Monthly Archives: January 2011

Stately home, lovingly restored

One of our staff out in the Visitors Center here in Lancaster County was able to visit the Olde Square Inn, and she wanted to share about it, so this is what she had to say!

The Olde Square Inn is a beautiful stately home, lovingly restored, right on the Main Street of Mount Joy, where you can walk to numerous restaurants, shops, places of interest.  Strategically located between Lancaster and Hershey, close to a winery and several of our Rivertowns, and only 15-20 minutes to downtown Lancaster – and you can even see Amish buggies passing through on the way to their nearby farms.  The charming innkeeper is very knowledgeable about local history and can recommend some of the “out of the way” places in the area.  She serves an awesome breakfast consisting of homegrown and local products, and especially loves hosting teas and weekend retreats.

The elegant carriage house is perfect for a romantic get-away or family of four and is handicapped accessible.  Lovely gardens and a pool are additional amenities.

Amish Country Mysteries, a look into Amish culture

I must admit, I love reading a good mystery book. I grew up reading Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys, and then moved on to more “grown up” mysteries, like Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, and Sherlock Holmes books. I recently read the first book in the Amish-Country Mysteries series, Blood of the Prodigal. In his books, author P. L. Gaus writes in a way that teaches readers about the Amish and their culture, all the while, weaving it into a great, suspenseful mystery.

Blood of the Prodigal is not set in Lancaster County, it’s actually set in Ohio, which has the largest population of Amish (followed by us here in Pennsylvania). In the book, a young boy, Jeremiah Miller, is abducted from the farm, and his grandfather, who is the Bishop, asks someone who he trusts in the English world to help his find his grandson. Professor Branden, is now introduced, he is who Bishop Miller turns to for help. He is asked not to turn to the police, and at points in the book feels like he’s not getting the full story.

Branden looks into Jeremiah’s father, Jonah, as his primary suspect for where Jeremiah will be found. He finds out that Jonah is a young man who never took his Amish vows after Rumschpringe, the time when the Amish teens are permitted to experience the English life, or “run around.” Soon Branden is not only looking into a kidnapping, but also trying to find a murderer.

This is a great series to read when you want to learn about the Amish culture, and it gives you a great perspective from the Amish’s point of view. I would definitely recommend it, and I can’t wait to continue reading the series! If you’d like to get a copy of this book, they are available in bookstores everywhere, as well as online at these retailers.

Adamstown is full of hidden treasures

So many people travel to Lancaster County each year, and they come for various reasons, some come for the Amish, others for the scenic winding roads, maybe you’ve been here since you were a kid, and our bargains, farmland, and family entertainment have brought you back with your kids, year after year. No matter what you come for, there’s a town for you.

Adamstown is one of those unique towns that people come to Lancaster County for. Nestled in the countryside of northeastern Lancaster County, Adamstown is known for it’s antiques. In fact, it’s sometimes known as “Antiques Capital, USA!” You can find tons of treasures of the past ranging from furniture, historic postcards, or collectibles here. Whether you’ve come to Lancaster to just browse, or if you’re looking for something specific, you’re sure to walk away from Adamstown with at least one thing!

I always find it fun to go without looking for anything in particular, as you’re sure to see lots of great things along the way. My favorites to shop for are vintage board games – my family grew up playing board games together, and my dad has a lot of games from when he was a kid that are hard to find now. Recently on a trip antiquing, I found the game Star Reporter, produced in 1952. It was one of my favorites growing up, and is rare to find in good condition, as you’re required to stick pins into the board as your pieces.

So next time you’re headed to Lancaster County, be sure to save some time for perusing shops in Adamstown – you never know what you might find!

An awesome recipie for pumpkin squares

I’m always looking for new meals to make for my husband, whether it’s asking friends for recipes that they’ve tried, or searching the internet. Little did I know, I’ve got a great resource right here in my own backyard – our Bed & Breakfast owners!

I came across a great recipe for Pumpkin Squares on the PA Dutch Inn’s blog, which you can find here. Lancaster County has tons of great Inns and Bed & Breakfasts, where they’ve got lots of yummy breakfast recipes. You’ve got to think, they’re always refining them for their guests, so they truly have the best of the best! The Hurst House, an absolutely gorgeous Bed & Breakfast in Ephrata, is where Mrs. Bert Hurst serves a delicious breakfast for her guests.

If you’ve never been to a Bed & Breakfast in Lancaster County, PA, you should definitely check out the Hurst House – it’s beautiful! It’s an elegant Victorian Mansion, located on top of a hill overlooking beautiful Amish & Mennonite farmland. Right now – while there’s snow covering the fields, it is a spectacular sight! Enjoy the pumpkin squares!

Pumpkin Squares
Mix 1 1/3 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup melted butter and press it into an oblong cake pan until you’ve lined the entire bottom.

Beat 2 eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, and 8 oz. of cream cheese together, and pour it over the graham crumb crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Cook 2 cups pumpkin, 3 egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. cinnamon in a saucepan until thick, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle 1 envelope of plain geletin into 1/4 cup water. When dissolved, add it to the pumpkin mixture, and let it cool until it mounds.

Beat 3 egg whites until stiff. Add 1/4 cup of sugar. Fold it into the pumpkin mixture. Pour that over the cooled crust. Refrigerate. Top with cool whip before serving!

Shoofly pie. Shoo-fly pie. Shoo fly pie.

No matter how you spell it, it’s delicious!

Shoofly pie is a fluffy molasses pie that’s a traditional dessert here in Lancaster County, PA. The pie got it’s name because the molasses in it attracts flies, so when you’d sit the pie on the window sill to cool, you’d constantly be shooing the flies away.

Most people eat “wet bottom” shoofly pie, which differentiates from “dry bottom” shoofly pies because there’s a gooey bottom layer that forms when the pie bakes. “Dry bottom” shoofly pie is more cake like.

You may already know all of that, but did you know that now when the Amish are having a large picnic, they sometimes will bake extra shoofly pies to put around the perimeter of their picnic, so that the flies are drawn away from their food? Maybe that’s a trick that I should try at my next picnic!

Here’s a great recipe for some delicious shoofly pie!


  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pastry shell
  • 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup molasses
    • 1 egg
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 cup boiling water
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • Dash salt
    • 6 tablespoons cold butter
  1. Line pastry with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove foil; brush crust with egg yolk. Bake 5 minutes longer; cool on a wire rack.
  2. For filling, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, molasses, egg, flour and baking soda; gradually add boiling water. Cool to room temperature; pour into prepared crust.
  3. For topping, in a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and filling is set. Cool on a wire rack. Store in the refrigerator.
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