Lancaster, PA, Guide and Information


Welcome to Lancaster

Lancaster County is located in the beautiful, verdant Susquehanna Valley. Locals and visitors enjoy exploring the revitalized City of Lancaster, the rural Amish countryside and quaint towns including Lititz, designated one of America’s coolest small towns. The City of Lancaster provides a unique blend of historic charm and urban vitality. Founded in 1730, the city was the capital of our nation for one day on September 27, 1777 and the state capital of Pennsylvania from 1799-1812. Lancaster’s heritage is evidenced by nationally recognized architecture and historic districts. The city boasts wonderful restaurants, breweries, museums and shops. The vibrant arts community includes an art school, galleries, music and theatre venues. At the heart of the city is Lancaster Central Market, the oldest continually operating market in the country. Central Market and the county’s rich agricultural history have energized the farm-to-table movement featured by many fine dining establishments, coffee shops and food trucks. First Friday celebrations, spring mud sales, autumn harvests and numerous festivals make Lancaster a special destination throughout the year.

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Embracing the PA Dutch and Amish Culture of Lancaster

The Dutch in Pennsylvania Dutch refers to Deutsch or Deitsch as in the people from Germany and their language. Indeed many from southern Germany, Austria and even parts of Switzerland settled in this part of Pennsylvania during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Fleeing religious intolerance at home, these Germanic people were free to practice their beliefs as they wished in Pennsylvania. German “colonies” were also established in other states such as Wisconsin, Ohio and the Dakotas, although Pennsylvania saw the greatest number of settlers.

By the time World War I seized the nation, these people were encouraged to assimilate more. Then with the onslaught of World War II, speaking the German language and practicing German traditions on American soil became increasingly verboten. Today the Amish, a specific religious denomination within the Pennsylvania Dutch people, are among the few to speak Pennsylfanisch Deitsch on a more regular basis, a language that you can hear being spoken when you pass or encounter some of these folks in and around Lancaster County. As for all the wonderful traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch, many have thankfully been preserved, which is largely what makes Lancaster County, the city of Lancaster and its jumble of small towns and villages so charming to visitors and locals alike.

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Historically Speaking Lancaster

Embracing the Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish culture most definitely plunges you back in time, however, there’s more dialing back of the years to be experienced elsewhere.

Let’s start with Lancaster, the city that’s the seat of Lancaster County. Founded as a borough in1742 and then chartered as a city in 1818, it’s one of the oldest inland cities in the United States. It’s named after the English city of Lancaster and as you may notice around town, its symbol is the red rose, which is also the symbol of the House of Lancaster in England.

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