Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Natural Side of Lancaster County

From neighborhood parks to strenuous hiking trails, Lancaster County offers numerous opportunities to explore the scenic beauty of the county’s natural resources. If you enjoy listening to the birds, sitting by the stream, photographing wildlife or walking through the woods, there are locations near each of our Authentic Bed and Breakfasts. Just ask your hosts!

As hiking enthusiasts, we have a few favorites around the county that we visit whenever we have a chance. At Chiques Rock Park located between Marietta and Columbia, you can walk to the outcropping which is 200 feet above the Susquehanna River. You’ll find wonderful views of the river, Marietta and neighboring York County. There are other trails within the 422 acre park. 
And just like New York City, Lancaster has a Central Park. But ours has a Covered Bridge! The 544 Acres includes 14 miles of trails from easy to moderate difficulty.

If you are looking for trails for the more experienced hiker, try Susquehannock State Park in the southern part of the county. Five miles of trails from easy to difficult wander through the 224 acre park. Our favorite, the Rhododendron Trail, is steep and rocky and in full bloom from late June to early July.

Come explore the beauty of Lancaster County’s numerous parks, natural areas, preserves and rail trails. And keep an eye out for the local wildlife including eagles, hawks, indigo buntings, owls, bluebirds, deer, fox, and coyote, just to name a few!

Submitted by Lark and Michael McCarley, Lovelace Manor B&B

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Beat The Heat in Lancaster County

The north east is experiencing some serious heat these days... which got me thinking about strategies for experiencing Lancaster County while avoiding the whole 'baking in the summer sun' thing! Here are my thoughts:

1. I love exploring the Amish farms and learning about Amish culture by buggy, and while all the buggies around here are air conditioned (by opening windows that is!!), there are other great ways to see the area. The Amish Farm and House has a terrific bus tour with nice big windows, knowledgeable drivers, comfy seats and serious AC. Or, go to Old Order Amish Tours on Eastbrook Road in Ronks and have an old order Mennonite guide ride along with you in your own car to show you the area.

2. I scream, you scream.... Yep, this is dairy farming country so I highly recommend grabbing an ice cream cone somewhere, and my favorite place is Lapp Valley Farm. You can go right to the farm where the cows were milked to make your ice cream, or if you prefer, you can go to their retail location at Kitchen Kettle Village to get a little shopping in while you're at it.

3. Which brings me to shopping, and Lancaster County has terrific shopping! There are plenty of bargains at the Rockvale and Tanger outlets. Or you could do some antiquing in Adamstown, check out the quaint shops in Lititz or take advantage of unique shops in Ephrata, including Ten Thousand Villages!

4. There are certain advantages to living in the "bread basket of the US"... While we're avoiding the heat, our local farmers are harvesting wonderful crops of berries, peaches, corn, spinach, peppers... the list goes on... and our local restaurants take advantage of this. Ben Ash, chef at the Black Horse Tavern recently posted photos of himself picking berries at one of our local 'pick your own' farms... gotta love it! There are a host of restaurants to choose from who 'buy fresh, buy local'... where you can eat in the splendidly cool indoors!

5. And finally, what better way to top off a day of exploring than catching a concert or theater performance! American Music Theater, Sight and Sound, Dutch Apple Dinner Theater, Stitches Comedy Club, Fulton Opera House, Ephrata Performing Arts Center, Mt. Gretna Theater, Hershey Theater... the list goes on. No matter what your taste, we've got a show for you. They don't call us the "Little Apple" for nothing!!!

So come and beat the heat in Lancaster County... you won't be disappointed.

Submitted by Rebecca Gallagher, Historic Smithton Inn.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lancaster County Authentic Whoopie Pie Recipe

Whoopie pies are a favorite Lancaster County recipe. This is the traditional chocolate variation, but you'll find many other flavors throughout the county.

Whoopie Pies

1 C. shortening
2 egg yolks
1 C. hot water
2 C. sugar
2 tsp.baking powder
1 C. cocoa
2 eggs
1 C. sour milk
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
4 C. flour

Make a paste of hot water and cocoa. In large mixing bowl, beat shortening, sugar, egg yolks and cocoa mixture. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Add to mixture; alternating with sour milk. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet Bake at 400* for 8 minutes.

Filling:

2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp.10x sugar
1 1/2 C. Crisco
2 egg whites, beaten
4 tsp. flour
4 tbsp. milk
3 1/2 C. 10x sugar

Beat egg whites stiff. Add flour, milk and 2 tsp. 10x sugar, beat. Add remaining 10x sugar (3 1/2 cups)and Crisco; beat well. Fill cookies.

Submitted by Linda Kromer, Kromer's Bed and Breakfast