Featured Story

wolf_sanctuary

Lancaster’s Wolf Sanctuary

There are three sounds I’ve heard in my life that I will never forget: the sound of my mom singing “Day is Done” (don’t ask); the sound of pebbles washing back into the waves on the beach in Riomaggiore, Italy; and the sound of 45 wolves howling at once.

These 45 wolves live a mere 15 miles away from my house, at the Wolf Sanctuary in Speedwell Forge. The sanctuary is a non-profit organization that maintains a natural environment for rescued wolves and wolf-hybrids, educating visitors about wolf culture and the plight of these species – many of which are extinct or endangered.

The day that I visited the sanctuary was muddy. I changed into the boots that I keep in the trunk of my car (doesn’t everyone?). Shortly after, a busload of boys aged 13-16 showed up as part of a school field trip. Now, I have two younger brothers, and I remember ages 13-16. Not pretty! As I walked around for an hour that day, I not only observed the wolves, learning about their histories, personalities, and behaviors. I also observed the students, fascinated by their fascination, respect, and interest in learning about these regal creatures.

If a wolf sanctuary can keep 20+ teen/preteen boys interested, I’m willing to bet almost everyone will love the experience. The sanctuary is volunteer-run and open year-round, offering public tours on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays (visit their website for registration details). They also run special events, including full moon tours which draws hundreds of people and includes a bonfire and fundraisers like the upcoming Music and Art with the Wolves (May 9, 11am-3pm). If you go, here is my advice:

  • Wear comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy.
  • Go in the winter if possible. The wolves are more active and their coats are full when it’s cold.
  • Bring a camera.
  • Bring all of your friends.

And lastly, ask your tour guide to try to get the wolves to howl together. This is how they communicate with each other within and between packs. To be honest I have never heard a more haunting and beautiful sound.

RAW

Reading Art Works, the perfect venue

Surprises are few and far between when you have lived in the same place for your entire life; especially when it comes to aspects of culture you love like food, wine, and entertainment, but recently I was pleasantly surprised. The revelation: a trip to a local event rental and art gallery space called Reading Art Works (RAW).

Located just outside of the historical section of Reading, PA, RAW impresses from the second you walk through the door. Owners Janice and David Telstar are celebrating RAW’s 8th year in business in the old Pattern Works building, originally known for producing railroad engine parts. When they bought the building it suffered from typical abandonment issues: stained floors, broken windows, leaking roofs, and an overall state of decay. What they have done with the place is astonishing. David combined his love for refurbishing old items and carpentry with Janice’s 30+ years of event planning knowledge to create a space that screams “industrial chic.” Beautifully restored sliding garage doors separate the available studio spaces (available for rent starting at $350) while David’s furniture creations, ranging from birdhouses to high top tables made from old shutters, leave no doubt in any potential renter’s mind of the infinite possibilities available at RAW.

Simply put, this space is gorgeous. With its two levels, RAW can hold events for up to 800 people including holiday parties, weddings, photography shoots, and more. The space lends itself to the imagination, and with the help of the on-site interior designer, Karen Weinberger, any event can be transformed into your wildest dreams. Karen is a talented self-taught artist, and RAW is home to her event décor business, British Brat @ Studio #5.  She offers Decor Rental and Design Services to assist RAW customers in fulfilling their vision of a picture perfect day, all while keeping your budget intact. Decor Rental items include lounge areas, chalk boards, old windows, new crystal chandeliers and much more.  In addition Karen can design and customize ceremony backdrops, create ceiling decor, photo backdrops, etc. You can see some her work on RAW’s facebook page.

The studio spaces on the first floor are spacious with radiant light shining through the building’s restored windows. The art gallery featured on the first floor is breathtaking on its own. Presently adorned with pieces by a local Philadelphia artist, Kathleen Shaver, the space is clean, modern, and leaves you with a sense of sophistication and creativity. If the first floor left me breathless, entering the loft sent me to heaven. The short staircase to the second floor leads into an open room with hardwood floors, industrial beams, and gorgeous light through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Walking around this loft, even devoid of event decorations, would give any past, present, or future bride chills. I could not stop thinking about the possibilities for such a space and neither can David. We spent an hour talking about his ideas for expansion, some including the addition of gardens and decks; let me tell you, these ideas will only amplify the success of this business.

With its unique location, interior aesthetic, and personable staff, I highly recommend Reading Art Works to anyone looking for gallery space, event space, or even a wedding location. You would be crazy not to take advantage of the natural sunlight, the exceptional artwork, and the simple industrial beauty that RAW has to offer. I can only thank David and Janice enough for enlightening me to such a wonderful surprise so close to home!  Visit RAW’s website at http://readingartworks.com.

avalanchexpress

Snow Tubing: Not Just For Kids (But They’ll Love It Too)

I didn’t have snow pants. I didn’t have gloves. But that didn’t stop me from reveling in my first snow tubing experience at AvalancheXpress. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Here’s what you need to know:

Hot chocolate bar. First things first—there is a hot chocolate bar where you can add your own toppings including sprinkles, whipped cream, smashed up M&Ms and Oreos, and (most importantly) AS MANY MINI MARSHMALLOWS AS YOUR HEART DESIRES.

Racing is a thing. There are 8 lanes at the top of the hill. You can pick a hill next to your friend, launch at the same time, and race to the bottom. If you’re tubing with your lover (also a thing), you can pick a wide lane and hold onto each others tube as you speed to the bottom. If this can’t save a relationship I don’t know what can.

Tow rope-lines. The worst thing about sledding growing up was walking back up the hill. The struggle is real. Not at AvalancheXpress, however. There are two powered rope-lines that will pull you (in tube!) back up to the top of the hill. Of course, fitness buffs can choose to walk up if they choose; it’s a good way to wear your kids out. But being pulled up backwards feels almost like a fun ride in and of itself.

To get to the bathrooms you have to pass right by the hotel bar. Self explanatory, yes?

FIRE. At the bottom of the hill (protected by nets and bumpers for those exuberant tubers) are four fire pits, complete with chairs. It’s the perfect spot to stop between downhill trips to warm your hands and thaw your face. And if tubing isn’t your thing, it’s the perfect place to watch the fun.

Night tubing. Did I mention I did all of this at night? AvalancheXpress does night tubing from 8-10 PM (weekdays & Sundays) and 9-10 PM (Fridays & Saturdays). It’s so worth it. I only had to stand in line once, with about 5 people in front of me. There were very few children. Plus, hurtling through the darkness?? Nearly indescribable.

Make no mistake, this hill is BIG. It was intimidating at first, then immediately addictive. I couldn’t stop laughing each time I flew down, and by the end of the night, I wasn’t sure if my face hurt from the cold or from smiling.

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.

central market

Lancaster in Love

Ok, on one hand, I am a romantic. I am guilty of singing along to cheesy love songs, crying at Hallmark commercials, and quoting the Moulin Rouge. On the other hand, I have never thought much of the commercial side of Valentine’s Day. I am a firm believer in presence versus presents and the importance of sharing priceless experiences with those we love. This holiday weekend, there are plenty of ways to both love Lancaster and experience Lancaster in love.

First, there is the Fire and Ice Festival in Lititz this weekend from February 13-16. See over 50 amazing ice sculptures, have fun at the Block Party and the Winter Wonderland Carnival, and support local charities while eating your way through the annual chili cook-off. I will be rooting for the Ephrata VFW and my good friend Rebecca Gallagher, owner of the Smithton Inn. Check out her 3Bs Chili – made with Beef, Bison, and Boniface.  If her chili is anything like her breakfasts, you will fall in love at first bite.

Looking for a unique culinary experience? Several local restaurants are hosting pop-up BYOB dinners this Valentine’s Day.  Tomato Pie Café in Lititz will feature a special Prix Fixe dinner with local chef Katie Horst on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and Commonwealth on Queen is hosting a four-course dinner from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. on Saturday in Downtown Lancaster.

Rather have brunch? Have you been to Wynridge Farms yet? This weekend is the perfect excuse. The site features a tasting room, their own craft beer, cider, and soda, and a rustic backdrop for weddings and special events. You will fall in love with the view alone. Their “Celebrate Love” event not only features dinner on both Friday and Saturday nights, but also a brunch on Saturday morning. Check out the gallery of pictures below from my tour of the site and click here to view the menu.  I also do not want to forget Pour. Their Valentine’s brunch this Sunday features everything from banana pancakes to fresh-squeezed mimosas.

Want to stay in on Valentine’s Day and avoid the crowds? The Lancaster Central Market will have everything you need to cook a special breakfast, lunch, or dinner that features local favorites. I have often created my own pop-up meal by stopping first at Central Market for fresh produce, breads, meats, and cheeses. I will then grab a bottle of “Family Reserve” olive oil from the Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom, a bottle of Baron red wine from Waltz Vineyards, and dark chocolate truffles from Cafe Chocolate. It may be cold outside, but the location for a private pop-up dinner is only limited by your imagination.

Both Cafe Chocolate and Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom even have special products available to purchase this Valentine’s Day. Seasons has a Valentine’s Day sampler that includes Blood Orange Fused Olive Oil, Black Cherry Balsamic Vinegar, and a recipe card to make a delectable chocolate cake with both ingredients. Yum! So, no excuses! If you are looking to partner any experience this weekend with amazing food, Lancaster has got you covered.

What are your Valentine’s Day plans this weekend in Lancaster? How do you like to celebrate? A show at the Fulton? Music at Tellus360? An outdoor adventure at one of our County Parks? Are you going out or staying in? We want to hear from you! Tag your favorite photos on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with #LancasterinLove and let us hear your weekend story! We may feature the 10 best on the site next week!

Click here to see Andrea’s blog.

P.S. Just in case you were looking for a soundtrack for the weekend…Here is Billboard’s current list of the 50 greatest love songs. I swear I was not singing along to David Cassidy as I wrote this.

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.

amishvillage

Visiting the Amish Village

When I was six years old, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than by hanging out with animals, especially horses. I jumped at any chance I got to see them. And of course, like most young kids, I loved learning about new things from a hands-on experience. Well I’m not a child anymore (though my older, wiser siblings might disagree with this), but as an Aunt to five wonderful nieces and nephews, I have the opportunity to see their faces light up when running around a playground or petting a live animal much like mine did at their age. So when I got the chance the visit the Amish Village, I thought it would be fun to take my oldest nephew, Silas, along for the ride!

Strolling through the Village

When we first arrived at the Amish Village, Silas and I were greeted by a friendly staff member who assisted us in a quick registration before directing us to the Village. We were free to explore many different buildings that are part of their Amish community. Silas thoroughly enjoyed feeding the horses and roosters in the barn. And I loved that we were free to visit each area of the Village at our own pace. There were always staff members available to answer any questions we had about a particular tool or building but no one made us feel rushed. Silas and I checked out a real Amish buggy and got an up-close look at Amish farm tools and equipment in the blacksmith shop. After snapping a few photos in the Village, we headed toward the property entrance to meet our driver for the backroads bus tour.

 Our Backroads Bus Tour Excursion

While the animals may have been the highlight for my nephew, the bus tour was my favorite part of the visit! Our tour guide was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. She took us to parts of the county I had never seen before—and remember, I am Lancaster born and raised. We stopped at an Amish bakery along the way as well as a small Amish farm that sold handmade crafts and homemade snacks. I couldn’t resist a pint of fresh-squeezed lemonade for the ride. It was delish! We saw children riding through cornfields on carts pulled by miniature ponies, we passed buggies, and we drove through the rolling hills of Lancaster County’s countryside for about 90 minutes. It was quite picturesque, and everyone on the tour thoroughly enjoyed the experience. NOTE: The backroads bus tour is not recommended for children under five.

After we arrived back at the Amish Village, Silas and I decided to take one last look around the grounds. It was neat to see what an Amish schoolhouse looks like from the inside—Silas was very intrigued by the reading and math exercises displayed on the chalkboard. We made sure to check out the water wheel during our visit as well. Did you know that even today most Amish farms use a water wheel and windmill to operate a pump that provides water to animals in the barn? Fascinating stuff!

Planning Your Visit to the Amish Village

If you’d like to experience an authentic Amish property, Silas and I recommend visiting the Amish Village. It’s a great place for both kids and adults to learn in a fun, hands-on environment. They even offer a 25-minute farmhouse tour in addition to the bus tour we were on. You can find all of their tour package information and rates on the Amish Village website. Experience how the Pennsylvania Amish really live today!

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.

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. – See more at: http://padutchcountryblog.com/pedal-preserve-lancaster-county-farms/#sthash.yrgaTAWZ.dpuf
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. – See more at: http://padutchcountryblog.com/pedal-preserve-lancaster-county-farms/#sthash.yrgaTAWZ.dpuf
aussieandfox

A Prince, a Fox, and a Queen Walk Into a Room

I am currently working towards my Ph.D. in American and Urban Studies and I spend a lot of time writing, photographing, and (most importantly) eating my way across New York City, the subject of my dissertation. I have a go to restaurant in most neighborhoods – establishments at all price points that feature every type of cuisine imaginable. One of the greatest myths is that dining in Manhattan is expensive; it doesn’t have to be.  All of this to say… I like food, a lot! I am willing to try (just about) anything once.

Don’t hate me, but I will be the first to admit that I was slightly hesitant about the available options for dining in Lancaster. Where would I find that magical spot with character and coffee to write? Who would do brunch well? Who would not only have fresh food and craft cocktails, but would also offer great happy hours and affordable dining options? Little did I know that some of my favorite culinary spots would turn out to be right here in my own backyard!

My Prince
Starting with the Prince Street Café. Have you ever sat at one of their window seats on a snowy day? Have you ever left with a piece of art you just had to have from the
6 x 6 show by Infantree? Have you ever had an unforgettable meeting there that turned out to be about much more than the coffee? (You will want to answer yes, yes, and yes by the way.) My daytime drink of choice is a London Fog (warm or iced) – Earl Grey tea steeped in vanilla steamed milk. While it sounds like a simple concoction, no one makes that drink the way that Prince Street can and no one makes it well iced. Believe me, much to the chagrin of my friends, I have asked baristas all over the country to try and replicate it.  Nothing can come close. So, good coffee (and tea)… check. Character… check. Spot for potential romance…check.

The Dapper Fox 
Now to brunch!  How does candied grapefruit with whipped Mascarpone and blackberries, chicken and waffles, and a Bloody Mary sound? Not hungry yet? How about a Crab Benedict and a Pear Bellini? Aussie and the Fox does both brunch and cocktails extremely well. As a matter of fact, some of my most memorable cocktails have been mixed there. You will discover that I have a weak spot for anything with Gin, St. Germaine, or Chartreuse in it. I still reminisce about both their Berry Basil Smash and their Frankenstein. Their offerings change seasonally and incorporate the freshest of ingredients. Plus Aussie and the Fox now features occasional movie nights and a cozy atmosphere, perfect for snuggling up and sharing a plate with someone on a cold winter night.

Fit for a Queen 
Since I like to do a lot of my work from cafes, I have had the pleasure of experiencing breakfast, brunch, and lunch at Commonwealth on Queen. However, it was a special experience on a Saturday evening with Chef Nick Furrow this past fall that really “wowed” me. The restaurant, which is typically closed for dinner, opened its doors for an Italian pop-up dinner event, “Mangiare Bene.” Chef Furrow personally greeted each table and explained his menu choices.

Plus the event was BYOB as is their weekly Sunday brunch. Red wine, fresh local food, and good company, there is simply nothing better. The Commonwealth on Queen team is also fabulous at photography. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to check out their Snickerdoodle Belgian Waffles and other fabulous drinks.

Just like photography, food (and drinks) will play a major role in this column each week. I will return to these favorites in much more detail, but will also feature some of my other beloved haunts such as John J. Jeffries, Sa La Thai, Checkers Bistro, and Pour in future entries.  While admittedly I am a city girl, I also promise to include culinary choices throughout the county too.

http://urbansocialblend.org/2/category/aussie%20and%20the%20fox/1.html

lancasterauthentic

Don’t be Dutch, be Authentic

G. Robert Wagner is a part of the fabric that makes Lancaster County authentic and unique. Born and raised in Lancaster City, he is the descendant of Pennsylvania “Dutch” or German ancestors that settled this location.

Wagner had just graduated from college when he was assigned to illustrate the official Lancaster County Seal in 1976 for the Bicentennial. What a start to a successful career in design!

After years in the design business, Wagner decided he wanted to put his efforts into expressing what he loves and what makes his heart sing: the charm of Lancaster County.

It started with a simple idea: When you shop in Lancaster county, wouldn’t it be nice to take home something created by a local artist?

All designs are inspired by local or traditional artwork such as patterns on an Amish quilt. All shirts are designed and printed locally by G. Robert Wagner.

There are many places to find shirts and posters by Authentic Lancaster including:

1. Plain & Fancy Farm Restaurant & Gift Shop, 3121 Old Philadelphia Pike, Intercourse, PA 717-768-4400
2. Shady Maple Smorgasbord & Gift Shop, 1324 Main Street, East Earl, 717-354-4981
3. Bird-In-Hand Bake Shop, 542 Gibbons Road, Bird-In-Hand, 717-656-7947
4. Lancaster Central Market, Old Lancaster Square, Lancaster, 717-285-4795
5. Amish Farm & House, 2395 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, 717-394-6185
6. The Amish Village, Route 896, Strasburg, 717-687-8511

Look for the Lancaster Authentic label and take home a part of the heritage from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

photos

The Beauty and Diversity of Lancaster on Instagram

Due to the recent success of Discover Lancaster’s #Lancastergram contest on Instagram, this past fall the Ephrata Merchants Association and the Historic Ephrata Cloister decided to launch #Ephratagram, a photography contest (also on Instagram) designed to showcase the beauty and diversity of Ephrata. During the contest, Instagram users tagged their favorite Ephrata photographs with the #Ephratagram hashtag. Three local photographers blindly judged the 238 entries that were submitted. The judges scored all entries and selected ten finalists and five honorable mentions. All fifteen photos are featured here and will be on display at the Historic Ephrata Cloister during the month of February. The winning photographs will remain on display for the rest of 2015 at various Ephrata businesses. The grand prize winner has been featured on a special note card set that the Ephrata Merchants Association has been selling at local businesses to benefit area non-profits.

Several photographers who had “finalist” photos for both #Lancastergram and #Ephratagram contests have also been featured by @DiscoverLancaster – specifically, @SethDochter and @Dave_Berk. Seth and Dave can be found documenting local landmarks throughout the year and at all times of the day. The Instagram community in Lancaster is very active, sponsoring Photo Walks and meet-up events throughout the year.

For this – the Locals Love Lancaster blog – the photography is just as important to me as the words. I use Instagram as a way to showcase where I live, my personality, and interests. Feel free to follow along @urbansocialblend.

Remember to use the hash tags #localslovelancaster and #discoverlancaster. We can’t wait to see your photos!

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