Visiting Amish country is so much more than watching the Amish go by in their horse and buggies. When you're on a getaway to Amish country in Pennsylvania, there are a lot of things that have nothing to do with buggies or barns.
From excursions into the countryside to indulging in an evening treat of homemade ice cream, there is always something interesting on a getaway to Pennsylvania Dutch Country.
Plan Your Amish Country Getaway
This sample itinerary can be enjoyed during the week or weekend. It will give you a taste of some fun things to do and eat in Pennsylvania, including the towns of Lititz and Hershey. Trip highlights include:
- Making your own chocolate bar at Hershey's Chocolate World.
- Lunch at the Tomato Pie Cafe in Lititz.
- Enjoy a night in a cozy bed at EJ Bowman Bed and Breakfast.
- Drive a scooter through Amish country and indulge in ice cream.
- Shop until you drop at Green Dragon Farmers Market and Auction.
- Dine on Pennsylvania Dutch Style Home Cooking.
Let's take a look at a sample two-day itinerary.
Hershey's Chocolate World
Day 1: Begin your journey at Hershey's Chocolate World located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, naturally. Hershey's is located approximately 3.5 hours southeast of Pittsburgh and two hours northwest of Philadelphia.
Hershey's Chocolate World is a chocolate lover's dream come true. If you have ever wanted to try your hand at designing your own candy bar, this is the place. You can go online and buy a ticket for $26.95 before you go. Print out your ticket and make your way to the exhibit.
You will be provided with a hairnet and apron and then guided to computers where your chocolate-making experience really begins.
You get to choose a base of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate. Then you have a choice of fillings to select. The final result is a thick chocolate bar made with your inputs and enrobed in milk chocolate.
You also get to design a cover for the metal box that your chocolate bar is nestled in at completion.
Whether your choose to make a chocolate bar or not, you should definitely explore Hershey's largest chocolate store where you will find familiar favorites along with exclusive sweet treats available only at the store.
Making a chocolate bar isn't the only activity at Hershey's Chocolate World. Other things to do are:
- Go on a chocolate tour (free) where you learn how cocoa beans are transformed into sweet chocolate,
- Watch a 4D Chocolate Movie ($7.95 per adult, $6.95 for children ages 3-12),
- Attend the theatrical performance of Hershey's Unwrapped ($15.95 for adults, $12.95 for children),
- Dine at the food hall, and more!
After spending a few hours where the focus is on chocolate, make your way to a cute little town where pretzels take center stage. Lititz, Pennsylvania is a 45-minute drive from Hershey.
In downtown Lititz, you won't find a Wal-Mart or Target. Instead of chain stores lining the streets, there are locally owned boutiques and shops that offer customers an experience they cannot get anywhere else in Lancaster County.
Lititz was first settled in 1742 when Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf arrived from Saxony, Germany.
The Count was a leader in the Moravian church, which still has a presence in Lititz to this day. There is a Moravian gift shop, antique shop, and church - all part of the Lititz Moravian Historic District (national historic district) which includes 113 buildings.
Although it has been nearly 300 years since its settlement, you can still see traces of history in Lititz, like the Johannes Mueller House which he acquired in 1792.
Mueller was the town dyer (one who would color fabric). His home was located in the stone portion of the building and his business was in the adjacent wooden structure.
A stroll down East Main Street and South Broad Street is a must, especially if you enjoy architecture.
In Lititz, you'll find a variety of food to satisfy your appetite, like pretzels from Julius Sturgis - the country's oldest commercial bakery. Among other places you can grab something quick are Sugar Whipped Bakery, Cafe Arabella, and Tomato Pie Café.
The Tomato Pie Cafe is an eclectic urban eatery inside a building with rustic charm. With indoor and outdoor seating, this eatery serves up its signature tomato pie as well as other delicious comfort foods like the Rooster Street Beef Burger! Their carrot fries with dill dipping sauce are a veggie lover's dream.
Word on the street is that if you want to taste America's best cannoli, head straight for Lititz at Piccolo Eatery. (I can personally attest to the fact that the cannolis are outstanding!)
You won't find American-Italian food there - they only serve authentic Sicilian and Southern Italian cuisine, including their mouthwatering cannoli.
The Lititz Farmers Market is the best time to get your hands on fresh produce and other goods grown by local farmers. Every Thursday evening from spring through fall, find live music performances, and chef demonstrations with children’s activities for all ages!
The farmers' market takes place from May until October, 4:30pm until 8:00pm, in Lititz Springs Park.
E J Bowman Bed and Breakfast
After spending the better half of your day imbibing on chocolate and exploring Lititz, you'll be delighted to check into E J Bowman House, an 1860 Italianate home located in the heart of Lancaster County filled with antiques from eras past.
Its location at 2674 Lititz Pike in Lancaster makes it an ideal spot for further exploration of the area.
Diane, the owner, is a great hostess and will make you feel welcome. And if that's not enough, surely her homemade breakfast will win you over.
Be sure to book your room online prior to your trip as there are only five guest rooms and they are often full.
There's even more fun on Day 1 - a Scootin’ for Scoops Ice Cream Scooter Tour with Strasburg Scooters.
Before your tour begins, you can pick up dinner in Lititz at one of the places that piqued your interest or stop by the Farmers Market in Bird-in-Hand. Inside the market, you can order soups, chili, and sandwiches, and naturally, there is a lot of homemade Amish bread.
There are two locations of Strasburg Scooters - Bird-in-Hand and Strasburg. Regardless of which location you choose, you will explore Lancaster County through the back roads of Amish country.
There are several tours to choose from, including:
- Bridges & Brunch
- Covered Bridge
- Date Night in Amish Country
- Ultimate Amish Adventure
- Sunset Covered Bridge Tour
- The Spooky Scoot
- Scootin' with Santa
On a personal note, I highly recommend the Scootin' For Scoops tour which includes a stop at Down on the Farm Creamery for some homemade Amish ice cream.
When the tour sadly comes to an end, head back to EJ Bowman Bed and Breakfast for a restful night followed by coffee and breakfast the next morning.
Green Dragon Farmers Market & Auction
Day 2: After breakfast, hop in your car and make your way to Green Dragon Farmers Market in Ephrata. The market is a quick 21-minute drive from EJ Bowman Bed and Breakfast.
The Green Dragon Farmers Market & Auction is a must-stop when in Amish country. It was voted the #2 Best Farmers Market in America and once you are there, it's easy to see why.
There are over 100 vendors with fresh produce, homemade goods like soaps and jams, local craftsman wares for sale as well as delicious treats from bakeries who make their bread on-site!
You never know who you might run into at Green Dragon. While there, my sister and I were delighted to meet cookbook author Sherry Gore while she was selling her homemade marshmallows!
Dienner's Country Restaurant
Once you have shopped until you are ready to drop, drive 32 minutes to the town of Ronks, Pennsylvania for a hearty Pennsylvania Dutch lunch.
You can order off the menu at Dienner's Country Restaurant or opt for their lunch or dinner buffet which has plenty of options to satisfy even picky eaters.
NOTE: The Green Dragon Farmers Market is ONLY open on Fridays, so plan your trip accordingly. The above trip took place on a Thursday and Friday in July 2021.
If you have more than 2 days, you can spend an entire day at Hershey Park and enjoy fun roller coasters, a museum, ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park, and a water park with rides for the whole family.
There are so many ways to explore the Hershey and Amish Country region--whether it's for a group of girlfriends, friends, family or even solo.
The amiable townships in this area offer their visitors an intriguing balance between modernity and tradition that can't be found anywhere else!