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 Lancastar, Philadelphia - things to do.

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Scambo
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Joined: 09 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:41 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi to all of my fellow 419ers.

I don't post here often, but I do read every day.

Anyway, to the point.

I am going to Lancaster, PA in October for 2 weeks. My friends think that I am going through a mid-life crisis, but that can't be true as I am only 41 and plan on living past 100. My question for our Philly members is - what is there to do there? I already know about the Amish and the Liberty Bell, but is there anything else that you could recommend? Any replies would be appreciated.

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Juan Freizwidatt
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:25 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Lancaster is a lovely town, I've spent a lot of time there over the past 25 years or so, though I'm sorry to say I haven't been back in 6 or 7 years now. I used to go 2 or 3 times a year. It's gorgeous in autumn, October will be wonderful. But there isn't a hell of a lot to do...

Obviously it's best known as Amish country and the main roads are littered with tourist traps and exploitative crap. Skip all that and just drive off into the back roads. It's like going back in time.

There's a great railroad museum in Strasburg. There used to be a private auto museum but I think they've since closed. The National Watch & Clock Museum is in Columbia, a short drive to the west, and is worth an afternoon. And for obscure American history, you can visit the home of President James Buchanan, "Wheatland."

If you feel like taking a longer drive one day you should definitely not miss Gettysburg.

If you're into shopping there are a gazillion outlet stores just east of Lancaster on Route 30. That's not my thing so I've never checked them out.

I've been to a few surprisingly good restaurants in the city of Lancaster but that was many years ago, I don't even know if they're still around. I know that one really fine place, in the unlikely town of Gap, has since gone out of business.

Be sure to stop at the bakery in Bird-in-Hand and get some shoo-fly pie, IMHO theirs is the best in the area. I miss it... The big "family-style" restaurant at the junction of 30 and 41 in Gap gets lots of busloads of tourists and it's very kitchy, but you really can get a bountiful Pennsylvania Dutch meal there at a modest price -- better than you'd expect for a tourist trap. But it's more fun finding little family restaurants away from Routes 30 and 340.

I don't know what you hope to do there but don't expect wild times, it's conservative country. Mostly I love it for the tranquil 19th century feel of the back roads. (The main highways have unbelievable amounts of traffic. Really god-awful.) On a great many occasions I've gotten happily lost for hours at a time in the farmlands.

Be sure to stop to buy a soft drink if you find a general store away from the tourist traps. In towns like Intercourse and Ronks the Amish are sick to death of being treated like cartoon characters. They tend to be pretty aloof toward "English" people there. But get out into the country and you'll find them to be extremely warm and welcoming, as long as you treat them as human beings and not freaks. Although their lifestyle is way too austere for me, I admire them deeply and have had some wonderful conversations out in the deep rural areas.

Damn, now I want to go back! Very Happy

Enjoy!

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Scambo
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:58 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks for that Juan.

I'm not really sure what I expect of this trip myself!

This will be the first time that I have ever ventured outside Europe, but what I do want to to do is see the real America. Disneyworld and all that S%^t is not for me.

I am thinking of hiring a car and seeing some of the "landmarks" etc. Apparently I can get a Dodge Charger for $60 per day! I'm considering a day out in New York and possibly one in D.C. To be honest, I cannot wait.

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from the Hollow
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 1:15 am Reply with quoteBack to top

"I'm considering a day out in New York and possibly one in D.C. To be honest, I cannot wait."
If that your plans, in no way will you be seeing the real America.
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Connie L. Gus
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:04 am Reply with quoteBack to top

When you are in Philly, get a "cheese-steak-wit" and pass on the scrapple.

I knew a girl from Lancaster and have extensively explored the area. I'm not sure if Gettysburg has the same impact to someone from Europe that it has on Americans. Its a place where 51,000 soldiers became casualties in three days and the place that an American President gave an important address. I thought it was very much worth the drive and the exploration of Little Roundtop, the Wheatfield and the Peach Orchard was amazing. I was moved. I would not say the same about Hersey. Unless you are completely bonkers about chocolate, give it a pass. If things that go boom excite you, go to Aberdeen. You can go there and climb all over Big Bertha before or after you go to the museum. Absolutely topnotch and no one knows about it. Talking about museums, there's the Smithsonian. Plan on half a day per museum there. So at least a week in DC. NY will take the other week to figure out what you want to investigate in depth. On the way to DC, stop in Annapolis. Ask a tour guide what time Noon Formation will be. Have fun.

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BRUIN
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 2:04 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

If you go to Gettysburg, stop at the park visitor's center front desk and ask about hiring a guide. The cost is reasonable - the guides are VERY knowledgeable and will give you a personal tour, answering all your questions, and in your own car.

Bruin

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N N N
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 12:03 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

See if I asked Google it would undoubtedly give me some links to Lancaster in Lancashire, a great town for visiting the Lake District .... BUT you specified Pennsylvania .... so i'll tell you a whole heap more about the English Lakes district shall I? LOL

It never ceses to amaze me, you ask for information about a fairly obscure place or subject and you get the best responses imagineable! Only on Eater! Cool
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JMRazor
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:57 am Reply with quoteBack to top

How long will you be in Philly? I'd spend 1 day doing the history/tourist thing (which is worthwhile): Constitution Center (around 6th and Market), Liberty Bell, then head over to Independence Hall and roam around the parks and cobblestone streets -- ask questions from the U.S. Park Rangers -- they are all very helpful.

Then, perhaps on day 2, if it's a nice day, go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the morning, then grab some food and take a walk along Kelly Drive, which has boathouse row, where all the crew teams house their sculls and is a really beautiful riverfront walk and picnic area. The Rodin museum is nearby (although it's being re-furbished).

Take in a Phillies game if they're at home -- we're still high on being World Champs and it's a beautiful park (if you're staying in Center City, it's about a 15-20 min cab ride, or better yet, take the subway to the stadiums and then it's a 2 minute walk). Tickets can be had for quite cheap and you'll get a real flavor of the city (in a good if slightly over-priced way once inside).

I'd get a Cheesesteak late at night when you'll find the more interesting people to speak with in line. Just know the lingo and you'll be fine.

Loads of good bars/restaurants. Let me know what you like and I'll make some recommendations.

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Scambo
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 5:47 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I'm going to be there for 14 days in all. I will be staying with a friend who has just become unemployed, so we won't have money to throw around as such, but I am hoping to be able to take us both to places on a budget of around $200 per day (including meals and transport). I know that our options will be limited, so I guess that I am looking for the best value for money days out that I can get.

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i will make sure that i f*ck that your ass hole untill you beg me for mercy - M4riam 5angere
the wite men f*ck your mother ass and you are happy about it - 4nth0ny 41iu
You stinking, little, brainless, and unsuccessful son of a bitch. May your cruel soul rest in perfect argony. -K3v1n Agul0
in the name of the gods of our mother land Africa l curse you son of slave
hi thank you for the insults you rained on me and my family

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:35 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

If you are there the first weekend of October,and have any interest in post-war American cars(the tailfin/muscle car era),you might like to go to the fall collector car event in Carlisle.It is sort of difficult to describe.Cars for sale,cars being shown,parts,etc.If it deals with some aspect of post war cars,it is here. http://www.carsatcarlisle.com/ce/index.asp

The area around Lancaster is some nice country.Hit it at the right time and the leaves may be turning.Enjoy yourself.

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