Pennsylvania Dutch Country Travel Guide
Most people come to Lancaster County to get a glimpse of the Amish and their lifestyle. The territory covered is not that large, and you can see many area sights in a week. If you have only a couple of days, you'll probably want to concentrate on key Amish towns and Lancaster.
If You Have 2 Days
Begin your tour of Amish Country in Intercourse and visit People's Place, a cultural interpretation center with good introductory films and an exhibit for children. If you'd rather see the area by Amish buggy, follow Route 340 west to Bird-in-Hand and take a tour with Aaron & Jessica's Buggy Rides. Also in this area are such attractions as the Amish Farm and House and the Amish Experience. Farmers' markets and shops easily fill the day before you head to Lancaster for the night. On your second day, explore this historic city. The Lancaster Heritage Museum shows the work of Lancaster County artists and craftspeople, past and present. The Historic Lancaster Walking Tour is a 90-minute stroll through the heart of town. On Tuesday, Friday, or Saturday, be sure to visit the Central Market, with its open-air stalls brimming with produce and baked goods. Antiques lovers may want to see Historic Rock Ford Plantation.
If You Have 4 Days
Follow the two-day itinerary; spend another night in Lancaster and on your third day, continue to explore the Lancaster area. While in the city, visit Wheatland and the Hans Herr House. Take an hour or two to explore the country roads east of the city. Drive the side roads between routes 23 and 340 to see Amish farms (the ones with windmills and green blinds) along the way. Then head up the Oregon Pike (Route 272) to visit the Landis Valley Museum, an outdoor museum of Pennsylvania German rural life and folk culture before 1900, and drive on to Ephrata or Lititz, either of which is good for an overnight. On Day 4, you can visit the Ephrata Cloister, tour a pretzel or chocolate museum in Lititz, or, depending on the day of the week, spend the day shopping for antiques in Adamstown. Another choice for your fourth day is to spend time in Strasburg, which has the don't-miss Strasburg Rail Road and the Amish Village.
If You Have 7 Days
Follow the four-day itinerary for the beginning of your trip. On Day 5, head west to the sleepy towns of Marietta, Columbia, and Mount Joy; any of these is fine for your overnight. The river town of Columbia has the excellent National Watch and Clock Museum, as well as Wright's Ferry Mansion, the former residence of English Quaker Susanna Wright. The restored town of Marietta is perfect for strolling and browsing. You can tour a historic brewery in Mount Joy or take the wine-tasting tour at the Nissley Vineyards and Winery Estate, near Bainbridge. You can devote days 6 and 7 to Hershey or to touring the Civil War battlefields and museums of Gettysburg.