With abundant options for dining, shopping and entertainment, as well as a wide range of hotels to choose from, Lancaster County is the ideal location for your next weekend getaway. Convenient to get to, Lancaster is a local gem with much to offer, says Philadelphia-area travel expert, Helene Singer. Past president of the American Society of Travel Agents, Singer, who runs Singer Travel in Wyomissing, puts Lancaster County on her list of top picks for local getaway destinations. Whether you seek a long, romantic weekend for two or a quick family vacation, Lancaster County has it all.
The Amish Farm and House
2395 Lincoln Highway E.
Lancaster, PA 17602
You don’t need a time machine to experience farm life much like it was – and still is – in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Experience the charm of the Amish countryside, with horse-drawn buggies and delicious Amish treats. A countryside tour is the perfect way to while away a couple of hours while savoring the experience of a gentler time and pace. Try on an Amish house for size and get up close and personal with nature and the simpler side of life. Touch history as you chat with resident artisans, sample an Amish meal or explore a one-room schoolhouse.
Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre
510 Centerville Road
Lancaster, PA 17601
The Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre hosts an ever-changing lineup of fantastic shows. Talented actors, singers and dancers will delight you and your family with Broadway-worthy numbers while you enjoy a sumptuous feast. Nosh on a full buffet of Dutch Apple’s take on classic American cuisine. The spread varies with each show and includes a salad bar with a variety of specialty salads, fresh rolls and vegetables, rice, pastas and potato dishes. Entrées include items such as tortilla-encrusted tilapia, carved prime rib, pork tenderloin and turkey. You can’t forget the desserts either. Dutch Apple’s desserts are delicious renditions of over a dozen favorites – don’t forget to try the shoofly pie!
Hershey’s Chocolate World
251 Park Blvd.
Hershey, PA 17033
Whether or not you plan to enjoy the rides at Hersheypark theme park or just want to enjoy a relaxing weekend with no specific agenda, make sure to set aside a bit of time to sample Hershey’s Chocolate World. Located in nearby Dauphing County in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the Sweetest Place on Earth, you can’t beat the price of this scrumptious attraction, with fun Hershey candy-themed shops and eateries – and admission is free. Tour the mock factory on a fun ride – again, free – and “see, feel, smell and hear the delicious transformation from bean to milk chocolate.” Purchase tickets to visit the “Create Your Own Candy Bar” attraction or indulge in Hershey’s Chocolate Tasting Adventure. Whatever your chocolate-y pleasure, you’re sure to find it at Hershey’s Chocolate World.
The Hotel Hershey
100 Hotel Road
Hershey, PA 17033
Whether you plan to visit Hershypark theme park or just want a sweet hotel getaway package, your family will enjoy the variety of accommodations and the amenities of The Hotel Hershey. While this hotel and resort is technically in nearby Dauphin County, it has it all, from bed and breakfast to cottages, guest rooms and deluxe suites. Enjoy spa and family packages that can be customized to include some of the famous Hershey experience attractions, such as Hershypark or Hershey Gardens. You and your family can hike, swim, golf, explore the area on a Segway tour or even skate on the Hotel Hershey’s all-weather, synthetic skating facility, open year-round to guests.
311 Stanley K. Tanger Blvd.
Lancaster, PA 17602
Folks travel from afar to enjoy the shopping in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and Tanger Outlets is a favorite destination. With plenty of convenient lodging choices, including the nearby Lancaster Host Resort and Golf Course, you won’t want to leave this shopping lover’s little slice of heaven. Arrive refreshed from your scenic drive through the picturesque countryside and dive into a cornucopia of shopping choices, from clothing and jewelry to luggage and cookware. Then, after a leisurely day perusing the shops and stores, enjoy a tasty meal at one of the many eateries or head out to sample some down-home Amish cooking, with ingredients fresh from the farm. After a restful night’s sleep, relax over a leisurely cup of coffee and breakfast at one of the area’s quaint bed and breakfasts, head for the golf course or rejuvenate with a decadent spa treatment or massage.
Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.