One thing that took me a while to get used to was the location of some "stores." Reading maps and listing to the GPS told me this was a store but to me it looked like a residential farm with just an open flag at the front of the drive way or a hand scribed message saying open or home made such and such.
Once you get past this and realize a lot of people run shops out of their homes things will be much simpler for you.
Favorite thing: Lancaster is a city and as such the same parking rules will apply here. It is tight, it is hard to find, and it will cost you. Metered parking was .25 for 10 min. While in other areas the same amount would get you 1 hour.
Favorite thing: For some reason my father would always wash his car before going on a trip. This is a habit for whatever reason I have kept up. I might like to warn that it is not really needed in this area. You are visiting farm land that lets face it has dirt everywhere and animals everywhere as well. Some things are going to get on your car. Better just to understand that before hand. You will be much happier if you do.
Lancaster's local Pennsylvania Dutch food is not actually the healthiest food available; but, if you like high-in-fat, fried, and meat-and-potatos meals you'll enjoy it!
There is a cookbook of Pennsylvania Dutch food that we have enjoyed for more than 20 years. Although we are not from Lancaster County, our area has a major Mennonite influence. Our local Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania have published this cookbook, Franconia Culinary Pride 'n Joy, which was originally put together by the Franconia Mennonite Church. It (and others) is available at their website for $9.95. http://www.mhep.org/shop.html
Favorite thing: The Old Order Mennonite men remain clean-shaven all through life, while the Old Order Amish men, once married; grow beards, never sporting a mustache. The upper lip is always clean-shaven despite the long beards, denoting they are married men. Unmarried Old Order Amish men remain clean-shaven while in singleness. The women of these groups never cut their hair during their life, and it is only let down for their husbands, and then, only in private. They will always be seen wearing a covering over their top knotted hair. The men and boys always wear hats.
As I was driving around Lancaster County, I noticed that each town has an easy to find visitor center, so if you want to pick up free brochures and get some reliable information it's a good idea to make a quick stop.
Fondest memory: The Visitor Center in downtown Lancaster is located on S. Queen Street and can be reached at 717.397.3531.
This museum has scenes, many of which have narrations, that show the history of Lancaster County from the 1600's on. There is a self guided tour and a dress up section where you can try on costumes.
Fondest memory: The museum is located at 2249 Rte 30 East
For information phone:
do a tour in buggy. The Amish men refuse the modernity but not the $ and they organize tours for tourists.
Look at the handmade mailbox. Each farm has its original one.
Fondest memory: It is near a tourist trap : a tour of half an hour in buggy to see some farms (See the travelogue) with a stop in a farm in which children sell some homemade cakes. Price : 25$ per person (Aaron & Rebecca Tour).
see the covered bridges. They are near 30 in the area. The roof protects the bridge from the snow during the Winter.
Fondest memory: They are also called 'kissing bridges'. Formely, when a youngman went in buggy to pick up his fiance, on Sunday, to go to the mass, he could kiss her discretly passing the bridge.
have a look to the buggies. The Amishes have no car but accept to be the passenger of one driven by somebodyelse.
Fondest memory: This buggy was parked close to an Amish supermarket vending goods agreed by the religious rules. I also saw an Amish man on a scooter, without motor, of course ... (unfortunatly, I take a video, not a photograph).
do not get lost by the Lancaster streets. Use this map : click on the image to enlarge.
Fondest memory: To get further information : 1- Mennonite Information Center 2209 Millstream Rd - Lancaster - mainly for religious information but they accept to give touristical advices. 2- Pennsylvannia Dutch Visitor's Bureau : 501 Greenfield Rd - Lancaster. 3- Downtown Visitor's center : Wine St & S Queen St.
One of my most favorite things to do while in the Lancaster area is to drive the back roads. It is like going back in time. It is so peaceful. Lancaster is definitely the barn capital of the world. There is silo after silo.
Fondest memory: Getting behind a horse and buggy
Fondest memory: A very vivid memory is of standing in front of the house that my great-great-great grandfather lived in (and possibly built) and talking to the Amish family that live there. They were interesting people and told us about being attacked by non-Amish people. Apparently, several times, a car drove past and threw large rocks through the windows where the family were sleeping. The family had to put grills over the window to prevent further attacks.
Favorite thing: there are a lot of things to discover around Lancaster. beside the Amish culture, travelling around the country will allow you to discover several covered bridges and beautiful views...
Take a look into the one room Amish schoolhouse.
Fondest memory: the Weavertown One Room Schoolhouse is located at Rte 340 East in Bird-In-Hand
For information phone: