As Thursday begins to pass by, you're sitting at your desk thinking, "Where should I take the kids this weekend?" You have been to the shore a thousand times and sand from Memorial Day weekend is still in your car and your kids' hair. Your brain is going like a locomotive engine, "Should we go back to the shore, how about a Phillies game, umm maybe Six Flags?"
Hold on, how about you discover the countryside and learn about our historic past, dating back from the 1700s. Yes, you saw the history of Philadelphia by visiting the Constitution Center, but have you discovered the history of Lancaster County in Pennsylvania? Ride in a buggy, learn about Amish tradition, and taste some sweet pies made straight from the hands of the Pennsylvania Dutch.
Experience the daily life of the Amish during a tour of the Amish Village (199 Hartman Bridge Rd.) in Strasburg, Pennsylvania. This guided tour will let you discover 12 acres of country grounds ranging from an elementary school, and authentic blacksmith shop to a farmhouse, giving you the total Amish experience.
Steam on over to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (300 Gap Rd.) in Strasburg, Pennsylvania for a history lesson on one of America's most important forms of transportation during the Industrial Revolution. When you're finished learning about locomotives, head over to the National Toy Train Museum for five operating landscapes of toy trains. Interested in building your own? The friendly staff will be more than happy to assist you with any questions you might have.
For those diehard sports fans that can't leave home without action, the Lancaster Barnstormers are a professional baseball team full of talent and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. Check their home schedule for upcoming games and giveaways. The stadium is located at 650 North Prince St.
Chocolate lovers, you're in luck. Wilbur's chocolate factory (N Broad St.) in Lititz, Pennsylvania is a perfect destination to learn about the history of the candy, the company, and what goes into the process of creating these magnificent treats. While you're there, make sure you taste their famous Wilbur Buds to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Shop til you drop at the Rockvale Outlets Center (35 S Willowdale Dr.) and Tanger Outlets (311 Stanley K Tanger Blvd.) located right off of route 30 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. With notable name brand stores such as Nike, Gap, Levi's and over 160 more, make sure you have room in your car for all the bags.
Delicious shoofly pies, whoopee pies, and baked pies, oh my! Treat your belly to some home-style cooking at Good 'N Plenty Restaurant (150 Eastbrook Rd.) in Smoketown, Pennsylvania for an authentic taste of the Pennsylvania Dutch. After you fulfill your taste buds, walk over to a petting-zoo made just for the kids. Before you round up your day, make sure your check out the store full of crafts and souvenirs.
Lancaster is not just a farm town, it's a beer town too. After a long day of walking, sit back and enjoy a sweet pint of Lancaster Milk Stout brewed right at the Lancaster Brewing Company (469 Eisenhower Blvd). Factory tours are available upon request, call 717-391-6258.
The Lancaster experience is not complete without a horse and buggy ride. A is for Amish (312 Paradise Ln.) in Ronks, Pennsylvania offers a tour of Amish country, with a history lesson of their lifestyle, culture, and what life was like before cars, and airplanes.
Need a place to crash? As if steamboats aren't cool enough, the Fulton Steamboat Inn (Routes 30 & 896) is one of the most distinct hotels located in Strasburg, Pennsylvania. The Victorian and Nautical themed rooms will make you feel like you are drifting across water.
After your vacation, I know what you're thinking, "Amish I lived there too."