I would highly recommend the Countryside Road-Stand in Stumps. It is an Amish owned & operated business that sells a variety of home made crafts and food. Their soft pretzels are excellent!
Although a bit of a tourist trap, I also enjoy Kitchen Kettle Village. The Canning Kitchen sells excellent jams, jellies, relishes, etc. There are a variety of shops with speciality items, not all hand crafted though. Be sure to enjoy the ice cream at Lapp Valley Farms Ice Cream.
Lititz and New Holland are very nice areas, both in the rural countryside. Lititz has a few attractions worth seeing (pretzel factory; well known boarding school, etc). There are some good restaurants in the area, too. You will see lots of advertisements for "Amish cooking" at restaurants. I personally don't like the stuff as it is heavy and loaded with carbs. Most of it is pretty bland as well. The city of Lancaster has lots of good restaurants and is a short ride from New Holland or Lititz. It is also a much bigger city that either of them. Depending on your age and tastes, you might want to try the Lancaster Brewing Company (they make their own beers and have good food as well) or the Iron Hill Brewing Company-- same deal but a more suburban area of town. Then there is Doneckers in near by Ephrata which is a destination in and of itself-- class A restaurant, department store, B&B and hotel. Gibraltar in downtown Lancaster is a great upscale restaurant that is a little pricey but good. Isaacs is a deli-restaurant that is a local chain and they have reasonably good food, but mostly sandwich platters. You can also try any of the diners in the area. Pennsylvania is well known for its diner and there are lots to choose from. There is one in Lititz called the Airport Diner that is good. If you want to eat a lot, try Shady Maple Smorgasbord which is just east of New Holland on RT 23. Big building, you can't miss it--just ask at your hotel, they'll know it.
In terms of the Amish, if you can find a business run by one, they might have a conversation with you. To see how the Amish really live, I would suggest getting a map and heading south from New Holland. Take Rt 23 to Rt 30,head south-- your initial destination is Strasburg, PA. You can get their by taking the Rt 30 beltway south to the Old Philadelphia Pike exit (Rt 340) and turn left at the light at top of exit ramp. Take 340 to Rt 896, make a right heading south. Follow 896 to Georgetown. There is an fabric store called Eisner's (or something close to that) in Georgetown in a big white building where 896 makes a hard turn to the left and it is popular with the local Amish. Good place to visit to see the locals up close. Any of the roads off of 896 will lead you into the heart of true Amish farmland (not tourist type farms). Try White Oak Road to Rt 372 and then into Christiana or Belmont Rd to Rt 741 and back to Strasburg. You should see plenty of Amish with their horses and buggies. Most of the farming is finished by November so you won't see too much action in the fields, but there are plenty of one room school houses in operation and you can see the kids playing at recess if your timing is right. Also, the Amish do not like to be photographed by tourists so don't be rude to them by doing that. The countryside on Rt 896, Rt 340, Rt 741 and Rt 772 is absolutely beautiful. Rt 741 is particularly scenic. You can use those routes to create a circular tour that will eventually take you back to New Holland. Use Google Maps and type in Strasburg, PA. The area to the south and east is really dense with Amish farms. The stuff in Strasburg village itself is for the tourists, but interesting for first time visitors. If you want the real stuff keep going to Georgetown. Have fun!
You've gotten some great advice above, but I'd like to point out that Doneckers closed down about 3 years ago. There's still an inn there and a restaurant, but it is not the original restaurant. I have no idea if the new restaurant is any good or even if it's considered fine dining anymore. There is, however, a great fine dining restaurant in Ephrata called Lily's on Main.
As for meeting/speaking with the Amish, if you are staying at a B&B, they may be able to arrange dinner in an Amish home. Here's a link from 2 years ago discussing this:
I know there are other B&Bs that can arrange this, besides the ones listed here. If you google 'dinner in an Amish home Lancaster' you'll find some links. Make sure you add Lancaster to the search or you'll get mostly links for Ohio.
Also, note that the store in Georgetown is called 'Fishers" not 'EISNERS'
It is Amish owned. I was in it today about 8:30 am and of the dozen customers about half were Amish. It is a fabric and housewares store.
I strongly second Countryside Roadstand. Very nice people and the best soft pretzels you will ever eat.Edited: 27 November 2011, 00:07
Oh, how I wish that people going to Lancaster would realize that staying at a B&B enhances their stay SO much! The innkeepers are all very knowledgable about places to go, where to eat, shop, and what to do (and how to get there). You don't get this kind of service at a hotel!
Furthermore, have you read the reviews of the B&B's on this site?? They're all wonderful by far! No bad customer service, no 'accidental' overcharges, no bedbugs. Just rave reviews of superb service, accommodations, food and atmosphere...and value!
a significant portion of any vacation budget is alotted to lodging, so why not make the best of it?
Wow, thanks all so much for the info. JuneBJones - we are staying on a farn for the 1st 2 nights, then a b&b. so we will also ask for advice from them! Thanks again to all of you :)
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