Best Weekend Getaways in Lancaster, PA
When you think of Pennsylvania you undoubtedly call to mind the lovely city of Philadelphia. Home of the Eagles, the 76ers and the Liberty Bell, Philadelphia is a mecca of American history that no list would be complete without. However, there is so much to do in the city there's no way you could fit it into a single weekend. Luckily, Lancaster, PA is just a stone's throw away from The City that Loves You Back, and offers enough activities to keep you busy while still allowing ample time for rest and relaxation.
"The Heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country", Lancaster is one of the few places where you can see Amish men and women living off the land, deftly using skills the rest of us have long since abandoned. Entering Lancaster is like entering another world; there are yellow-and-black signs warning drivers of buggie crossing, and traffic must routinely stop to allow horse-drawn carriages to pass. While the Amish are just trying to live their lives in peace and don't appreciate being stared at, you can visit a recreation of the Amish way of living by touring one of the many working farms or villages.
Begin your weekend by learning about the area at the Amish Farm and House, an authentic farmhouse from 1805 that is still in operation today. They offer both guided and self-guided tours, buggy rides, and an on-site gift shop selling the finest in homegrown wares. You can also explore the area you're with a romantic Covered Bridge Driving Tour. Also known as "kissing bridges", the many covered bridges throughout the countryside have been around for nearly two decades, long enough to see countless couples stroll across hand in hand. Lancaster has over two dozen covered bridges, each with it's own unique history, and a self-guided tour through these pillars of Amish society is a great way to get acquainted with the lay of the land.
Close out the day with dinner at one of the many facilities that feature traditional Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine. Fried chicken, baked sausage and chow chow are served family-style at long tables where the food is passed around from guest to guest and apple dumplings are offered for dessert. The Good N' Plenty Restaurant houses their operation in a remodeled Dutch farmhouse and has a delicious Bake Shop attached with countless goodies baked fresh daily.
Instead of staying in a standard hotel, take advantage of the Dutch countryside by lodging at a bed and breakfast. With over 100 to choose from, you'll find just what you're looking for whether it's the Conewage Manor Inn restored to it's Victorian past with working fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, and private balconies in every room, or Olde Homestead Suites, a country retreat nestled right next to a working farm and within walking distance of the shopping in nearby Intercourse.
If the many gift shops dotted around town haven't quenched your thirst, head on over to the Mud Sales. An auction/sale that is held year round to benefit the local fire companies, Mud Sales are full of Lancaster County natives selling quilts, antiques, baked goods and crafts. Many Amish men and women frequent these sales either to sell their goods or purchase new ones. In addition to arts and crafts and baked goods, you'll also see merchants selling buggies, farm equipment, and even horses.
Lancaster County is also known for it's antiques. Adamstown, PA, the antiques capital of the world, is just a short drive from downtown Lancaster. Adamstown has over 5,000 vendors grouped together on the Rt. 272 stretch selling the best in antiques, collectibles and remembrances from a bygone era.
In the evening, take in a show at one of Lancaster's many theaters. The American Music Theater is a 1,600-seat ensemble that hosts musical productions year-round. Kill two birds with one stone by visiting the Dutch Apple Dinner Theater where you'll enjoy a buffet dinner and a Broadway show.
As your time in Pennsylvania's Dutch County comes to a close, why not take one last look at the area you're leaving behind with a buggy ride. View the Amish farms, villages and covered bridges, and as you reenter into the fast paced world of everyday life, remember that there was a time when people moved at a slower, more leisurely pace--and were just as happy.
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