Tag Archives: Fulton Theatre


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.


Live theatre and family fun

My wife and I took my six-year-old to see the Nutcracker at the Fulton Theatre, and we were blown away with the creativity. The Fulton does an amazing job selecting and producing their Family Theatre Series shows.

The dance numbers, slapstick comedy, and riveting action kept my son on the edge of his seat throughout the entire performance, and there was plenty of pop-culture references and subtle jokes for the adults in the crowd. The show moved at the perfect pace and held everyone’s attention the entire time.

If you can’t make it to the Nutcracker before it ends on December 27, there are other family-friendly shows coming up in 2015 including Cinderella (March), Little Women (May), and Peter Pan (June).


Christmas in Lancaster

My husband and I have an annual Black Friday tradition. Instead of shopping for gifts at crowded stores, we shop for the perfect Christmas tree at our favorite little tree farm. We love to enjoy Christmas decorations for as long as possible; so the day after Thanksgiving, the tree must go up, and all the decorations must come out.

This year we decided to start another tradition. Since our daughter is now a preschooler, we thought that having an activity-based Advent Calendar would be fun. As we thought through ideas, we knew that caroling, making cookies, watching classic Christmas movies, seeing Santa at Park City, reading about the birth of Jesus, and driving through neighborhoods to see Christmas lights were non-negotiable. We also wanted to include fun and unique adventures. After some brainstorming, we came up with some great ideas like going to see a Christmas show at the Fulton Theatre, taking a trip to the National Christmas Center, enjoying Christmas-themed rides and activities at Dutch Wonderland’s Winter Wonderland, ice-skating at the Lancaster Ice Rink, going for a ride on Santa’s Paradise Express at the Strasburg Rail Road, and strolling through the Country Christmas Village at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before we had more than 25 ideas. The hard part was narrowing down the list—there are so many fun Christmas events and activities to choose from.

While my husband and I enjoy all the buzz and excitement that the Christmas season brings, it’s most important to us as a family to create our own traditions and memories. Because of that, we love living in Lancaster County where Christmas feels warm, sentimental and genuine.

Whatever your plans are for this month, plan some time to slow down, reflect on your blessings, and spend time with family and friends. And, when you have a chance, come visit us. We look forward to having you!


Hauntings at the Fulton Theatre

If you’re ever at the Fulton Theatre and hear an ear piercing note shatter the air, don’t necessarily assume it’s coming from rehearsals…

Lancaster’s Fulton Opera House opened in 1852 as the Fulton Hall, and the “Grand Old Lady” has seen performances from Sarah Bernhardt, Al Jolson, Helen Hayes, W.C. Fields, Mark Twain, Irene Dunne and Marcel Marceau as well as many others. It’s a historic landmark and now is the home to wonderful Broadway calibre shows.

I’ve been told by a co-worker of mine who volunteers there on weekends that once you’re inside the old building, you can hear the sound of the piano playing itself and phantom applause. If you’re looking for local haunts, the Fulton Theatre is a great place to visit.

The Fulton House was built partially over the foundations of the old Lancaster jail. Fourteen Conestoga Indians that escaped from the Paxton Boys massacre were once housed there. They were in jail to protect them from the anti-Indian hysteria of the time, but unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned. A mob rushed the jail, took the Indians and then tortured and killed them. It’s said you can still hear the screams of the Conestogas from the corner of the building built over the old prison’s foundation.

So the next time you’re looking for a spooky place to visit, head on over to the Fulton Opera House! Have a happy Halloween!

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