So you’re visiting Lancaster County in Pennsylvania? Can’t afford to spend any cash around the town, bored but don’t want to completely empty your wallet, or you just don’t find the “Amish Country” worth spending some money? After moving to Lancaster myself, I was put in the same situation. So I comprised this list of things to do when in the area without actually having to spend any money.
Okay- so you’re a history buff. Or maybe you just like gaining some education that doesn’t involve sitting on the couch staring at a television. Lancaster has some options in this case; although some of these may be more fun to laugh at then actually show some interest in the topics. Stop by the Heritage Center Museum of Lancaster County in Penn Square for some info on the decorative arts research and preservation from the 18th-20th centuries. The Lancaster Museum of Art on Water St. is great for those of you that want to learn about a variety of artists and their exhibits. Check out the evolution of newspapers at Queen St.’s Lancaster Newspaper “Newseum”. Or take a look at
The People’s Place Quilt Museum on Old Philadelphia Pike to see some-well yeah. Or if you have kids, stop by the Hands-on-house children’s museum.
Museums aren’t your thing? Herr’s Snack Factory Tour is an awesome way to learn about all that crap we all frequently indulge in-and to try some freshly made chips. A self guided tour Hershey Farm’s gardens and animals or Hershey’s Chocolate World simulated tour are also some options. Keeping the candy theme, visit the Wilbur Chocolate Company to see candy being made and Pennsylvania Dutch Candies for candy plant tours. Also, the Old Candle Barn has candle making demonstrations (if you’re into that kind of thing).
Want the full learning experience and sights without stepping foot out of your car? Just drive around Lancaster County. There’s plenty to see including many, many Amish farmlands with different types of farm animals grazing the land. Also, I can guarantee while driving around in your car you’ll get stuck behind-I mean get the privilege of seeing an Amish horse and buggie. In addition to that, there are 28 covered bridges along scenic back roads throughout Lancaster County. See if you can find them all.
Visit the shops and markets.
Not everything has to be educational…Lancaster provides LOTS of shopping for us. Shopping isn’t exactly free, so those of you shopaholics should probably stay clear of places like the Tanger Outlets or Park City Center. However, there are plenty of other shops and markets around Lancaster that are great to just look around at. Places to consider stopping by are Kitchen Kettle Village on Route 340 which has over 40 small shops and the Farmer’s Markets scattered throughout the county which has many stands with a variety of goods and crafts. Central Market is the oldest farmer’s market in Lancaster, but it’s only open Tuesdays and Fridays. Also, The Outhouse on Lincoln Highway East is definitely an experience…
More of a vintage-style enthusiast? Why not go antiquing? In Lancaster County you’ll come across a lot of antique shops. Adamstown is considered the antiques capital of the U.S. so defnitely visit there. Visit http://www.800padutch.com/antiques.shtml for a list of different antique shops.
Check out some of the parks.
Relaxation is something we all crave. Lancaster County has numerous parks that allow us to sit back and take a break or let your children have some fun not involving a computer or video game. Central Park in Southern Lancaster County has a scene of picknicking, activities, and other family based activities. Long’s Park at Harrisburg Pike also has children’s play areas, duck ponds, and sometimes free concerts. Chickies Rock Park on Route 441 is more for the hiking enthusiests and more scenic. Muddie Run Recration Park south of Lancaster is great for fishing, picknicking, and boating and also has ballfields, play equipment, and some hiking trails.
This is probably my personal favorite “free activity”. Who doesn’t want free stuff? There are plenty of places where you can sample varieties of foods like jams and jellies, vegetable, relishes, salads, pickles, and more. Some of these places include Kitchen Kettle Village, Intercourse Canning Company, Dutch Haven (for free samples of Shoo Fly Pie) and most farmers markets. In addition to that, there are numerous vineyards that off free wine tasting. Check out http://www.800padutch.com/wineries.shtml for some places where you can do that.
So basically, there are ways to get around spending money in Lancaster County while still having fun. Definitely check some of them out.
“Free Things to do in Lancaster, PA,” http://www.800padutch.com/index.html.