Category Archives: Things to Do

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.

Celebration of the Arts in Lancaster

From city to country, contemporary to classic, Lancaster is known for an eclectic variety of art and galleries. This month Lancaster is celebrating the arts in two big ways: Fall ArtWalk [10/6-7] and the Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Pennsylvania [10/21-26], where we will enjoy art all week long and finish out with a celebration of some of Lancaster’s locals.

ArtWalk – October 7-8, 2017

ArtWalk in Lancaster has a long history – with the first one beginning in 1965, known as Art Sunday. Today, ArtWalk is your opportunity to try something innovative – from participating in a public art piece to hearing a new style of music or watching a play, to seeing lots and lots of art.

To view a full list of the nearly 35 featured stops, including special exhibitions, meet-the-artist events, children’s activities and live demonstrations, click here.

Stops we don’t want to miss:

  • Meet the Artists [including some of our personal favorites Freiman Stoltzfus, Christiane David, and Cindy Schlosser]
  • Print Your Own Posters/Coasters at Typothecary Letterpress
  • Lancaster Dream Factory Video Project [stop in the “studio” and let them know what you want to be when you grow up in 5 seconds or less]. We can’t want to see the finished piece of Lancaster hopes and dreams!

Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Pennsylvania – October 26, 2017

This year we are honored to host the statewide awards ceremony, especially with some of our very own receiving awards: Barry Kornhauser – Artist of the Year, and Mayor Richard Gray and Gail Gray – Special Recognition for Public Leadership in the Arts.

This event has been a celebration of the arts since 1980, is free and open to the public. Click here to register for free tickets.

Lancaster has an opportunity to celebrate the arts all week long from October 21-26 showcasing our local talent in a variety of ways. Each day will be dedicated to a specific genre of art:

Saturday – MUSIC
Sunday – PARADE
Monday – DANCE / THEATER / PERFORMANCE
Tuesday – FILM / PHOTOGRAPHY / POETRY
Wednesday – MURALS / PUBLIC ART
Thursday – VISUAL / AWARDS CEREMONY (ceremony is at 7pm at the Convention Center)

To see all the details about this week-long celebration, click here.

Picking Pumpkins in Lancaster County, PA

Can you believe it is prime pumpkin picking season again?! We are loving the cooler temps and boots and scarves weather. As you drive around Lancaster, you’ve probably noticed that the roadside stands have switched over from their summer strawberries and melons to fall’s apples, pumpkins and squash. Whether you’re picking up a pumpkin at a roadside stand or headed out into the field to find the perfect one, we’re here to help.

Below is a roundup of Lancaster-area pumpkin patches, as well as some local choices for roadside stands. Please remember to call ahead if you have concerns about the weather or possible closings. We hope your fall is off to a fantastic start, and happy pumpkin patching!

Pick Your Own Pumpkins

Roadside Stands/Markets [local favs via Instagram]

  • Little produce stand opposite Hayloft Candles in Leola
  • Stoltzfus Gourd and Pumpkin Farm
  • Roadside Stand on Rothsville Road, across from 1509 – perfect pumpkins, perfect price
  • Fisher’s Festivals on Irishtown Road, right off Ronks Road – pumpkins, gourds, and mums

On Tap: Fall Edition

As a fall beer lover – September feels like Christmas morning. The first time I see a pumpkin beer on tap is like waking up to gifts under the tree. It’s a surefire sign that fall is quickly approaching.

Lancaster has some great local brewers, passionately crafting ales, ciders, IPAs, stouts and some tasty seasonal beers to enjoy as the leaves change. [see the full list of local breweries here]

Find these on tap at various locations across the county throughout the season:Baked Pumpkin Ale & Oktoberfest from Lancaster Brewing Company

Lancaster Brewing Company (locals may refer to it as LBC) produces two great fall brews with different flavor profiles. Their Baked Pumpkin Ale (ABV: 7.5%) packs a pumpkiny punch. Its rich flavor features notes of pumpkin pie spice and vanilla, and is best enjoyed while munching on sweet potato fries.

For the lager lover, LBC’s Oktoberfest (ABV: 5.5%) is a full bodied brew that pairs well with pizza and roasted or grilled meats. You’ll find this deep copper beer has a lingering malt sweetness to go along with its full body.

Find both brews at Lancaster Brewing Company in Downtown Lancaster and Lancaster Brewing Co. Taproom & Grill, along with select locations around the county.

Braaaiins! Pumpkin Ale for Zombies from Spring House Brewing Company

Whether you’re a zombie or a human, Braaaiins! Pumpkin Ale (ABV: 7.8%) is for you! Brewed with fresh pumpkin, this is fall in a glass. It features a fresh pumpkin flavor, complimented by autumn spices and bold malt flavors that will warm you up as the air chills.

Head over to Spring House’s Hazel Street Brew Pub or the Taproom on King Street for your taste of Braaaiins!

Madtoberfest from Mad Chef Brewing Company

This season, we’re mad about Mad Chef Brewing Company’s Madtoberfest (ABV: 5.5%) – a clean, crisp seasonal beer featuring notes of caramel and toffee.

You’ll find this brew, along with other hand-crafted ales and tasty all-American fare (including fantastic french fries with a wide array of sauce choices) at Mad Chef’s Brew Pub in East Petersburg.

Pumpkin Cider from Lancaster County Cider

If you prefer cider to beer, we’ve got you covered. Lancaster County Cider has created their seasonal Pumpkin Cider (ABV: 5.5%) by combining spiced apple wine, pumpkin wine, hard cider, and fresh pumpkin puree, and adding a pinch and a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar. Truly a glass of autumn, this cider is a great gluten-free alternative to beer.

Try it for yourself at Mount Hope Estate & Winery.

Top 10 Things to Do in Lancaster: September Travel Guide

September brings the beginning of fall, cooler weather, pumpkin flavored goodies, and great events to Lancaster. It’s time for football tailgates and evenings at the farm show, as the days get a little bit shorter and the air gets a little bit crisper. Whether you’re a local discovering what’s in your own backyard or in town to explore during the weekend, you’ll find something that strikes your fancy and gets you in the mood for fall’s exciting offerings.

Check out our list of 10 things to do this month in Lancaster (just to name a few):

Kids will love…

The Corn Maze at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm | All Month
Find your way through the Amazing Maize Maze, an interactive corn maze filled with twists, turns, and clues along the way. Once you’ve found your way out of the corn, Cherry Crest Adventure Farm has loads of fun farm-themed activities, friendly farm animals, and a pick-your-own pumpkin patch to experience life down on the farm.

Day Out with Thomas™ at Strasburg Rail Road™ | September 16-24
Thomas the Tank Engine is back in town for railroading fun. Join Thomas and his pal Percy for a ride on the historic railroad, activities, and more. This is a “must-do” for families with little train lovers. They’re sure to remember the time they got to meet Thomas the Tank Engine himself.

Foodies will love…


The Whoopie Pie Festival at Hershey Farm | September 9
Celebrate this Lancaster dessert at Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn. Treat yourself to a traditional whoopie pie or try a more adventurous combo while you enjoy games, activities, unique craft vendors, and more. It’s the most delicious day of the month!

Fall Bluegrass Concert at the Vineyard at Grandview | September 9
Sit back and enjoy an afternoon in the vineyard featuring live bluegrass music, locally-crafted wines and brews, and tasty fare from local food trucks. Two great bluegrass acts, Porthouse Yard and Hog Maw, will provide lively entertainment to keep your toes tapping.

Restaurant Week in Lancaster City | September 18-24
Explore the diverse culinary offerings Lancaster City has to offer during Fall Restaurant Week. Participating restaurants offer deals from $10 to $40 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including some offerings created just for this week. Be sure to come hungry, and share your delicious moments using #LCRW2017.

Runners will love…

Run, Ride & Soar Weekend | September 8-10
Lace up your sneakers for the annual Run, Ride, and Soar weekend in Bird-in-Hand. Runners can participate in the Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon or 5k, while bikers can take to the backroad for the Amish Country Classic Bike Ride. If you’d rather catch the action from above, the Amish Country Hot Air Balloon Fest features launches in the morning and evening for a birds-eye view of the farmland.

Shoppers will love…

Wool Frolic at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum | September 16
Are you a fan of knitting, crocheting, or other fiber arts? Find yarn of every texture and color, fleece, and more at this artsy event. Crafting demonstrations will be going on throughout the day, along with hands-on activities for kids.


Fall Antiques Extravaganza in Adamstown | September 28 – October 1
Find dozens of antique shops including outdoor markets as you explore the Antiques Capital in Adamstown. Browse the plethora of wares as dealers and shops extend their hours for this weekend. If you’re looking for that one-of-a-kind item, chances are you’ll find it here.

The whole family will love…

Tailgate Festival at Kitchen Kettle Village | September 15-16
Touchdown! Time to get in the spirit of football season at Kitchen Kettle’s sports-themed festival. There will be tons of tasty homemade tailgate foods to sample, activities for kids and adults to enjoy, and lively musical performances along the shop-lined paths of the village. If you’re in the competitive spirit, participate in their Pumpkin Whoopie Pie filling Contest to test your skills.

Fairs & Farm Shows | All Month
September brings fairs and farm shows to the communities throughout the county. Time for funnel cakes, Ferris wheels, farm animals, and fun! Enjoy the brisk evening air as you stroll down the midway at the following fairs this month: York (September 8-17), Denver (September 12-16), Solanco (September 20-22), Ephrata (September 26-30), and West Lampeter (September 27-29).

For a full list of September events, check out our events calendar.

 

Fall Foliage in Lancaster

People have all sorts of ways for predicting the weather and seasonal outcomes of the year, such as reading a Farmer’s Almanac, studying the way the moss grows on trees, achy bones, etc.

According to the interactive map on SmokeyMountains.com, it the predicts that the peak time for foliage peeping in Lancaster is at the beginning of October. Others may factor in that we have had quite a bit of rain this summer which usually makes for an early autumn. One thing we do know for certain is that Lancaster is beautiful in the fall and so is its foliage.

Below is a list of popular Lancaster County spots to take in the beauty of the season.

Parks and Preserves
Parks are a great place to admire Mother Nature dressed in her fall finery, and better yet they are free! Make a day out of it by taking a hike and packing a picnic lunch. Below are some of our favorite parks around Lancaster County.

– Breezyview Overlook at Chickies Rock County Park
– Lancaster County Central Park
– Lititz Springs Park
– Pinnacle Overlook, Susquehannock State Park
– Speedwell Forge County Park
– Money Rocks County Park
– Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Not a hiker? There are still plenty of ways for you to leaf-peep. Sit back, relax and take in the foliage from one of these various modes of transportation. You will also get great views of Lancaster County’s countryside.

-Take a Strasburg Rail Road train ride through the countryside.
-Try a helicopter tour with Smoketown Helicopters over the patchwork of farmland.
-Gaze at the tree tops in a U.S. Hot Air Balloon Ride as you gently float on you may even be able to reach out grab a leaf!
-Drive along Discover Lancaster’s Covered Bridge Tour (this way you can stop and take photos wherever you want to).

Sip while you sight-see
See the auras of autumn view while you are sipping. These vineyards not only serve local wine, but also provide great outdoor spaces to take in the view.

The Vineyard at Grandview
The Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey
Nissley Vineyards
Waltz Vineyards

National Farmer’s Market Week – August 6-12

Have you been to your local farmer’s market lately? If you are like us, the answer is probably yes, but just in case you need an excuse to go it is National Farmer’s Market Week! Farmer’s markets are stocked with fresh-from-the-fields produce, juicy fruits, local meats, cheeses and dairy products, and delicious baked goods. They allow us to truly “eat local,” and to know where our food is coming from. Through buying your groceries at a farmer’s market you are directly helping the community in which you live and the people that grow and produce the food you eat. Eating locally not only has health benefits, but it is also good for the environment. You can reduce your carbon footprint through eating food produced in your community, because the oil and emissions created by shipping foods are much less.

Not only does Lancaster have a large number of farmer’s markets, we are also home to the Nation’s oldest indoor farmer’s market, Lancaster Central Market. Central Market was recently named in CNN Travel’s top 10 fresh markets in the world. As they say they were “established in 1730 and still fresh.” Walking up and down the aisles you pass a variety of stands selling produce and prepared food from all different cultures. Ranging from traditional PA Dutch chow-chow to African Samosas and everything in between, there are a whole world of flavors under one roof waiting for you to taste and explore.

Different stands and markets have different schedules, but with the large number of farmer’s markets throughout the county you are guaranteed to find one that fits in with your schedule. Plus, Lancaster farmer’s markets open bright and early, so you can stop on your way to work. So why not go?

The Tastiest Tour in Town

What better way to learn about a town or city then by experiencing their food scene. Lancaster County Food Tours is offering visitors (and locals alike) a way to experience Lititz and Downtown Lancaster through a tour combining history, culture, and delicious food.

On a sunny summer day, I made my way to Lititz to meet up with the fantastic Lancaster County Food Tour guides for a tasty three-hour adventure. They opened the tour with an overview of the tour goal: to taste delicious offerings from local restaurants and shops while learning about the town and it’s history. And off we went!

The Come Eat Lititz Tour features a variety of tastes from the savory Scottish egg at General Sutter Inn to the sweet whoopie pie at Sugar Whipped Bakery. Between stops, the guide provided us with great area facts, answered questions, and offered conversation along the way. The balance of history and food was perfect!

While they discourage shopping on the tour to keep everyone moving from location to location on time, I definitely kept a running list of gift and souvenir ideas to pick up once the tour concluded.

While I could go into detail about each stop, this tour is best experienced in person. I will say, my favorite stop was the Waltz Vineyards Tasting Room. The wine tasting was thoughtfully prepared, and the sommelier was an expert in the flavors and processes behind each wine; which showed the passion put into the locally-made wines.

Stops on the Lititz Tour include: General Sutter, Olio Olive Oil & Balsamics, Waltz Vineyards, Julius Sturgis Pretzels, Sugar Whipped Bakery, JoBoy’s BBQ, and Wilbur Chocolate.

Tour Tips:

Comfortable shoes are a must!
There’s quite a bit of walking to be done, which is a great way to experience the town of Lititz and Downtown Lancaster, however, your feet will thank you if you wear comfortable walking shoes.

Check the forecast and dress accordingly.
The Come Eat Lititz Tour takes place over lunchtime so the sun may be at its peak heat. The shops (minus Julius Sturgis) provide a nice break from the heat, but for maximum comfort throughout the entire tour, dress according to the day’s highest temperature.

Come hungry!
By the time we got to Wilbur Chocolate (the last stop), I was pleasantly stuffed, so definitely come ready to eat. If you find that you could use a little something to eat after the tour, feel free to stop by your favorite tour location or another spot that may have caught your eye while walking.

More Tours to Explore:

This summer, Lancaster County Food Tours introduced their Chef’s Table Tour and Market and Beyond Tour, both featuring eats throughout Downtown Lancaster.

The Chef’s Table Tour features small bites and cocktail pairings at five of Lancaster’s fine dining restaurants. The fresh, delectable eats and spirited drinks will have your taste buds buzzing.

The Market and Beyond Tour features tasty morsels from Lancaster mainstays and a tour of historic Lancaster Central Market. This sweet and savory tour will give you a true taste of Lancaster County.

For more information and to book your tour, visit LancoFoodTours.com

Gretna Theatre

Are you a movie or theater lover, but can’t stand the idea of spending a beautiful evening inside? The Gretna Theatre is the perfect spot for you! Located in Mt. Gretna near the lake this outdoor theater puts on spectacular summer productions. The Chautauqua playhouse has continuously operating since 1892, bringing Broadway to our own backyard since 1927. Mt. Gretna was originally established as an arts/resort community. It is now a mix of residential and vacation-rental homes, but the Chautauqua playhouse still draws a crowd in June and July.

Currently running is the popular Tony Award winning show, Man of La Mancha which is based on the novel Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes. Set during the Spanish Inquisition, it begins as famous author, actor, and poet Miguel De Cervantes is thrown in prison. He must convince his fellow inmates not to burn his beloved manuscript by convincing them of its worth before he himself must face a similar trail for his own life. He enlists their help to put on his production, making it a play within a play. The casting of characters is wonderfully done, and the singing and choreography of the show are Broadway caliber. Entertaining the audience as they follow the multiple storylines.

The show runs through July 22 as both matinee and evening productions. But don’t worry if you cannot make it, there are several other productions happening this summer as well. The summer performance schedules can be found here as well as information on other events and educational programs.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Whether by bike or by foot, the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail, located along the Susquehanna River, is a peaceful trail worth exploring during your next outdoor adventure in Lancaster.

After lunch at a picnic table by the Columbia Crossings River Trails Center, we walked over to Chiques Rock Outfitter’s outpost to rent bikes for our ride. They offered us two colorful new bikes, and we hit the trail.

After a short ride next to the road, we were surrounded by trees, bushes, streams and tall rock faces. The trail is pleasantly paved and flat which makes it a great ride for novice bikers, families, or those looking for a leisurely walk or jog. The peaceful path winds through Chickies Rock County Park and through a cool rock tunnel.

About two and half miles up the road, we were greeted by the smell of tasty food. The Trailside Trolley was set up along the trail, serving up hot dogs, pulled pork, pizza, ice cream, snow cones and drinks for those looking to fuel up before continuing on the trail.

Continuing on the trail, we passed through a meadow of colorful wildflowers as we approached Marietta. In the town of Marietta, riders have the option of taking the “Downtown Route”, passing by houses, shops, and local watering holes including McCleary’s Pub and The Railroad House Inn. For those who prefer not to ride through town, the trail cuts through a brief undeveloped trail, and rejoins that paved section around mile marker three.

On this day, we didn’t ride past this point, but if you choose to, you’re in for a treat. The trail continues along the river and through East Donegal Township Riverfront Park. Around mile marker nine, you’ll see the White Cliffs of Conoy – a great place to stop and take a picture or two. The developed portion of the trail ends at mile marker eleven in Bainbridge, PA.

Riding the trail round-trip will be a scenic 22 mile ride, however, if you’re looking for a shorter ride, there are multiple parking and access points along the way.

For more information about the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail, stop by the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center before your adventure, or check out a map here.

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