Come for the History, Stay for Dinner!

Posted on in 2024-2025 · Featured

When Lancaster County became a tourist magnet back in the 1950s, most visitors were attracted to the area because of their curiosity about the Amish. Many were unaware of Lancaster’s rich history that dates to when Native Americans were the area’s sole inhabitants. By the late 1600s, the Amish, Mennonites, French Huguenots, Quakers and other religious sects began arriving, epitomizing the reason why William Penn launched his “Holy Experiment” whereby those seeking religious freedom were welcome to practice their beliefs in a place that became known as Pennsylvania. Lancaster County, which is celebrating its 295th anniversary this year, was an integral part of the push to the western boundaries of Penn’s Woods. Its wealth of natural resources and fertile farmland attracted settlers from all over Europe. 

Following the American Revolutionary War battles that were fought in the Brandywine and Valley Forge areas, many of the wounded soldiers were sent to Ephrata and Lititz to recover. During the 1800s, the county served as a major route along the Underground Railroad.  

On the cover: The French Toast is joined by the Farmers Best Omelette platter that entails farm-fresh eggs stuffed with broccoli, peppers, sautéed onions, spinach, portobello mushrooms and garlic humus. It’s topped with Feta cheese and served with potatoes, toast, and coffee.

Fortunately, Lancaster is home to people who seek to preserve and celebrate our history, hence many of our small towns boast historical societies, organizations and museums that have done stellar jobs in doing so. 

Over the course of the last 70 years, Lancaster has developed many other avenues that are attracting visitors. The arts are one reason, as our downtowns are brimming with galleries and other venues. The Fulton Theatre stages productions that rival those of Broadway. The Lancaster Symphony Orchestra is top notch and in summer our community parks are filled with music lovers. Our craft shows and makers markets serve as reminders of the creative talent that Lancaster harbors. 

The great outdoors is attracting  those who want to commune with Mother Nature. The choices know no bounds and include hiking along our many rail trails, kayaking our waterways and bicycling our backroads. Lancaster County even boasts a wolf sanctuary! 

Lancaster’s latest attraction centers on the culinary arts. You can literally experience a taste of the world in Lancaster. The choices are endless and range from small cafés to a food hall that makes its home in a market house that now serves as a glowing example of adaptive reuse. Our legendary smorgasbords remain an important part of Lancaster’s dining scene, but adventurous visitors are also embracing the opportunity to sample food from such places as France, Italy, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, all points of Asia and even Africa. 

Lancaster is also home to a plethora of breweries, wineries and distilleries. It’s also home to Lancaster Central Market, which is regarded as the country’s oldest continually operating public farmers’ market.

We’ve chosen four areas of the county that will allow you to fully experience all that Lancaster has to offer. Enjoy! 





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