Lancaster prides itself on historical reverence. It stands as one of North America’s oldest inland towns, and boasts a wide variety of 18th and 19th century buildings. But the real reason people visit is to witness the curious ‘frozen in time’ lifestyle of the Amish communities nearby. Get your cameras out for horse drawn buggies and Nineteenth Century people.
Things to see
Dutch Wonderland is the ideal place to keep the kids smiling. It’s found, not surprisingly, in Dutch country, southeast of downtown Lancaster. The kids will find this thrilling amusement park ‘real neat’.
Amish Country may be as simple as life gets, but the horse-drawn, electricity-less, bible-hugging rural area also brings in hordes of gawking tourists annually.
The oldest farmer’s market in North America, Central Market, is where you can rub shoulders with Amish farmers and pick up great bargains on handicrafts.
Nothing tops a night out at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theater. You will be enchanted by the home-style meal and the Broadway-like show here. The mouth-watering buffet is top notch.
Hotels in Lancaster
You won’t find too many high-end high-rise hotels in Lancaster, as most visitors prefer to make daytrips here from larger towns nearby. However, there are plenty of medium-range inns or motels that place you in the heart of Amish Country long after the other tourists have departed.
If you feel like splurging, there are a handful of pricey resorts. These resorts provide guests with more up-scale facilities, like tennis courts and even an 18-hole golf course.
Where to stay
Families, couples, and individual travelers should opt for hotels in Lancaster city center. A good selection of accommodations is found just minutes’ drive from Lancaster’s main historic sites.
You can also stay in the wooded elegance of rural Lancaster, in districts such as Manheim. With the advantage of your own car, you can’t beat the quiet rural atmosphere among the rolling hills and Amish delights for which most visitors come to see.
How to get to Lancaster
Sun Air International Airport provides limited flights. The next nearest air hub is Philadelphia International Airport, some 70 miles to the east. It’s far more practical to opt for the latter and rent a car for a self-tour experience.
The Amtrak rail service conveniently connects Lancaster to Philadelphia via the Pennsylvanian and to New York via the Keystone Service.
The regional bus service, operated by Bieber Trailways, is cheaper than air or rail options, but just as comfortable. It drives right through the heart of the pretty countryside, with close up views of the every day Amish lifestyle.