper attire. We all know how uncomfortable it can be to be too hot, or too cold while out for the day- it takes the fun out of the event, and leaves you wishing you could go home and change.

We have created a “what to wear, where” guide for fall activities in Lancaster. Our fall temperatures are usually moderate (ranging from approximately 65˚F to 40 ˚F in September – November), but it can get chilly in the evening. We suggest wearing items that you can layer on or off.

If you are wondering if you can rock a fedora, or don your fringe boots… we say don away! Don’t be afraid to flaunt your own personal style here. Many artists, makers, and cultures reside here–so needless to say, creativity is welcome. After all, Lancaster is home to the Amish, who are the original hipsters.

Below are two example outfits put together by Tanger Outlets in Lancaster. You can pack ahead, or stop by when you get here to pick up some new threads before the fall festivities begin.

This style is great for shopping and strolling through our various small towns, or for catching a show downtown at the Fulton.

-Black Dress Slacks, White Button-up Shirt, Camel Cardigan, Cheetah Flats, Gold Hoop Earrings, Black Down Vest, Blush Wool Wrap Coat; Women’s Outfit from Banana Republic Factory, Tanger Outlets, Lancaster

If you’re planning on going pumpkin picking or hiking around Chickies Rock, this outfit is perfect for adding and subtracting layers as the day changes temperature. Plus, bringing a backpack is always a good idea.

-Red Buffalo-Check Plaid Flannel, Gray Thermal Henley, Dark Wash Denim Jeans, Black Belt, Heather Gray Beanie, Black Down Vest, Roll-Top Backpack, Black Graydon Sneaker-Boot; Men’s Outfit from Timberland Factory Store, Tanger Outlets Lancaster

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