Tag Archives: Shady Maple Smorgasbord

Top Five Things to do in Lancaster, PA for First Time Visitors

If this is your first visit to Lancaster, PA – we welcome you with open arms and warm Pennsylvania-Dutch hospitality. If you are eager to learn what all the fuss is about, we have compiled a list of five great things to do while you are in town. These activities are “classic” Lancaster at their core. They help to make up what Lancaster is all about and have led to the development of so many of the wonderful experiences and traditions around the County.

  1. Visit Amish Country

When we say “Lancaster” you say “Amish.” These two often go hand in hand, being that Lancaster, PA is home to one of the largest Amish populations in the United States. Our county is known for its rolling hills, beautiful farmland, and relaxing way of life. Try taking a buggy ride with Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy Rides or Ed’s Buggy Rides to have a truly authentic experience on the back roads. If you prefer to move at a faster pace, opt for a scooter ride through the countryside with Strasburg Scooters. Attractions like the Amish Farm & House, the Amish Village, and The Amish Experience are also great places to learn about the plain lifestyle. You can see first-hand what an Amish home or one-room schoolhouse looks like plus learn traditions and customs of this unique culture.

  1. Stop by Lancaster’s Central Market

Located in our beautiful and bustling downtown, Lancaster Central Market is the country’s oldest continually operating farmers’ market. Open on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, this market is the perfect place to see the combination of diverse cultures and cuisines that make up Lancaster County. Be sure to pick up some locally-grown produce, freshly-baked goods, meats, or cheeses to take home with you. If visit doesn’t coincide with Market days, don’t worry, there are plenty of other farmers’ markets around the County which you can visit.

  1. Try some traditional PA Dutch food

Traditional PA Dutch food is truly a treat. Prepared from scratch with simple, hearty, ingredients, you can taste the love in every bite. From chicken pot pie, to pork and sauerkraut, or shoofly pie to whoopie pies you are sure to find something to indulge in while you are here. Our many PA Dutch restaurants like Miller’s, Good ‘N Plenty, or Shady Maple, offer all the traditional dishes for you to sample and enjoy. Not sure what you will like? Check out some of our recommendations and explanations here.

  1. Shop for antiques and hand-crafted goods

Here in Lancaster we like to make things by hand, the old fashioned way. We value quality, crafted goods that are passed on to generations and hidden gems scoured from our many antique stores. Each item has a story, and more than likely someone around to tell you about it. If you are looking for the perfect piece to add to your home be sure to head out to Adamstown to check out the many antique malls, markets, and auctions.  Downtown Lancaster also offers a number of artisans and galleries for you to explore on Gallery Row.

  1. See a show

Lancaster is home to a number of theatres with performances ranging from musical, to dramatic, to comedy, or even spiritual. While in town you can visit the largest faith-based theatre in the United States, Sight & Sound Theatres®or catch a broadway caliber musical at the oldest working theatre in the United States, The Fulton Theatre.

If this isn’t enough to keep you busy while you are in town, there is plenty more to do! Stop by our Visitors Center for more ideas and recommendations. We are positive that you will want to come back again to do some more exploring, when you do we will be ready with more suggestions. If you want to learn more of what all there is to do in Lancaster, check out our Getaway Guide (order here) or sign up for our e-newsletter to stay in the know.

Pass the Pumpkin, Please…

Did you know that Lancaster County is one of the top ten pumpkin-producing counties in the United States, with over 1,000 acres of pumpkins! This year’s crop has been particularly plentiful. Although the pumpkin growing season is over, you can enjoy pumpkin flavored treats all the way through November. (As most pumpkin lovers know, the season doesn’t end with Halloween).

Below is a list of some of our premier pumpkin goodies to try while you are out and about in Lancaster. Whether you prefer sweet, savory, or just a little sip we’ve got you covered.

A pumpkin whoopie pie (a Lancaster County classic) or a pumpkin crueler from Shady Maple Smorgasbord, are always a place to start.

Pumpkin scones or pumpkin cake with chocolate and nuts from Wendy Jo’s Homemade pair perfectly with your coffee as you stroll through market. If you prefer muffins to scones, the pumpkin muffins from Ric’s Bread are perfection.

The pumpkin mousse from Speckled Hen Café is simply delectable, plus the presentation doesn’t disappoint either.

Classic Pumpkin Pie from the Bird-in-Hand Bakeshop is a good stand-by, try it á la mode with a scoop of their pumpkin-pecan ice cream, yum!

Try the pumpkin and sweet potato bisque or the poached beet, pumpkin and pear salad at John J. Jeffries for a healthier (but still delicious) take on a pumpkin meal.

The pumpkin ravioli from Lancaster Brewing Company is stuffed with fall flavor, order a pint of Baked (their pumpkin ale) to complete the meal.

Winter squash & red lentil fritters with pumpkin seed and basil pesto from Ma(i)son are a culmination of autumnal goodness all in one dish.

Pumpkin Linguine at The Horse Inn with duck sausage, butternut & acorn squash and sage will satisfy any pumpkin (or pasta) lover.

Pumpkin spice tea from The Herb Shop- Central Market is pumpkin spice and everything nice all in one mug.

Pumpkin cold brew at Tomato Pie Café is perfect for when you need a mid-day pumpkin pick-me-up.

If you are craving an adult beverage try ordering the Nutty Irish Pumpkin Cocktail from Annie Baileys. It made with Slane Irish Whiskey, House Pumpkin Liqueur, Frangelico & Cranberry – yum!

Cocktails aren’t your thing? There are plenty of pumpkin beers and ciders on tap at the Federal Taphouse.

Iconic Desserts of Lancaster

With National Dessert Day on October 14, and let’s be honest – every day when your sweet tooth strikes – we’ve gathered our favorite desserts that have roots in Lancaster. Whether you’re roaming around Central Market, or venturing to bakeries in our small towns, you’re sure to stumble upon these sweet treats that capture the comforts of the county.

Whoopie Pies

A favorite for locals and visitors alike, the whoopie pie is a classic PA Dutch treat. Legend has it that whoopie pies were first made from leftover cake batter, and those who found this treat in their lunch pails would shout “whoopie!” – Hence the name.

This treat is made from two cake-like cookies with cream in the center. The traditional chocolate cake with vanilla cream version is still quite popular, with new tasty variations debuting over the years.

Where to find them: Hershey Farms Restaurant in Strasburg, Shady Maple in East Earl, and Bird-in-Hand Bakery & Café in Bird-in-Hand

Shoo-Fly Pie

Me oh my – it’s shoo-fly pie! This fluffy molasses dessert is a Lancaster tradition that got its name because the molasses attracts flies. As the pie cools on the window sill, you’d constantly be shooing the flies away.

Two versions of this pie can be found around the county – wet bottom and dry bottom. The wet bottom version is cake-like on top with a gooey custard consistency underneath. If you prefer a cake-like consistency through-out, opt for the dry bottom version.

Where to find it: Dutch Haven in Ronks, Good ‘N Plenty in Smoketown, and Bird-in-Hand Bake Shop in Bird-in-Hand

Ice Cream

Not only is Lancaster home to Turkey Hill Dairy, who has been churning up ice cream since 1980, it’s also home to a plethora of small business whipping up artisan ice cream made with local dairy products.

Whether in a cup, a cone, or blended into a milkshake, ice cream is a tasty treat year round. Find unique flavors like Chai Stroopie at Lancaster Sweet Shoppe or Pumpkin Pie at Bird-in-Hand Bakery & Café.

Where to find it: Fox Meadows Creamery in Ephrata, Lapp Valley Farm in New Holland, Strasburg Country Store & Creamery in Strasburg (in addition to the two mentioned above)

Apple Dumplings

Just in time for fall, this local favorite combines orchard-fresh fruit and rich, buttery pastry dough. Apple Dumplings begin popping up on bakery menus especially when the apple harvest is at its peak.

Simplicity is key with this dessert. Cored apples are wrapped in a simple, butter pastry dough then baked with cinnamon, brown sugar, and of course, more butter, and served either alone or ala mode.

Where to find them: Kauffman’s Fruit Farm in Bird-in-Hand, Byer’s Butterflake Bakery in Leola, and Zig’s Bakery at Central Market and in Lititz

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