One of the best parts about driving through Lancaster County is the gorgeous rolling hills and picturesque farms. Each farm has its own personality and roadside stands selling fresh produce and flowers abound. Now, imagine a leisurely bike ride through the small towns and green countryside of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Farmers are out in full-force planting fields, making repairs and working with livestock.
Whether you are in the area or looking for an excuse to come back to Lancaster, we have the perfect opportunity for you.
Every June the Lancaster Farmland Trust is hosts its annual Pedal to Preserve bike ride. It’s a non-competitive, leisurely ride through iconic Lancaster countryside to benefit farmland preservation. You can choose between 6, 20, and 51-mile rides that offer breathtaking views of over 75 preserved family farms. Since it’s non-competitive, riders can start anytime after 7:00 AM registration – which is great for those who want to beat the heat.
All riders begin and end at Garden Spot Village Retirement Community in New Holland, PA – just a few miles east of Lancaster City. Beginners, families, and experienced cyclists are all welcome at every age and ability level.
If we haven’t convinced you, at the end of the ride you can enjoy fresh made-to-order omelets and Turkey Hill ice cream – for free!
Children under 12 ride free with an adult, so bring the whole family and spend the day in Lancaster County helping to preserve one of the most important parts of our history and culture here!
One of my favorite Lancaster County hiking trails to conquer on a weekend morning is Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve, a nice moderate 2 mile loop in the southern end of the county. The hike is along a tributary in a ravine that ultimately feeds into the Susquehanna River. The Glen itself is part of the Lancaster Conservancy, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Lancaster County’s open lands.
Walking along the stream, at points both peaceful and rushing depending on the time of year, is a perfect way to relax and unwind. The trail is heavily canopied by a variety of trees and rhododendron thickets. Towards the end of the trail the stream comes to a head and flows past several rock and boulder placements for some runs of spectacular falling water. The water in the tributary is usually very pristine and has been designated a Wild and Scenic Pennsylvania River by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
I like to get out to the Glen in the early spring to check out the various wildflowers in bloom and then again in the fall to see the spectacular foliage. It takes about 2 hours for me to hike the loop, but I usually spend the better part of the morning there, taking in the fresh air and beautiful scenery, not to mention taking a photograph or two.
I recently went with my family to the Landis Valley Museum’s Harvest Days. We arrived, and got some free Turkey Hill ice-cream samples – they were delicious – and of course, got our photo taken with the huge Turkey Hill cow.
When we entered the “museum” (If you’ve never been to Landis Valley, you need to know that it’s not your traditional indoor museum. Landis Valley is a town – buildings that have been restored, it’s pretty much a living history!) and went from building to building to see what they had there. They’ve got crafts, food demonstrations of cooking in the times of 1740 or later. We got to watch as they made apple butter outside over a fire in a huge kettle, and got to taste some (mmm…). They have a straw maze, as well as a pumpkin patch where you can pick out your own pumpkin – it’s just a great way to experience what life was like in the 18th & 19th centuries – learn about village & farm life in Lancaster County!
You can go on horse-drawn wagon rides around the village, enjoy live music, and great food. Pulled pork sandwiches are my favorite treat of Harvest Days, as well as fresh squeezed lemonade.
See their website for more details. It’s a wonderful excuse to get outside!
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