Tag Archives: Lancaster

October in Lancaster Travel Guide: Halloween & Harvest

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are beginning to fall, and we couldn’t be more excited. We’re starting to see pumpkins and fall wreaths made of burlap pop up in our towns, and the farmers getting ready to harvest out in the fields. Our children are animatedly choosing their Halloween costumes and talking about the fall treats we’ll bake. However you plan to celebrate fall, October is the perfect month full of activities and events that you’ll enjoy whether your preference is Halloween or harvest.

Check out our October Travel Guide below:

Halloween

  1. Howl at the Moon
    Pack your blanket, hotdogs, and marshmallows for the bonfire, and learn about the wolves that live in Lititz during the Full Moon Tour at the Wolf Sanctuary of PA.
  2. Lancaster’s Haunted History 
    This is no hocus-pocus – you’ll hear authentic ghost stories told at the actual sites of the hauntings. These walking ghost tours take place nightly in October.
  3. Enjoy Spook-tacular Family Fun
    Put on your costumes, pack up the mini-van and head on over to Dutch Wonderland’s Happy Hauntings where you’ll see Duke the Dragon in his Halloween best. Don’t forget to trick-or-treat with the dinosaurs!
  4. Take an Eerie Three-Wheeled Tour
    Take a hauntingly fun tour of the back roads by scooter withStrasburg Scooter’s Spooky Scoot. Available October 13-14, 20-21, & 27-28. Rider’s tip: pack warm gloves and a scarf.
  5. Award-winning, Spine-tingling Chills
    When it comes to terrifying thrills, visit USA Today’s Best Extreme Haunted Attraction Field of Screams is the place to be. You can also visit the haunted hayride, attractions, and houses at Jason’s Woods.

Harvest

  1. Annual Harvest Breakfast
    Kick off the harvest season at Lancaster Central Market with everyone’s favorite Harvest Breakfast, featuring farm-to-table food, live entertainment, and family fun.
  2. Pick the Perfect Pumpkin
    Head to one of our many fields to pick the perfect carving pumpkin, and enjoy apple cider and hayrides. If you’re not in to carving pumpkins, perhaps you can head to an apple orchard and bring home some fresh apples to douse in caramel for the perfect fall snack.
  3. Fall ArtWalk
    Immerse yourself in Downtown Lancaster’s art scene at Fall ArtWalk. This self-guided tour takes place Saturday and Sunday, October 7-8.
  4. Head Outdoors with a drive, a Hike or Bike Ride.
    Grab your favorite pumpkin flavored hot beverage from one of our local coffee shops, and then head out to get lost on our winding backroads and experience the beauty of fall.
  5. Fall Fairs & Festivals
    Explore traditional fall on the farm with Fall Farm Days at Amish Farm & House or Harvest Days at Landis Valley Museum. Try some local brews with Stoudt’s Oktoberfest events, or if you’d rather go back in time, dress up in your best medieval garb and visit the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. And don’t miss our full list of our County Fairs and Farm Shows.

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

Favorite Lancaster-sourced Farm Fresh Ingredients

Three local chefs share their fall favorites, and which dishes you can find them in

We love when the seasons change in Lancaster for so many reasons – in autumn’s case, the air turns crisp, Mother Nature puts on another show of her vibrant colors, and for my fellow foodies, it allows us to eat flavors that may only come around once a year.

Everybody knows that one of the most-anticipated flavors of fall is pumpkin, but there is so much more to be found at the fall farmers market. Check out these three chef’s favorite autumn dishes, which all include locally sourced ingredients.

John J. Jeffries
Sweet Potatoes & Lamb

Eating seasonally is not the norm in today’s society, but Chef Cavanaugh works closely with local, small, family organic farmers to source produce and meats year-round for John J. Jeffries ever changing menu. For the fall, you’ll find Japanese white sweet potatoes and purple sweet potatoes on the menu. He typically purees the sweet potatoes for an accompaniment to meat, or you’ll find them used in vegetarian entrees.

Lamb is ready to come off the pasture in early fall. You can find the lamb used head-to-tail, so the cuts on the menu vary from braised lamb, lamb leg steaks, and lamb chops.

Forklift & Palate
Beets

For a meal that can go either casual or a little fancy, head to Forklift & Palate, where their fall menu includes locally sourced beets, Brussel sprouts, and winter squash. Who doesn’t love the sweet, vibrant and colorful beet root? This chef’s tip is to choose smaller bulbs, as they tend to have a richer flavor.

The seasonal dish of choice? Try the Beet Salad Appetizer.

Speckled Hen Coffee
Apples

This fall, the Speckled Hen will be featuring local apples from the Meck family with Meck’s Produce. You can find their apples in an Apple Pie Crumble (scratch made) which is delicious as is, or to add another local ingredient, can be served a’la mode with a scoop of vanilla ice cream from Lapp Valley Farms.

If you’re in the mood for something savory, you can enjoy a Harvest Turkey Sandwich, made with bacon, sharp cheddar, apple slices and a drizzle of maple syrup grilled on wheatberry bread.

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

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

Lancaster in Love

Ok, on one hand, I am a romantic. I am guilty of singing along to cheesy love songs, crying at Hallmark commercials, and quoting the Moulin Rouge. On the other hand, I have never thought much of the commercial side of Valentine’s Day. I am a firm believer in presence versus presents and the importance of sharing priceless experiences with those we love. This holiday weekend, there are plenty of ways to both love Lancaster and experience Lancaster in love.

First, there is the Fire and Ice Festival in Lititz this weekend from February 13-16. See over 50 amazing ice sculptures, have fun at the Block Party and the Winter Wonderland Carnival, and support local charities while eating your way through the annual chili cook-off. I will be rooting for the Ephrata VFW and my good friend Rebecca Gallagher, owner of the Smithton Inn. Check out her 3Bs Chili – made with Beef, Bison, and Boniface.  If her chili is anything like her breakfasts, you will fall in love at first bite.

Looking for a unique culinary experience? Several local restaurants are hosting pop-up BYOB dinners this Valentine’s Day.  Tomato Pie Café in Lititz will feature a special Prix Fixe dinner with local chef Katie Horst on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and Commonwealth on Queen is hosting a four-course dinner from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. on Saturday in Downtown Lancaster.

Rather have brunch? Have you been to Wynridge Farms yet? This weekend is the perfect excuse. The site features a tasting room, their own craft beer, cider, and soda, and a rustic backdrop for weddings and special events. You will fall in love with the view alone. Their “Celebrate Love” event not only features dinner on both Friday and Saturday nights, but also a brunch on Saturday morning. Check out the gallery of pictures below from my tour of the site and click here to view the menu.  I also do not want to forget Pour. Their Valentine’s brunch this Sunday features everything from banana pancakes to fresh-squeezed mimosas.

Want to stay in on Valentine’s Day and avoid the crowds? The Lancaster Central Market will have everything you need to cook a special breakfast, lunch, or dinner that features local favorites. I have often created my own pop-up meal by stopping first at Central Market for fresh produce, breads, meats, and cheeses. I will then grab a bottle of “Family Reserve” olive oil from the Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom, a bottle of Baron red wine from Waltz Vineyards, and dark chocolate truffles from Cafe Chocolate. It may be cold outside, but the location for a private pop-up dinner is only limited by your imagination.

Both Cafe Chocolate and Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom even have special products available to purchase this Valentine’s Day. Seasons has a Valentine’s Day sampler that includes Blood Orange Fused Olive Oil, Black Cherry Balsamic Vinegar, and a recipe card to make a delectable chocolate cake with both ingredients. Yum! So, no excuses! If you are looking to partner any experience this weekend with amazing food, Lancaster has got you covered.

What are your Valentine’s Day plans this weekend in Lancaster? How do you like to celebrate? A show at the Fulton? Music at Tellus360? An outdoor adventure at one of our County Parks? Are you going out or staying in? We want to hear from you! Tag your favorite photos on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with #LancasterinLove and let us hear your weekend story! We may feature the 10 best on the site next week!

Click here to see Andrea’s blog.

P.S. Just in case you were looking for a soundtrack for the weekend…Here is Billboard’s current list of the 50 greatest love songs. I swear I was not singing along to David Cassidy as I wrote this.

Dutch WINTER Wonderland

My wife and I always set aside an evening during the holidays to take the boys over to Dutch Winter Wonderland.  Dutch Wonderland is such a special place for young children during the summer it’s easy to overlook they have special hours during the fall for Happy Hauntings, and then again over the holidays as well.

The main attraction for us is always the Royal Light Show.  DW literally has tens of thousands of lights strung up throughout the hub of the park all synched to a stirring holiday soundtrack.  Make sure to take the sky ride, or take a drive with the antique cars to either get a birdseye view of the show, or drive right through the heart of it.

Of course, many of our favorite rides are open in addition to the holiday specific attractions.  My 2-year-old is a fan of Duke’s Dozers (miniature bulldozers), the Off-Road Rally (nice and tame Monster Trucks!), and of course taking a tour of the light be-decked park on their miniature train, the Wonderland Special!  The older boys (6 and 9 respectively) ride the Twister, hit up the bumper cars, and take a swing on the Space Shuttle (a space-themed Viking ship type ride).

If you have any budding young female royalty in your family, you might want to check out Storytime with the Princess.

With so much to see and do and at a great price, Dutch Winter Wonderland is another budding holiday tradition for the Evans family right here in Lancaster County.

5 Reasons Lancaster is an RV destination

Country villages, unforgettable landscapes and the simple joys of Amish life are just three of the many reasons to visit Lancaster County by RV. The family-centered attractions of Pennsylvania Dutch Country make it easy to bring the kids along on your journey. Here are five fascinating reasons to start planning a Lancaster County adventure for the whole family.

  1. Kitchen Kettle Village, a delightful collection of vintage homes filled with goody-filled shops, is located in Intercourse, PA. Take the family on a buggy ride, stop for a memorable lunch at the Kling House Restaurant and purchase local specialties as you stroll through the village shops. Be sure to take the kids to the Bake Shop for freshly-baked cookies and whoopie pies!
  2. It wouldn’t be a Lancaster County adventure without a side trip or two to photograph the area’s many covered bridges. Enduring structures like the White Rock Forge Covered Bridge near Quarryville and the Forry Mill Bridge over Chickies Creek near Marietta draw photographers from all over the world. CoveredBridgeSite.com contains an excellent guide to Lancaster County’s historic bridges.
  3. Take the Old Philadelphia Pike to the village of Bird-in-Hand to experience the joys of a farmers’ market. Vendor stalls line the Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market every weekend year-round, and their hours are expanded during warmer weather. Comfortable indoor shopping in a quaint setting with something everyone in the family will enjoy — the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning. An RV travel tip: just five minutes out of town you’ll find Country Acres Campground, a highly-rated RV paradise waiting to be your home away from home.
  4. Follow Lincoln Highway over rolling hills dotted with neat and prosperous Amish farms to find Flory’s Cottages and Camping in the borough of Ronks, PA. Not only will your RV camping family enjoy the serenity of this rural campground, they’ll also love such local attractions as Lapp’s Wooden Toys and Furniture on Irishtown Road.

We’ve barely scratched the surface on why RV travelers should be planning a Lancaster County road trip! Whether your family comes for the quaint villages, glorious scenery or exceptional lessons in history, Pennsylvania Dutch Country doesn’t disappoint. There’s a Lancaster County adventure for the whole family waiting for you in South Central Pennsylvania.

Guest post by: Joe Laing, the Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals. You can see more great RV vacation ideas in their Monty’s Musings RV Travel Blog and be sure to check out their RV Camping Pictures.

Keys for the City

Remember the days of being a little kid and having the urge to bang on the keys of any piano you came in contact with, only to be scolded about five seconds later by the nearest adult who, for some reason, was not enjoying the cacophony of sounds you were producing?

Well, thanks to Music for Everyone, the non-profit organization that raises awareness and money for music programs in Lancaster schools, those days of uninhibited piano playing are back, and this time there is no one around to stop you.

Donated and decorated pianos are placed around the city of Lancaster at places like Binns Park and Penn Square for citizens and visitors to play at any time of day, all summer long.

As someone who is not so adept at tickling the ivories, I have shied away from blessing the citizens of Lancaster with my er…piano skills, but I can’t help but be drawn in by some of the colorful and original pianos that are scattered around the city. I mean who doesn’t want to at least go and see a piano that is painted bright pink or covered entirely in pennies?

I love the fact that Music for Everyone is literally bringing their message to the streets and allowing everyone the chance to get in touch with their creative side with this Keys for the City exhibit.

So whether you are in the mood to play, look, or just sit and listen, take a stroll through Lancaster to enjoy the Keys for the City exhibit and remember what it is like to be a kid again.

For more information, or to find out when and where the pianos are placed each year, click here.

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