Question: Pete asks: We're planning a one-day trip from New Jersey to Lancaster, PA. We would appreciate any tips and advice regarding places to visit, routes to take (particularly scenic back roads that can take us through some Amish towns) and places for authentic local Dutch cuisine. Right now we're looking at an itinerary of small towns in PA: New Holland, Intercourse, Bird-in-Hand, Strasburg, Lampeter, Willow Street, and Lancaster.
Answer: Amy Dickerman and Deb Pohner, travel planners at the AAA office in Lititz, Penn. say: We have so many suggestions that you may have to choose from them for your one-day visit to Pennsylvania Dutch Country. We would first suggest a visit to the Moravian community of Lititz. From I-78, take US-222 S to PA Rte. 772 W to Lititz where you will find great distinctive, owner-operated specialty shops. Be sure to stop at the Wilbur Chocolate Factory and sample homemade pretzels at the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, the oldest pretzel bakery in the U.S. If it is lunchtime, a great place to eat with typical local food is the the Lititz Family Cupboard on Newport Road. (We eat there at least once a week!)
From there travel east on Rte. 772, a nice country drive through the Amish farmland to Intercourse, Penn. Here the highlight is Kitchen Kettle Village, an area with 42 shops, demonstrations and a restaurant. This is our personal recommendation for an area to get the local flavor presented very tastefully. This area itself could take several hours to visit. Then take PA-340 W to Bird-in-Hand, stopping at some of the many places along the way that sell locally made goods and crafts. Rte. 340 is a AAA-Designated Scenic Byway and a very scenic drive. Depending on the time of day, eat at Dienner's Country Restaurant and Buffet on Rte. 30 E, which serves Dutch food family style.
After dining there, turn left on North Ronks Road, which becomes Paradise Road and ends on Rte. 741. Visit the Strasburg Railroad and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Take a ride on the train and see the antiques in the museum. The museum is a AAA GEM attraction with more than 100 restored locomotives and rail cars. Members receive a discount on admission by showing their AAA card. Before you leave Strasburg (whether you are still hungry or not), you absolutely must stop at the Strasburg Country Store and Creamery on the square, where ice cream is made on the premises. There are also many local shops in the area of the square.
Another great personal recommendation is to visit the Hans Herr House in Willow Street, Penn. History buffs will enjoy this site, the oldest building in Lancaster County and the oldest Mennonite meeting house in America. Then you can complete your drive by heading back to US-222.
Obviously you cannot do this all in one day, nor can you eat that much!! You will need to choose your stops depending on your particular interests. We hope you return to our corner of Pennsylvania Dutch Country paradise. You can also find more AAA recommendations in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country Travel Guide on AAA.com.
View the overview map and directions for this trip gererated with AAA.com's TripTik Travel Planner.