Friday, November 30, 2012

Grandma's Sandtarts

I don’t know about you, but one of the reasons that I enjoy this time of year is because of all the good things to eat! Christmas cookies are my favorite.  They are not only delicious but a true tradition in our family.  I remember my grandma rolling out the dough to make the thinnest sandtarts and most delicious, of course, and then cutting them with a favorite cookie cutter. Mine are usually cut into shapes of a diamond, heart, angel, and stars. There has always been a competition between sandtart makers to make the thinnest and crispiest sandtart, the thinner the better. If you can see through the dough, it is usually thin enough.  It is not always easy dough to work with, but it is well worth the effort.   
Some top their cookies with chopped peanuts, but like my Grandma, I prefer chopped pecans on mine.  I have made the sandtarts by myself, but much prefer when it is a family event, someone rolling and someone helping to cut the cookies out, someone putting egg-white wash on the cookies and topping them off with cinnamon and the pecans.  And of course there are plenty of takers when the cookies are ready to eat!  This is my Grandma Eby’s recipe from my Aunt Edna Eby Heller’s cookbook "The Art of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking."

Sandtarts  (makes 14 dozen)

2 cups sugar

½ pound butter

2 eggs, beaten

4 cups sifted flour

2 slightly beaten egg whites

cinnamon or cinnamon sugar

1 cup chopped nuts (peanuts, pecans, or almonds)

Cream together the sugar and the butter.  Stir in the beaten eggs.  Add the flour and mix thoroughly.  Chill overnight.  Roll out on a floured board or counter to 1/8 inch thickness or as thin as possible.  Cut into rounds, squares or rectangles and lift onto cookie sheets.  Before baking, brush egg whites over the top, sprinkle with cinnamon, then top with nuts.  Bake from 8 to 10 minutes in a 350 oven.
Submitted by:  Ann Royer, Innkeeper   Amanda Gish House Bed & Breakfast  Elizabethtown, PA

Friday, November 16, 2012

Chickens Anyone?!

Did you ever think about keeping chickens? No?  Maybe you should think again.  If your zoning allows, think about fresh eggs every morning. Think omelets, scrambled eggs, or over-easy with nice big golden yolks. How can you go wrong?
Did you ever think about chickens having a personality? Free range chickens can be characters.  Did you know that hens can lay eggs without having a rooster nearby? It is possible. The eggs will never hatch but the eggs will come daily. Chickens will lay eggs the same color as their earlobes. So, if their earlobes are blue, they will lay a blue egg, if white, white eggs and if their earlobes are red, they will lay brown eggs.
If you want nothing to do with owning chickens but crave a delicious local egg, you may be in luck.  There are many bed and breakfasts in Lancaster County that serve fresh local eggs. Come find out and enjoy the freshness that Lancaster County is known for.
Your humor for the day… 
Why do chickens say ‘Bach’? Because that can’t say Beethoven.
Why did the chicken cross the playground? To get to the other slide.

Submitted by: Liz Ehrhart, Furnace Hills Bed and Breakfast

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lancaster County Christmas Shopping Ideas

There is a chill in the air – frosts have hit the county killing off any remaining flowers in the gardens.

Shops stuffed with Christmas treasures are bursting with open houses and discounted sales for the Christmas holidays. Both the Rockvale and Tanger outlets are excellent stops to find just the right Christmas item. Small specialty or boutique shops can be found in Lititz, Strasburg, Intercourse, or Bird-in-Hand.  If antiques are your passion, good stops would be Adamstown, Columbia , or Strasburg.

Several shops worthy of mention are the Olde Millhouse Shoppes on the Strasburg Pike with both the house and barn garnished with seasonal displays. Another barn filled with Christmas treasures is the Country Creations Barn on North Star Road near Strasburg.

For ideas to spark your imagination, you MUST try the Flower and Craft Warehouse in Blue Ball for crafty ideas and supplies to make your own or just wander the many aisles and rooms for ideas and ready made items to purchase.

There is something for everyone. You might need several days to explore Lancaster County’s treasures. Check with the Authentic Bed and Breakfast Inns Association for rooms for your stayover. Or call us for your reservation at 800-552-2632.

Submitted by: Ruth Harnish, Flowers and Thyme Bed and Breakfast

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Best Part of a Vacation

One of the best reasons to stay at a Bed and Breakfast is the breakfast. Most of the Bed and Breakfast’s in Lancaster County use locally grown fruits, vegetables, eggs and milk. These are primarily from the area’s Amish and Mennonite farms. For Centuries, these farmers have lived and worked in what we now call the “organic revolution”.
Waiting for the breakfast at a Bed and Breakfast can be an experience. The aroma of bacon, sausage, egg dishes, potato cakes, fresh coffee and juices are the makings of a beautiful day. Each Bed and Breakfast presents its meal in a quiet and sophisticated setting with quality dinner ware and utensils. Some Bed and Breakfast’s serve “family style” which encourages conversations and sharing as guests sit around a table. Others will have buffet or plated meals that are either menu driven or requested. In either case, guests can be seated at couple’s tables for the romantic atmosphere or grouped at tables of 4 to 6 guests for more interaction and conversation.
The time at the end of breakfast is for planning the day’s activity. Innkeepers are a great source of local knowledge and where to find those unique and out-of-the-way places that will make your visit memorable. A stay at a Bed and Breakfast in Lancaster County will want you to return to not only enjoy the hospitality of the B&B but to visit those places, return to that unique shopping, enjoy one of the many theater productions or just wander around the beautiful countryside of Lancaster County.
Here are a couple of recipes from the Authentic Bed and Breakfast Cookbook that guests have request in the past. Enjoy.
Microwave Pears, Cranberries and Almonds

4 ripe pears, peeled, cored and halved            3 T. maple syrup
1 T. dried cranberries                                      3 oz. almond slivers

Place the peeled, cored and halved pears into a microwaveable dish. Place them cut side down. Scatter the dried cranberries over the pears. Pour 2 T. of the Maple syrup over the pears and cranberries and cover with microwaveable cling film. Microwave on High for 3 minutes until softened. Uncover and add Maple syrup if needed. Spoon pears into serving dishes, stir and divide the syrup and cranberries among the dishes. Sprinkle top of each pear with Almond slivers. Serve warm.

Buttermilk Biscuits
3 cups flour                                                     ¾ cup butter
1 ½ T. baking power                                       ¾ cup buttermilk or milk

¾ tsp. salt                                                        1 large egg

2 T. sugar

Heat oven to 425 degrees. In large bowl, cut butter into dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Roll out onto a floured surface to ½ to 1’ thickness. Use a glass or biscuit cutter to cut into rounds. Place biscuits on an ungreased sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot from the oven. These will also freeze well, just thaw and warm.

Old Fashion Flapjacks

3 eggs                                                              3 tsp. baking powder

1 cup all-purpose flour                                    1 tsp. light brown sugar         

½ tsp. salt                                                        ½ cup buttermilk

2 tsp. sugar                                                      2 T. butter

Beat eggs until fluffy. Add flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and mix. Add brown sugar and beat until smooth. Stir in buttermilk and butter. Spoon ¼ cup of batter on buttered grill and brown. Serve with Maple syrup and butter.

Prepared by: Sarah Murphy, Innkeeper of the Walnut Lawn Bed and Breakfast

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Traveling the Old Lincoln Highway thru Lancaster

Lincoln Highway, named for our 16th President, was the first automobile road to cross the US. And in Lancaster County, you can follow some of the old 1915 highway and enjoy many of the sights from long ago. You can occasionally see the original markers that say things such as "47 M to P, 15 to L" meaning  47 miles to Philadelphia and 15 miles to Lancaster. Although many of the old tourist courts are gone now, there are still some of the diners and shops that have been around for years.
On the east side of town some of the old restaurants are still in business. The Revere Tavern dates back to 1740. Dutch Haven was built in 1946 offering PA Dutch cooking and souvenirs. Today they are famous for their shoo-fly pies. Miller's Smorgasbord originally opened in 1929 for tourists traveling the Old Lincoln Highway. Although it has been renovated through the years, it still offers  traditional cooking  including "seven sweets and seven sours" with each meal!  And just down the road is Jennie's Diner, one of the original 1950's dining car style diners.
There are also a few of the old motels nestled among the modern strip of restaurants, shops and lodging establishments. And the 1960's amusement park, Dutch Wonderland.
On the west side of Lancaster there is still one of the old Tourist Courts still in business. An occasional diner will also pop up in the towns of Mountville and Columbia. In Columbia, the road crosses the river to York County. The original Lincoln Highway bridge was demolished in 1964, but you can still see the stone piers from the modern bridge. The old bridge was originally a wooden covered bridge burned down to halt the Confederate Army during the Civil War, but replaced with a steel structure in 1897. The problem with the bridge was that cars and trains had to share it, and it didn't always work out! 
There is so much history in Lancaster County. And as you drive down the old Lincoln Highway, you may catch a glimpse of what travelers saw almost 100 years ago!
Submitted by Lark and Michael McCarley, Innkeepers of the  Lovelace Manor Bed and Breakfast

Friday, May 11, 2012

Upcoming Cooking Classes

Lancaster County is unique in that it has such a wide array of interests for anyone to pursue – from the Amish community to the antique shopping, the outlets, the attractions like the Strasburg Railroad to the Sight & Sound Theater productions, and then the restaurants for all the foodies to the roadside food stands. 

Another interesting venue that has surfaced recently is the Good’s Cooking School in the town of Intercourse.  Here you can register for different cooking classes as well as purchase all kinds of different useful kitchen tools. 

An interesting set of classes coming up is learning how to make delicious whoopee pies as well as a date night class.  Take a look at their website at: to learn about which class you would like to take on your next visit to our County. 

And while you are coming, be sure to book a night at one of Authentic Bed and Breakfast Associations bed and breakfasts for a comfy stay-over. 

Posted by Ruth Harnish, Innkeeper of the Flowers and Thyme Bed and Breakfast

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Water Sports in Lancaster County, PA

Now that the weather is staying warm, and summer is fast approaching, it’s time to start planning paddling trips, or leisurely waterside lounging. Lancaster County is located between the Susquehanna River, and the Schuylkill River, which allows for many recreational summertime activities. Choose one of the 38 Authentic Bed and Breakfasts as your home base, before deciding which of the following trips you’d like to take this summer!
If you have your own kayak, canoe, or boat, then head to the historic Conestoga River. It is a Class 1 scenic river that flows for 60 miles, before emptying in the Susquehanna River. For more information on launch sites and landmarks, visit the Lancaster County Department of Parks and Recreation.
If you’d like to rent a kayak or canoe, visit Shanks Mare in Wrightsville. They offer lessons, as well as rentals and even have evening paddles where you go out at dusk and then have dinner at The Rookery.

On the Schuylkill River, you can rent kayaks, tubes, canoes, and rafts at the Reading River Tribe. These trips include Class II rapids, and the company will shuttle you to your beginning point, so you can end at their location. Be sure to make a reservation before arriving!
For a traditional day at the pool, visit Adamstown Community Pool, or Lititz Springs Pool. And for something different, visit Mount Gretna Lake and Beach. The swim and recreation facility is open to the public for a daily fee. You will be entertained all day, and really feel like you’re at the beach! They have everything from diving boards and tube/kayak/canoe rentals to picnic sites and a snack bar. They even have a diving board, a swing over the water, and a sand volleyball court!
Your last option to spend some time on the water is in Harrisburg, PA. The Pride of the Susquehanna offers riverboat cruises during the day, and even a dinner cruise. Check their calendar for entertainment cruises, or book a private cruise for a special occasion! How will you spend your summer on the water?

Submitted by Amethyst Inn Bed and Breakfast

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Masonic Village Farm Market

Ah, spring is definitely in the air.  I love this time of year.  There is something so special about seeing a robin or spring flowers blooming and knowing that warm weather and fresh Lancaster County fruits and vegetables are not far away.  Each year at this time I start thinking about getting out in my garden and starting to dig.  As an Innkeeper I find there is not enough time to have a large garden but I usually try to at least plant some lettuce, herbs that I like to cook with and definitely some tomatoes.  For all the other wonderful fruits and vegetables that I enjoy cooking I usually go to one of my favorite local farm markets, Masonic Village Farm Market in Elizabethtown. 

They always have a great selection of local produce, and when available some from a local organic gardener as well. 

They are open daily from April 1st through December, Monday Through Saturday 8am to 5 pm, Sunday Noon to 4 pm (Sundays- June, July and August). They are also open January through March on Friday 8am to 5pm and Saturday 8am to 1pm.   

Masonic Village Farm Market has been offering quality local produce since 1910, much of what they offer is grown at Masonic Village with the remainder from local Lancaster County farms.  Masonic Village Farm Market is also the 2nd largest tree fruit producer in Lancaster County.  They grow wonderful apples, pears, cherries, plums and some of the best peaches around.  The Farm Market also bakes delicious pies daily for you to enjoy.  I enjoy their fruit butters as well, especially the apple butter.  They have a large selection including butters without sugar and spice.  And you can’t forget to take home some of their preserves, jellies, or jams, too.

So put Masonic Village Farm Market on your list for a great place to stop the next time you are in Lancaster County.

Submitted by Ann Royer, Innkeeper at Amanda Gish House Bed and Breakfast Elizabethtown, PA

Monday, March 5, 2012

Middle Creek Wildlife

Every year at this time, thousands of bird-watchers flock to Middle Creek Wildlife
Management Area to view tens of thousands of migrating Snow Geese and Tundra Swans. These migratory waterfowl winter in the Chesapeake Bay region and migrate north in the spring to nesting grounds in in the arctic region of northern Canada. They tend to move through quickly in late fall, but on their return trip north they stop over at Middle Creek for several weeks in late February and early March. Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area is operated by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and provides Habitat for a variety of waterfowl, songbirds, a nesting pair of Bald Eagles, and a host of other wildlife. 

This year there is estimated to be 65,000 Snow Geese and 2,400 Tundra Swans. The prime viewing area is at Willow Point, which is accessible by the short, paved Willow Point Trail. Geese can also be viewed along the driving tour route that is open starting on March 1. The Visitors Center at Middle Creek offers a great collection of mounted wildlife, a touch-n-feel bin and activities for kids, as well as other educational exhibits and song-bird viewing. An extensive network of hiking trails of various difficulty levels is available at Middle Creek and the surrounding game lands.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Exciting Events in Lancaster County

Make your plans now to see some of the exciting events available in Lancaster County.

The  American Music Theater has “pulled out all of the stops” for this year’s show “Broadway: Now and Forever  It runs through Oct 12, 2013. The cast is large, the sets and costumes are great and the kids do an amazing job with the song from “Annie”.  It is a fast moving show.  Check the AMT calendar for show days and times.  They also have Willie Nelson on June 10th , Kenny Vance & the Planotones, The Duprees & The Classics on June 22nd and Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons on July 17th.  Check their web site for more of the Celebrity series.  AMT is an Authentic B&B Association's Passport partner, so ask your Authentic Bed and Breakfast innkeeper about a discount coupon before you buy tickets to the “Broadway: Now and Forever” show.

Join the Rainbow Dinner Theater  until May 25th for “Fun between the Covers”.  It is about a small town bookstore, just in case you were wondering.  If you can't make it here in May...well, from June 4 - August 4 you get to enjoy "Marriage Go Round”.   Two perfectly happy married scientists think they can predict the results of any experiment…WRONG!!!  It is always a good laugh at the Rainbow Dinner Theater. They are an Authentic B&B Association's Passport partner so check with your Authentic Bed and Breakfast innkeeper about a discount coupon before you buy tickets.

Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “CATS” is onstage at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theater May 16 - June 29th.  This is followed by “South Pacific” July 6 – August 17 and then "Menopause The Musical” August 22 – September 28. An Authentic B&B Association's Passport partner. Don’t forget to check with your Authentic Bed and Breakfast innkeeper about a discount coupon before you buy tickets.

By now you must have heard about "Noah" at the Sight and Sound Theater.  What an amazing display for the eyes, wonderful musical talent for the ears and the whole story about Noah and the Ark and all of the amazing animals. “Noah” runs through Nov. 2, 2013 but the 2 final performances on Nov. 2nd are already sold out. Show days are Tuesday – Saturday.  

Returning for the Christmas season is "Miracle of Christmas" at the Sight and Sound Theater. The story is everlasting. The costumes, animals and singing will remind us of the true meaning of Christmas. The show starts Nov. 22 and runs through Dec. 30, 2013. Show days in Nov. are Friday & Saturday. Show days in Dec. are Tuesday – Saturday except for the week of Christmas.

In case you haven’t heard, the story of “Moses” opens at the Sight and Sound Theater on March 8, 2014.  Tickets are on sell now.  Get ready for a truly phenomenal production.  This show runs until Feb 7, 2015 and show times are earlier, for those who have been to the theater previously.  Show days are Tuesday – Saturday.  Don’t wait too long to buy your tickets and book your Authentic Bed and Breakfast rooms.

For those who read Beverly Lewis’ books, you'll enjoy the musical talent during "The Confession" Musical running through Aug. 24, 2013 at the Bird-in-Hand Family restaurant and Stage.  Starting Sept 10 and running through Nov. 30, 2013, is a new production of Wanda Brunstetter’s “Half-Stitched” The Musical.  If possible, avoid seating in the last 5 rows as the performance is very hard to see due to the fact the chairs are all on the same level.  Most days only has one performance and usually sells out, as it is a small space, so make your plans now for this experience.  You can do lunch or dinner and a show or show only.  Show days are Tuesday – Saturday.

"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" is coming to the Fulton Theater June 4 – 30, 2013.  If you've never been to a production at the Fulton put it on your list of things to do while in Lancaster, PA.  It will blow you away.

If you are not into theater, check out the National Clock & Watch Museum. Their current exhibit is titled “Enlisting Time” covering military timepieces and stories.  As you will discover on their website, mention the code word: “OPERATION OVERLORD” to receive 25% Off Museum Admission.  You don’t want to miss the hand carved 8 foot x 8 foot clock that operates every quarter hour.  An Authentic B&B Association's Passport partner but you can’t combine discounts.

The 30th Annual Demuth Garden Tour is June 8th & 9th.  What treasures you will discover in the creative urban gardens and unique home interiors of Lancaster residences as you stroll from home to home.  This is always a fun event come rain or come shine.

The Authentic Bed & Breakfasts are waiting for your call.  Get you calendar out and plan your stay in Lancaster County.  There is so much to do and experience here. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Posted by: Ann Willets, Innkeeper of the King’s Cottage Bed and Breakfast

Friday, February 10, 2012

Great Meals at Shady Maple

Many people who visit Lancaster County are very familiar with Shady Maple. It is often a mandatory stop on an itinerary. What is not to like - the largest smorgasbord in the area with two hundred feet of authentic Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. Your can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner. Lunch and dinner include an elaborate salad/soup bar, eight breads, eight meats, fourteen vegetables, ten cold desserts, three hot desserts, eight pies, six cakes and a sundae bar.

Some visitors may be familiar with only the smorgasbord, but there are many other areas to eat on the property. In the same building, on the ground floor by the 40,000 square foot gift shop is the Dutchette. There you can get a platter with three sides, sandwiches, salad/potato/taco bar or ice cream. This may be an option for a smaller meal when you are not ready to handle the immensity of the smorgasbord.

Next, outside of the farm market, is the Maple Leaf Café. Here you can enjoy a soup/salad bar, chinese buffet, or you can go through a cafeteria style setup to enjoy sandwiches or dinners including a variety of side dishes. There are booths as well as tables to enjoy your meal. This is an excellent stop before or after shopping in the farm market.

Even more casual and laid back is the snack shack which features hot dogs, soft pretzels and ice cream as well as a weekly special which could be steak sandwiches, meatball hoagies, fish sandwiches, or a chicken dinner. This is a great option when you are really in a hurry. There are tables set up in the farm market lobby where you can sit down to enjoy your quick bite.

Last, but not least, is the catering. They will cater your party, wedding reception, reunion, or business meeting at their location or yours and you can treat your guests to that wonderful cooking you have enjoyed. The meals can be plated or served as a small, private buffet.

Shady Maple has many eating options. Next time you are there, you may want to try something different

Submitted by:  Bonnie and David Konya, Country Hearth Bed and Breakfast, New Holland