Tag Archives: Lancaster PA

Lancaster County, PA- Visitors Scavenger Hunt

Lancaster County is full of hidden gems and quite peaceful spots which are fun to stumble upon on your own. We have created a scavenger hunt for you while you explore. If you are ready to take on the challenge we invite you to follow along.

Our list is broken down into three sections: one for Downtown Lancaster, another for Lititz, and a third for Strasburg. Complete all three, or mark where you left off and come back another day! We suggest you try taking a photo with each item and sharing them with us by tagging #DiscoverLancaster. Or splitting your group into teams and seeing who can check everything off first, the fastest group gets whoopie pies (count us in!). Learn interesting facts and take in the sites as you discover what is hidden around Lancaster County. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask a local for a hint or directions some of these items can be tricky to find.

10 Things to Find in Lititz:

  • A giant pretzel
  • The oldest house on Main Street
  • A British flag
  • A chocolate mold shaped like a rabbit
  • Three mallard ducks
  • A Rolex clock
  • A Moravian star
  • A train station and caboose
  • An authentic heritage garden
  • The start of the Lititz spring
  • Bonus: A giant egg

10 Things to Find in Downtown Lancaster

  • A mural or piece of public art
  • An ice cream shop
  • A historic theater
  • The oldest continuously operating farmers market in the U.S.
  • Live music or street musician
  • A historic landmark
  • A roof top bar
  • A place to play a sport
  • A fountain
  • A man reading a newspaper
  • Bonus: Three outdoor pianos (May-September)

10 Things to Find in Strasburg

  • A train with a caboose
  • A theater up on a hill
  • Farm animals
  • A horse and buggy
  • A place to stop for a sundae
  • A giant statue of an Amish man (hint: it’s close to a restaurant)
  • A historic place to stay
  • Corn fields – Bonus point if you find a corn maze
  • Antiques and items from the past
  • A pink flamingo

Green Dragon: A Famous Friday Market

Driving down Rt. 272, you can’t miss the huge retro dragon perched above a sign that directs you to the Green Dragon Farmers Market and Auction. For more than 80 years it’s been a Lancaster County tradition for locals and visitors alike to spend their Fridays looking at 400 merchants, growers, and craftsmen on the 30 acre property.

Green Dragon has seven large market buildings, unique cottages, and outdoor vender tents. It offers both indoor and outdoor shopping experiences and a wide variety of products. From country cooking and produce to crystals and clothing, Green Dragon offers something for everyone. If you need a neat place to take your kids or if you’re hanging out with your friends and want to grab a bite to eat, check out Green Dragon.

What I like about Green Dragon is the diversity of products; it truly captures the essence of Lancaster. While inside, I enjoy walking around, watching people, and devouring a delicious sausage sandwich. Outside, my favorite cottages include: Hallelujah Hive (best honey you will ever try), India Moon Boutique (bohemian clothes and gemstone jewelry), All about Jerky (exotic jerkies from all different animals), and Cocalico Creek Country store (rustic chic).

Enjoy the spring and summer weather, plus get your exercise by walking through this unique place – all while soaking in the Lancaster County culture. You’ll discover something new each time you go!

Green Dragon is open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM every Friday.

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.

Amish courtship

There is no PA Dutch word for “dating,” but the Amish use the English word when they need it.

The Amish consider romantic relationships to be private, so courtship is practiced secretly, while parents look the other way until the couple comes to ask their permission for marriage.

Amish young people can choose whoever they want for their mate, but if they want to remain Amish themselves, they need to marry within the faith (or date someone who has intentions of joining the faith). Very rarely, a non-Amish person might join the Amish church to be able to marry an Amish person.

Dating often starts with a boy offering to take a girl home after a Sunday evening sing, which is one of the places young people socialize. When a couple is more serious, a boy can visit the girl at her house after her parents have gone to bed on a Saturday night when there’s no church on Sunday. They sit in the living room, where most parents require a light to be on, and visit, sometimes with other couples.

Amish church services

You might wonder what an Amish church service is like. You can’t visit one to find out, because the service isn’t public, it’s for members and invited visitors only. Also, you wouldn’t understand any of it, unless you can speak Pennsylvania German, as that’s the language the service is conducted in.

The Amish observe two kinds of Sundays: “church-Sundays” and “off-Sundays.”

The Amish are extremely religious, so it might surprise you to know that they don’t hold an actual church service every Sunday. Amish services are long, intense experiences. The service itself lasts about 3 hours, then they have lunch together, and then there’s an afternoon of visiting. For the younger teens, it’s even longer, because they meet again in the evening for singing & socializing.

On the “off-Sundays,” some may attend church in other districts, but for most it is a quiet day at home in the morning, and visiting friends & relatives in the afternoon.

While you’re driving around Lancaster, you might see a boxy wagon parked in a farmyard. That’s the bench wagon, and when you see it, you know that church was either recently held at that farm, or will be soon.


Proper road etiquette around buggies

The question usually arises, “What’s the proper etiquette  for driving on the road with buggies, visiting their farms, or taking photos of the Amish.” We’ve pulled together a few bullets here for you, if you happen to be wondering!

  • Do not trespass on Amish farms, homesteads, or schools in session. There are several settings where you can visit a working farm, take a buggy ride, or ever stay over at an Amish farm. These experiences will definitely give you a taste of Amish lifestyle.
  • Photographs. The Amish have a strongly held belief that photographic images violate the biblical injunction against graven images and promote the sins of personal vanity and pride. Taking pictures of their land and animals is permissible; taking pictures of them is not.
  • Watch the road! Roads in Lancaster County have especially wide shoulders to accommodate horses, buggies, and tractors. Buggies are marked with red reflective triangles and lights at night. It’s preferable to slow down to Amish paces. Honking disturbs the horses. You can pass buggies, but be cautious, ensuring there is no oncoming traffic.

We hope these three things will help you to be more informed on your next visit to Lancaster! Thank you for being respectful of our culture.

Train rides, ice cream, horses and more

Located in Lancaster County, Strasburg is a quaint town just a few miles south of the hustle and bustle of the county’s busy thoroughfare, and it is the perfect location to see our country as it was amid what it has become. The town of Strasburg is a trip into a simpler, yet more complex, time. It offers you an honest view of living history while never leading you more than a few steps away from comforts that are modern and convenient.

The Amish culture survives and thrives in Strasburg. Unlike other experiences, the people you will see here are not part of productions staffed by actors but real people who walk their talk. For a full eye-opening view of the Amish in the area, try Ed’s Buggy Rides or take a ride on the Strasburg Rail Road. You can visit The Amish Village for a tour which provides a more comprehensive education about the Amish and their culture. And there’s always The Lil Country Store & Miniature Horse Farm, where miniature horses welcome you to a real Amish farm.

For the train aficionadas, Strasburg, known as “Train Town USA” offers not only the rail road, but the National Toy Train Museum, The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and the Choo-Choo Barn. If you’ve got an addicted train enthusiast with you, plan to spend at least one full day here.

But Strasburg has so much more to offer! Weather permitting, you can get in your daily exercise with a round at Village Greens Miniature Golf or get lost in the maze at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm. Not into the out-of-doors? Strasburg offers unique shopping like Eldreth Pottery. (Oh, and if you simply must power shop, Strasburg is only minutes away from Rockvale and Tanger Outlet centers.)

All that travel made you hungry yet? The town of Strasburg offers a variety of dining options that cater to all of our visitors’ needs. Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn hosts a smorgasbord for the truly famished, or try out Isaac’s for unique deli-style sandwiches as well as soups and salads. The Springerle House Tea & Cookie Café is just the place if you want to nibble on a light lunch and save room for dessert from their bakery. For fine dining and spirits, The Iron Horse Inn has an eclectic menu that combines local fare with sophisticated recipes, amid quaint surroundings and with great service. And then, there’s ice cream! Oh, and fudge! For a treat to satisfy your sweet tooth, stop by the Strasburg Country Store and Creamery. You’ll find homemade ice cream in some pretty unusual flavors and some truly creamy homemade fudge in a variety of flavors that will make it difficult to choose!

Strasburg is home to the renowned Sight & Sound Theatres, which produces stage shows that, as their mission statement says, bring “the Bible to life”. In addition to matinee and evening shows, the theatre also provides some ‘behind the scenes’ adventures. You’ll want to make sure to see one of their spectacular shows!

If you’re not afraid of the dark, and have no fear of the paranormal, consider making reservations for the Ghost Tour of Strasburg. This walking tour provides a spirited adventure in historic – and haunted – Strasburg.

Now, all that fun and food means it’s time to rest and rejuvenate! From camping to bed & breakfast to hotel, Strasburg offers plenty of options for getting a good night’s sleep away from all of the traffic of the busier towns. White Oak Campground, which is open year-round, provides sites for everyone from the rough-it-with-a-tent to the fully-self-contained-model camper. If you’re looking for charming and quant accommodations, then try a bed and breakfast, such as Rose Garden Bed and Breakfast or Verdant View Farm Bed & Breakfast. In addition to the inn at Hershey Farms, the town of Strasburg offers rustic inns such as the Carriage House Motor Inn, The Iron Horse Inn, The Limestone Inn and the Strasburg Village Inn. For the train lover, continue your experience by spending the night at Red Caboose Motel. And, if you really want to hold onto the familiar, stay at the Clarion Inn by Choice Hotels.

As you can see, the quaint, small town of Strasburg can offer you plenty of things to see and do to fill multiple days if you choose. Are you planning this adventure for a group and feeling overwhelmed by the choices? Strasburg even has a solution for that! Amish Neighbor Tours can put together a package for your group that includes attractions, lodging and meals!

An awesome recipie for pumpkin squares

I’m always looking for new meals to make for my husband, whether it’s asking friends for recipes that they’ve tried, or searching the internet. Little did I know, I’ve got a great resource right here in my own backyard – our Bed & Breakfast owners!

I came across a great recipe for Pumpkin Squares on the PA Dutch Inn’s blog, which you can find here. Lancaster County has tons of great Inns and Bed & Breakfasts, where they’ve got lots of yummy breakfast recipes. You’ve got to think, they’re always refining them for their guests, so they truly have the best of the best! The Hurst House, an absolutely gorgeous Bed & Breakfast in Ephrata, is where Mrs. Bert Hurst serves a delicious breakfast for her guests.

If you’ve never been to a Bed & Breakfast in Lancaster County, PA, you should definitely check out the Hurst House – it’s beautiful! It’s an elegant Victorian Mansion, located on top of a hill overlooking beautiful Amish & Mennonite farmland. Right now – while there’s snow covering the fields, it is a spectacular sight! Enjoy the pumpkin squares!

Pumpkin Squares
Mix 1 1/3 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup melted butter and press it into an oblong cake pan until you’ve lined the entire bottom.

Beat 2 eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, and 8 oz. of cream cheese together, and pour it over the graham crumb crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Cook 2 cups pumpkin, 3 egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. cinnamon in a saucepan until thick, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle 1 envelope of plain geletin into 1/4 cup water. When dissolved, add it to the pumpkin mixture, and let it cool until it mounds.

Beat 3 egg whites until stiff. Add 1/4 cup of sugar. Fold it into the pumpkin mixture. Pour that over the cooled crust. Refrigerate. Top with cool whip before serving!

Urban Flair at FENZ Restaurant

You’re sitting at the upstairs bar with your favorite cocktail in hand, only to still be scanning the list of impressive better-than-bar wines for a Pinot Grigio to pair with your dinner. The bartender is attentive, yet laid back. Upbeat lounge music sets the tone. Your surroundings are contemporary, sleek and sophisticated, without the pretension. You’re comfortable in this casual, urban environment. Simply put, you’re enjoying your night, and it has hardly started.

Only ten minutes away, you can find yourself on winding, back country roads, passing Amish buggies and taking in the sight of the gorgeous surrounding farmland. Surprise surprise… you’re in Lancaster County. More specifically, you’re downtown in the heart of the city’s vibrant northwest corridor at FENZ Restaurant. This former 19th century factory building has been renovated into one of Lancaster’s most recent and refreshing restaurants. The combination of historic character and contemporary design makes for a relaxed, yet stylish atmosphere. The menu items carry that same essence. Personal small -bite favorites include the French fries with truffle oil, scallops with apple-wood bacon in a Dijon mustard sauce, and the platter of assorted cheeses.

When you’re looking to cut back on vacation expenses without giving up on class, consider Lancaster County. FENZ Restaurant is just one example of such refreshing sophistication in this area. What’s more, you’re a hop, skip and a jump from Amish Country. Enjoy the diversity of Lancaster County for yourself.

FENZ Restaurant is right down the street from Franklin & Marshall College and the Lancaster Arts Hotel. It is also only several blocks from downtown Lancaster’s Gallery Row, the Lancaster County Convention Center, Central Market, the Fulton Theatre, and other center city attractions.

Reservations are highly recommended. Call (717) 735-6999.

Furniture Shopping in Lancaster County, PA

Planning on redoing a room in your house? Want to find some quality pieces that have been hand crafted here in Lancaster, PA? Between the incredible antique shops & malls that we have, and the handmade Amish furniture, you’re sure to find the unique piece you’re looking for.

For antiques, make your first stop Adamstown – The Antiques Capitol – where the dealing begins before the sun even begins to shine. There are more stores and antique mall to keep you busy for hours.

We’ve got tons of handcrafted Amish furniture for you all over the County. Country Home Furniture is located across from Shady Maple Smorgasbord, and they’ve got some beautiful handcrafted home furnishings and one of the area’s largest selections of Amish furniture. So stop at Shady Maple for a great meal, and then when you’re full, walk it off looking at beautiful furniture.

Another great place is George’s Woodcrafts. They make handcrafted furniture for kitchens, dining rooms, offices, and bedrooms out of solid walnut, cherry, and oak. They’ll even custom tailor your piece just for you! I LOVE their rocking chairs.

For some more great handmade furniture, click here.

Cafe Chocolate of Lititz

Set in the quaint little town of Lititz, PA, Cafe Chocolate was the perfect choice for a nice fresh organic lunch, imported sparkling lemonade, and of course, chocolate!

Upon entering Cafe Chocolate, we were greeted with friendly faces inviting us to make ourselves feel right at home.  What’s home without chocolate? So as we sat down to choose our lunch and drinks from the menu, they offered us a sampling of chocolate no one could refuse.

For lunch, I chose the Flatbread Pizza with sundried tomato pesto sauce, smoked chicken sausage, provolone cheese, spinach, shittake mushrooms, and artichoke hearts! Hungry yet? Needless to say, my craving for pizza was satisfied. Along with the pizza, I had an imported bottle of sparkling blueberry lemonade all the way from France!  It was deliciously refreshing and full of antioxidants!

Cafe Chocolate holds up to its reputation for good local food, specialty drinks, and premium chocolate sweets! It’s perfect for a cozy afternoon lunch or a mid-day chocolate pick-me-up!

If you’re a local, stop in for your favorite treat, but if you’re from out of town, stay a while and see all of the great things Cafe Chocolate, the town of Lititz, and Lancaster County have to offer.

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