Lancaster, PA

Our first stop in Lancaster County was the Strasburg Railroad, the nations oldest continuously operating short line railroad. For varying ticket prices ($15.50 – $60+) you can take a beautiful 45 min ride through the countryside, choosing between a general passenger car, upgraded cars, and a dining car. There offer special events such Oktoberfest, Day out with Thomas, or trains with Santa…and they even have picnic groves along the route that you can get off at, then board the next available train when you are finished. It was a very relaxing ride, even in our general passenger car, and the seats had an interchangeable back so that we could face the direction we were traveling. If you like the finer comforts, their First Class and Presidential cars offer individual chairs, plus food and beverage for purchase.

We had to check out the oldest Amish attraction in the U.S., especially since it is located in a SHOPPING CENTER! Sharing the same parking lot are a couple of stores to the right of the 15 acre farm, and to the left, a Target! I could not stop laughing at the absurdity of it. Once inside the home you have the option of a house and bus tour, or to do them individually, all of which included free time to roam their farm afterwards. Because we were getting hungry we opted for just the house tour ($9.95), and were given a 40 minute history lesson of a lifestyle that has not changed much in the nearly 300 years they have been in Pennsylvania. The farm had lots of animals, a little stand selling fresh goods, a school house, and such beautiful land that it made us completely forget we were surrounded by the modern world.

For food we decided to check out Lancaster Brewing Company. With over a dozen beers on tap, plus a family friendly dining area both inside and out, I figured it was as good a place as any to grab a burger. They offer tours during the week by appointment and have an open tour at 3pm on the weekends…parking kind of sucked and the brewery is in a neighborhood that could possibly be shady at night, but inside the atmosphere was pretty cool, with visible vats and an industrial feel. The food seems to be advertised as farm to table, and we had no complaints with what we ordered…pretty sure it was like most other breweries with the usual pub fare, either having good cooks that night, or not so much, depending when you go. Beer was great though, I tried a flight of various brews and grabbed a souvenir pint glass when we left.

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