Category Archives: Summer

Picking Peaches at Cherry Hill Orchard

If you’ve ever created a summer bucket list, whether it’s with kids or not, you may have added finding a local farm where you can pick your own fresh fruit (whether that’s strawberries, apples, or cherries). I know this is an activity that I always wanted to try with our kids.

Well June came and went, and we missed peak cherry picking season in Lancaster County. July also came and went, and we missed prime plum picking season. August started to arrive, and I was determined to pick some fresh fruit before the end of the summer. We were driving past Cherry Hill Orchards, and saw a sign that said “Pick Peaches Today!” What better sign than that for us to check something off our bucket list.

It was really quite an adventure. It was a gorgeous day, we pulled on the orchard road, stopped to let them know that we wanted to pick peaches (it’s also the season for blackberry and early apples), and were directed to the trees that would be ripest for picking, we parked, and we picked! After we were done gathering our peaches (we picked about 20), we went back to the entrance, they weighed our peaches, and we were done!

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Here are some tips for picking pretty much any fruit:

1.  Bring your own basket, box, or bag. The thought didn’t occur to me about where we would put the fruit we picked, until we pulled up and they asked us what we would carry them in. Fortunately, they have boxes on hand for people like us who forget.

2. Ask about which peaches (or any fruit) are best to pick. The kind man who gave us our box (since we forgot one) also let us know to look for peaches that were very red/orange, not a lot of yellow or any green. He also told us NOT to put them in the fridge, and that they’d be ripe in a day or so. We ended up picking some peaches that were more yellow, since we were picking so many, we didn’t want them all to be ripe the next day!

3. If you’re picking berries of any kind, it is wise to bring wipes with you – you can typically eat while you’re picking (and won’t pay for the extras that you eat), but your hands will likely be smeared with berry juice.

For a full list of fruits that are in season, see Cherry Hill Orchard’s website here.

Sickman’s Mill Creek Tubing

Looking for a great way to spend the lazy, hazy days of summer? Head over to the southwestern side of the county and jump in the Pequea Creek! Open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, Sickman’s Mill is a laid back way to spend any summer afternoon, perfect for children and adults alike.

Prior to arrival you can print and fill out a waiver form from the website, but other than that the day does not involve much planning- you simply go-with-the-flow. Upon arrival guests are provided canvas covered tubes (first come-first serve) and sent on their way. Once you are in the cool, refreshing water simply kick back and enjoy the scenery and the company of your crew. If you like, you may tether your tubes together with ropes provided by Sickman’s Mill or go solo.

The Pequea Creek alternates between sections of calm water and small rapid, providing the perfect ratio of relaxation and adventure. Depending on the water level and time of year, your trip duration can range from fifty minutes to an hour and a half (the creek gets slower as the summer progresses, however, the water can be a bit warmer). At the end of your float a shuttle van will pick you up and return you to the mill. Easy as that!

Local’s Tips:
– Call ahead or look online to check the water-level, weather conditions, and hours/events for each day.

– Be sure to wear sunscreen and bug spray- the creek winds through wooded areas in both the shade and sun.

– Wear water shoes, old sneakers, or strap-on sandals. The creek bed is very rocky and you may need to walk through a few areas is the water level is low.

– If you are bringing smaller children, it is recommended they be at least 6 years old for tubing and 12 years or older for kayaking. There are some life-vests available, however, you are welcome to bring your own along.

– The creek banks by the Mill are grassy and shaded, making for a great picnic spot. Pack your own lunch, or grab something to eat at the snack shack before or after your float.

 For More Information:
www.sickmansmill.com

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!

A Mile-High View of Lancaster County

On a sunny, mild morning in June, I got to cross something big off my bucket list – “Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride.”

We arrived bright and early at the US Hot Air Balloon Team’s take off point in Bird-in-Hand, PA. Just as I got out of the car, they were inflating the balloon as the sun continued to rise. The trusty crew prepared for flight as we mentally prepared ourselves to be a mile above the farmland.

When the balloon was ready, we climbed into the basket (which was roomier than I expected). Our pilot, Lucas, introduced himself and reassured us that he was no stranger to the sky – he had flown over 2,000 times, in multiple locations in Pennsylvania and even internationally. Before I knew it, the balloon was floating off the ground, gaining height every second. Our cars and the cows in surrounding fields started to look like toys as we floated higher and higher.

The sky was absolutely beautiful – painted with oranges, pinks and blues. As we drifted with the wind, we saw the patchwork pattern of the farmers’ fields, with their perfect lines and contrasting browns and greens. We floated over familiar landmarks that Lucas pointed out along the way. The sights we typically see from car windows looked different and miniature from up above. Since the humidity was relatively low that morning, we were able to see all the way to Harrisburg and the Chesapeake Bay!

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We climbed to a mile above the ground as we took in the sights. Since hot air balloons move with the wind, it felt as though we were barely moving at all – a true floating sensation.

After reaching our highest height, we drifted lower to float right above the tree tops. Dogs arked as we sailed over houses, and bunnies scampered through the gardens and fields. We watched the county wake up as traffic picked up on the main roads and people began working – stopping to wave as we sailed overhead.Our flight came to a close and Lucas prepared us for landing. He scoped out a spot among some houses in a small development and called the ground team to meet us there. Landing was as simple as bending our knees as Lucas steered us safely to the ground.

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The ground team skillful packed up the balloon and basket, and as quickly as we came, we left – heading back to the take off point. To celebrate the flight, we enjoyed a mimosa toast and sticky buns. The connection between champagne and hot air ballooning is quite interesting. In the early days, pilots in France would carry champagne as a peace offering when they would land in farmer’s field, proving to the possibly confused farmer that they meant well and were, in fact, human.

The hot air balloon ride was an opportunity of a lifetime with breathtaking sights. If this is something lingering on your bucket list, I highly recommend taking flight with the US Hot Air Balloon Team in Lancaster County.

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!

Willow Valley Celebrate 50th Anniversary

Many guests that come to Lancaster County have fond memories of visiting Willow Valley as part of their trip. Opening in 1966, Willow Valley Inn included thirty guest rooms and a family restaurant with 100 seats. Today, Willow Valley is blessed in having expanded to farmers markets, a bakery, additional hotels, a golf course, a supermarket, senior living communities, and real estate development company. It started as a small, hospitable part of the community, and has grown into a tradition of excellence.

On Saturday, June 26, I took my family to celebrate the past fifty years, and say cheers to the next fifty. We arrived and the kids could tell immediately that it would be a fun event, because from the road before we even pulled into the parking lot, we could see the bouncy houses set up. True to the sense of community that Willow Valley instills, the local volunteer fire department was parking cars, so we were able to donate to them.

Of course the first thing we did was line up for the bouncy houses – there was a castle that both my 3 and 4 year old enjoyed. The second one only my 4 year old did. It was a race to climb to the top of the tall slide – he handled the climb like a champ. Let’s just say we waited in that line quite a few times.

Next we stopped by the ticket booth to get some tickets for face painting, balloon animals, pony rides, and other activities. And, can you guess what we did next? Yup… jumped in the bouncy castle again. We grabbed food at two of the food trucks (I chose the Urban Olive – featuring Mediterranean cuisine, and the kids and my husband chose the Dough Heads Waffles, which I must admit I snagged a few bites of – so delicious!).

As the evening wore on, I knew there would be campfires and fireworks, but we really wanted to visit one of our close family friends who is a resident at Willow Valley’s Retirement Community. I also knew that all that jumping and excitement would probably mean that our kids wouldn’t make it until then before falling asleep.

We made the short drive from the event to Pat’s apartment. She is like a grandmother to our kids, so of course everyone was excited all over again. My husband and I joked that Pat’s apartment is better than our house – she has a beautifully landscaped rear patio courtyard, where she was sitting and reading when we arrived. It is so quiet and peaceful (when there aren’t 3 and 4-year-olds running around) back there.

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Pat mentioned that the next time we come, we need to give her advance notice so that she can rent out the bowling alley, where we can spend the evening bowling and eating the delicious burgers at the clubhouse. We talked about the kids and what we’d been doing, that we’re starting to teach our kids how to swim – and she mentioned that there is a pool in the basement of her building, and we could come anytime to swim with her. We joked again with her that she’s not really retired, she’s just living at an all-inclusive resort.

The kids (and Pat) started winding down, so we headed home. It was definitely a fun day that the kids are still talking about – they are hoping to “go again next year” (I’ll have to recommend that they make this an annual event rather than every 50 years!). If they do, we may just have to keep the kids up late and enjoy the fireworks. Happy 50th, Willow Valley!

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!

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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2015 #Lancastergram Winners

And the 2015 #Lancastergram winners are…

FIRST PLACE:  atglennite
SECOND PLACE: 
wlmgoeshere
THIRD PLACE: 
photo_guy_robert_buzzard

RUNNERS UP:
bydavepidgeonphoto
christina_721
chadharnish
ck_images
dave_berk
kennykinter
jmacneillphoto

– See more at: http://www.discoverlancaster.com/instagram-contest.asp#sthash.DKFhST6W.dpuf

And the 2015 #Lancastergram winners are…

FIRST PLACE:  atglennite
SECOND PLACE: 
wlmgoeshere
THIRD PLACE: 
photo_guy_robert_buzzard

RUNNERS UP:
bydavepidgeonphoto
christina_721
chadharnish
ck_images
dave_berk
kennykinter
jmacneillphoto

– See more at: http://www.discoverlancaster.com/instagram-contest.asp#sthash.DKFhST6W.dpuf

This past summer for a period of seven weeks, we invited residents and visitors to post unique Lancaster-specific photos on Instagram using the hash tag #Lancastergram. All the photos that were tagged properly, fell in line with contest rules, and were taken within the defined time frame were entered to win amazing prizes. During the seven weeks, over 6,000 photos were submitted. The contest judges were faced with a difficult challenge… to select the Top 10. The Top 10 were then reveal at Tellus360 on First Friday, September 4. On that same day, Rick Gray, Mayor of Lancaster City, proclaimed September 4, 2015, #Lancastergram Day!

Without further adieu, here are the 2015 #Lancastergram winners…

FIRST PLACE:  @atglennite
SECOND PLACE:  @
wlmgoeshere
THIRD PLACE:  @
photo_guy_robert_buzzard

lancastergram_winner
lancastergram_second

 

 

 

 

 

lancastergram_third

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RUNNERS UP:
@bydavepidgeonphoto
@christina_721
@chadharnish
@ck_images
@dave_berk
@kennykinter
@jmacneillphoto

Check out www.discoverlancaster.com/instagram-contest.asp to:
– See Runners Up photos and the Weekly Top Picks photos
– Read the #Lancastergram Day Proclamation
– Learn more about the awesome prize packages the winners received

Be sure to participate in next year’s contest. You never know…. your photo might be picked!

Covered Bridges of Lancaster County

Covered bridges are an iconic symbol that bring to mind a more simple time, a more simple way of life. Pennsylvania has approximately 219 covered bridges that have withstood the test of time, more than any other state. Lancaster boasts over 25 of those bridges, each with its own unique story.

The purpose of the covering is to protect the wooden structural members from the weather. Uncovered wooden bridges have a life span of only 10-15 years because of the effects of rain and sun. Thanks to the covering, we have many bridges that have been around a long time.

The longest covered bridge at 5,960 feet once spanned the Susquehanna River from Columbia to neighboring Wrightsville in York County. Built in 1814, it was unfortunately destroyed by high water and ice in 1832. But, many others remain, ready for you to discover and enjoy.

We’ve developed five driving tours of covered bridges in Lancaster County. For a PDF version, click here. If you prefer to use our Google Map tours, click here and choose the tour that most interests you. To learn more about our covered bridges, be sure to stop the Discover Lancaster Visitors Center to purchase the book, Covered Bridges of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

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