Lancaster County is an eclectic mix of old and new world, city and country, Amish and "English". It is an ideal place to visit for art-lovers, die-hard shoppers, historians, antique junkies, or the curious! This itinerary will allow you to experience the following.
The Amish and Mennonite Communities
Most people know about Lancaster County, Pennsylvania because the highest population of Amish people in the world live here. Yes it is true that the Amish do not use electricity, ride in horse-and-buggies, speak their own German dialect called Pennsylvania Dutch, and allow teenagers of a certain age to "sow their wild oats" and break the rules just to try it out. And no, the Amish do not live in compounds or separated from "The English" (what the Amish call everyone who is not Amish!). Although Lancaster is unique because of its Amish and Mennonite roots, there is so much more to see and do than marvel at the "plain" communities.
Interesting Local Food
If you are a foodie, you will find Lancaster County a very interesting place to be. Locals have been buying, well....'local' long before it became trendy. This means you can pick up delicious locally grown or canned fruits and vegetables, fresh flowers, or home-brewed root beer at the farmer's markets or road-side stands that dot the countryside. Additionally, you can try Lancaster County specialties like whoopie pies, shoo-fly pie, ham loaf, or scrabble for the brave! This itinerary includes great specialty food places like the first pretzel bakery in the country and one of the first chocolate factories (in the same tiny town!), a farm-to-table restaurant that only serves organic and locally-sourced food, and a visit to a smorgasbord. If Amish baked goods, cleverly crafted local dishes, and the largest buffet you have ever seen is not doing it for you, Lancaster County also offers fabulous local beers and wines.
Theater and the Arts
Interestingly, Lancaster city and surrounding areas have become a hub for the fine arts and theater. View Broadway shows in a historic opera house in city center, enjoy a night at one of two dinner theaters, listen to music in a major concert hall, or attend a theater with sets and production like you have never seen at Sight and Sound. Did the puppet theater get a mention? If you happen to visit Lancaster on the First Friday of the month, you are in for a real treat! The streets come alive as the galleries and shops keep their doors open late and the city center is buzzing with musicians, street performers, and activities for families, individuals and couples. However, any day of the week visitors will be pleased by the urban options with the idyllic countryside so close by.
Did you know that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not issue tax on food or clothing? You are guaranteed to find a deal on unique items at any one of the two famous outlet centers, farmer's markets, shopping malls, or antique shops.
Lastly, Lancaster has a rich historic heritage that is evident in the brick and morter buildings, Colonial and Victorian architecture, and celebrated in the museums and factories that still operate to this day. The itinerary also includes a historic walking tour through Lancaster city center, a driving tour through Amish country, and major outlet store, antique, and handicrafts shopping.
To Buy, or Not to Buy the Lancaster City, Town and Country Tour?
Still unsure? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and both sides of my family have been here for generations. I have traveled the world and lived in many other places and can say with confidence that Lancaster County, PA is very unique that has a lot to offer the visitor as well as the resident...the ones who use electric and the ones who don't! The itinerary offers city, town and country highlights in Lancaster County and also offers insider insights, tips, and website links for visitors all throughout.