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Visiting Amish Country

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San Fernando...
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Visiting Amish Country

Hello,

In the beginning of May, my sister and I will be traveling from Alexandria, VA to Lancaster County. I've been doing a lot of research and I'm getting confused. Everything looks so wonderful.

First off, we will be there from a Wednesday to the following Monday. Will there be enough for us to see and do? I know to go to the Green Dragon Flea Market on Friday and also to hit Adamstown for their antiques; drive through the back roads and through covered bridges; take a buggy ride. Help, what else to keep us busy? We're really not interested in the outlet malls.

I would like to stay in Bird-in-the-Hand at the Village Inn and Suites, spend a couple of nights at the Fulton Steamboat Inn and one night at the Kitchen Kettle Village Inn and Suites in Intercourse. We don't mind switching around as we would like to experience these different places (they all look so cute and who knows if we'll ever be there again). Are these good choices?

We want to experience authentic Penn. Dutch food. Which would be the best restaurant for that? Is it the same as Amish food? Which smorgasbord is the best? (we don't eat ham.)

I know that Amish-owned places are closed on Sunday. Is it worth going to Hershey? We are not interested in the amusement park -- we've got the original DISNEYLAND here. Is it worth going to Hershey World? What about heading over to Valley Forge for the day? Or, just driving around the cute little towns such as Lititz, Strassburg, Ephrata, etc?

Now for a really big question. Is it feasible to drive from Alexandria, VA, through Maryland heading toward Delaware then up to Lancaster County? I've never been to Delaware and thought if its near, I'd drive through it. Everything in the eastern part of our country looks so close together.

Any suggestions anybody can give me will be so appreciated. Thanks in advance. If you need to know more from me, please feel free to ask.

PA, USA
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1. Re: Visiting Amish Country

There are those who will disagree with me, but I don't think Chocolate World is interesting enough on it's own to warrant a trip to Hershey. It is a beautiful town, and there are other things to do/places to dine, if you want to add more to your agenda than just Chocolate World.

scw
Bear, Delaware
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2. Re: Visiting Amish Country

We live in Delaware and are frequent visitors to Lancaster County. Some things you can do in Amish Country are: visit museums, tour an Amish farm and home, take in a show or two, stroll the shoppes in Intercourse and Strasburg. Tour President James Buchanan's house and the Central Market in Lancaster city, take a ride on the Strasburg Railroad, visit the farmers market and stores in BIH and make a pretzel in Lititz. Your choices of motels is fine. There is truely no real Amish food. It's just meat and potatoes. They do pickle lots of foods, though. We have enjoyed the food at Good 'N Plenty, BIH and Hershey Farms. Most forum members will say to stay away from Miller's. Hershey Chocolate World tour is a tram ride thru a mock-up of the plant. It's not really worth the trip, unless you have more plans for the town. Valley Forge is nice, but you must love history. If your coming up Rt 13 thru MD and DE stop in Rehoboth Beach and walk along the mile-long boardwalk. We do have outlets on Rt 1 north of Rehoboth and all shopping is tax-free. Take a look at www.800PaDutch.com for more info.

gettysburg, pa
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3. Re: Visiting Amish Country

I think you will have a lovely trip! Early May is a great time of year. As you come north, you will notice a difference in what spring looks like--even with just the short distance.

As you plan, a quick warning. Be aware that Rt 30 on the east side of Lancaster is VERY congested. You might feel a little disappointed as you drive by the outlet malls and sprawl. Don't despair! Just be ready for it, and know that the true countryside is beyond.

Your Delaware trip is feasible, but you probably want to avoid the I-95 corridor. Here's a suggestion: On the Sunday that you are thinking of going to Hershey or Valley Forge, head to Winterthur instead. It's about an hour and a half from Lancaster. This will give you a scenic view of Delaware and you can see a neat museum. If you like, you could also plan to go to Longwood Gardens.

A great afternoon drive is to check out the southern bridge over the Susquehanna, PA 372. The grocery store at the junction of 272 and 372 has a nice bakery that we've stopped at for snacks. (From where we live, this is on the way to the beach, believe it or not!) Watch out for buggies on both sides of the bridge. (If you are brave, you can come to Lancaster this way. Look at it on a map. It will take longer, but is lovely classic countryside.)

And, for PA Dutch food--don't forget the whoopie pies. You can get them at most bakeries and grocery stores.

Have a great trip!

San Fernando...
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4. Re: Visiting Amish Country

Thank you all for your replies.

My only biggest concern now is the driving from Alexandria. It was mentioned about the I-95 turnaround. Where is it? Is that the round Washington Beltway? I got lost on that last year going to Gettysbury (I ended up in Fredricksburg).

If someone could be a little more specific about driving from Maryland to Delaware, then up to Lancaster, that will be very helpful.

I just got a new GPS but don't know how it works yet. Will that be my best bet?

Again, thank you, everybody. We are really looking forward to visiting your neck of the woods. If you've got any more suggestions, feel free to let me know.

Debbie in Los Angeles

Phila
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5. Re: Visiting Amish Country

I am sure you will find plenty to keep you busy!! Green Dragon is one of our favorite places! Shady Maple smorgasbord is a great place to eat and they have a huge gift store underneath and a food store where they sell all the baked goods that you can eat at Shady Maple for dessert. If you are interested - I will send you the website. Don't forget shopping at the Kitchen Kettle Village and there are a lot of stores around there. On Rt 30 you could go to the Outhouse which is a fun store and Jake's. Hope this helps a little and feel free to ask about anything else or websites! We just came back from the weekend there and I just wish that I could move there!!!

Central Maine
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6. Re: Visiting Amish Country

One quick comment re: your lodging selections...

Haven't stayed at any of them, but have drive past all three. Bird-in-Hand Inn has a great restaurant adjacent to it if you're looking for typical local fare -- they advertise their buffet's, but also have an extensive menu of non-buffet items, all very reasonably priced. It's become one of our favorite stops anytime we're vacationing in the area.

The Fulton Steamboat is directly on US 30, across a local road from the Rockvale Outlet's Mall. US 30 is a major truck route through that part of Pennsylvania, so you could have four-lane traffic outside your window, depending on what side of the building you're on -- and, before someone else points it out, yes, the Bird in Hand is also on a major local road, but it's two lanes, not four, and has far less truck traffic, with a more "country" feel to the surroundings.

Haven't stayed at Kitchen Kettle Village Inn, but the Kitchen Kettle shops are also a "must stop" when we're in that area -- especially the bake shop and the jams-and-jellies store....great relishes, jams and jelly....and they can ship them home for you! Lots of tasting samples too....don't miss it.

scw
Bear, Delaware
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7. Re: Visiting Amish Country

Are you taking I-95 thru MD and DE, or are your going to use US Route 13? Once you are in DE continue north on Rt 13 into New Castle. Just past the airport get on DE Rt 141 north. Take it to DE Rt 41 north. Rt 41 will take you right into Lancaster County. Route 41 ends at Route 30 (the truck road mentioned previously). Left on Rt 741 (in Gap, before Rt 30) will take you to Strasburg. Rt 896 north crosses over Rt 30 and continues to Rt 772 east which heads to BIH and Intercourse. You really need to stop at the Visitors Center and get a map.

San Fernando...
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8. Re: Visiting Amish Country

Thank you, everyone, for your help.

SCW, thanks for the directions. I have no idea what you're talking about until I look at a map, having never been there before. I thought if we were to go through Maryland, and just drive through Delaware, that would be great. From the route you gave, is there someplace of interest to make a short stop so I can really say I was in Delaware?

I appreciate all your suggestions.

Debbie

Delaware
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9. Re: Visiting Amish Country

Debbie

If you are going to use the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel you will be coming up Rt 13 . After crossing from Va into Maryland you will see US 113 going off on the right in Pokemoke (sp)Md. If you follow 113 you will go thru some really rural areas . You could take US 50 east into Ocean City,Md nice beach BIG boardwalk.Or you could follow 113 into Millsboro and turn right on Rt 24 following this to the end you would be in the area of Rehoboth Beach with beach ,boardwalk and interesting smaller shops and restaurants along with the outlets . Just north from there is Lewes which is the First Town in the First State. From there you could follow Rt1 north into 95 and follow the excellent direction previously posted from there. You would be passing through Dover which has an excellent Farm museum and an Air Museum at Dover Air Force Base.

I have to agree with the above posters going to Hershey just for Hershey World would not be worth the trip. If you are in Hershey it is interesting but not worth the trip in it self.

Delaware
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10. Re: Visiting Amish Country

I should have added in the above post . I don't know what it is like in CA but when traveling through lower Delaware pay serious attention to the speed limit particulary around the small towns and feed the meters. They count on the income from these things.