• Photo: Peter Guttman/Peterguttman.com

Lancaster

Near the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Lancaster is a colorful small city that combines Colonial and Pennsylvania Dutch influences. During the French and Indian War and the American Revolution its craftsmen turned out fine guns, building the city's reputation as the arsenal of the colonies. On September 27, 1777, Lancaster became the nation's capital for a day as Congress fled the British in Philadelphia. Today, markets and museums preserve the area's history in a stately downtown core whose red bricks and cobblestones will be familiar to anyone who's spent time in nearby cities like Philadelphia, Boston, and Baltimore. In recent years, Lancaster has upped its hipness quotient; you'll still find plenty of whoopie pies and rocking chairs, but also ramen and chia pudding, rehabbed rowhomes, and modern restaurants that have strengthened ties with county's organic farmers.

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