Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Trip to Strasburg, Pennnsylvania

Sometimes we need a break from the everyday hustle and bustle of life - a quiet spot to regroup, relax and enjoy the view. Whether it's just the two of you or the family, the small town of Strasburg, Pennsylvania is the perfect place to do just that. Take an open-air train ride, breath in the fresh air and enjoy the sounds of silence, the wide-open Amish countrysides and many other destinations in this quaint town. Train enthusiasts will also enjoy Strasburg's many train attractions such as the Strasburg Railroad, Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and National Toy Train Museum. Strasburg Railroad, located in the rolling hills of Strasburg, takes passengers on a 45-minute train ride through the countryside.
Visitors can choose from many different options, such as The President's car, open air car or dining car. Pack a picnic and opt to stop at one of the grove's overlooking endless acres of farmland and catch a train ride back to the station. The station also features events like the Steampunk Unlimited and Day Out with Thomas. Steampunk reenacts the early '20s with entertainment, music, food and '20s-era actors. Day Out with Thomas is a popular event for fans of the show and attracts thousands of younger train enthusiasts to its event. Thomas will debut at Strasburg on June 20-28 and will visit again in September and November. Visit www.strasburg railroad.com for tickets and more information. The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is home to more than 100 full-size restored train cars and engines. Visitors can get a close-up look of the historic and vintage trains, tour the cars and even sit in the engineer's seat.
The National Toy Train Museum features toy train collections and exhibits dating back to the 1800s. It boasts one of the most extensive toy train collections in the world with interactive exhibits, photos, special events and much more.
Another picturesque destination is Village Greens Miniature Golf Course. Surrounded by lush gardens and prestine landscaping, the golf course covers over 13 acres of beautiful countryside. The Orange Course features traditional Lancaster obstacles such as a covered bridge and tobacoo shed while the Gold Course offers nature's beauties like water falls and gardens as its obstacles.
A trip to Lancaster County wouldn't be complete without some good ol' PA Dutch cooking. Visit the restaurant at Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn and enjoy the Grand Smorgasbord, which features classic PA Dutch foods as well as modern dishes. Be sure to save room for dessert and swing by the bakery for shoo fly pie, whoopie pies, sticky buns, cookies and much more.
As always, you can find a bed and breakfast to accomodate your needs while visiting Strasburg. Visit www.authenticbandb.com for the perfect place to compliment your stay.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Friday at its Finest

Once a month, downtown Lancaster hosts First Fridays, a collaboration of the many galleries, boutiques, restaurants and musical talents the city has to offer.
Held on the first Friday of each month, it is a four-hour event presented by the Mayor's office of special events. It's an opportunity to check out the many local artisans, galleries and restaurants in the downtown area. Shops stay open later and gallery row is beckoning visitors to check out their space, perhaps enjoy a complimentary bite to eat or a drink, appreciate what they have to offer and set out on foot and check out the next place. The city comes alive and each stop is new and innovative and different. Whether it's a corner gallery, a restaurant, or a trio of musicians picking and drumming your favorite tune in center city, I promise you, you will enjoy your evening downtown celebrating culture. And perhaps during your travels find the perfect painting to compliment your home. Lancaster and its surrounding towns are growing in culture, arts, theatre and music and the time to catch it all is when the city is alive and celebrating. From 5 to 9 p.m., the city streets bustle with residents and visitors. Many of Lancaster City's galleries can be found on Prince and Water Streets but there are also plenty of shops and galleries throughout the city. Lancaster Museum of Art has many different mediums featured in its museum on Lime Street, and will feature award-winning student art work for this month's First Friday. If you find yourself needing a drink or a bite to eat, stop by Molly's Pub on East Chestnut Street.
A complete list of events for this coming First Friday, April 3, can be found at www.visitlancastercity.com. If you find you're in one of Lancaster's surrounding towns on a different Friday, check out Lititz's Second Fridays, held on April 11 from 5 to 9 p.m. Known as one of America's Coolest Small Towns, Historic Lititz's downtown streets offer lots of boutiques, galleries and restaurants. For more information, visit www.lititzpacom. While visiting Second Fridays, be sure to check out one of Lititz's sweetest's landmark's Wilbur Chocolate's Museum and Candy Store. After a tour, be sure to pick up some delectable Wilbur Buds. For more information, visit www.wilburbuds.com.
Another tour opportunity in Lititz is the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery. Guests can check out how to twist a pretzel, enjoy one of Lititz's finest snacks or shop in the gift store. For more information, visit www.juliussturgis.com.
Mount Joy has Fourth Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m. featuring a different theme for each month. The Susquehanna river towns, Columbia, Marietta and Wrightsville, get together to celebrate their towns during its Fourth Fridays. There are plenty of local bed and breakfasts to stay at while you check out the county's art scene. Visit www.authenticbandb.com to find a place that best accommodates you.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

It's safe to say that we have all earned this spring that is about to bloom. After shoveling snow, skating on patches of ice, and experiencing record-low temperatures, it's time to get out, stroll the streets, and take in the sights Lancaster County has to offer. Let's be honest, we deserve a reward. See, a funny thing started to happen around these parts. The sun started to shine. And it's beginning to do so more and more each day. And what better way to welcome spring than to hit downtown Lancaster and enjoy some of the area's best food and drinks during Lancaster City's Restaurant Week. Lancaster has become a bit of a hub for diverse restaurants and they are popping up one by one in the city. Sure, Lancaster's known for Amish culture, but did you know it's also becoming a hot spot for dynamic eateries? If only there was an opportunity to experience them all. Well, you're in luck. Because it's time for Restaurant Week, when you can dabble in Lancaster's dining without breaking the bank. March 23 through 29 marks the third annual restaurant week, dedicated to satisfying pallets of all tastes. About 30 participating restaurants in the downtown area offer pre-fixed menu items at a reduced rate so that visitors can enjoy all types of cuisine. Your appetite will be satisfied and your wallet will thank you. From a scrumptious sandwich to a petite filet, eatery enthusiasts can sample restaurants' menus ranging in price from $10 to $40.
Lancaster Brewing Company, located at 302 North Plum Street, will offer a two for $24 menu package. It includes two sandwiches, one small plate and one dessert. Small plate choices include hummus, soup of the day or a garden salad. Sandwich choices are grilled vegetable grilled cheese, chicken pita sandwich, honey baked ham and gruyere grinder or a fried codfish po' boy. Dessert to choose from are bread pudding, créme brulee and chocolate cake. It is also important to note that Lancaster Brewing Company also brews some of the area's finest beers. Staying true to form for Lancaster County, they offer signature brews Hop Hog, Hop Buggy, Double Chocolate Milk Stout, Lancaster Lager and Strawberry Wheat.
The Pressroom, located at 26-28 West King Street, will offer a two for $20 dinner menu. It includes choice of soup or salad and choice of entrée: catfish jambalaya, rigatoni bolognese or any 12-inch pizza featured on the menu. There are a handful of bed and breakfasts that are located close to the downtown area and the innkeepers are more than happy to help you navigate through restaurant week.
Be sure to visit Visit www.authenticbandb.com to find your perfect fit for a weekend away relaxing and eating in this fine city.

Friday, February 27, 2015

FUN IN THE MUD IN LANCASTER

It’s time for a little mudslinging in Lancaster County.
The last weekend in February marks the start of Lancaster County mud sales, a welcome reminder that the ground is thawing and spring is on its way. Local fire departments will auction off some of the area’s best consignments at sales throughout the county, which are growing in popularity, attracting thousands of people each season. Auctioneers’ voices echo out numbers for wares such as antiques, popular handmade Amish quilts, farm equipment, livestock and more. 
Handmade Amish quilts are a popular auction item at Lancaster's mud sales.
Boys help transport goods to visitor's vehicles.

Another big attraction is Lancaster’s finest homemade fare served fresh at auctions. Local volunteers bake and cook some of the county’s favorite staples, including whoopie pies, chicken corn soup, sticky buns, funnel cakes, and pulled pork, just to mention a few.

Mud sales in Lancaster County are not only becoming a popular destination, they also serve as a benefit to the local fire companies as one of their biggest fundraisers of the year. The allure of a Lancaster mud sale is the atmosphere, the food, the benefits it serves the community and Lancaster County’s Amish culture. Oh ... and the food.
Farm equipment is just one of the many items up for bid at auctions.
The auctions are held on the grounds of local fire halls and are a gathering of bidders, buyers and spectators. Residents, the Amish community and travelers visit from near and far to scope out items. For those who are craving some good-old Lancaster county food, it certainly is plentiful at each sale. And if you find you’re too stuffed to carry your treasures to the car, young Amish boys are more than happy to transport your goods for a small monetary donation.
The mud sale season kicks off this weekend with the Strasburg Spring Consignment and Mud Sale, located at the Strasburg Fire Company, 46 West Main Street in Strasburg, Pennsylvania. All sales start at about 8 a.m. and continue throughout the day. Dress accordingly, show up with a hefty appetite and enjoy one of Lancaster County’s most unique and beneficial events. Sales are held through August. Lancaster County offers over 30 bed and breakfast establishments to fit your needs as well. Check out www.authenticbandb.com for a place to hang your hat for the night. And don’t worry about the muddy boots, we’re used to it.
Visit Lancaster and experience a growing tradition, get muddy, buy a tractor, or a calf or just enjoy the atmosphere with a funnel cake. Hope to see you this season.
For a complete list of mud sales, visit www.discoverlancaster.com.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Most Unique Visit

Whenever it comes time to write this blog, I find myself amazed at the variety of things to do in Lancaster County. When I finally think I may have run out of unique and interesting things, a local business immediately announces something out of left field, and yet they are always intriguing events that would make any vacation to Lancaster County memorable.

For instance, Cobalt Dance Company is putting on an original ballet, hosted by The Trust Performing Arts Center in Downtown Lancaster, called “Dances with Jane Austen.” It is easy to be confused at first, considering the fact that Jane Austen was a legendary novelist, not so much a ballerina. Yet the pure emotion of Jane Austen’s novels actually seem like the perfect muse to inspire a ballet.

It is described as “highlighting important themes and language from beloved Jane Austen novels.” The ballet will run from Thursday, May 15 to Sunday, May 18, and tickets range from $15 to $20. It is indeed a unique event, and a must see for anyone who has experienced a novel by Jane Austen.

Kitchen Kettle Village is also hosting an event that would be hard to find outside of Lancaster County: the Rhubarb Festival. The festival is on May 16 and May 17, and it includes activities that can only be found at the Rhubarb Festival. 

For instance, it features the world’s only rhubarb race-car derby, along with the Rhubarb Stroll, a mini parade featuring costumed characters, musicians, pink ladies, and more. It is an absolutely fascinating event that helps shape the wondrous world of Lancaster County.

For those who may not enjoy a ballet or rhubarb (but really, why wouldn’t you?), there is always the guided tours at the Wolf Sanctuary of PA. The tours are typically an hour or more in length and feature introductions to the different wolf packs in their sanctuary. 


There are also the Full Moon Tours, which allow visitors to experience the tour by the light of the moon. As the name implies, these tours are only once a month on a full moon, and May 17 happens to have that honor this month. Tickets for the tour are $20 and there are no reservations needed, only the ability to arrive at 7:30 for the tour.

As you can see, Lancaster County is constantly changing and evolving to provide visitors with an experience that they can only have here. Hotels never do the County justice, leaving the visitor with a detached feeling every time they rest their head to sleep. To fully submerge yourself in Lancaster County, there is only one way to stay: with an Authentic Bed & Breakfast of Lancaster County.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Other Side of Lancaster County

Lancaster County is known throughout the United States as one of the largest homes to the Amish, as well a historically rich area of Pennsylvania. What many people do not realize is the ever changing, constantly expanding art scene, as well as Lancaster’s great focus on the health of both body and mind.

For instance, there are multiple yoga studios in downtown Lancaster, as well as weekly yoga classes at Tellus360, an almost impossible to classify venue that does a bit of everything...with beer of course.


Lindsey Smith
On April 30, Tellus360 will host Body Love Yoga + You!, a collaborative effort by the Food Mood Girl, Lindsey Smith, and yoga instructor Sarah Yukie Gingrich from Pop-Up Yoga Lancaster. The event will cost $20 before April 24 and $25 after, but it is a 3 hour event that includes everything from local health vendors to a full Slow Flow Vinyasa class. The three hours center around loving and accepting your body, and it will finish with body love meditation, a shot of green juice, dark chocolate, and a musical performance. It is a perfect introduction to the world of yoga and natural living.

Lancaster is indeed a historically rich area, but that history does not only center around the Amish. Art exhibits are incredibly common in downtown Lancaster and beyond, and Demuth Museum is a great example of this.

Demuth Museum is hosting a very unique exhibit until July 6 called James Warhola: Visiting A Pop Icon. The exhibit centers around the original watercolor illustrations by James Warhola from his children’s book, “Uncle Andy’s.” The book describes Warhola’s childhood visits to his uncle, Andy Warhol, in his New York City townhouse. The exhibit will not only feature artwork from James Warhola, but pages from Andy Warhol’s sketchbooks will also be on display.


An illustration by James Warhola
This event is great way to understand the genius of Andy Warhol from a family member’s perspective, and a great stop on any trip to Lancaster. The event requires no tickets, only admission by donation.

Whether you appreciate the simple living of the Amish and their farms, or you wish to experience something even more unique and unexpected, Lancaster County is always brimming with new and interesting things. As always, it is one thing to experience all that Lancaster County has to offer, but you will only receive luxurious treatment while doing it if you stay at an Authentic Bed & Breakfast of Lancaster County.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lancaster County in the Spring

The weather is finally getting warm and sunny here in Lancaster County! Take advantage of everything the county has to offer, and get some fresh air with these perfect for springtime activities!

Village Greens Miniature Golf of Strasburg, the top rated miniature golf course in the county, has recently opened for the season. Village Greens has two courses, the Gold course and the Orange course. The Orange course provides a more traditional mini golf experience, including a walk through a covered bridge and a cave. The Gold course was built using the hillside landscape to create a course beautiful enough to compete with any garden.


 The foliage along the courses is part of what makes Village Greens so special. The head gardener, Jim Fairchild, will be conducting National Arbor Day Tours of the grounds on Arbor Day, April 25. Tours start at 10 AM, 2 PM, and 6 PM and cover over 50 varieties of trees and shrubs. You can preregister for a tour by emailing village_greens@verizon.net or by calling (717) 687-6933. Remember to ask for a punch ticket to receive a free game after playing 10!

If you are interested in seeing how the Plain people of Lancaster County live, and want to enjoy the fresh air, try a Buggy Ride. Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy Rides take you on a tour of privately owned working farms in the heart of Amish country. Enjoy some homemade pretzels, cookies, lemonade, or root beer. On the road, see Amish businesses such as a butcher, a grocer, quilt shop, saddle and harness shop, buggy factory, blacksmith, horse dealer, and six one room schools. If you have any questions about the Amish lifestyle, your buggy driver will gladly answer.


Enjoy one of Aaron and Jessica’s routes, or make a reservation for a private tour in your own buggy. Choose “The Cookie Run” for a three-mile ride through an Amish farm with a stop for drinks and cookies. “The Amish Town Tour” includes a four-mile ride through an Amish village, see the Amish-run businesses and enjoy a brief stop for refreshments. “The Amish Farm Tour” provides an intimate look at the life of the Amish, the driver will take you to their own farm home to tour the barn and meet the cows and the Clydesdale working horses.

Book your stay at one of the Authentic Bed & Breakfasts and enjoy the outdoors in Lancaster County!

Submitted by: Theodore R. Griffiths for Authentic Bed & Breakfasts of Lancaster County