Lancaster, Pennsylvania — A brief history
Heritage Press Museum
346 N. Queen St., Lancaster
A 1920s-era print shop with the country's oldest operating letterpress (circa 1750).
342 N. Queen St., Lancaster (rear warehouses)
Open Mon-Fri 10-6, Sat 10-6, Sun 12-5
A marketplace of Vintage | Recycled | Handmade. More than 100 vendors
Lancaster Central Market
23 N. Market St., Lancaster
Tue 6-4, Fri 6-4, Sat 6-2
The country's oldest farmers' market (over 250 years) occupies a beautiful 120-year-old red brick building chock-full of local character. Regional food specialties include Pennsylvania Dutch sausage, scrapple (a breakfast meat of pork scraps and cornmeal), and headcheese (like scrapple, an acquired taste). You'll also find preserves, including chowchow (pickled vegetables in a spicy mustard sauce), and bread and butter pickles. A great place for Lancaster County souvenirs.
Square Halo Gallery
37 N. Market St., Lancaster
Tue 9-5, Fri 9-5, Sat 9-2
Square Halo Gallery is a space in downtown Lancaster for contemporary art inspired by the Christian faith. The gallery is on the first floor of The Trust Performing Arts Center.
Hans Herr House
1849 Hans Herr Dr., Willow Street
The “Hans Herr House” is the oldest existing dwelling on ten thousand acres granted in October of 1710 to nine Mennonite men. The 1719 House, or “Hans Herr House” as it is known locally, is reputed to have been the home of Hans Herr and his wife Elizabeth. It was certainly the home of Christian Herr and his wife Anna, and several of Christian and Anna’s children. Both Hans Herr and Christian Herr were bishops of the Mennonite faith. EPA Executive Director Lamar Keener is a 10th generation direct descendant of Hans Herr.
More things to do if you have some extra time
Got a couple hours?
- ...and enjoy history? Take a guided walking tour of historic Lancaster City. A 2-hour, easy-walking tour leaving from the Visitors’ Center across the street from the hotel; $8.00/$7 seniors.
- ...and like art? Explore Lancaster’s Gallery Row! Lancaster is a nationally recognized art center and Gallery Row is the center of the Lancaster art scene; North Prince, North Queen and West King Streets.
- …take a scenic drive through Amish country. Head east on Route 340 through the towns of Smoketown, Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse (yes, that’s the name of the town!). Other scenic drives include Route 23 East to New Holland and Blue Ball. Or head to Strasburg and ride the Strasburg Railroad.
Have an Extra Afternoon?
- For the American History buffs: Visit Wheatland Estate, home of the Lancaster County's Historical Society & President James Buchanan’s home; $12 adult; additional cost for galleries & library.
- Like “standard” shopping? Tanger Outlets will give you hours of adventurous exploring. Located on Route 30 east of the city.
- Want to do some Amish shopping and sightseeing? Head to Intercourse. Your choices are many—from The Amish Experience compound and Buggy Rides to Kitchen Kettle Village and the adjoining Old Candle Barn—where you may see, in their lower level, real Amish wax-candle making (no photos allowed because those are real Amish folks making the candles).
Staying Over for the Weekend?
- Gettysburg: visit the site of the battle that was a turning point of the Civil War. Consider also visiting Seminary Ridge Museum, which features aspects of the Civil War that aren’t the focus of any other museum in Gettysburg; the seminary acted as an emergency ward assisting the wounded of both sides of the conflict.
- Hershey, “The Sweetest Place on Earth.” Hershey Chocolate World offers a free tour. The attraction is currently under construction, but remains open. Hershey has other attractions as well.
- Longwood Gardens: a longer drive, but worth it! The original property was purchased by Pierre du Pont to “save the trees” (make sure to watch the brief video of its history at the Peirce-du Pont House); it expanded until today it consists of over 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows, plus a conservatory that includes flowers and trees from around the world, kept in climate-appropriate settings; $20/$17 seniors.
Want an “Out of the Beaten Path” Amish Experience?
If you have a car, Fay Landis (717-687-6321) can take you through scenic routes not on the tourist paths, adjusting the tour to your interests; in your car, two hours minimum, $15 per person.
Did you know?
In 1886, after returning to Lancaster, Milton Hershey established Lancaster Caramel Company with two employees, his mother and aunt. He sold the company in 1900 for $1 million and bought land in what is now Hershey, Pennsylvania, to build the Hershey Chocolate Company.
Discover more about Lancaster at discoverlancaster.com.