Tag Archives: Strasburg Rail Road

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.

 

Top 25 Things To Do this Spring

It’s time to shake off cabin fever and explore all that Lancaster, PA has to offer during the spring. Whether you prefer the great outdoors, al fresco dining, or themed festivals, there’s something for everyone this season.

Check out our list of 25 things to create your spring itinerary:

1] Take a hike or go for a bike ride

2] Bid on bargains at a Mud Sale
Mud Sales are annual auctions held by communities featuring antiques quilts, locally-made crafts and more.

3] Celebrate Easter with family over brunch, dinner, Easter egg hunts, and events

4] Bounce out cabin fever at Sky Zone Lancaster

5] Discover the creative energy of the city during First Friday
Art galleries and boutiques extend their hours for browsing during this monthly event.

6] Take in the tranquil countryside from aboard the Strasburg Rail Road

7] Search for unique treasures and bargains at Lancaster’s eclectic antique shops
Spring Antiques Extravaganza is held in the Antiques Capital region, April 27-30.

8] Head to Lititz for the annual Pretzel Fest
Held on Saturday, May 6.

9] Experience the art scene in Downtown Lancaster with Spring ArtWalk
This self-guided tour takes place Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7.

10] Get a head start on your spring gardening at the Herb & Garden Faire at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum.
Held on Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13.

Credit: Dutch Wonderland

11] Fill your day with family fun at Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park.
Open weekends beginning on April 29-30.

12] Enjoy fruity festivities at Kitchen Kettle Village’s Rhubarb Festival.
Tickle your taste buds Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20.

13] Celebrate Spring at Rock Ford Plantation’s May Fair Celebration
Takes place on Sunday, May 21.

14] Catch a Broadway-caliber musical, drama, dinner theater performance or jaw-dropping concert.

15] Explore learning with a twist at a kid-friendly museum.

16] Flock to Lancaster for great birding.

17] Relax with a picnic in the park.

18] Find fun for the thrill seekers at Hersheypark’s Springtime in the Park.
Held on April 8-9 and 14-16.

19] Ride as the Amish do with an authentic buggy ride.

20] Grab a paddle for adventures on the river.

21] Stop by Central Market for local goodies.
Open Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

22] Tour the back roads and covered bridges.

23] Stop to smell the roses at Hershey Garden.

24] Refresh your wardrobe with a trip to the outlets.

25] Saddle up for a horseback ride along the trails at Ironstone Ranch.

To find even more exciting events and happenings, visit our events calendar.

Ten Things to do in Lancaster County this October

From spooky to sweet, fall fun is in full swing this October in Lancaster, PA. Fall foliage is also at it’s peak, making this season an especially beautiful one across the sprawling farmlands and by the river. Get ready for some festive fun and start planning with our round-up of to-dos.

Fall on the Farm

Farmers are hard at work as crops become ready for harvest. Experience the activities of this season at two of Lancaster’s heritage attractions.

Harvest Days at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum showcase fall with demonstrations, exhibits, live music and horse-drawn wagon rides, October 8-9. Watch as a harvest gem, the humble apple, gets transformed into apple butter, and treat yourself to a cider float with fresh-churned ice cream.

In addition to their classic 1805 Amish farmhouse, Amish Farm and House offers family-fun harvest activities including pumpkin painting, a corn maze, hay wagon rides, and more during their Fall Farm Days. From October 7 through 10, families can learn about Amish life while they enjoy demonstrations, from woodcarving to applesauce making.

Treats over Tricks

Those who prefer treats to tricks will love these events around the county and beyond. Get your costumes ready, it’s time for trick-or-treat fun.

Trick-or-Treat through vintage vehicles at the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum’s Trunk-or-Treat event, October 22. Children 12 and under will receive treats at stops around the museum, and guests of all ages can enjoy a Halloween-themed video in the indoor Drive-in theater.

Treats will be plentiful at Turkey Hill Experience during their Trick-or-Treat event, October 22-23 and 29-30. There will be 13 stops around the Experience – 6 are free while others do require paid admission. While you’re there, discover all the ice cream and tea-themed fun Turkey Hill Experience has to offer.

Dutch Wonderland transforms into a spook-tacular, family-friendly wonderland for three weekends, October 15-16, 22-23, and 29-30. Happy Hauntings is a safe, non-scary event featuring themed ride, games, and even the opportunity to trick-or-treat with over 20 lifelike dinosaurs on Exploration Island.

Spine-Chilling To-Dos

For a tour of the spooky side of Lancaster County, hop on a scooter with Strasburg Scooters! Their Spooky Scoot tour will give you the chance to buzz around the back roads and experience folklore and hair-raising stops.

If you’re looking for a tour of a spookier sort, discover the mysteries and tales from the past on a candlelight walking tour of Downtown with The Ghost Tour of Lancaster. Ghost Tours are also available in Strasburg for more haunted history.

Select Thursdays and Fridays in October, Rock Ford Plantation dives into the eerie story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, with Spooky Hollow: The Legend Comes to Rock Ford. Guests can follow the characters of the classic play as they move from room to room in the historic mansion that will be transformed into the story’s autumn ball setting.

Unique Happenings

Victorian meets industrial at Strasburg Rail Road® with their Steampunk unLimited event, October 14-16. The three-day festival features entertainment, fashion, vendors, sideshows, food and more, all celebrating the steampunk culture. While you’re there, enjoy the restored Victorian rail cars and historic charm of America’s oldest short line railroad.

For the art lovers, Fall ArtWalk will take place in Downtown Lancaster October 8 through 9. Explore Lancaster’s gallery scene with this self-guided walking tour, featuring meet-the-artist events, special activities, demonstrations and more.

 

10+ Things to Do in Lancaster County in August

There’s still plenty of time to enjoy the splendors of summer in Lancaster County. Plan some last minute fun with the kids before school starts or enjoy a weekend girlfriend’s getaway.

Kid-Friendly Festivities:

Happy Birthday to Kitchen Kettle Village’s beloved gingerbread man mascot, Yummie! Join Yummie and his friends for a family fun birthday party, featuring a petting zoo, pony rides, pedal cart rides and samplings of Kitchen Kettle’s tasty jams, pickles and more. This event is best suited for children 10 and under. Before the festivities begin, party-goers can enjoy a breakfast buffet filled with Lancaster County favorites. Tickets are required for the pre-party breakfast, and can be purchased online.

Thomas is coming back to town – Thomas the Tank Engine™ that is! August 27th through September 4th, Strasburg Rail Road® will host their Day Out with Thomas™ event, featuring a train ride with Thomas, storytelling and more. Thomas won’t be traveling alone, as his friend Percy will be joining in the festivities too. Tickets can be purchased for the August and November Day Out with Thomas™ events online.

For the Art-lovers:

If you’re a fan of arts and crafts, you’ll love the art show line up this month in Lancaster County.

Shank’s Mare Outfitters hosts their annual Art & Outdoor show on August 6, featuring local artists who will be displaying and selling their works along the Susquehanna River. Local non-profit outdoor, historic, and cultural organizations will also be displaying information on their activities and programs. Show-goers can enjoy activities throughout the day.

Drawing 700 crafters from throughout the United States and Canada, the Rotary Club of Lititz Craft Show will be held along East Main Street, Broad Street and in Lititz Springs Park on August 13.

A weekend of art comes to Mt. Gretna, August 20 and 21, and features a plethora of artists, exhibitors, live music and delicious food options. Stroll the show grounds as you take in art of all kinds and activities for all ages.

Educational Family Fun:

From history to the arts and science, there are plenty of fun ways to learn in Lancaster County.

Little history buffs will love the Stories-on-the-Porch series at Rock Ford Plantation, August 3, 10 and 17. Geared towards children 3 to 7, this free program features a Rock Ford volunteer in 18th century period dress reading a story on the porch of the mansion. Following the story, children will enjoy a game or craft and light snack.

The First Friday in August brings art to the North Museum of Nature & Science with their new exhibition. The STEAM Art Gallery features creations by local artists whose work is inspired science and nature. Kids can connect with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) and the exhibition with a scavenger hunt activity. On August 5, guests can experience the museum after hours, interact with the artists and enjoy light refreshments during the First Friday Exhibition Opening.

Brews Galore:

Beer lovers will love the ale-centric festivals scheduled in Lancaster this month.

Columbia celebrates brews with Rivertown Hops on August 6 along Locust Street. With over 40 brewers, live music and food vendors, Rivertown Hops promises an afternoon of beer sampling and tasty food.

Lancaster City celebrates ales, ciders, stouts and more during the annual Lancaster Craft Beer Fest on August 27 in Binn’s Park. Last year’s festival featured 64 breweries (both local and natioanlly know), food vendors and live music, combining for an afternoon of fun in Downtown Lancaster.

Going Once, Going Twice:

Mud Sales and auctions are back with three consignment sales in August.

To benefit the work of the Mennonite Central Committee, the Gap Relief Sale will be held on August 13 at the Solanco Fairgrounds. This annual community auction features quilts and a variety of items, plus delicious food available for purchase.

On August 20, the Intercourse Fire Company Consignment Auction will be held at the Intercourse Fire Company. The following weekend, the Bareville Fire Company Consignment Auction will be held in Leola at the Bareville Fire Company.

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

Ten Things to Do in Lancaster County in June

Signs of summer are popping up across Lancaster County. From fun with the kids now that school is out to spending time outdoors in the warm sunshine, here are ten exciting events and things to do in Lancaster this month.

A Day at the Railroad

Railroad fun and history are ever-present in Strasburg this month for the young and young-at-heart.

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s special exhibit for 2016, “Safety First! The Evolution of Railroading Safety Practices,” explores how technology and practices helped to improve the safety of railroad workers. For those who love railroading history, this is just the place for you! Along with the special exhibit, the museum also features historic locomotives, a working restoration shop and more. Admission to this year’s exhibit is included with museum admission. The exhibit is open during regular museum hours and will be on display until December 31, 2016.

Thomas is coming back to town – Thomas the Tank Engine™ that is! June 18 through June 26, Strasburg Rail Road® will host their Day Out with Thomas™ event, featuring a train ride with Thomas, storytelling and more. Thomas won’t be traveling alone, as his friend Percy will be joining in the festivities too. Tickets can be purchased for the June, August, and November Day Out with Thomas™ events online.

Live Music Galore

Outdoor music performances are plentiful in June, and what better time to enjoy the warm summer air and toe-tapping tunes.

Looking for something to do on Sunday nights this summer? Grab a picnic dinner and lawn chairs and head over to Long’s Park for their Summer Music Series. Beginning on June 5, live music will be performed at the Long’s Park Amphitheater that will have you dancing along. Admission to these family-friendly, outdoor concerts is free.

Another exciting celebration of music is Kitchen Kettle Village’s Music for Everyone Festival, held on Saturday, June 18. Enjoy various live music performances as you stroll around and browse the village shops.

Celebrate the City and Towns

Join in the festivities as Intercourse and Lancaster City are celebrated with fun and even fireworks!

Intercourse Heritage Days will be held June 17 through 18 to celebrate the history and heritage of the town. Hosted at Intercourse Community Park, this festival includes activities for kids, a pie baking contest, musical entertainment, a reptile show and more. The Taste of Lancaster Food Showcase will feature local restaurants and Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine that plays a role in the area’s heritage. A fireworks display will wrap up Saturday’s festivities.

As a celebration of culture and diversity in the growing City of Lancaster, Celebrate Lancaster will take place on Friday, June 24. Enjoy more than 20 food vendors, live music on two stages and beer & wine, with festivities wrapping up in the evening with a fireworks display.

Beer & Wine… Oh my!

Whether you prefer to sip chardonnay or relax with a brew, here are two wine and beer centric events for your June afternoon.

From the creators of Lancaster Craft Beerfest, comes SIP Wine in the Park, an afternoon of wine tasting the Lancaster City’s Musser Park. Tasting Tickets are on sale now for this June 18 event, and admission includes a commemorative sampling glass plus samples from around the world, live music, and food sampling.

The newest beer fest in town is the Ephrata Brewfest, to be held on Saturday June 25 at the Whistle Stop Plaza in Ephrata. Ales, IPAs, stouts and more will be available for sampling from local up-and-coming breweries including Wacker Brewing Company, Lancaster Brewing Company, St. Boniface Craft Brewing Company and more. Live music and food vendors round out this event which is sure to be a good time.

Relax on the River

With the cold weather behind us, the outdoors are just waiting to be explored. Take some time this month to experience water sports on the Susquehanna River.

Combine biking and paddling for a day of adventure along the river. Chiques Rock Outfitters, conveniently located at various points along the river, offers kayak, canoe and bike rentals. To ultimately cure your lingering cabin fever, opt for an hour long bike ride on the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail then trade your bikes in for a kayak for a three hour ride on the river back to where you started. The trail is fairly flat and winds through wooded areas for a shady, leisurely ride.

With a variety of events in June, Shank’s Mare Outfitters offers a few different ways to experience the river. Whether you’re a novice or a paddling pro, Shank’s Mare offers stand-up paddle boarding classes, some even incorporating yoga in to the mix, and kayaking classes and tours. Follow an evening of paddling with a dinner along the river with one of their evening kayaking tour events.

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!

Kauffman’s Famous Fruit Farm & Market

Kauffman’s Fruit Farm & Market has been family-owned and operated since the founder, Amos L. (A.L.) Kauffman planted the first fruit trees in 1911. Today, over 100 years later, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th generations run the business; and the orchards are now producing over 135 varieties of tree fruits on 100 acres. Pretty impressive!

When A.L. built a packing house in 1937, he made it larger than most other buildings in the area because he believed that his business would expand exponentially. He had dreams of growing the best tasting fruit in the region and building a successful business that would continue on for generations.

In 1954, a critical part of his vision was fulfilled when his five sons became business partners. A. L. Kauffman & Sons began a new chapter.

In A.L.’s lifetime alone, the orchard grew to have 55 acres of apples, 35 acres of peaches, 3 acres of pears, and 4 acres of plums and cherries.

For the Kauffman family, hard work, skill-perfecting, family traditions, and fond memories have marked every milestone, every season, and every year of their growing business. Picking apples in the orchard, making cider, assisting in the farm market, and managing a growing business have all been key to the family’s success.

While they are thankful for their rich history, strong values, and meaningful traditions, they continue to grow and adapt to the needs of their customers. They proudly combine values of the past with visions for the future.

Because the Kauffman family loves their business, the local community, and each customer, they promise to continue growing food responsibly, sustainably, and healthfully for many more generations.

Image Courtesy of Kauffman's Fruit Farm

Image Courtesy of Kauffman’s Fruit Farm

To learn more about the market and Kauffman’s delicious produce, read Christina’s post.

Learn more about the Kauffman family or purchase their 100th-anniversary keepsake book, FAITH, FAMILY & FRUIT.

Be sure to check out other iconic Lancaster County hot-spots such as Shady Maple Smorgasbord, Strasburg Rail Road, and Lancaster Central Market, and Green Dragon.

Thomas the Tank Engine Welcomes Percy!

Strasburg Rail Road is best known for its historic steam trains that leave soft puffs of smoke along the iconic Lancaster County countryside between the small towns of Strasburg and Paradise.

For parents and grandparents of Thomas fans, Strasburg Rail Road conjures up a different image – one bustling with excitement as the heritage railroad station transforms to welcome Thomas the Tank engine, star of the popular series Thomas & Friends. These visits happen three times a year – filling out a season of special events including Santa’s Paradise Express, Wine & Cheese Trains and on-board dining opportunities.

This September the excitement level is going way up as Thomas’ pal, Percy, tags along to join in on all the fun!

Percy makes his debut at Day Out with Thomas at Strasburg Rail Road September 13–21, before chugging along on his national tour. Little engineers and their families will meet Thomas, Percy and Sir Topham Hatt®, Controller of the Railway and take a 20-minute ride aboard one of Strasburg Rail Road’s larger-than-life trains pulled by Thomas himself.

Many Thomas & Friends-themed activities are included in the ticket price making this a full-day adventure. Children of all ages can enjoy arts and crafts, blocks and toy trains in the Imagination Station, storytelling and extra rides Percy and Strasburg Rail Road’s Pint-Sized Pufferbelly Train, Cranky Cars and Motorcar Train.

Tickets for Day Out with Thomas are on sale now and available by calling Ticketweb at 866-468-7630, or by visiting www.ticketweb.com/dowt or directly from Strasburg Rail Road at www.strasburgrailroad.com/train-schedule/events/day-out-with-thomas. Ticket prices are $21.00plus tax for ages 2 and up (service charges may apply).

For more information and directions, contact www.strasburgrailroad.com or 866-725-9666 and share your experience at facebook.com/StrasburgRailRoad and twitter.com/StrasburgRR

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Victoria Hill is the Social Media & Public Relations Specialist at Scheffey Integrated Marketing.

Riding First Class is something special

I love riding trains, especially steam trains. The slower pace lets you get a good look at the beautiful countryside as you move through; it a different experience than traveling by car on crowded interstates.

The Strasburg Rail Road offers an unusual experience to those who want to travel by train. Not only do they use steam locomotives, but they also pass through an area of Lancaster County that is largely farmed by the Amish. It is easy to imagine that you have stepped back in time when you board the train and see from your window farm fields being plowed with horses.

My husband and I took a rare trip without our children to the Strasburg Rail Road to treat ourselves. I’ve ridden the rails at Strasburg many times in my life, but I had never traveled in the First Class Parlor car before. I will be to be the first to say that there is nothing at all wrong with riding Coach or in the Open Air cars. It is a comfortable way to travel, and the fact that the windows are open thrills the kids. However, we wanted to do something different this time. This time we rode in the beautifully decorated, air-conditioned First Class Parlor car.

We dressed the part as well. We are both involved in the Steampunk movement so we have the formal attire once required for the Parlor car in days gone by. (Believe me shorts and t-shirts are just as welcome. Children are welcome too; we just didn’t have ours along on this particular day.) We got our tickets and passed the time until our 2 PM train by poking around in the various shops on the property.

The First Class Parlor car was at the end of the train; when we stepped inside we were definitely impressed. Gleaming polished wood, leather chairs and gleaming glass with fine details filled the car. It was just beautiful and on this trip we had the whole car to ourselves. At one end of the car there was a bar area where a smiling attendant waited for us to take our seats.

There were many seating options available with and without tables, for singles or pairs. We chose to sit at a small table facing each other, but we changed seats numerous times during the trip to see various things out the window and take pictures. The conductor stopped by to take our tickets and the attendant brought us a menu to review as we waited for the train to leave the station. We reviewed the menu, and though the whoopie pie appealed to me greatly, we opted for the fruit and cheese plate along with our favorite mixed drinks.

We rode silently just enjoying the time to relax and take in our surroundings. As parents of two young children, this type of quiet rest does not come often. The end of the first leg of the journey is in a town named Paradise; here the train stops so the engine can relocated to the other end of the train in order to take everyone back to Strasburg.

As our ride drew to an end, my hubby and I settled our bill with the attendant, finished the last grapes and bits of cheese, and we descended the stairs back to the real world.

If you travel to Strasburg Rail Road, I highly suggest you treat yourself to a ride in a First Class Parlor Car. It is a bit more expensive, but it is also an experience that you will remember for a long time. Children are welcome, food and drink purchase is optional and the air-conditioning can be very welcome in the middle of the summer. Check out the Strasburg Rail Road’s website for their operating schedule and more information on their special excursions.

Things We Love About the Strasburg Rail Road

There’s just something about real live steam locomotives.

My boys and I are drawn to them like a moth to a flame. Maybe it’s the grandeur of the gigantic steel machinery or the comforting sound of a steam whistle in the distance, but every year we are inexorably drawn to the Strasburg Rail Road to take a ride on the rails.

Riding in an open air car through the Lancaster County countryside with the familiar clickety-clack noise of the passenger cars rumbling beneath us is a comforting and fun summertime tradition. There are lots of thing to love.

  • They love seeing one of the steam engines in all its restored glory pull into the station and drop off passengers.
  • They love flipping the bench in the open air car so they can be facing the “right way” going to Paradise as well as the trip back to the Strasburg station.
  • They love hearing the Ghost Whistle.
  • They love asking me if we can stop at the picnic spot halfway through the ride, although they’re always disappointed with my, “Not today,” response.
  • They love seeing the farms whip by. I enjoy knowing that they’re beginning to appreciate the inherit beauty of PA Dutch Country.
  • They love that I’m a sucker and buy them kettle corn when we arrive back at the station at the Strasburg Rail Road at the end of the day.
  • I love seeing the big smiles on their faces. What more can you ask for?

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