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snorkelcat Apr 18th, 2004 05:38 AM

Help! Need last minute advice on the Bridges of Lancaster County, PA - best route
My group is leaving this Tuesday for Philadelphia for a convention and we have a free day Wednesday. We have decided to do a scenic drive through Lancaster County on way to Hershey.

We are going to arrive in Philly late Tuesday night (round midnight) and will leave Wednesday morning for our day trip.

What is a good scenic route to see beautiful scenery, the Amish, and some of the covered bridges? The Lancaster County gov website has many listed but not the roads they are on. I know one is near Paradise.

Here is the route we thinking about

1. Take 95 from the airport, then get on 476 to avoid morning traffic into Philadelphia.

2. Turn onto 202 which will become 30. Head to Paradise, Intercourse, Bird in Hand. (although the map shows route 23 is scenic. Would that be better?)

3. Go to Lancaster, take 222 north, then 322. Stay on 322 until get to Hershey.

My questions: 1. How many hours will this take? (I am guessing 3 hours). 2. If we take 76 (the toll road), are there many tolls on this route? 3. We are "flatlanders" - how hilly or mountainous are the roads in Lancaster and around Hershey? 4. If we decide not to stop around Lancaster, are there places that sell hex signs and amish quilts in Philadelphia?

Thank you for your time and consideration. I am looking forward to your responses.

nonrevver Apr 18th, 2004 07:41 AM

If you are interested in seeing covered bridges, I would suggest you stop in the Lancaster County Tourism office. They can provide you w/a map showing the location of the covered bridges.

Linda0515 Apr 18th, 2004 10:11 AM

Lots of questions! I think you can do this in a day if you leave Philly early enough and depending on how many covered bridges you want to see (there are about 15 of them in the county, none too close to each other). Allow an hour and a half to get from the airport to the Lancaster area. Fortunately, traffic is lighter in Lancaster on weekdays than on weekends.

Rt. 30 is slow, so I would take 476 to the Phila. Turnpike and get off at the Morgantown exit. The turnpike is the kind where you get a ticket when you get on an pay when you get off--I think it's about $2 to Morgantown. Then take Rt. 23 into Lancaster--it goes through prime Penna. Dutch country and is a lovely drive, plus it isn't as touristy as other routes.

When you get to US 30, go west to the next exit for the Penna. Dutch Visitors Bureau for directions to covered bridges. Give yourself some time to decide how many you want to see and plot your route.

Route 340 (Old Philadelphia Pike) is the prime Amish tourist route, out to Bird in Hand and Intercourse. You'll definitely see Amish but also lots of tourist attractions. (Some of which are pretty decent and worthwhile.) If you really want to see Amish farms and beautiful scenery, just turn off Route 340 onto any side road.

Lancaster County --and the Hershey area--is pretty flat with some hilly spots--the hills create the most beautiful scenery.

You won't see any Amish or anything scenic on Route 30; it's all built up with outlet malls, motels, and restaurants.

When you're done with Lancaster County, take Rt. 283 to Rt. 743 and take that north to Hershey. It's the fastest and most other routes aren't terribly scenic. Depending on where you start in Lancaster, it shouldn't take longer than an hour to get to Hershey (my guess = 45 minutes).

Let me know if you have any other questions (I've lived in Lancaster County for almost 20 years).

snorkelcat Apr 18th, 2004 03:44 PM

Thank you all for the information, special thanks to Linda for the excellent information. Thanks for the toll information - I am familiar with the tolls around Orlando - very vexing, stopping every couple of miles to pay the toll.

We will follow your directions Linda. We are definitely excited about the trip!

If anyone else would like to post opinions, please feel free to post.

Linda0515 Apr 20th, 2004 06:08 PM

Give us a report when you get back!

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