Horse drawn buggies, clip-clopping along country roads. Bonneted Amish girls tending garden by a roadside farmhouse. Bearded men in wide brimmed hats harvesting from rolling green fields.These sights are what many imagine they will come across as they pull into a campground in Lancaster Pennsylvania. These quaint snapshots of a simpler time can be found in this Southeastern Pennsylvania County, but the area has much more to offer to those visiting Lancaster and it’s surrounds by RV. Let’s check out the History and Culture, Performing Arts, Foodie Finds, some of the interesting sights to see, and awesome shopping to be experienced.
History and Culture
The Amish and Mennonite Communities have shaped Lancaster, and their influences are evident as you travel the country roads, past family farms, quaint schoolhouses and roadside farmers markets. The Amish have no cars, no phones, and no electricity in their homes. To learn more about “The Plain People” take an Amish Buggy tour, and explore Amish Farmland. Enjoy some Shoofly pie or tangy chow-chow from the Bird in Hand Farmers Market. Visiting these places gives plenty of opportunity to talk with the people that live their life simply, and learn the storied history of the families that first settled the County.
Taking in some Performing Arts
Theater and music are alive and well in Lancaster. Whether you want a large scale show or something more intimate, enjoy comedy or drama, all can be found in Lancaster County. For large scale pageantry of biblical proportions, visit the Sight and Sound Theater with over 2000 seats, The American Music Theater features top country music and comedy stars. Rainbow Dinner Theater has offered Comedy Dinner Theater to families for over 30 years. For theater with local flair, the The Amish Experience at Plain & Fancy Farm is home to the only “experiential” theater on the East coast. Want to be interactive with your theater experience? Try the seasonal Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire and become one of the Lords or Ladies of the Manor. Smaller, eclectic venues like PRIMA or Tellus360 offer folksy blues or funk rock vibe in a tavern setting. Click here for a list of Performing Arts venues.
Sights not to Miss
Besides Lancaster’s historic and artistic sides, there are other experiences to take in. For young kids, check in at Dutch Wonderland Theme Park for kid friendly rides, shows, and adventures. Take a Steam train ride through the countryside at Strasburg Railroad and after, tour through the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum across the road. The National Christmas Museum keeps the holiday spirit alive throughout the year. Two motorsports venues offer either drag racing at Maple Grove Raceway or Buck Motorsports for tractor pulls, mud bogging, and demolition derbys.
There are plenty of choices for those who love to tantalize their taste buds. There is no reason to stop at one of the national food places, even though they are plentiful in the Lancaster area. Instead, Lancaster offers comfort food from family style buffets such as Shady Maple, Yoders, and Millers Smorgasbords all which feature plenty of local favorites. Lancaster has a growing wine, brew and distilling industry. Stop into one of the great brew pubs like Lancaster, Spring House, or Iron Hill Brewing and sample a local flight of robust stout or pale ale to complement a meal of flavorful ingredients locally grown.. For breakfast or dessert, indulge in some French influence with Rachel’s Cafe & Creperie or the delightful treats of Carmen & David’s Creamery. Check here for a comprehensive listing of foodie finds.
Foodie Tours include the Turkey Hill Experience, to learn how ice cream is made, Intercourse Pretzel Factory Tour, to see and taste a variety of pretzels, and Herr’s Snacks Factory Tour to see how potato chips are made, and taste them fresh off the line. Lancaster is the Land of Yum!
Lancaster is a mecca for those that love to “shop till they drop” Two shopping Outlets are only a mile or so apart from each other. Rockvale has more than 80 stores featuring high-end, premium brands, and nine restaurants conveniently located right inside the outlet complex. Tanger though smaller, offers upscale retailers like Coach, Movado, and Talbots.
Besides the outlets, there is Central Market, the country’s oldest continuously operating farmers market. Kitchen Kettle Village offers unique shoppes with local, handcrafted items. Goods Store offers a genuine Pennsylvania Dutch shopping experience – where locals shop for great prices and good service. For those that enjoy thrifting one of the best is Re-Uzit whose mission is to support charity and is operated by the Mennonite Community. The multi-level building is more like shopping in a small department store than a thrift store. For a list of Lancaster’s shopping experiences, click in here
Where to Stay
Lancaster has some beautiful campgrounds to settle into while visiting the area. To stay surrounded by Amish farmland, Country Acres open year round offers sites right next to a working Amish farm. They also offer FREE area bus tours to campground guests. Flory’s is a quaint campground nestled between a working farm and local homes. Local farmers regularly visit to sell fresh produce. Lake-in-Wood Resort is “Home to the Gnomes” with a woodland gnome theme the resort is family friendly, includes a full service cafe, and well stocked camp store. To really feel pampered, check in to Spring Gulch, which has a full service Day Spa. There are plenty of other campgrounds to stay close to your favorite attractions. Here is a current list of RV resorts and campgrounds.
Other Destinations Close by
Head North to take in the sights, tastes, and smells of Hershey Pennsylvania, home of the famous chocolate still made there. Point your RV South to experience the beauty of the Brandywine Valley. If you’re travelling East you will come across Valley Forge and learn of the Colonies Revolutionary War for independence, West toward the setting sun to see Civil War History come alive at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Which ever way you head – it’s better when you are going RVing!
Mike Karl guest blogging for Monty’s Musings -The Motorhome Travel Blog – El Monte RV
About Mike Karl - Also known as RoadAbode, Mike is a ten year RVer and writer of all things dealing with the RV Lifestyle. He is a regular contributor to the RV.net and Reddit GoRVing Forums. His blog “The Adventures and Travels of RoadAbode” relates personal travel experiences with friends and family in RoadAbode, his Class C RV – previously a rental. Other topics include RV updates, and reviews of RV resorts, products and destinations. Go to www.roadabode.us to read more, or contact Mike. Subscribe to the RoadAbode newsletter for a link to a FREE downloadable RVing LifeStyle Cookbook!
The picture of Amish Farmland is from Wikipedia and is in the public domain.
The picture of Amish Children is from Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
The picture of Central Market in Lancaster PA is from Wikipedia and is in the public domain