Summer is a great time to get away and visit some great local states and attractions. I’m sure you know the saying, “the best part about living in NYC is leaving it”, and sometimes that’s completely true. Having lived in the big apple three years already, I have been itching to hop in the car, take off on a road trip, and travel the east coast. While visiting Bucks County, I decided to “do a day in Lancaster, PA” which was one of the best decisions i’ve made this summer (besides buying a foldable fan for my subway rides).
Lancaster: Pennsylvania Dutch Country is a great place for families, foodies, and wine lovers. There is a ton of cultural activities here including art galleries, theaters, Amish country, and wineries/breweries. The drive from Bucks County to Lancaster was a memorable one. I was impressed with all the greenery in Bucks, however Lancaster is a completely different world. Farms after farms, Amish horse and buggy transportation, and rolling hills like you would see in Ireland; it is very beautiful.
My first stop: Waltz Vineyards. Let’s just say if you can only visit one winery here in Lancaster, it should be Waltz. I had the pleasure of meeting with Kim and Jan Waltz, who are incredibly passionate about winemaking and farming, and have a son who will be following in the winemaking footsteps of his father! They grow their own grapes and produce a number of wines from Chardonnay to Merlot and even some Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé. I honestly fell in love with each and every wine I tasted. Whether you enjoy fruit forward, “California style” or big terroir driven reds, Waltz will have a wine for you. While visiting, be sure to play a round of ball with their adorable vineyard dog Lucy!
Want the scoop on Waltz Vineyards? HERE you can read about every wonderful wine I tasted as well as some special releases not available anymore (unless you bought them during the vintage)!
After an entire afternoon at Waltz, it was time to walk around the Lancaster Central Market before heading to some breweries and distilleries. This is the countries oldest continuously operating market, filled with delicious local cheeses, chocolates, and so much more. It’s truly an epicurean delight! Luckily for me, Downtown Lancaster has Thistle Finch Distillery and Wacker Brewing Company under one roof! First I toured the only operating distillery in Lancaster: Thistle Finch. Here you can tour and taste a variety of ward winning Small Batch White Rye Whiskey, Market Alley Gin or Penn Square Vodka. I am wildly impressed with the spirits being distilled here, as they are smooth and quality driven. Public can tour during normal hours, taste samples, as well as join the knowledgeable bartenders at the bar for a craft cocktail.
If you’re more into beer, you don’t have to go too far to find some incredible craft beers; simply walk across the space to Wacker Brewing. After closing it’s doors in 1956, due to the companies market competition, Wacker was reborn in 2014, symbolizing Lancaster’s rich heritage and industry resurgence. A few of my favorites were the German Pale Ale and the Dunkle (dark), however if you’re seeking something lighter thats perfect for summer, then you should try the Shandy.
After almost an entire day of drinking some of the best Lancaster has to offer, it was time to check into the hotel. The Lancaster Arts Hotel is downtown in the very art driven section. This hotel was once used as a tobacco storage facility, and is now one of the top hotel’s in Lancaster! Here you will findBrick-paved history, contemporary style, old World simplicity, and world-class service. Each room is uniquely different yet stunning, with free access to the YMCA as well as jacuzzi tubs, and a delicious continental breakfast. This hotel is also great for groups and has a conference room as well as an award winning restaurant: John J. Jeffries.
Read about my unforgettable nights stay at the Lancaster Arts Hotel HERE!
John J. Jeffries: Seasonal, sustainable, farm fresh dining in the heart of downtown Lancaster, located right in the Lancaster Arts Hotel. Craft cocktails, local, national, and international wines, and craft beers are some of the perfect starts to an evening of incredible food, service, and fine dining. “The menus of John J. Jeffries change throughout the season in harmony with the harvest of our partnering small family farms. We do our best to keep this up to date but Mother Nature is on her own schedule keeping our chefs on their toes, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!”– JohnJJeffries.com
Read about my one of a kind food and cocktail dining experience HERE!
To end the evening I recommend a show at the Fulton Theater: one of Lancaster’s historic landmarks. For over 150 years, visitors and more have been entertained, educated and inspired at America’s oldest, continuously operating theatre! The Fulton produces Broadway caliber musicals, comedies, and dramas right in the heart of the artsy downtown Lancaster. This marvel of Victorian architecture combines ornate mid-Nineteenth Century grandeur with modern amenities. -DiscoverLancaster.com
If you’re seeking a quaint and cultural weekend getaway, head to Lancaster for some end of summer fun, fall foliage, or wonderful winter sights. This family friendly area of Pennsylvania is also great for couples, romantic trips, and overnight trips/weekend getaways!