November 28, 2017

One Stop Away: a wolf sanctuary in Lancaster

Don't fret the trek to Amish country

Travel and Leisure Vacations
100317_LancasterPA Randolph Carney/Creative Commons

Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia’s central location on I-95 means that both New York and Baltimore are a quick, 100-mile trip. But within that very same 100-mile radius are plenty of weekend away-worthy escapes ideal for fall (and soon-to-be winter) vacationing.

This time around, we’re heading west to Lancaster County, an area where stuck-in-time Amish culture meets an up-and-coming downtown filled with farm-to-table fare, vintage finds, and outlets that are well worth the drive.

Drive Time: Spend an hour and a half on I-76 and the scenery will transition from Schuylkill views and skyline scenery to bucolic farmland dotted with dairy farms and chicken houses.

Where to Stay: The Lancaster Arts Hotel is a unique property situated in the heart of downtown. This converted warehouse had been used for everything from tobacco storage to wholesale paper and twine sales before being renovated into a 63-room hotel. Each of the industrial chic guest rooms feature works from Pennsylvania-based artists.

What to Do: In addition to buggy rides, Amish cultural tours and some very worthwhile outlet shopping, Lancaster is home to its very own wolf sanctuary, where visitors can get up close and personal with a cast of rescued lupine friends. For souvenirs, edible and otherwise, head over to the Bird-in-Hand Smorgasbord complex and tour the kitschy downstairs gift shop and adjacent farmers’ market.

Where to Eat: Throughout the course of nearly 100 years, this former stable has transitioned from hayloft to speakeasy to The Horse Inn, a can’t-miss Lancaster dining destination. Working with a cast of local farmers and purveyors, the kitchen here has fun with an ever-evolving menu that lines up fried green tomato BLTs next to tofu poke and a tenderloin tips sandwich that’s been on offer since day one.

Where’s the Nightlife: For a small town venue, The Chameleon Club welcomes some pretty serious talent. Along with big names like Tyler The Creator and Henry Rollins, the calendar regularly sees a line-up of cover bands and local talent. Downstairs, The Lizard Lounge hosts open mic comedy nights and dance parties.