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strasburg second post

Strasburg: A Town With History Part 2

As I said in my last blog post, I had to go back to Strasburg. On Tuesday, I took a trip back to visit the Strasburg Creamery and Country Store, Ed’s Buggy Rides, National Toy Train Museum, and finally The Limestone Inn Bed and Breakfast.

I was blown away by the strong aroma of fresh waffle cones and homemade fudge. I knew I was at the right place.

The Strasburg Creamery and Country Store is the place for sweets and a neat, vintage atmosphere. I met with Robin, the manager, to get the inside scoop of this space. Before the creamery and country store opened up in 1984, it used to be the town’s pharmacy and grocery store. This centrally located shop is filled with character – from the antique counter tops and booths to the vintage water fountain in the middle of the store (so convenient!). Not only does the creamery serve delicious ice cream and candy, you can also order sandwiches and hot fare (I suggest the Amish Rachael sandwich).

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In the country store, they sell all things Lancaster. Perfect place to pick up souvenirs from your trip. They provide country decor and homemade treats. From butter braided pretzel sticks to homemade butterscotch peanut butter, I was in foodie heaven! This is a great space to start and end your day trip. You can grab lunch, head off to other attractions and then end with some delicious ice cream and candy treats. The Strasburg Creamery and Country Store is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM and Sunday from Noon to 10:00 PM.

After my double dip mix of strawberry lemonade and almond joy ice cream, I needed to sit back and relax.

Ed’s Buggy Rides was the perfect way to relax and enjoy the countryside. Ed’s Buggy rides offers two different tours; one 35 to 40 minute tour through the historic Amish farm lands or a one hour Farm Tour that stops on a real Amish farm. I had the chance to ride on the Farm Tour so I hopped in the front seat with an Amish buggy driver, Ike. A buggy holds about 7 or 8 people, so you can bring the whole family. As the horses trotted down the gravel driveway and onto the country road, Ike spoke about the horses and the Amish lifestyle. As we passed by different fields he talked about the crops grown and when they are harvested. As a Lancaster native, it was interesting to hear all this information from an actual Amish man. After hearing about farm life, we got the chance to explore one for ourselves! We looked in the horse barn, the farm owner’s quilt shop and small roadside stand where they sell homemade root beer, lemonade, and whoopie pies.

After being in the sun, I needed to cool off indoors. I headed over to the National Toy Train Museum to check out unique vintage trains. To read about the rest of my trip, check back next week! I’ll be sharing my experience at the National Toy Train Museum and The Limestone Inn Bed and Breakfast.

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The author of this post, Julie Press, is currently the Marketing Intern at Discover Lancaster. She encompasses the Lancaster brand. Growing up in a farm house in Adamstown, she identifies with the rustic, homegrown feel Lancaster brings. Now relocated only minutes away from Lancaster City, she feels a strong connection to the City’s creativity, culture, and innovation. Julie studies Public Relations at Millersville University.

stras blog

Strasburg: A Town With History

Strasburg, pronounced ‘Strazburg’ names itself as the most historic town in PA Dutch country dating back to 1693. Some think Strasburg has a strong Amish background, which it does, but this town was founded by Frenchman Pierre Bezaillion. Who knew!

I lived in Adamstown all my life (Northern Lancaster County) and I have never been to Strasburg. My parents took my sister and brother to the Strasburg Rail Road™ before I was born  so I was more than excited to experience the rich culture and heritage of this Lancaster town.

As I turned off of Rt. 30’s shopping strip (Tanger and Rockvale Outlets are awesome, btw) onto a country back road I was eased by the calm, winding roads and ready for this day trip to unfold. Since Strasburg is known for trains, I had to get a feel for it. As I walked up to the Choo Choo Barn I was greeted by Krisiti, daughter of Tom Groff (artist and ‘operator’ of Choo Choo Barn). As you enter the model train layout room it could be mistaken as a set for an “I Spy” book. This space is impressive and very detailed. Tom hand crafted all animations and sets! Kristi mentioned her father, Tom uses all found objects to create the displays. Now until January 3 the Choo Choo Barn will be open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Heads up: Animations refer to any movement in the layout. Since none of the displays are from model sets, movements are hand wired by Tom and his father when the space originally opened in 1961.

Isaac’s Famous Grilled Sandwiches is conveniently located in the same shopping area as The Choo Choo Barn so I made my way into the rail road inspired Isaac’s. This restaurant serves delicious sandwiches, soups, and salads. My favorite sandwich is the Rainbow Parrot. This sandwich is loaded with savory corned beef, melted Muenster, topped with a heap of coleslaw, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions between toasted pumpernickel. The portions are large and the service is quick at Isaac’s. Isaac’s in Strasburg is open Monday through Thursday 10:00 AM till 9:00 PM, Friday and Saturday 10:00 AM till 10:00 PM and Sunday 11:00 AM till 9:00 PM.

Local history: The original Isaac’s was located inside Central Market Mall in Lancaster City since 1983. Now they have over 15 restaurants in the Central PA location.

After Isaac’s, I stopped by The Barn at Strasburg Bed and Breakfast. This country chic bed and breakfast in a renovated barn is the perfect mix of Lancaster; urban and rustic. This tucked away B&B is private and luxurious space. Erin & Jeff Hoenshell, hosts of the B&B are wonderful and do a great job at keeping the space a Lancaster oasis. The Master Suite is equipped with an oversize whirlpool tub & king size bed. The Garden Suite is furnished with a pillow-top queen bed and features a romantic, claw-foot bathtub. The Shaker Suite is inspired by the uncluttered & simplistic styles of those historic craftsmen, retains the most noticeable attribute of the original structure. For availability, click here.

Did you know: The barn served as the location for a stone mason’s business nicknamed by the locals as “The Brickyards.” Plenty of cut & dressed stones (some still partially buried) give proof to that.

Next activity on the itinerary was the Ghost tour of Strasburg. This one hour tour takes you back to the historic times of Strasburg. Kim, our tour guide, experienced encounters with the spirits of Strasburg working at the historic Strasburg Inn and when she was leading her first ghost tour. Locals hear the clops of horse hooves trotting down Main Street. Further down Main Street, we stopped at the well-known Gonder Mansion.  Annie Gonder, the “crazy sister-in-law”  still haunts by scaring men of the house. This tour balances history and haunting of Strasburg, making it a truly enjoyable and spooky time. The Strasburg tour is held Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 PM. On Saturdays at 8:00 PM there is a ghost hunting tour where they take EMF meters to wake the spirits!

Don’t startle: Make sure you call or order your tickets online for this tour ahead of time. They do not take walk up guests. Also, wear some comfortable shoes and bring your camera. You might catch an orb or two in your photographs!

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Strasburg is a hidden gem filled with unique activities that will interest all ages. This town is rooted in its historic past creating an enriching environment. From railroads to ghost tours and much more to see and do, I will definitely be coming back!

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The author of this post, Julie Press, is currently the Marketing Intern at Discover Lancaster. She encompasses the Lancaster brand. Growing up in a farm house in Adamstown, she identifies with the rustic, homegrown feel Lancaster brings. Now relocated only minutes away from Lancaster City, she feels a strong connection to the City’s creativity, culture, and innovation. Julie studies Public Relations at Millersville University.

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Downtown Lancaster Tips

Lancaster City is unique – you have to visit in order to understand. It’s exciting, it’s rich in history, heritage and the arts, and there’s an underlying hip urban vibe that permeates the community. The City boasts art in every form, restaurants and cafes, and boutique shops and hotels. Creativity, inspiration, and community envelopes this walkable City.

Come spend a day (or two) exploring. Below are a few insider tips that I believe will help you get the most out of your trip.

Tip #1 – Walk, don’t drive

Plan to walk around the City. Take your time and drink it all in. You won’t want to miss anything. From historic ghost signs to an off-the-beaten-path puppet theatre, this place has it all.

Tip #2 – Find a parking garage

Downtown Lancaster has many easily-locatable and easily-accessible garages. Although you may find street parking, chances are you’ll spend less money at a parking garage.

Tip #3 – Check gallery hours

If you like original art, check out Gallery Row located on the first and second blocks of Prince Street where you will find over 20 galleries. My tip – go online and check out gallery hours first. Not all galleries have the same hours.

Tip #4 – Take a back stage tour

Further down Prince Street, you’ll find what I like to call the “performing arts triangle.” To one side is The Trust performing arts center and directly across the street is The Ware Center; both are owned and operated by local colleges. Within a stone’s throw of these performance spaces is the majestic and historic Fulton Theatre.

These venues allow visitors to tour the facility even if you are not going to see a performance. The Fulton Theatre offers their backstage tour every Friday at Noon (the history is unique and the building is haunted). The Ware Center offers self-guided tours from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday and from 10:00 AM to 2:30 PM on Saturday (this building’s architecture is amazing). The Trust Performing Arts Center hosts tours 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Tuesdays and Fridays and from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Saturdays (this building used to be one of Lancaster’s largest banks; ask to see the vault).

Tip #5 – Eat here; shop there

I suggest checking out the menus at Aussie and The Fox and at the Pressroom Restaurant (this place has a great outdoor seating area). Don’t miss Lancaster Central Market, America’s old continually operating farmer’s market, but note the hours: Tuesdays and Fridays from 6:00 AM to 4:00 PM and Saturdays from 6:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

After grabbing a bite to eat, check out the 300 block of Queen Street where you’ll find great shopping and a quaint café – Commonwealth on Queen – that sells gourmet coffee and sweet treats from scratch. Be sure to stop at Mommalicious and Building Character.

Photography by Alysha Laird

Scientific and Spectacular

The newly renovated North Museum of Nature and Science is a fascinating place for all ages. In my early 20′s, I was learning, having fun, and genuinely interested in the exhibits and collections. This space holds a new SciDome Theater, Nature Explorer Gallery, Nanotechnology exhibit, mineral collection and mid-Atlantic region bird collection.

Photography by Alysha Laird

Photography by Alysha Laird

As you walk into the North Museum, you are welcomed by their baby t-Rex and a massive globe displaying active weather patterns. To the right of the globe, you enter SciDome Theater, a touch digital system that projects high definition video and images onto a 41-foot aluminum dome. SciDome could be compared to a planetarium, but one difference is the type of shows. This theater expanded its programming to earth science shows to give guests a new experience on topics they would never have seen in a planetarium. Right now, SciDome is showing One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure, Super Volcanoes, and Magic Treehouse: Space Mission. The imagery in SciDome is astonishing; shows give real life perspectives in a movie-like experience. On June 20, SciDome will be presenting shows daily!

Photography by Alysha Laird

Photography by Alysha Laird

Past SciDome Theater, you enter the Nature Explorer Gallery, a combination of former Discovery Room and Live Animal Room. This gallery is filled with displays of unique shells, rocks, insects, and fossils. Children can examine different objects in nature like horns, furs, and space in the hands-on section of this gallery.

The most unique portion of this gallery is a tie between the bird call drum kit and the functioning beehive. The bird call drum kit collaborates creativity with nature. You might find your child has a hidden musical talent with this interactive piece! If you’re not a beekeeper, you don’t find yourself getting too close to beehives. With the functioning beehive display, you are able to examine how the bees interact and watch how they sustain the hive! To the left of the Nature Explorer Gallery, the Live Animal Room is occupied with unique reptiles, arachnids, and amphibians and with the help of the staff you can interact with these animals and learn more about them.

The nanotechnology exhibit is a small portion of the first floor but it is fascinating! This exhibit highlights the application of nanotechnology in our everyday life in basic terms. Past the nanotechnology exhibit is the featured Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils, New Ideas. This exhibit is organized by American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, The Field Museum, Chicago, Houston Museum of Natural History, and North Carolina Museum of Natural Science. This exhibit will be on display until June 21.

The antique cabinet museum, displayed on the bottom floor, holds a large collection of male and female birds native to the Mid-Atlantic region. Past the aisles of cabinets is one of the largest mineral collections I have ever seen.

Photography by Alysha Laird

Photography by Alysha Laird

After this experience, I realized the North Museum holds innovative and cutting-edge technology and exhibits. From SciDome Theater to the bird call drum kit, live animal room, and the nanotechnology exhibit I was truly impressed. This museum would be great for a day trip with your kids. After the museum, kids can play in Buchanan Park.

The North Museum summer hours are listed below.

June 1 – August 31
Monday – Saturday:
10 am to 5 pm
Sunday:
12 noon to 5 pm
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The author of this post, Julie Press, is currently the Marketing Intern at Discover Lancaster. She encompasses the Lancaster brand. Growing up in a farm house in Adamstown, she identifies with the rustic, homegrown feel Lancaster brings. Now relocated only minutes away from Lancaster City, she feels a strong connection to the City’s creativity, culture, and innovation. Julie studies Public Relations at Millersville University.

 

The author of this post, Julie Press, is currently the Marketing Intern at Discover Lancaster. She encompasses the Lancaster brand. Growing up in a farm house in Adamstown, she identifies with the rustic, homegrown feel Lancaster brings. Now relocated only minutes away from Lancaster City, she feels a strong connection to the City’s creativity, culture, and innovation. Julie studies Public Relations at Millersville University. – See more at: http://padutchcountryblog.com/#sthash.E0rTYOAa.dpuf
The author of this post, Julie Press, is currently the Marketing Intern at Discover Lancaster. She encompasses the Lancaster brand. Growing up in a farm house in Adamstown, she identifies with the rustic, homegrown feel Lancaster brings. Now relocated only minutes away from Lancaster City, she feels a strong connection to the City’s creativity, culture, and innovation. Julie studies Public Relations at Millersville University. – See more at: http://padutchcountryblog.com/#sthash.E0rTYOAa.dpu
elitetravel

Beginner’s guide to planning group travel effectively

Back in July, my friend Alyssa was asked to organize a group trip to New York City for her church. She was asked to step in at the last minute because the original group leader, a woman with previous travel planning experience, was having some health problems and did not feel up to the job this year. Not wanting to disappoint the 30 church members who had already reserved a spot for the trip, Alyssa took on the responsibility with about five months remaining to complete the tour arrangements.

As you may have predicted, Alyssa ran into a few challenges along the way. Her predecessor had selected a suitable date, made a list of possible tourist destinations in NYC, and gathered a few quotes from local tour bus companies…that was about it. After a moment of panic, Alyssa got to work comparing different group rates and making reservations. Her trip is just around the corner now, and it seems that she was able to piece together a pretty interesting trip for her church. But Alyssa’s experience as a first-time group travel planner got me thinking: how many other people had an experience like hers? What did they do? What questions did they have? What should they have done differently?

So I decided to look into the topic and do my best to provide a short guide for anyone who is new to planning group tours. Since I’m not a group travel pro myself, I spoke with Dawn Dornes, a representative from Elite Coach, who was kind enough to answer my questions and offer some very helpful advice on the subject.

Top Priorities for Group Travel

Whether you are planning your first group tour or your twentieth, there are a few components that should be your top priorities.

  • Transportation – If you don’t have transportation, you won’t be going very far. The type of transportation you choose will depend on the number of people traveling with you. In some cases, you may be able to pile into a 15-passengar van or travel in a small caravan of cars and do the driving yourself. If you’re traveling with a larger group of people, you may require the services of a charter bus company.
  • Timetable – When asked about the appropriate timetable for arranging group travel, Dawn recommends that groups book their trips “no less than six months in advance to give folks plenty of time to plan and prepare. Long trips should be promoted 9-12 months in advance primarily because these trips cost a little more and people like to budget the expense.”
  • Know your Destinations – Although travel websites like Trip Advisor are fantastic resources for tour planners, Dawn warns against relying solely on these sites. “It’s important to know your destinations. Visit them if possible. Meet the sales staff.” If you are teaming up with a tour operator like Elite, reach out to them and ask about their experiences with the different attractions you are interested in visiting. It can also be helpful to contact the area’s group tour representatives for recommendations.

Best Ways to Save Money

Of course, a question that is always on people’s minds when preparing for group travel is “how can my group save money?” Most tourist attractions will offer some sort of discounted rate for groups. So if you are responsible for arranging every aspect of your trip, it’s highly recommended that you contact the sales team at each attraction to inquire about special group rates. Why not just look on their website? In some cases, a sales rep may be able to offer your group discounts or seasonal promotions that are not regularly listed on the business’s website.

Most attractions and restaurants typically offer a “tour operator rate” as well, which is an even lower price than a “group rate” and is only available for professional tour operators. “Sometimes, the more people in your group, the lower the price,” explains Dawn. “There may even be an opportunity to earn a complimentary package. Free is always a PLUS!”

Common Mistakes Made by Group Tour Leaders

What are some of the mistakes common among first-time group tour leaders? The folks at Elite Coach have noticed that timing is usually the biggest issue for new trip organizers. “It’s important to allow enough time from point A to B… the time it takes a car to drive is not the same for a motorcoach. What may take a family 10 minutes to do at a rest stop will take a bus full of people 20 minutes,” states Dawn. You should also account for traffic and traffic signals. “It’s surprising how much time this can eat up in your commute.” Allowing time for rest stops and other delays can help ensure that your group has plenty of time to spend at each attraction on the itinerary.

Travel Like a Pro

The best way to lead your first group tour effectively is to have a plan, ensure that everyone involved in your group’s transportation—especially your driver—is aware of the plan, and communicate with your travelers and destination personnel. If you’re arranging a trip for 25 or more people, it’s probably a good idea to partner with a tour operator who has years of experience planning group travel. “When a group leader calls one of our tour planners they want to know that we have handled every aspect of the tour on their behalf and all they need to do is put it into action,” says Dawn. “We like to make group leaders look like pros.” When passengers feel comfortable in their travel experience, they are more inclined to travel again with that particular group.

I hope these tips are able to make your group travel planning a bit less stressful. Though I regret that my friend didn’t have this information when organizing her trip to NYC.

If you are considering a group tour and would like to learn more about organizing a unique and exciting trip, be sure to contact Elite Coach for more information.

Emily Long is a Lancaster County native, singer/songwriter, and all around music lover. She is an Online PR Specialist and, on the side, works at her family’s business, Long’s Horseradish, at Lancaster Central Market. To learn more about Emily, visit her website: www.EmilyLongMusic.com.

exploreretirementliving

Enjoying the New “Non-Retirement” in Lancaster County

Nowadays, everyone says 30 is the new 20… 40 is the new 30, and so on…. Well, I’m going to take that one step further and say 62 is the new “Non-Retirement” age.

Joe works as an accountant, and is gearing up for tax season; his neighbor, Emma, is an associate pastor who leads her local church part time, and also volunteers with a local soup kitchen.  Their neighbor, Karen, takes extended birding vacations throughout the country to follow migration patterns and grow the extensive list of species she’s seen.  George and Shirley tutor local Spanish families in English as a second language, and several of their neighbors volunteer at the local “re-uzit” shop.  Lauren and Sue enjoy their swimming classes every morning, and also participate in Zumba classes on Thursdays.   Sounds like any neighborhood in America, right?  Well, you might be surprised to learn that this is also becoming a typical scenario of your average residents of Lancaster County’s retirement communities – which is why a team of Lancaster County retirement community leaders are advocating for change in the way America views the word “Retirement.”

No longer does Retirement mean sitting in a rocking chair twiddling one’s thumbs. Nor does moving to a “Retirement Community” mean life suddenly stops and one is instantly “old.” National trends show many younger families and individuals – in their low-to mid 60’s – are choosing a community lifestyle over the stress and hassle of home-ownership.  They’re also opting for the lifestyle of adventure, freedom, and companionship that comes with a full-time activities planning staff, maintenance staff, and community of friendly neighbors. Karen loves being able to travel freely without having to worry about leaving her house unattended, or coming home to an overgrown lawn.  And, as an added benefit, continuing care communities offer the peace of mind that health care services will be provided in the future, if needed.

As an employee at St. Anne’s Retirement Community for nearly eight years, I’ve witnessed this trend first-hand.  “Life’s short – why spend it mowing grass and picking leaves out of your gutters!” says one Resident with a laugh.  She continued to say how she detests shoveling, and has thankfully traded in all that “wasted time” for time that she’s now able spend doing what she wants – volunteering with our pastoral care department and providing spiritual support to other community members.

If you, or someone you know, is considering the costs and benefits of community living, don’t wait! There are so many wonderful options in Lancaster County, you’re sure to be surprised at the array of features and amenities that make each community unique and appealing to “younger-older adults.” Also, as an added value, Lancaster County offers lower cost of living rates than many metropolitan areas such as New York, Washington DC, and Philadelphia.  “Plus, the people are much friendlier,” says another St. Anne’s Resident.

Check out www.Exploreretirementliving.org  for a listing of non-profit continuing care retirement communities in Lancaster County, or www.StAnnesRC.org to learn more about St. Anne’s Retirement Community.

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Our getaway at the Apple Bin Inn

As parents of three young children you may imagine that getaways for my husband, Adam, and I are rare. However, we happened upon a Saturday night without kids. Although it was only for one night, we were excited to get away. We wanted to stay at a local Bed & Breakfast, so we chose the Apple Bin Inn in Willow Street.

When Adam and I arrived late Saturday afternoon, we were greeted by Steve, one of the innkeepers. Immediately we felt welcomed as if we were staying with long time friends. We were given a tour of the Inn then we met Steve’s wife, Jamie, and their sweet kittens Daisy and Ruby. As we toured the house, we noticed it had a cozy yet classical feel. Built in bookshelves filled an entire wall of the living room and housed every type of book you can imagine. They even have a few shelves devoted to books signed by authors as all of them had stayed overnight in the Inn. Our room was upstairs. It was comfortable, cozy, and named after the Gala apple (one of my favorites). Our bed was covered with a quilt made by Jamie’s grandmother – can you say CO-ZY? The shower was perfect (that’s important when you are on vacation!).

Steve and Jamie have plenty of information to help plan your perfect Lancaster County stay. They know Lancaster like the back of their hands. They can easily point you to restaurants, attractions, and family activities with confidence. My husband and I were impressed with their collection of real menus (not the paper takeout ones) from many local restaurants to peruse before choosing a location for dinner.

My husband and I enjoyed a date night alone that night – dinner and a movie – then heading back to the inn where we tried to force ourselves to stay up, but the welcoming bed lured us in at an embarrassingly early hour.

The next morning we managed to drag ourselves out of our comfy bed, but only due to the promise of a homemade surprise breakfast waiting for us downstairs. We met another couple staying at the inn and had a lovely breakfast with them and the innkeepers. The food served to us was AMAZING! (I’m actually drooling thinking about the French toast.) We began with orange juice, our choice of coffee or tea, and a delightful berry parfait. Then came the real treat – banana cream stuffed French toast with homemade caramel sauce. This was served with a side of local ham, which was the perfect salty balance to the delectably sweet main dish.

After breakfast we packed up and headed back to our precious kids fully refreshed, even though it was only a one-night getaway. Being parents of children ages 2, 4, and 5, we were pleased to hear that the inn is very accommodating to children. This is not common for bed and breakfasts, so to hear this was exciting for us. They even have a separate cottage with two bedrooms and a living room area – I can’t imagine a much more ideal situation when vacationing as a whole family… separate bedrooms and homemade breakfast!

We can’t say enough good things about Steve and Jamie Shane. They were very accommodating without being overbearing, and they communicated with us quickly and efficiently in the kindest manner. We will definitely be recommending this to out-of-town guests as well as local friends.

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Christina Rohrer is a stay-at-home mom with three lively children, a musical husband, and a sweet little dog.

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Getting “the perfect shot”

Nearly every great, small business has extraordinary people behind it. Tashina Roberson and her business partner, Brian Donnelly, are those extraordinary people behind Studio 841, a photography studio located in Downtown Lancaster, that specializes in food, portrait, and wedding photography.

Tashina and associate photographer, Whitney Huff, have a knack for capturing candid moments – those human moments like laughter, warm embraces, and silliness that sometimes escape the camera in the rush to capture a posed, smiling face. They go to great lengths to get the perfect shot in the studio, in the city, on location, or in one of the great parks in the area.

I experienced Tashina’s passion for getting the perfect shot first hand as she took my two sons, wife, and I out to Rockford Plantation, a bucolic, historic Revolutionary-era 18th century home in the Lancaster County Central Park. With two young children (ages 5 and 1), we were just hoping to get them looking in the right direction and smiling at the same time. We got so much more.

Tashina was exceptionally patient through the entire session, mixing poses with moments for candid interactions. We posed as a family at some choice spots around the grounds. Then we just had fun, trying to get each other to smile, setting the boys free to play, and collapsing in laughter. I knew Tashina was capturing every special moment as she laid flat in the tall grass to get a photo of our boys rolling around. The entire time she remained composed and in control.

It’s clear to me that Studio 841 can meet anyone’s wishes for their photo session whether it’s a 30-minute portrait shoot, an all-day wedding, corporate head shots, or your wildest dream.

Next time you’re considering a photographer for an event or portraits, you’ll know one that will meet your dreams with a passion.

Below are photos by Tashina and her team. To learn more about Studio 841 and to see more of their work, visit them at www.eightfourone.com.

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Nxtbook Media – the Google of Lancaster

While not technically a tourist destination, Nxtbook Media is certainly a sight to be seen. Often called “the Google of Lancaster,” Nxtbook Media is determined to show the world that while Lancaster might be smaller than many cities, it is big and mighty in the tech world. July has been an exciting time at Nxtbook as they moved into their expanded location in the trendy Urban Place complex on New Holland Avenue. The historic architecture of the building is juxtaposed with the futuristic vibe of the renovated space.

The firm specializes in strategic marketing, brand management, technology solutions, digital content management, and workplace leadership. What allows them to excel is their progressive corporate culture of creativity, teamwork, and collaboration. “We exist to inspire,” reads the beginning of their vision statement. They have over 600 clients in over 20 countries throughout the world, and even have a sister office in Manchester, England, to whom they pay tribute with a large, red phone booth in their lobby. Over 2 million users access the digital content they manage. Want an “app?” They can do that. Want to produce a video? They can do that. Want to host your company presentation in their state of the art theatre? Sure, they can do that too. Or, if you just want to stare in awe at all the blinkey lights in their multi-color LED-illuminated server room, that’s probably ok too, because I have to admit – I did.

To increase productivity and creativity, Nxtbook’s 57 employees are provided with hula hoops, brain teaser games, inspiration stations, and even encouraged to “blow off steam” and regain concentration by engaging in an occasional Nerf gun battle! (Of course, to align with their mission, employees must donate to a designated charity to participate in the Nerf battles.) To excel in wellness, the organization sponsors employee running clubs (with employee running goals posted on their wall) and healthy snacks in their two kitchens. Employees are provided with modified desks if they wish to stand at their computer rather than sit, and ergonomic positioning of chairs, keyboards, etc., is apparent everywhere. It’s no wonder they are consistently rated by Central Penn Business Journal as one of the region’s best places to work.

Nxtbook also believes in giving back to the community, and supports many local charities including Pet Pantry of Lancaster, One Run Together, and JDRF. However, if you’re wondering if they raise money by the typical dinner gala, think again! Try Chocolate syrup chugging contests, communal meals, water wars, beard growing contests, and, of course, the previously mentioned Nerf gun wars.

So, if you thought that the only technology in Lancaster County is found plowing through a corn field, think again! Nxtbook is creating an awesome trend with it’s amazing people, amazing culture, and collaborative heart of gold.

To learn more, go to www.nxtbookmedia.com.

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stanneretirecomm

The perfect destination for retirement living

I’ve been working at St. Anne’s Retirement Community for seven years now. Seven! How time flies. This is my first “real” job out of college. In my initial interview when asked “have you ever worked with older people before” [my 40-something year old boss was referring to our Residents] I replied “why of course! I work with people your age all the time!” After the howling laughter subsided from our entire senior management team who were in the interview, I returned from lobster red to my normal shade of skin color, and they unanimously decided that I was perfect for the job – PHEW!

I came to settle in Lancaster after graduating from Messiah College, and after joining the St. Anne’s team. Originally, however, I’m from Ipswich, MA, a beautiful little shore town north of Boston. So, why did I choose to stay here? The same reason that many folks are choosing to spend their retirement years here – Lancaster is awesome!  And here’s why:

People: No. I’m not being cliché, it’s true. Everyone is so nice here. People smile, they lend a helping hand, and whether they’re a “native” or not, they’re easy to make friends with!  Many folks have vacationed in Lancaster for years and it’s the compilation of those happy memories that bring them to settle down here.

Variety: There are so many choices in Lancaster. From small city charm, to country farms, to gourmet restaurants to the local diner… there’s something for everyone.

Weather: While we still have 4 seasons, they’re not nearly as extreme as one might find in New England, and we don’t have hurricanes like Florida, or droughts like the mid-west. The majority of our days are bright and sunny. The farm land is green, the sky is blue, and – as long as it’s not manure spreading day – the air is fresh!

Location: Lancaster is within a few hours drive of Baltimore, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York City, and Pittsburgh. Which means we’re conveniently located to major airports, attractions, and all that comes with that. On the other hand, if you’re more into the great outdoors, we’re also close to the Chesapeake Bay, Raystown Lake, Poconos, and Blue Mountains.

Health Care: Lancaster General Hospital, Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Center, Hershey Hospital, and other health facilities are all within minutes of downtown. In Lancaster County, there are also 17 non-profit Continuing Care Retirement Communities that offer a continuum of health care services while also providing excellent accommodations and amenities.

Cost of Living: Everything from real estate to groceries are more affordable in Lancaster compared to many larger cities. For those of you who are number crunchers, I also hear the tax benefits for older adults living in PA are better than average.

What’s great about St. Anne’s? We like to say we’re the “Just Right” community. We’re not too big, not too small  - approximately 250 Residents call us home. We’re not too fancy, but our campus is still beautifully decorated, maintained, comfortable and home-like. As a continuing-care community, St. Anne’s offers a variety of floor plans in independent living Cottages, Villas, and Apartments as well as Personal Care, Skilled Nursing Care, and Rehabilitation. Our Residents enjoy maintenance-free living so they can continue to be involved in wellness, volunteerism, and other life-enriching activates. As a non-profit organization, our Residents and our Mission will always be a priority.

Want to learn more about St. Anne’s Retirement Community? Visit: www.stannesretirementcommunity.com
Want to learn more about retirement options in Lancaster?  Visit:  www.exploreretirementliving.org

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