Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Magic Lantern

Nestled in between the small towns of Bird-In-Hand and Intercourse here in Lancaster County, is the pristine 10-acre Plain & Fancy Farm that offers guests a first hand look at the history of Lancaster County. Visitors can enjoy shopping, buggy rides, food and much more. But what might be it's most unique attraction are the Magic Lantern Shows.
Pictured is the triunial lantern used for Magic Lantern shows.

These types of shows were a form of entertainment over 100 years ago before movies and other forms of entertainment existed. The shows were made up by stories, songs and poetry. The visuals were cast through hand-painted glass and projected with a large lantern onto the screen with music, "special effects" and a live showman.
"The shows are entertaining, with wonderful works of art most Americans have never seen, and audience interaction, as was done in the old days," says Brad Igou of The Amish Experience at Plain & Fancy. "Expect to laugh with some of the stories, to be moved by others, and some surprises."
"The Spirit of 1776"
According to Igou, what makes this show so unique is that very few large Magic Lantern "projectors" remain or are operating. The painted slides are also rare. "Our shows are a collaboration with the American Magic Lantern Theater," he explains. "Which has given us access to a rare 'triunial' lantern and the images from over 100 years ago. This makes the Plain & Fancy Theater the only permanent Magic Lantern Theater in the world in the last 130 years!"
"A Christmas Journey," a Victorian Christmas show.
The Magic Lantern will feature "Jacob's Choice," a story about an Old Order Amish Family, through November. “A Christmas Journey," a Victorian Christmas show, will be shown November 27 and 28; December 5, 12, and 19; and daily December 21-24, 26, and 28-31.  (No evening shows Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.) Tickets for shows are available online, in person at the box office, or by phone at 717-768-8400 ext. 211. Adult admission is $16.95 and children ages 4 to 12 is $11.95.
Plain & Fancy, opening in 1959, was the first family-style restaurant in Lancaster County, opening in 1959. Today, both the traditional Amish farm feast as well as a la carte dining are offered. Amish Country Farmlands and exclusive Amish tours are also available. The Heritage Site Amish Country Homestead and One-Room School are open for tours. Buggy rides are also available, as well as shopping in the Country Store. As always, find a great spot to stay overnight at www.authenticbandb.com.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Keep Calm and Scooter On

There are many different ways to explore scenic Lancaster. May I suggest a unique and exciting way to do it – by scooter.
Strasburg Scooters, located in Strasburg, PA, offers scooter tours for one or two riders. Hop on a one-seater and ride solo or take a passenger on a two-seater. They also rent the Scoot Coupe, a three- wheeled bike where balance is not an issue. But rest assured, if you can ride a bike, you can handle a scooter.
The Scoot Coupe

“They're like riding a bike with a motor,” says Marc Crusemire, who co-owns Strasburg Scooters with his fiancĂ©e and also serves as a tour guide. “The most important things are to relax and pay attention.”
Farms of Strasburg
I took my 8-year-old son on our first scooter tour. Having practically no experience on a two-wheeled motorized vehicle, but after an encouraging and brief tutorial, I was buzzing down the block with full confidence. After all riders were comfortable, we headed off in a scooter convoy, beeping our horns, buzzing along with smiles all around.
Smiles all around
I’m pretty sure I had bugs in my teeth from giggling and grinning from ear-to-ear during the entire ride. My son held tight with the exception of fist pumps in the air and tooting the horn as we passed children playing. I could see the rider in front of me giggling and smiling in her rearview mirror, too. It’s seriously that cool.
We took the roads less traveled of Southern Lancaster County, where there was virtually no traffic. It was like we had the place to ourselves. We were on the Amish farm and covered bridge tour, which winded through the charming farmlands and rolling hills of Strasburg. Marc, who was our tour guide for the day, encouraged us to beep our horns at Amish farms where youngsters came skipping out to the road to greet us and wave.
Marc Crusemire, owner and tour guide
We toured an authentic Amish dairy farm and a young  Amish girl brought us homemade whoopie pies and meadow tea. We also stopped at three covered bridges, learned the history of each one and took a few minutes to relax and take in the fresh air and views. In between were the amazing and serene views that surrounded us.
“We are able to get our customers up close and personal with the area,” says Marc. “How cool is it when you're driving 20 mph on a back road and little Amish kids stand on the side of the road and hold their hands out to high-five you?”
So, for a new and exciting way to tour our beautiful county, try doing it on a scooter. You will love it, I promise. The tour guides are sure to make you feel comfortable and confident when you hop on your scooter for the first time. They are fun-loving, amusing, entertaining and well-educated about the history of Strasburg, the covered bridges and the Amish culture. 
Our convoy of scooter

Strasburg Scooters offers other tours, like date night (which is currently on my to-do list), and pairs your ride with other attractions in Lancaster, or a wine and cheese ride on one of Strasburg Railroad’s first-class lounge cars; an Amish Country Mystery tour or the bridges and beer tour, where riders are taken to Lancaster Brewing Company for a five-course meal paired with its signature beer (that should probably be on my to-do list as well). Tours last approximately three hours and cover 40 miles of Strasburg.
Make a day or weekend of it and stay at one of our bed and breakfasts in the area. Visit www.authenticbandb.com for the perfect place to stay. What better way to re-energize, relax and have some good-old fun? Now if you'll excuse me, I have to start saving up for my very own scooter.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

"Josiah for President"

"Josiah for President" is on stage now through November 28.

One of the most appealing attractions to visitors of Lancaster is the Amish community and culture. The rolling farmlands, horse and buggies, way of life, faith and work ethic of the Amish here is fascinating. There are many attractions throughout the county for visitors to get an inside glimpse at the Amish. At Bird-in-Hand’s Family Restaurant and Stage, they’ve introduced a musical, “Josiah for President,” being performed now through November 28. Guests can enjoy lunch or dinner featuring some of Lancaster’s finest foods in the banquet area followed by an entertaining musical about the Amish, which sends a powerful message.
An Amish man runs for president.
The broadway-style musical centers around Mark Steadman, a former congressman who throws the towel in on his presidential campaign and Josiah Stoltzfus, an Amish farmer. Steadman is enthralled by Josiah’s way of life and decides to secretly nominate Josiah as a new candidate. The musical couples drama and comedy in a telling of a truly unique friendship. It also allows those who aren’t too familiar with the Amish get an inside glimpse of their lifestyle.
“Naturally, you can expect both drama and comedy, but the clashing of cultures and the formation of friendships really drives home the message that we are not so different,” says Kenn Bennett, marketing specialist at the Bird-in-Hand corporation about the musical. “The Amish are hard-working, practical and grounded in their love of God, family and community,” adds Bennett. “The character of Josiah Stoltzfus brings a common-sense practicality to the campaign trail that I believe we would all like to see in the real presidential elections.”
Josiah campaigning for President of the United States.

Ticket prices vary and are available with lunch or dinner or for the show only. Meal packages include a lunch or dinner smorgasbord at the Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant. Guests purchasing meal packages who wish to eat before the performance should arrive an hour and a half before the show to allow plenty of time to relax and enjoy their meals. For tickets and meals packages call 800-790-4069.
To get an inside look and appreciation of the Amish culture here in Lancaster, be sure to catch “Josiah for President.” And find a nearby bed and breakfast to suit your needs during your stay at www.authenticbandb.com.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Lancaster Hits a Hole in One

There’s something very exciting happening this week in Lancaster. The Lancaster Country Club welcomed the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open to its course with the world's best women golfers playing for the coveted 2015 championship title. And it's happening in our backyard.
Lancaster Country Clubs hosts the 2015 U.S. Women's Open.
Lancaster Country Club, a world-class course, boasts pristine greens since its extensive renovations that began in 2007. And all the hard work and effort paid off when the club was chosen to host the U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament.
The seven-day event, lasting until July 12, welcomes over 100,000 people to Lancaster and area venues and restaurants are celebrating their arrival. The event is expected to give the community an economic boost of about $25 million. Fox Sports will be broadcasting the event and people from all over the world get to experience what we all love about this town - the culture, the sites, the food, the music, the drinks and the friendly people that call Lancaster home. We're also hoping to meet some famous golfers!

Michelle Wie, winner of the 2014 title, competes for the 2015 title.
Henrietta Heisler Interiors on West Walnut Street in Lancaster is hosting an event July 10 for guests to watch the tournament from its establishment. Visitors can enjoy complimentary cocktails from 5-7 p.m. For more information, call 717-295-0324. On July 12, Black Forest Brewery in Ephrata is hosting a U.S. Women’s Open special. Guests can enjoy a five-course meal with beer pairings from 2-7 p.m. Cost is $70 per person and includes food, beer, tax and gratuity. The Brewery will also feature a special for those who present their golf tickets. Beers are buy one, get one 50 percent off.

Many of our local shops and restaurants are offering discounts during the week of the tournament. Present your tickets to receive discounts. Some of the local bed and breakfasts are also offering specials and packages.
Black Forest Brewery will have specials for the U.S. Women's Open.
Hosting such a distinguished event in our community is a great honor. It's a historical event that will bring visitors from all over the world to see all the great things our county has to offer.
For more information on the U.S. Women’s Open, events in the area, coupons and discount details, and changes in traffic or detours, visit www.discoverlancaster.com. And be sure to visit www.authenticbandb.com for a place to stay.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lancaster is Booming

Fourth of July is right around the corner and Lancaster will be booming. There are many events surrounding the holiday and most of the small towns host their own firework display and accompanying events. In fact, there are almost too many to mention, so we compiled a quick list of a few places here in Lancaster known to throw a killer Fourth of July celebration and display. If you find you are staying at one of the B&Bs over the holiday, be sure to venture and catch one of these shows.
Attracting thousands of visitors each year, Long’s Park Ampitheatre is host to the area’s most popular Fourth of July celebration. Held on July 5 and beginning at 7:30 p.m., the park welcomes The U.S. Army Band, Pershing's Own, to the stage for a patriotic concert. The 65-piece traditional concert band plays a variety of classical and popular music.
The U.S. Army Band, Pershing's Own, will play at Long's Park on July 5.
The Cannon Brigade and firework display at Long's Park.
Bring a picnic or enjoy something from a food vendor and find the perfect spot on the hillside to watch Lancaster’s biggest firework display after the sun sets. Loud booms echo with the start of the display with the Cannon Brigade and finishes with an impressive finale.
Lititz Springs Park celebrates its 198th year of Fourth of July celebrations with a Red, White and Cool theme on July 4. Located in downtown Lititz, the park gates open at noon with a patriotic parade, a baby parade, kid zone, a magic and juggling show, the Queen of Candles pageant and much more. There will ]be over 35 food vendors and trucks at the event with live music from bands including Mama Tried and Flamin’ Dick and the Hot Rods.
Over 400 candles illuminate the park’s stream and before the fireworks, guests can enjoy a DJ dance party. The fireworks display will also be synchronized to music. Now that’s a celebration!
Lititz Springs Park celebrates 198 years of Fourth of July celebrations this year.

Marietta, the quaint rivertown just west of the city, will host a carnival followed by fireworks on July 11. The celebration takes place at War Memorial Park and begin at 5 p.m. with food vendors, games and live music, followed by fireworks at 10:30 p.m.
Ephrata’s party kicks off with its annual Firecracker five-mile run through the town in the morning. Other festivities for the whole family start around 6 p.m. at 201 Crescent Avenue, including juggling acts, pony rides, games and more. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m.
Ephrata hosts an impressive display of fireworks.

So that’s just a taste of all the Fourth of July celebrations Lancaster has to offer. Celebrate Independence Day here and you won’t be disappointed. There are also plenty of B&Bs scattered throughout the county to accommodate your needs. For more information, visit www.authenticbandb.com.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Summertime and the Livin' is Easy

It's summertime here in Lancaster County, which means many outdoor venues and attractions are kicking off a full schedule of entertainment in the great outdoors. It's difficult to pick just one event, so here are just a few great events coming up in the next two weeks. Whether it's outdoor live music, bicycle trips or an artisan fair, there are plenty of attractions to fit your tastes.
Marion Court Room in downtown Lancaster hosts Live at Five on Fridays.
Marion Court Room in downtown Lancaster introduces its Live at Five music series. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., the large outdoor courtyard features three decks (including one roof top deck), and hosts live music from some of Lancaster's finest musicians. Pocketful 'O Soul plays June 12, followed by Screamin' Daisys on June 19. The series continues through the end of July. Visit the restaurant's website for more information and a detailed schedule. Admission for all shows is free. 
On June 13, Intercourse Bike Works is hosting a bicycle tour with a farm-to-table dinner. Guests can enjoy a leisurely eight-mile bike ride through Lancaster farmland. The tour takes riders through Amish countryside, visits covered bridges and a mansion. Afterwards, guests will enjoy an al fresco dinner with locally grown foods while watching the sunset. Cost is $55 per person and includes bike, helmet, water and dinner.
Take a bike tour followed by dinner with Intercourse Bike Works.

Check out over 30 artisans, live music and food vendors during MakersFest.
The 300 block of Queen Street in downtown Lancaster has become a bit of a hub for local artisans, boutiques and vintage shops. On June 14, the 300 block will celebrate the second annual MakersFest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event, hosted by the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, is free and features over 30 craftsmen, live music, food vendors and more. Guests can watch demonstrations, as well as purchase art such as ceramics, jewelry, clothing, furniture and more.
Downtown will be alive with music every third Friday evening of the month during Music Friday. Shops, restaurants and parks will feature live music. While you take in the sights and grab a bite to eat, keep your ears open for tunes in the downtown area.
For more special events to check out during your stay in Lancaster, visit www.discoverlancaster.com. And for a great place to stay, visit www.authenticbandb.com.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Those Summer Nights

There’s nothing quite like sitting outside and listening to some award-winning live tunes. When it’s free it’s even better and that is what Long's Park Summer Concert Series in Lancaster has been offering visitors every summer for the past 50 years. Each Sunday, they deliver a spectacular show, full of good vibes and energy.
Long's Park Summer Concert Series attracts thousands of visitors every Sunday.
Located just off of Route 30, outside of the city, is Long's Park, an 80-acre park with playgrounds, pavilions, a petting zoo, concessions and more. But the park’s claim to fame is its free summer concert music series, which lasts from June to August.
Held every Sunday at 7:30 p.m., Long's Park welcomes bands from all over the country playing all different genres of music to fit everyone’s tastes. The concert series kicks off on June 7 with Selwyn Birchwood, a young energetic blues artist from Florida. “He delivers his original songs with a revival tent preacher’s fervor and a natural storyteller’s charisma made all the more impactful by his raw, unvarnished vocals,” boasts the park's website. 
Selwyn Birchwood performs June 7 at Long's Park.

Rolling Stone wrote that Birchwood is "a powerhouse player and emotive performer ... his band, his material and both skilled guitaring and soulful vocals are the essence of fully-formed. Birchwood is a major player. Highly recommended."
The award-winning artist also won the International Blues Challenge in 2013 and the Albert King Guitarist of the Year award. And he’s playing hours of free music at Long's Park Ampitheater in just a few weeks. Be sure to pack a picnic and your dancing shoes.
The Quebe Sisters, a three-piece fiddle band, play June 14. Hailing from Texas, the siblings have been getting standing ovations since they took the stage in 2000. The group has shared the stage with artists such as Willie Nelson, George Strait, Merle Haggard and many more.
The Quebe Sisters bring their blue grass energy to the stage on June 14.
The line-up of star-studded and up-and-coming artists continue throughout the summer. A full schedule is listed on the park’s website. Be sure to check it out and find a band that compliments your style because these concerts do not disappoint.
At the end of the summer, visit the Long’s Park Art & Craft Festival. Rated as one of the top 25 art shows in the country, the three-day festival showcases over 200 top artists and craftspeople from across the country. The show is held Labor Day weekend. In addition to artisans, the show features fine foods, wines, craft beer and music. What’s not to like about all of that?
So if you’re planning a trip to one of our fine Bed and Breakfasts, be sure to check out Long’s Park and its summer concert series. Whether you’re planning a date or looking to take the family out for the evening, it’s the perfect complement to your trip to beautiful Lancaster County. Find the perfect place to stay at www.authenticbandb.com.