Category Archives: Winter

Snow Geese at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area

If you have not been to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, it is certainly worth the trip any time of year, but especially now! Sometime in late February to early March the lake is can be found filled with beautiful snow geese and tundra swans.

The birds use the WMA as a resting place on their returning migration back north, some traveling as far as Canada for nesting. This year has been a particularly good year for bird watching due to the mild winter- the grounds are mostly unfrozen for feeding, and so is the 400-acre lake. It was estimated on Sunday, February 19, that there were approximately 50,000 to 70,000 birds at Middle Creek.

It is best to go see the birds in the evening around sunset when they are making their way from the fields to the lake for the night (or vice versa at sunrise, if you are an early riser… they do say the early bird catches the worm). If you are lucky you will catch the birds lifting off the lake in a similar fashion to a murmuration of starlings. It is mesmerizing to watch them skillfully swirl around the air and then land gracefully back on the water.

If you are interested it visiting be sure to check the park website or call for information on their hours and which areas of the park are open to the public. Also, be sure to ask the bird count, since they are wild animals they do not make reservations to stay for a certain length of time. They may be there one day and gone the next! If you do have the opportunity to go it truly is a memorable experience which makes you stop think about how as humans we live in the environments and ecosystems of all nature’s creatures.

Insider’s tips:
– Wear comfortable walking shoes, there is a bit of a hike out to the point.
– Bring binoculars if you have them, since they are wild birds you can only get so close.
– Dress warmly, it can get quite windy near the lake.
– Don’t set your expectations too high, they are wild animals so if they don’t feel like flying they won’t.
– Be respectful of the park and natural environments, walk and explore in only designated areas.

Website: http://www.pgc.pa.gov/InformationResources/AboutUs/ContactInformation/Southeast/MiddleCreekWildlifeManagementArea/Pages/default.aspx

Phone number: 717-733-1512

 

Things to Do in January

The holidays are over, and the winter chill has set in. But have no fear – there are still plenty of things to do and explore in Lancaster and the surrounding areas.

Here’s a round-up of ten great activities, places, and events for you to enjoy.

On Stage:

Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre opens their year with a unique comedy-whodunit, Shear Madness. This hilarious show takes place in the Shear Madness hairstyling salon, and is packed full of audience participation. Members of the audience get to spot clues, question the suspects, and solve the crime, creating a new show each night. This hilarious whodunit runs now through February 4.

Spa Day:

If you need some post-holiday relaxation, Serenity Day Spa and the Spa at Intercourse Village have just what you need. Pamper yourself with a manicure, pedicure, facial or massage to dismiss the holiday stress and chase away the winter blues.

The Great Outdoors:

Even with the chill in the air, there are still ways to get outside. For snowy fun, check out AvalancheXpress Snow Tubing at Heritage Hills. This family-friendly attraction, located in York, features snow tubing and ice skating. When you need a break from the hill, The Lodge offers refreshments and tasty hot chocolate.

Lancaster County Park hosts a wide array of programs that explore the outdoors, from animals to plants. Many programs, like Storytime and Crafts: Turtles, are designed for kids, while others like Wildlife in Winter and SNOW: It’s More than a Four Letter Word, are designed for all ages.

Live Music:

In the intimate and unique setting of the Café at Ten Thousand Village, live music will be held Friday, January 13 and 20. While enjoying music from the Den & Terry Duo (1/13) and Tim & Kim Craven (1/20), enjoy fresh and delicious soups, salads, quiches, paninis and desserts from the Café.

If you prefer classical music, Music in the Round: New Beginnings at the Ware Center is for you. Three terrific pieces will be performed, including Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 1,” Respighi’s “Trittico Botticelliano,” and Jim Colonna’s “Meditation and Dance for Chamber Orchestra.” Admission includes appetizers and the concert in the atrium.

Artistic Flair:

Looking for a way to get your creative juices flowing? Want to make your Pinterest projects come to life? Art and a Bottle is the perfect creative outlet to get in touch with your artistic side. They offer paint & sip classes, where instructors guide participants through a painting, and Open Studio times, where guests can choose from a wide assortment of artwork options. Experience isn’t necessary to create a masterpiece you’ll be proud of.

 Indoor Fun for All Ages:

If you feel cabin fever kicking in already, get your extra energy out at Sky Zone Lancaster. This indoor trampoline park offers open jump times along with special programs for toddlers, families, youth groups and more. Whether you’re 5 or 55, you’ll have a blast jumping off the walls (literally).

Let you child explore their inner scientist at North Museum of Nature and Science, with a plethora of interactive exhibits. From their SciDome Theater to the live animal room, children (and adults alike) will be inspired as they discover nature, science and more!

Recipes to Inspire Your Holiday Baking

It’s the holiday season, and whether you’re baking cookies for a cookie swap or for your family to enjoy, we’re sharing some Amish and Mennonite-inspired cookie recipes to add to your recipe box.

From the seasonal favorite, sand tarts, to the unique Amish cookies, we hope that you’ll find a tasty treat or even a new Christmas tradition!

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Recipes from: Good, Phyllis Pellman, and Rachel T. Pellman. From Amish and Mennonite Kitchens. Intercourse, PA: Good, 1984. Print.

A Tuesday Tradition

Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday… All are names for the day before the first day of Lent.

Here in Lancaster County, we celebrate this Tuesday with FASNACHTS, delightful treats that aren’t your run-of-the-mill doughnut.

This tradition stems from the need to use up the lard, sugar, butter and eggs prior to the beginning of Lent since these lavish items were typically given up. Not to be confused with a standard glazed or powdered sugar doughnut, many fasnachts are made with mashed potatoes and fried in animal fat making them less sweet, but extra delicious!

Growing up in Lancaster County, I fondly remember the days of coming home from school to see a box of fasnachts on the kitchen counter, never really understanding the rhyme and reason behind them. Now, much like pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day, this is a tradition I can’t pass up. I stopped by Lancaster Central Market on my way in to work for my fasnacht from one of the bakery stands who were displaying rows and rows of fried perfection. It was just as delicious as I remember – slightly crispy on the outside with a fluffy center. I prefer ones rolled in powdered sugar, but am sure other variations are just as tasty.

Bakeries and churches across the county will be making fasnachts for the occasion including Oregon Dairy, Achenbach’s Pastry, Bird-in-Hand Bakery and Shady Maple. Stop by and try one for yourself!

Happy Fasnacht Day!

Three ways to enjoy the Holidays in Lancaster

1. Stay overnight in one of our fabulous Bed & Breakfasts – with the cold weather coming (I know, this week doesn’t feel like December, but the cold weather will come eventually!), the best getaway is one that includes some generous hosts, a delicious homemade breakfast, and a warm fireplace to snuggle up close to with a good book. And I guarantee they’ll be the best decorated houses in town.

  2. Hunt for the best Christmas decorations in one of our small towns. You  never know what you’re going to find down a little side street – and there are always little cafes to pick up a hot cocoa with marshmallows on top. 

3. Because who doesn’t love the foodie scene that’s popping up in Downtown Lancaster & Downtown Lititz? You’re guaranteed to find something new to try at one of our independently owned restaurants or pubs. Who knows, maybe an ingredient in your meal will inspire your holiday cooking this year!

Take a Step Back in Time this Holiday Season

Terry w Triunial jpegI am addicted to technology, especially my phone – I will never go anywhere without it. This weekend, I took a step back to a time where there were no phones, televisions or even cars. The Magic Lantern Show, run by the Amish Experience, at Plain and Fancy Farm, let me escape from modern times and enjoy entertainment of the past.

Contrary to the name, a magic lantern is not what you would expect. This lantern is a brass lantern with three lenses to project hand painted illustrations on a projection screen. The magic lantern was developed in the 1850’s and was a precursor to movies. When first developed, the lantern used a candle to project and later, kerosene light.

The theatre is completely transformed to feel as though you are sitting in a barn. Before the show began, the showman, who was the host and storyteller, made sure the entire audience was in the Christmas spirit with a game of Christmas trivia. After we were in the holiday spirit, our showman began the show which consisted of classic Christmas stories, such as a Christmas Carol. My favorite part was the new Christmas stories, including a story about a giant snowball causing havoc on a town! All of the stories were narrated by the showman and accompanied by handmade illustrations and music.

The show lasted approximately an hour. During that time, I completely forgot about my phone and became immersed in a time less complicated. After the show I went to the local town, Bird-in-Hand, for homemade Amish foods and handcrafted goods. This show was a great way to experience a different form of entertainment and get into the Christmas spirit. The magic lantern show will definitely be a new holiday tradition!

Spend Your Thanksgiving Break in Lancaster

In an area that is filled with a tight-knit community of locals and business owners, Lancaster during the holidays lights up with excitement and warmth. It’s the truth, when residents are happy they radiate that happiness creating a magnetic draw to visitors. With this being said, explore Lancaster and feel the magic and energy through the streets and through these events!

When should you start getting into the holiday spirit? The day right after Thanksgiving, of course! No, seriously, when the weather gets cold you must find a way to stay warm with spirit!

On November 27, break your norm of Black Friday Shopping (who wants to wait in all the lines anyways?) Relax, enjoy your time off and go on a family outing! At 6:30 p.m., bundle up and join us at the Mayor’s Tree Lighting and Tuba Christmas. Want a traditional way to view the holiday window displays? Hop on a Horse Drawn Wagon Ride from 7:30 p.m. until 10 p.m.

On November 28, this is where the new norm is put into place. Small Business Saturday! All over Lancaster, business owners open their doors to help you find unique, memorable presents for everyone on your shopping list. When shopping local, you essentially build relationships with the shop owners, so it makes future interactions more personable and helpful. The beauty of shopping local is you have a VERY slim chance of purchasing the same item for someone that they might already have. Give gifts that are genuine and one of a kind!

On November 29, have your eyes light up gazing at Christmas displays. Find the hidden Santa’s on the layout at Choo Choo Barn from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Walk through a Dutch Winter Wonderland from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. Warm up at the National Christmas Center and explore the 14 exhibits they have to offer.

Spend time this Thanksgiving breaking your norm and checking out the unique and festive events Lancaster has to offer.

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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.

A Museum for Every Interest

Lancaster has many museums that offer valuable insight into history, culture, and mankind. You can visit an Underground Railroad center, tour a PA German living history village, or meander through the home of the 15th president of the United States.

Here are a few unique museums that top my list:

National Christmas Center Family Attraction & Museum 
Set aside a couple hours to walk through amazing life-sized exhibits that celebrate the history and traditions of the holiday. Don’t miss the 1950’s Woolworth’s 5 & 10 re-creation that showcases vintage Christmas toys and merchandise displayed in a realistic store setting.

Demuth Museum
Check out the rotating exhibitions and tour the restored 1700’s home and painting studio of Lancaster’s most famous resident and world-famous artist, Charles Demuth. Did you know that Demuth’s famous piece, I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold (1928), is housed in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art?

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Discover the colorful history and dramatic technology of Pennsylvania’s railroad industry, plus see a world-class collection of 100+ historic locomotives!

National Watch & Clock Museum
This museum is recognized as the largest and most comprehensive horological collection in North America. While it may seem boring to some, it’s NOT! Come experience for yourself a fun and fascinating journey into the world of timekeeping, beautifully illustrated by more than 12,000 treasures of time.

Robert Fulton Birthplace
Tour the early home of pioneer steamship builder, artist, inventor, and engineer – ROBERT FULTON!

American Military Edged Weaponry Museum
With more than 5,000 specimens, this museum has one of this country’s most comprehensive collections of U.S. military knives and artifacts used by the American servicemen.

Click here to see more museums.

christmas center watch museum

Illusionist Brett A. Myers

A few weekends ago my 5 year-old daughter and I had the privilege of watching our friends, Illusionist Brett A. Myers and his wife, Labrina, perform at The Junction Center. This dynamic duo captured the attention of the audience from start to finish. Brett performed classic illusions such as a woman floating in the air and a girl disappearing before your eyes, plus he made a real bowling ball magically appear on stage, levitated an antique table, and much more.  What seems impossible is possible in Brett’s world of illusion. Labrina, his beautiful assistant and aerial acrobat, offered magic of her own throughout the show as she flew high above the crowd. During the performance, we were lucky enough to see a special guest appearance by their son, Starlin (caution: he is adorable!) Oh, and be aware, there’s always audience involvement and participation woven into their shows!

Brett and Labrina travel full-time performing illusions and sharing their passion for art, hope, and life. Currently they travel nationally and partner with theatres, community organizations and churches to produce their shows, but soon this fantastic act will have a permanent home in Lancaster.  Opening in April 2016, their new show MAGIC & WONDER will be live at the Bird-In-Hand stage.  More information regarding the show can be found at www.LancasterMagicShow.com and a finalized show calendar will be posted on www.Bird-in-Hand.com/on-our-stage.

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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!

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