Tag Archives: Bed & Breakfast

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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Overnight in Bird-in-Hand

Being newlyweds with busy schedules, my husband, Ashlin, and I make it a point to getaway at least once a month. This month we decided to stay local, so I reserved a night at Greystone Manor Victorian Inn in Bird-In-Hand.

Pulled in different directions that day, my husband and I decided to meet at the B&B. I was the first to arrive.

When I arrived, I was immediately greeted with a freshly baked cookie and a tour of the B&B which included a convenient refreshment bar where Ashlin and I could help ourselves to hot coffee, tea, and snacks at any time during our stay. After the tour, I settled into our room (#3), which was so spacious and cozy. It was beautifully decorated with a set of stained glass windows directly in back of a massive wooden canopy bed (seriously, I have never seen a bed more majestic looking!). I took advantage of the time I had before Ashlin arrived to watch some TV (we don’t have cable at our house), so this was a treat.

Once Ashlin arrived, I showed him around and we made plans for the rest of our weekend. Then, tired from our day, we called it a night and crawled into our bed. The bed had the most comfortable pillows ever (hello, memory foam)!

The morning came too quickly, and we had no desire to leave those memory foam pillows. But once we both work up and got dressed, we made our way downstairs for breakfast.

Angela, the innkeeper, greeted us with a big smile and told us all about breakfast. It was a massive buffet full of fresh fruits, muffins, pastries, and a bunch of other goodies from Bird-In-Hand Farmers Market, located right down the road from them. I had such a hard time picking what I wanted. Everything looked scrumptious! In addition to the buffet, Angela also offered us freshly made bacon & cheese quiche. It was which was unbelievable!

After breakfast, Angela said we could look around the house and see the open rooms… I never turn down the chance to be nosy. I loved every single room I saw, each had their own unique Victorian character.

We absolutely loved our getaway at Greystone Manor and will be telling our friends to take their own getaway there, too.

Abby Hollinger and her husband, Ashlin, live in Lancaster County. They enjoy outdoor adventures, overnight getaways, and spending time with friends and family.

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A Cottage suitable for a King

No strangers to the bed and breakfast experience, my husband and I recently added an excellent inn to our list of favorite places, King’s Cottage Bed and Breakfast. Our stay could not have been more memorable – a historic inn, beautiful room, and welcoming inn keepers.

Owners and seasoned innkeepers, Janis Kutterer and Ann Willets originally hail from different directions of the east coast but found each other and quickly became friends in North Carolina. Twelve years ago, a much needed change prompted Janis and Ann to acquire the King’s Cottage property and since then they have become a leading bed and breakfast in the Lancaster area belonging to multiple organizations including the Select Registry.

With eight rooms, each decorated in a unique royal fashion and equipped with personal fireplaces, guests are sure to find the right fit for their night or nights away. Our room appropriately entitled “The Majestic Chamber” was simply that, majestic. We walked into the room and noticed immediately the large ornately carved king bed, a side table beautifully set for an “in-room” breakfast option, and a warm fireplace. However, the true star of this room was the en suite bathroom where a large double whirlpool tub plus shower awaited us. Ann and Janis quickly let us know this is the “romantic” room often frequented by honeymooners, couples celebrating anniversaries, and those looking for a luxurious night away. This was a first for us, never had we been treated to such luxury and service in an bed and breakfast.

After we took in the majesty of our room, we explored the inn then sat down with Janis and Ann who were more than eager to share their knowledge of the local community, things to do, and places to eat. While we talked, I enjoy a glass of wine and fresh pumpkin pie that the inn keepers made for their guests. We also snuggled with the inn’s resident pet greeter, Sampson. The hospitality and genuine nature of these two ladies makes you feel at home. My husband and I enjoyed learning about their history and that of the inn.

Most people enjoy the room and the local area, but what they really want is a good breakfast and the King’s Cottage does not disappoint. My husband and I were treated to a two-course meal starting with a parfait made with local fruits, Greek yogurt, and granola from a local bakery. However, the star of the meal was the french toast, beautifully constructed with fresh orange, orange liqueur, and topped with pecans and Lancaster maple syrup, it was unlike any french toast I have ever had. Combined with a nice cup of hot tea, we sat in bliss in the dining room and enjoyed the view from the large glass windows while Sampson snuggled at our feet.

Unique to the inn were the small nuances in personalized tea bags, warm coffee mugs, local crafts, and Lancaster chocolates found as you browsed the great living room and covered outdoor patio areas. In addition to these small surprises, Ann and Janis also offer spa packages with a multitude of massages and treatments to choose from.

This inn truly is spectacular and I highly recommend it as a stay for anyone looking for a downtown experience that still remains relaxing and very enjoyable.

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Marietta has the perfect B&B for you

Marietta is a quaint town that I’ve always loved to visit, but I’ve never spent more than a couple hours there. So when I was given the opportunity to stay at B. F. Hiestand House Bed & Breakfast (located in Marietta), I jumped at the chance. Being a photographer, I could tell the story better with photos… but I’ll do my best with words.

After a friendly hello from Quincy, a sweetheart of a lab, the human owners of B. F. Hiestand House B&B, Dallas and Pam, greeted my husband Jesse and I with freshly baked cookies. (I knew immediately that I was going to love this place!) After Dallas gave us a tour, we settled into our room.

Our room – The Susquehanna Room – was bright and airy and the bathroom was spacious and immaculate. It was love at first sight. The sink and wall tiles are original to the house which was built in 1887. Original hardware is always a plus – and it’s fun to photograph.

For dinner we decided to try a local tavern. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming; the food and beer were fabulous! A perk of staying at the B&B was a nice 10% discount. After dinner, we retired to our room where we got cozy in the four-poster bed and watched TV. The bed was so comfy – and the sheets, too! It was lovely!

Breakfast the next morning was wonderful: poached pears, muffins, South Western fritatta, sausage, and au Gratin potatoes. Quincy decided that I was the best person to sit under as he thought I couldn’t possibly finish everything on my plate (smart dog!). We met some of the other guests and had a nice conversation with Pam about the area and her family. We lingered long after breakfast – it was really nice out-of-the-ordinary experience for Jesse and I.

We spent the day doing things we don’t often get to do – see a movie in a theater, met up with some friends for drinks, then ended the day with dinner at a local pub.

Breakfast on Sunday morning was another marvel. Pam prepared it early for us as we had to pack up and leave… broiled blueberries with cream and brown sugar and French toast. It was heavenly.

We had a lovely time at B. F. Hiestand House B&B. We fell in love with the character of the house – the veranda, the dark wood staircase leading to the second floor, the original tile work in two of the many bathrooms, and so much more. This 127 year old house is beautiful and beautifully kept.

Jesse and I highly recommend an overnight stay, and we guarantee that Dallas and Pam will make you feel welcome.

This post was written by guest blogger, Aubri Porter. Aubri is a professional photographer who loves crafting and lives in Lancaster City with her talented husband, young son, and sweet pooch.

To learn more about Marietta, click here.

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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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Our enchanting overnight stay

I wanted to take my husband on a local overnight getaway for his birthday. I was envisioning a relaxing, carefree, and welcoming environment. I got just that when we stayed at the Australian Walkabout Inn Bed and Breakfast.

When I booked our stay, I spoke with Lynne. She could not have been nicer. Lynne and Bob are the Innkeepers and are especially gifted at making their guests feel like family. I was impressed with her ability to be professional yet warm. I booked our stay in the Outback Cottage because it had a private hot tub. I also booked a couples relaxation massage.

When my husband and I arrived, we were greeted by Bob. He explained that he was taking another couple to their room and he would be with us shortly. We walked into the front door to wait for Bob. When we entered, Matt and I were impressed with the decorations. They were done with great detail and thought. It was obvious that the innkeepers wanted their place to feel like home but also elegant. We had made our way into the sitting room to wait for Bob. Only a short time later, he arrived. He offered us coffee and began explaining where the massage would take place, what time breakfast would be starting, and gave us our room key. He then led the way to the Outback Cottage.

When we opened the door to the cottage, I was struck with how lovely it was. Immediately we saw a fire place, a Keurig, and a private hot tub – score! But the best part of the room was the completely inviting king-sized bed.

A short time later we were to arrive for our massages. We went into the main house and walked up the stairs to the third floor. The massage therapists were there waiting for us. The room was very relaxing. We were ready to put our cares and worries behind us for just one hour. The massage therapists did a great job by relaxing us and we felt so comfortable in their care. Once the massage was over, we went out to dinner and then arrived back at our room.

We turned on some music, along with the fire place, and got in the hot tub. It was so nice that I tried to coax my husband into redoing our bedroom to model this one. He didn’t budge. We then went to bed and we both slept like babies because of how relaxed we were from the massage, hot tub, comfortable bed, and perfect room temperature.

In the morning we took our time getting up, made some coffee, and then got ready. We painfully said goodbye to the best room we have ever stayed in. We walked into the main house and were greeted by other guests as we waited for breakfast. The other guests were quite pleasant and very interesting to talk to. We all went into the dining room and sat down at the two large dining room tables. The tables were decorated in a charming way and I was eagerly anticipating what lovely food we might be served. I had previously discussed with Lynne that I must eat gluten free foods and am very sensitive to even the smallest amount of gluten touching my food. She said it would not be a problem. I was anticipating that we would have eggs, bacon, etc. for breakfast so, imagine my surprise when Lynne brought out a piping hot baked oatmeal dish. It was so delicious – I could have eaten the whole batch!

We had a wonderful experience and could have easily stayed there for a week. My husband and I both decided that every year for our anniversary, we will stay at the Australian Walkabout Inn and request the Outback Cottage. It was an absolutely enchanting experience. One that I more than ready to repeat again!

Julie Iddings grew up in Lancaster County. She continues to be charmed by the quaintness of the small towns and villages of Lancaster, but also the artistic and thriving Downtown. Julie resides in Marietta with her family.

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An overnight stay with former Amish

I hopped in the car and drove east. The drive was familiar although the destination uncertain. This city gal left Downtown Lancaster and breathed a sigh of relief. I needed an escape from the emails and the meetings, from the loud music and bright lights. For one night I was offered an escape to the countryside to stay overnight with a former Amish family.

Much of my time outside of the city has been spent down in Pequea where I discovered trails, dipped in swimming holes, and climbed around the endless curves that make up its wooded roads. This time I was traveling to the flat, open farmland. The cornstalks stood at attention, swaying slightly in the evening breeze. Cows and horses dotted the grassy hills, as I called out in excitement, the same excitement that had existed in my childhood. As the sunlight dwindled, I followed my GPS not once, but twice past my supposed destination. I pulled over and checked the address, finding my location the good ol’ fashioned way by looking at mailboxes and fence posts for house numbers.

As I neared my destination, Stoltzfus Bed & Breakfast, I saw a large, white farmhouse with green trim that sat atop a hill and was nestled between farms. I pulled into the driveway and up past the house to park. I was greeted by one of the owners, Ginger Stoltzfus, a lovely, charming and bubbly personality, her smile kind and sparkly. She told me a bit of the mansion’s history. It was built in 1845 and served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. My challenge was to find where freed slaves had hidden; this task, however, was completely forgotten as I took in my surroundings and the warm demeanor of my hosts. Sam Stoltzfus had joined us in the tour and we made it as far as the dining room table before I realized my complete neglect of this part of Lancaster County.

The three of us sat at the table, a map spread out in front of us, and a plan being formed for that evening and the next day. The day ahead, they assured me, could take me anywhere I’d like to go. Each time I was asked if I had been to one location or another, my response was “not yet,” to which Sam exclaimed, “We need to get you out of the city!” A few minutes into our planning, I knew this to be true.

Sam and Ginger are determined to direct their guests to the best the area has to offer, providing them with the ultimate Lancaster County experience. Sam and Ginger both grew up Amish, Sam locally and Ginger in York County. I trusted their judgment in all things Amish, although I knew I was not the typical guest they usually entertain. They told me I could pet calves and eat ice cream, buy dry goods for my upcoming camping trip, or have dinner with an Amish family. I had no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go… all I knew was that I needed food. My stomach was growling. Prepared with a list of restaurants, a description for each, and directions, we let my tummy do the talking. It took me to a local diner, one of Sam and Ginger’s favorite places.

Enter the scenic drive through the countryside, the juxtaposition between modern day lifestyle and a simpler way of life. I passed an Amish family plowing their garden, a young boy perched atop a horse with a second child guiding, the rest of the siblings ready and prepared to sow the earth. Around the next bend, I passed a group of “English” teenagers smoking and gathered around a motorcycle, slightly disheveled and appearing bored. A bit further down, a young, pig-tailed Amish girl ran towards the road, waving enthusiastically. Something simple and beautiful, I thought, as I waved back.

My dinner was no less extraordinary. However, I felt much like Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: totally out of my element, stepping into some alternate reality. Clad in fake Wayfairers and noisy bangles, I took my seat and ordered an iced tea. My meal consisted of a cheeseburger with coleslaw. A regular, Roger, caught me laughing at a text message and struck up conversation. He sat one booth away, but we faced one another as we dined and laughed. He had chicken with a side salad. Soon I said my goodbyes and was on the road again, headed back to test out the air conditioning I had been eyeing up during the tour.

As darkness set in, I used the flashlight cleverly attached to my room key to guide my way towards the house and found my way to my room. I flipped on the switch, tossed off my shoes, and tested out the bed. Covered in a beautiful quilt, I slipped down into the sheets: pure heaven. The sheets were incredibly soft, the pillows just right. I had a TV, but no bother, I was inspired to keep it simple that evening. I read through Sam and Ginger’s Welcome/Guest Book. I peeked through the organized book of things to do in the area, imagining for a moment I was on really vacation. This would be a nice place, I thought, as I dozed off to the hum of the cool, condensed air.

The morning was no less homey. Breakfast was served promptly at 8:30 AM, and I was dying for a cup off coffee from the fancy machine Ginger had pointed out the day before. I hopped in the shower, pleasantly surprised to find a massaging showerhead, perfect for that kink in my neck I had developed over the last days of sitting in front of my computer. As I toweled off, I noticed the little touches around my room. Local goat’s milk lotion, beautiful furniture, and hand-painted signs. I made my way downstairs to the breakfast room table, surprised to see two more guests. I knew they were there, but I hadn’t heard a peep. Skip and Terry were from Maryland and here to spend some time in an area where people lived a simpler lifestyle. I guess we all needed to get away.

Breakfast was amazing and the coffee hit the spot. Ginger had left cheese off my side of my frittata, thoughtful of my random dietary issues we had discussed the night before. Amish nut butter, a delicious traditional cheese spread, sausage, and venison scrapple. The majority of the ingredients came from friends or neighbors aside from the potatoes, but I didn’t care. It was incredible. The Stoltzfus’, Ginger’s mother, Skip, Terry, and I sat around the table talking about our plans for the day, telling a little bit about ourselves, and sharing a meal together much like friends and family. After the plates were cleared, Skip and Terry said good-bye, and I headed upstairs to pack my bag.

The care with which Ginger and Sam had taken to expose the beauty of their historic home, uncovering wooden beams and pitted bricks, was the same care they gave to me to reveal the potential of my stay. As they led me from room to room, the mansion to the carriage house, I could see the love and care they bestowed upon their property. It was no accident they bestowed the same love and care onto me. I had assumed I’d just be spending the night in a different bed, with some air-conditioning, and a warm, morning shower. Instead I felt at home, with friends and family to share a meal with, a little ginger cat to rest in my lap, and laundry list of things I wanted to do in the area the moment I had time to spare.

Jocelyn Park moved to Lancaster in 2012 from Media, PA. Having traveled to various cities around the world, this one felt more like home than ever. When not planning creative events and blogging for Transplant, Jocelyn is a freelance graphic designer throwing good vibes and design out into the world around her.  www.jocelynpark.com | lancastertransplant.com

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Looking for a Bed & Breakfast?

There are many wonderful places to stay overnight in Lancaster. From hotels to farm-stays to Bed & Breakfasts, Lancaster has it all. If you’re considering a Bed & Breakfast, here are some reasons to stay at an Authentic B&B:

  • We’re an association of over 30 B&B’s and Inns. We live here and are happy to share local insights with you. We know where to find the best sweet corn, tomatoes, and whoopie pies. The Amish and local business are our neighbors and friends. If you are looking for a locally-made broom, quilt, or new kitchen table, you can bet we’ve shopped for these same purchases, so we can help you. As your hosts, we’ll greet you with a smile. And since we own our B&Bs, you can be sure we’re available if you need us. We’re always on the lookout for new places, new experiences and fun… and we do it all for you!
  • We’ll serve you a great breakfast in the morning. If you like it, chances are good that you may even get the recipe so your stomach can stay on vacation long after you’ve returned home.
  • Need a place to stay at the last minute? Want to bring the kids? Mom? Fido? Stay in a mansion? In the country? In a log home? We’ll find a B&B that’s just perfect for you. We share an 800 number, so no matter your situation, can find a room for you.
  • Do you visit Lancaster often? Take advantage of our Passport program: stay at 3 participating members of the Association and after the 4th stay, get a $50 credit off your 5th stay. Plus the Passport program includes coupons and special savings.

So, the next time you’re looking for a place in Lancaster, be sure to give us a call!

Jan Garrabrandt is an Innkeeper at The Artist’s Inn & Gallery.

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The Olde Stone Cottage at The Artist’s Inn & Gallery

Being born and raised in Lancaster County, you’d think I would have experienced just about everything here, right? Well, I am embarrassed to admit that I sometimes catch myself thinking there is nothing in PA Dutch Country that I have not seen. Ridiculous, I know. So anytime I’m presented with an opportunity to be surprised by one of Lancaster’s hidden treasures, I welcome it.

A few days ago I had the wonderful treat of visiting Terre Hill and spending the night at the Olde Stone Cottage, part of the Artist’s Inn & Gallery. Remember how I thought I had seen everything there is to see in Lancaster? This just in… I was wrong.

Meeting the Innkeeper

After I checked in at the cottage, I took a short stroll (about five doors) down Main Street to see the Artist’s Inn & Gallery. I was greeted by the property’s innkeeper, Jan Garrabrandt, and taken inside to see all of the wonderful artwork lining the walls of this beautiful, 19th century home. Jan’s husband, Bruce, is a full-time artist who specializes in finely detailed, colored pencil drawings. He is also the artist behind all of the pieces in the Inn’s gallery. Bruce’s drawings are the perfect addition to the Garrabrandt’s Federal-style home, providing visitors to the Bed & Breakfast with a unique glimpse into the Pennsylvania Dutch lifestyle.

Speaking with Jan about her husband’s work and their adventures running the Inn was fascinating. It didn’t take me long to understand why guests love staying here.

An Evening to Relax

It was soon time for me to head back down the road and settle into the Olde Stone Cottage. Priority number one: finding the fully-stocked cookie jar in the kitchen. Mmm. Guests of both the cottage and the Inn are always welcomed with homemade, chocolate chip cookies. They are delish! I then played through a couple of choruses on the cottage’s upright piano while belting out the lines of “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles – the only song I know how to play on the piano. If playing tunes isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry. The cottage provides cable TV, a DVD player, wi-fi, and an open living room where you can watch your favorite movie or simply relax with a good book.

Venturing upstairs, I noticed some interesting photos on display. A small collection of photographs signed by Hollywood stars like Doris Day and Dick Van Dike line the wall leading to the cottage’s second floor. I peeked into “the yellow bedroom” first, and was impressed with room’s cozy atmosphere and welcoming reading nook. Proceeding around the corner I found the master suite. After having a long workweek, it didn’t take much time for me to settle into the suite’s king sized bed. The next morning, I cooked up an egg breakfast and enjoyed the quiet morning outside on the porch.

Terre Hill and Beyond

My stay at the Olde Stone Cottage was just what I needed to relax after a stressful week; but it is also the perfect place for a couple’s getaway, or for guests looking to enjoy Lancaster County from a cozy town like Terre Hill. Guests who stay at the Artist’s Inn or the Olde Stone Cottage enjoy bicycling through miles of scenic farmland, antiquing in nearby Adamstown, taking brewery tours, and tasting the many flavors of Lancaster County restaurants. Terre Hill is a great place to relax and enjoy rural Pennsylvania while being close to countless shops, attractions, and restaurants. The Artist’s Inn & Gallery is located just minutes away from Shady Maple Smorgasbord, Maple Grove Raceway, Antiques Capital, USA, and more! Guests can also drive to attractions like Rockvale Outlets, Kitchen Kettle Village, and Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market within 20 minutes.

Terre Hill is definitely the kind of hidden treasure I was looking for. But this small town is no secret to the guests of the Artist’s Inn. Jan and Bruce have gotten to know many repeat guests who have been coming to the Inn for almost ten years. In fact, some visitors enjoyed their stay so much they decided to move to Terre Hill! I definitely recommend giving the Artist’s Inn & Gallery a visit.

To learn more, go to www.artistinn.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.

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The perfect Valentine’s Day

About mid-January Valentine’s Day hit my radar screen. I discovered years ago that if you want a nice dinner out and overnight accommodations, you have to plan ahead because things book up quickly.

Since I started my search early, I found a restaurant that I knew my wife would love and made reservations. The next challenge was to find nearby accommodations.

I was a worldwide sales manager for many years and I’ve literally stayed in more hotels than I can remember. Consequently, I’ve come to appreciate the uniqueness, charm and hospitality of Bed & Breakfasts and boutique hotels. I checked out regional accommodations, but nothing jumped out as unique or special. I continued looking for B&Bs online but was having a hard time figuring out how far away they were, if they required two night minimums and whether or not they were clean, well-kept and hospitable.

When I was at the Lancaster County Visitor Center for a meeting, I decided to ask if the travel consultants could recommend a B&B. Bingo! These Lancaster County experts grabbed a Getaway Guide, pulled out the map and we took a look together. There were several B&Bs in the area, but the one closest to our restaurant was Airy View Bed & Breakfast.

I’ve stayed in B&Bs when traveling, but this was my wife’s first stay at a B&B and she was delighted. Our room was warm and very comfortable and included a Jacuzzi bath. The sitting room is large with a cozy fireplace and surrounded with windows overlooking a pond with a resident swan, Joey. The entire experience was delightful!

The past two years our Valentine’s Day had been disappointing. In fact, last year we’d decided to avoid going out all together. But this year I decided to give it one more try and with the aid of the Visitors Center staff and the hospitality of Airy View B&B, our Valentine’s Day was absolutely perfect!

This blog post was written by the Visitors Bureau’s Board Chair, Scott Miller. Scott is the Chief Marketing Officer at Garden Spot Village.

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