Tag Archives: history

Capital for a Day

What do Annapolis, Princeton, Philadelphia, and Lancaster all have in common?

Believe it or not, all of these cities were once the capital of the United States.

Of all the places listed above, Lancaster was the capital for the shortest amount of time – one day to be exact!

So how did Lancaster become the third capital location of the country?

During the Revolutionary War, British Troops were on a mission to take Philadelphia, the capital prior to Lancaster. They were successful in capturing the city after defeating George Washington’s men at the Battle of Brandywine. This led the Second Continental Congress to search for a new, more secure capital.

The day after the British invaded Philadelphia, the Continental Congress met in Lancaster at the Courthouse that once stood in the town square – making it the Capital for the Day.

After September 27, the Continental Congress moved once again to distance themselves further from the British Troops. They chose to move to York, across the Susquehanna River from Lancaster, increasing the distance from Philadelphia and adding a physical barrier. They stayed in York until June 1778, before making their way back to Philadelphia.

When visiting Lancaster today, you unfortunately won’t be able to see the courthouse where this meeting took place. The original courthouse, constructed in 1737, was destroyed by a fire in 1786.

Happy Capital Day, Lancaster!

Resource: Trex, Ethan. (2017, September 27) Glory Day: Lancaster’s Brief Stint as Our Nation’s Capital. MentalFloss.com

History, Beer & Dining at Bube’s Brewery

Whether you love beer, history or both, Bube’s Brewery in Mount Joy is worth a visit. Named for it’s proprietor, Alois Bube, the brewery features unique spaces for a casual night out, a group dinner, or even a wedding.

In 1876, Alois Bube, a young German immigrant, began brewing German-style lager in Mount Joy. The brewery was one of hundreds in the United States at the time, delivering within horse and carriage range (about 20 miles). The brewery ran without the luxuries of electricity and refrigeration, hence the catacombs that lay under the building.

In Alois Bube’s time, the catacombs served as the refrigerator, chilling beer prior to delivery. Today, visitors can take a free tour of the catacombs daily between 5:30 and 9:00 PM, and even have dinner there. Select Fridays and Sundays, the Catacombs are transformed for themed feasts, including medieval, pirate, and gypsy feasts to name a few. If you’re looking to get married in a super unique space, Bube’s hosts weddings in the catacombs as well.

If you’re looking for a meal with a dash of theatrics and mystery, join Bube’s for a murder mystery dinner, either during a public dinner or with a group for a private event. You’ll be transported back in time with one of their many story lines for an entertaining evening paired with a complete dinner.

While you’re visiting, grab a bite to eat, with fine dining available in the Catacombs and casual dining in The Bottling Works. Bube’s recently brought on Executive Chef, David Nutter, who is revamping the menu to feature new seasonal items. They’re still brewing small batches of beer as well to pair with your meal.

When the weather warms up, the Beirgarten is open for outdoor dining. The Beirgarten has lots of character, with greenery, a life-sized chess board, and the huge boiler and smokestack which was used to power the brewery back in the day.

Newly added to the Bube’s Brewery complex is the Bootleggers Escape – Live Escape Room. The Escape Room takes you back in time to the roaring 20s to put your detective skills. This is a great activity for up to six people, as you work together to solve clues and puzzles.

On April 28, Bube’s will host their first Jazz Night at Alois. Kevin Valentine will be performing at 8:00 PM in the original Victorian Central Hotel. Light, tapas-style fare along with select whiskies, cocktails, martinis and homemade beer will be available while you enjoy the soulful music.

For more information on this fascinating complex, their events and happenings, be sure to visit their website!

Ten Things to Do in Lancaster County in May

The flowers are blooming and the weather is getting warmer. It’s May in Lancaster County! With the longer days come exciting events and things to do, whether you’re visiting for a day or a week.

Fruity Festivals:

Strawberries and Rhubarb are being celebrated this month at foodie-approved festivals.

Kitchen Kettle Village’s annual Rhubarb Festival will be held May 20 and 21 to pay tribute to this spring vegetable. This family-friendly festival features live music, a Rhubarb Race Car Derby, and a Rhubarb Dessert Contest. Stroll around the village, sample rhubarb-centric treats, and browse a variety of shops.

To celebrate strawberries, Country Barn will host their first annual Strawberry Festival on May 28th to celebrate the harvest of this colorful fruit. Foodies and families can enjoy activities, home-made ice cream and strawberry dishes, wagon farm tours and a strawberry contest while visiting this working, family-owned farm.

Take in a Show:

From spiritual to comical, there’s a variety of shows on stage this month that will have you awestruck or dancing in the aisles.

For the music-lover, Million Dollar Quartet debuts at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, and tells the story of the recording session that brought Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins together for the first and only time. It’s a blast from the past that will have you tapping your toes beginning May 6 and running through June 19.

From the silver-screen to the stage comes Ghost: the Musical at the Fulton Theatre, running through May 14. If you’re looking for a captivating, romantic musical with Broadway-caliber performances, this one is for you.

Show Off Your Team Spirit:

If the thrill of an exciting sporting event is more your style, May brings exciting games to Downtown Lancaster and Spooky Nook Sports.

Cheer on the US Women’s National Field Hockey Team as they take on Chile in a test series at Spooky Nook Sports on May 14, 17 and 19. This series is a great opportunity to support the team as they prepare for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

For the soccer fans, professional soccer returns to Clipper Magazine Stadium May 22 and 24. The Harrisburg City Islanders will play Bethlehem Steel FC (May 22) and Toronto FC II (May 24) in Downtown Lancaster to kick off the first two of five matches at this stadium this season.

Experience the Art Scene:

Lancaster’s art scene is blossoming and the spring ArtWalk is the perfect time to experience local independent galleries. This event features a self-guided tour of downtown galleries, special demonstrations, meet-the-artist events, children’s activities and more, taking place May 7 through 8.

Step Back in Time:

History buffs can step back in time with a visit to one of Lancaster’s many historical attractions.

19th century baseball comes to life with Strasburg Rail Road’s® Vintage Base Ball Day on May 14. Hop aboard a steam train which will take you to Verdant View Farm for a baseball game played by old-fashioned rules.

Travel back to the 1700s at Ephrata Cloister, one of America’s earliest religious communities. This Mother’s Day, you can experience the tasks performed by mothers during this period with hands-on activities like making butter, spinning thread and writing with a quill pen.

LancasterHistory.org brings World War II to life during their Encampment on May 21 through 22, where you can explore vintage military vehicles, talk to the troops and view artifacts and photographs. The recreated camps complete with tanks, truck, tents and troops will transport you back to the 1940s for an immersive historical experience.

And that’s just the short list! For a complete list of the events happening in Lancaster County in May and beyond, visit our online events calendar. Happy travels!

An overnight stay with former Amish

I hopped in the car and drove east. The drive was familiar although the destination uncertain. This city gal left Downtown Lancaster and breathed a sigh of relief. I needed an escape from the emails and the meetings, from the loud music and bright lights. For one night I was offered an escape to the countryside to stay overnight with a former Amish family.

Much of my time outside of the city has been spent down in Pequea where I discovered trails, dipped in swimming holes, and climbed around the endless curves that make up its wooded roads. This time I was traveling to the flat, open farmland. The cornstalks stood at attention, swaying slightly in the evening breeze. Cows and horses dotted the grassy hills, as I called out in excitement, the same excitement that had existed in my childhood. As the sunlight dwindled, I followed my GPS not once, but twice past my supposed destination. I pulled over and checked the address, finding my location the good ol’ fashioned way by looking at mailboxes and fence posts for house numbers.

As I neared my destination, Stoltzfus Bed & Breakfast, I saw a large, white farmhouse with green trim that sat atop a hill and was nestled between farms. I pulled into the driveway and up past the house to park. I was greeted by one of the owners, Ginger Stoltzfus, a lovely, charming and bubbly personality, her smile kind and sparkly. She told me a bit of the mansion’s history. It was built in 1845 and served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. My challenge was to find where freed slaves had hidden; this task, however, was completely forgotten as I took in my surroundings and the warm demeanor of my hosts. Sam Stoltzfus had joined us in the tour and we made it as far as the dining room table before I realized my complete neglect of this part of Lancaster County.

The three of us sat at the table, a map spread out in front of us, and a plan being formed for that evening and the next day. The day ahead, they assured me, could take me anywhere I’d like to go. Each time I was asked if I had been to one location or another, my response was “not yet,” to which Sam exclaimed, “We need to get you out of the city!” A few minutes into our planning, I knew this to be true.

Sam and Ginger are determined to direct their guests to the best the area has to offer, providing them with the ultimate Lancaster County experience. Sam and Ginger both grew up Amish, Sam locally and Ginger in York County. I trusted their judgment in all things Amish, although I knew I was not the typical guest they usually entertain. They told me I could pet calves and eat ice cream, buy dry goods for my upcoming camping trip, or have dinner with an Amish family. I had no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go… all I knew was that I needed food. My stomach was growling. Prepared with a list of restaurants, a description for each, and directions, we let my tummy do the talking. It took me to a local diner, one of Sam and Ginger’s favorite places.

Enter the scenic drive through the countryside, the juxtaposition between modern day lifestyle and a simpler way of life. I passed an Amish family plowing their garden, a young boy perched atop a horse with a second child guiding, the rest of the siblings ready and prepared to sow the earth. Around the next bend, I passed a group of “English” teenagers smoking and gathered around a motorcycle, slightly disheveled and appearing bored. A bit further down, a young, pig-tailed Amish girl ran towards the road, waving enthusiastically. Something simple and beautiful, I thought, as I waved back.

My dinner was no less extraordinary. However, I felt much like Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: totally out of my element, stepping into some alternate reality. Clad in fake Wayfairers and noisy bangles, I took my seat and ordered an iced tea. My meal consisted of a cheeseburger with coleslaw. A regular, Roger, caught me laughing at a text message and struck up conversation. He sat one booth away, but we faced one another as we dined and laughed. He had chicken with a side salad. Soon I said my goodbyes and was on the road again, headed back to test out the air conditioning I had been eyeing up during the tour.

As darkness set in, I used the flashlight cleverly attached to my room key to guide my way towards the house and found my way to my room. I flipped on the switch, tossed off my shoes, and tested out the bed. Covered in a beautiful quilt, I slipped down into the sheets: pure heaven. The sheets were incredibly soft, the pillows just right. I had a TV, but no bother, I was inspired to keep it simple that evening. I read through Sam and Ginger’s Welcome/Guest Book. I peeked through the organized book of things to do in the area, imagining for a moment I was on really vacation. This would be a nice place, I thought, as I dozed off to the hum of the cool, condensed air.

The morning was no less homey. Breakfast was served promptly at 8:30 AM, and I was dying for a cup off coffee from the fancy machine Ginger had pointed out the day before. I hopped in the shower, pleasantly surprised to find a massaging showerhead, perfect for that kink in my neck I had developed over the last days of sitting in front of my computer. As I toweled off, I noticed the little touches around my room. Local goat’s milk lotion, beautiful furniture, and hand-painted signs. I made my way downstairs to the breakfast room table, surprised to see two more guests. I knew they were there, but I hadn’t heard a peep. Skip and Terry were from Maryland and here to spend some time in an area where people lived a simpler lifestyle. I guess we all needed to get away.

Breakfast was amazing and the coffee hit the spot. Ginger had left cheese off my side of my frittata, thoughtful of my random dietary issues we had discussed the night before. Amish nut butter, a delicious traditional cheese spread, sausage, and venison scrapple. The majority of the ingredients came from friends or neighbors aside from the potatoes, but I didn’t care. It was incredible. The Stoltzfus’, Ginger’s mother, Skip, Terry, and I sat around the table talking about our plans for the day, telling a little bit about ourselves, and sharing a meal together much like friends and family. After the plates were cleared, Skip and Terry said good-bye, and I headed upstairs to pack my bag.

The care with which Ginger and Sam had taken to expose the beauty of their historic home, uncovering wooden beams and pitted bricks, was the same care they gave to me to reveal the potential of my stay. As they led me from room to room, the mansion to the carriage house, I could see the love and care they bestowed upon their property. It was no accident they bestowed the same love and care onto me. I had assumed I’d just be spending the night in a different bed, with some air-conditioning, and a warm, morning shower. Instead I felt at home, with friends and family to share a meal with, a little ginger cat to rest in my lap, and laundry list of things I wanted to do in the area the moment I had time to spare.

Jocelyn Park moved to Lancaster in 2012 from Media, PA. Having traveled to various cities around the world, this one felt more like home than ever. When not planning creative events and blogging for Transplant, Jocelyn is a freelance graphic designer throwing good vibes and design out into the world around her.  www.jocelynpark.com | lancastertransplant.com

Come take a tour, research, and explore

If you love history like I do, you must visit LancasterHistory.org.

Located outside Downtown Lancaster, the LancasterHistory.org campus includes the historic grounds and gardens of Wheatland (President James Buchanan’s home), the Louise Arnold Tanger Arboretum (featuring more than 100 species of trees from around the world), and the headquarters of the Lancaster County’s Historical Society (including 15,000 objects, 45,000 historic photographs, and 1 million archival manuscripts).

Wheatland is the historic house museum of the 15th President of the United States, James Buchanan, the only bachelor president and only one from Pennsylvania. You will start your tour at the Wheatland Visitor Center where you can see on display rare political memorabilia and personal artifacts belonging to Buchanan and other members of the Buchanan family and watch a short introductory film in preparation for your tour. Your knowledgeable guide will take you through both the public and private rooms of the Federal style mansion, giving glimpses into Buchanan’s everyday life both as a public servant and family man. Unlike many other house museum, Wheatland has historically precise rooms and many original artifacts.

The Historical Society’s research library houses documentation of births, deaths, divorces, as well as tax records, ownership records, directories, and maps. Not only to guests to the library have access to these documents and records, they can also use the library’s Ancestory.com membership to research genealogy. Want to learn more about Lancaster County’s history and how your family may be connected? This is the place to start. If you get stuck, helpful staff members are ready and eager to assist. The current Historical Society exhibit is “Country, Commonwealth, and Country, A Guide to the Exhibition.” It intertwines the stories of Lancaster, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the United States of America. If you venture downstairs, you can get a glimpse, through an observation window, of their collection in storage.

While you’re on site, be sure to check out the frog pond next to the campus entrance. Although now artificial, it’s where Buchanan’s spring-fed pond was once located. It was his favorite place to sit and reflect. And don’t miss the green ash tree next to the drive way near the corner of Wheatland – it’s estimated to be over 350 years old!

Before you leave, stop by the museum store for your choice of historical books, period art, local goods, and more. Don’t leave without a treasure to take home.

Visit www.lancasterhistory.org to learn about special events, tours, exhibitions, lectures, and more. And remember, for those history buffs who are impossible to buy for, yearly memberships are available!

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What does it mean to be Amish?

One night when an Amish friend and I were talking, I asked this question: “What does it mean to be Amish?” It’s hard for anyone to summarize a lifestyle or beliefs in a few words without much time to think about it, so I asked him to say the first thing that popped into his head.

The first thought that came to him was “security.” It was apparent he was not thinking in terms of “safety.” He described it as a close-knit brotherhood and support. This is manifested in many ways, from the older people being cared for and valued by the younger, to the family’s eating meals together daily, from church services in homes to auctions and barn-raisings for those in need.

Next, he spoke of the slower pace of life, a more relaxed way of living, but a strong work ethic. My friend then wondered what the impact of fewer farmers and more “Amish businessmen” will be, especially if people become “too well off?” He thought “prosperity” was the biggest threat to the Amish way of life, although many Amish would put cellphones (“the world in your pocket”) at the top of the list.

Another part of what it means to be Amish is the importance of a good heritage and faith; he mentioned the Christian Anabaptist martyrs of the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe. Struggles between church and state have continued into contemporary times and often make “headlines” in the media.

He then mentioned plain dress; that Amish clothing was more standardized and economical. “I don’t need to give much thought on what I’m going to wear each morning. Some people say that if the heart is right, it doesn’t matter how you dress. But if the heart is right, shouldn’t you dress accordingly?”

Similarly, he touched on not having a television, radio, computer, internet, etc. It’s not so much electricity that is the problem, as what may come into the home via the media once you have it – perhaps a concern that is not unique to the Amish.

An Amishman was speaking before a group and was asked to explain what it meant to be Amish. He began by first asking these non-Amish how many of them owned a TV. All the hands went up. He then asked, “How many people think it might be better not to have a TV?” All hands up again.  Finally he asked the group, “When you get home today, how many will get rid of your TV?”  No hands went up. “That’s what it means to be Amish!”

Rainy day things to do in Lancaster County

Whether you come in the bright sunshine or come to a rainy Lancaster County, we’ve got tons of great things to do! Rain is a good thing for Lancaster, as it helps us to provide the freshest summer produce and ripest, juiciest fruit at our numerous farm markets and roadside stands.

So, if you find yourself here in Lancaster County, looking for something to do on a rainy day, here are some suggestions for you:

Learn about the Amish

Lancaster County has a number of Amish Homesteads, tours, and the Amish Experience Theatre, where you can learn about the lifestyle of the modern Amish, see a farmhouse, and travel the backroads and country lanes where the Amish live.You can also take a buggy ride if it’s not raining too hard – you’ll be covered by the buggy, and you can experience riding through farmland the way the Amish do!

Check out our Trains

Head to Strasburg, and you can learn everything there is to learn about trains, an even ride on an authentic steam train! The Choo Choo Barn, National Toy Train Museum and Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania will all paint a picture of the colorful history of Pennsylvania’s railroad industry. Then head to the Strasburg Rail Road for a ride on their regular cars, or even the dining car!

Watch it being made, or make it yourself!

Want to see how things are made in Lancaster County? A rainy day is the perfect time to head indoors to see things being created from start to finish, and even create some things yourself! Head to Intercourse Pretzel Factory or Julius Sturgis Pretzel House and learn to twist your own pretzel! Check out Kitchen Kettle Village, where you can see the women making jam, or even make your own jam on their Cannin’ and Jammin’ Tour. Head to Wilbur Chocolate Factory and watch the candy makers at work hand-dipping homemade marshmallows into luscious Wilbur Chocolate, or make the short drive to the Hershey Story Museum, where you can take a chocolate making class in their Chocolate Lab. Or you can head downtown to the Bead & Pottery Works to paint your own piece of pottery or create jewelry.

Museums and Historic Sites

I know what you’re thinking – I don’t want to spend a whole day in museums. You’ve obviously never been to our museums on a rainy day in Lancaster County! If you’ve got little ones with you, head to the Lancaster Science Factory, where they have tons of hands-on activities for kids of all ages. Lancaster has tons of art museums and galleries, both Downtown and around the County. Historic sites include the Christiana Underground Railroad Center, Cornwall Iron Furnace, the Demuth Museum, Ephrata Cloister, the National Watch & Clock Museum, President James Buchanan’s Wheatland, and Rock Ford Plantation.

Theatre

What better to do on a rainy evening in Lancaster County than head to the theatre! We have a few dinner theatres including the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre and the Rainbow Dinner Theatre. For Broadway caliber shows, head Downtown to the Fulton Theatre. Sight & Sound Theatre is known around the world for their shows, and American Music Theatre has excellent concerts and shows. So pick a theatre, and be swept away in the show!

Shopping

We’ve got tons of shopping opportunities, from Antiques to Artisans, farmer’s markets to furniture, and local shops to sweets & treats, as well as Rockvale & Tanger Outlets. You’ll be sure to find whatever it is you’re looking for, or even things you’re not looking for, as souvenirs to remember your trip to Lancaster County. And if you decide that all you want to do is curl up with a good book, head to DogStar Books for a great new read!

There are tons of other things to do on a rainy day, so just check out our website for more things to do! As always, if you have any questions about what’s going on while you’re here, you can contact us on our pages on Twitter or Facebook, and don’t let a little rain keep you in your hotel!

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