Unwind in Lancaster County
Culinary packages offer a taste of central Pennsylvania's heritage.
Lancaster County is home to 25,000 Amish, many
of whom are of German ancestry (the term Pennsylvania Dutch Country actually comes from
Pennsylvania Deutsch). The area is rich in farmland and picturesque back roads as well as
delectable local specialties like hand-twisted pretzels, rhubarb cobbler, Amish
whole-grain pale ale, and whoopie pie--devil's food cake with heavy cream inside.
Three area B&Bs have put together culinary tours led by members of the Lancaster
Historical Society and available on select dates in the spring and summer for $250 per
couple. Note that the tours can be crammed into one long day--which could trim the cost of
accommodations--or split between two days. The tours cost the same amount either way.
Beer & Pretzel Weekend
The guided tour begins with a visit to the Dutch Country Soft Pretzels factory, where
you'll try their signature soft pretzels, and continues to the Lancaster Brewing Company
for a taste of the brews. Next comes a stop at the Intercourse Pretzel Company, known for
its crunchy, hard pretzels. After a pretzel-twisting lesson, you'll wander the craft and
quilt shops of the village at Intercourse and then head to Stoudt's Brewery, where owner
Ed Stoudt will lead a tour and dole out beer samples. Cap off the evening with dinner at
Stoudt's Black Angus Steak House. Tales of bootleggers and tricks for defying Prohibition
spice up the tours. When: Apr. 14-15, 2007.
Wine & Cheese Weekend
You'll explore the scenic Amish countryside, with stops at an Amish farm and a cheese cave
(which produces eight cheese varieties) and Twin Brook Winery for a tour and tasting.
There's a dinner reception at Carr's Restaurant, which showcases locally-grown foods, and
complimentary copies of a recipe collection. When: June 2-3, Sept. 8-9, Nov. 3-4,
Beer & Pretzel Weekend
All the same stops as in April except that you'll visit 19th-century Bube's Brewery and
dine at The Catacombs in place of Stoudt's Brewery and its steak house. When: July
Details: The $250 package rate includes the cost of all tours, lectures,
tastings, meals, and transportation by van. Based on a group of two; a solo traveler would
Contact: Both the tours and the accommodations are booked through the three
participating B&Bs (see below). For more information about visiting the area, see the
official tourism website, padutchcountry.com.
WHERE TO STAY: Accommodations are booked separately from the tours and range
from $85 to $225 per room per night, plus 7.1 percent tax. Owned by a professional chef,
the Harvest Moon B&B in New Holland has four guest rooms outfitted with antique
wood furnishings, (888/824-3763, harvestmoonbandb.com). The Artist Inn B&B, located in the
tiny town of Terre Hill, doubles as the innkeeper's art gallery and offers two guest rooms
and a suite with floral motifs as well as a separate stone cottage (888/999-4479, hartistinn.com). Three frilly
Victorian-style rooms and a suite make up the Sheep Hill B&B, which has an
antiques shop on-site (800/557-7750, sheephillbandb.com).
GETTING THERE: Driving is the best way to get to Dutch Country, and you'll need
a car anyway for exploring the area. Approximate driving times: an hour and a half from
Philadelphia or Baltimore; two hours from D.C.; three hours from New York City; six hours
from Cleveland; and eleven hours from Chicago.
If you're coming from further afield, you can fly into Philadelphia, Baltimore, or
Harrisburg (45 minutes away). There's even a tiny Lancaster airport with puddle-jumper
flights from Pittsburgh.
The lowest fares we found to Philadelphia in mid-April are: $218 from Chicago (United),
$233 from Minneapolis (Air Tran), $294 from Charleston (US Airways), $321 from Houston (US
Airways), and $326 from Los Angeles (US Airways). An economy-car rental from the
Philadelphia airport starts at $20 per day (Thrifty).
More on Pennsylvania:
What $100 Buys in Philadelphia
Trip Coach: Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia
Note: This story was accurate when it was published.
Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question
before planning your trip.
© 2007 Newsweek