Welcome to the land of horse-drawn buggies, corn fields and cows, farm suppliers and silos, where references to Jesus as Lord and Savior abound – Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Inspired by an article on agrotourism, I booked our family of five for a night at family owned and operated Verdant View Farm in Paradise, PA. Who wouldn’t want to spend a night in Paradise?
Only 80 miles from our home in Baltimore, Verdant View is a working dairy farm whose owners’ roots in the Strasburg area date back to the 19th century. Despite my disappointment that the Rancks were out-of-town on their one family vacation a year (farmers work hard ya know) we took full advantage of what the 115 acre farm offered during our brief stay. And guess what? It didn’t cost much either! This is how we spent our 24 hours.
5:00pm – Check in at Verdant View. We had the lower level of the Little White House, which can sleep up to seven and has living room and kitchen.
6:00pm – Dinner at Dienner’s Country Restaurant. It was Friday night on a holiday weekend, so we waited an hour for a table. I’d say, worth the wait. You can try to keep busy shopping for tchotchke. Visit the Dutch Haven next door for a free bite of shoo-fly pie.
7:00am – Get an early start and try your hand at cow milking!
8:00am – Next stop, calf feeding.
8:30am – Breakfast. Hope you are hungry because delicious homemade food (much of it thanks to the farm) abounds. Eggs, beef sausage, cold raw milk and yogurt, fresh fruit, stuffed French toast, zucchini bread, butter and jam…the works!
9:30am – Wagon ride. Tour and learn about the farm.
10:00am – Play with farm pets, fish in pond, climb in hay maze and generally run around and have fun!
11:30am – Check out. Head to downtown Lancaster and Lancaster Central Market. I absolutely love markets and this one claims to be the oldest in the US. We bought iced coffee and latte, candy for the kids, peaches, organic zucchini, chow chow, coffee beans, even a bandana! Love, love, love.
1:30pm – Lunch at The Lancaster Dispensing Co. Local brew on tap = happy camper.
3:00pm – Lapp Valley Farm for ice cream. Without a doubt, the best, absolute BEST ice cream I have ever had the total pleasure of eating. Thanks to their Jersey cows, the milk is 20% higher in protein and 15% higher in calcium. 100% good. If ever there was a reason not to be vegan, this is it.
4:00pm – Last stop on the way home, Mt. Hope Wine Gallery for free wine tasting and Rumspringa Brewing Company, where they’ll sell ya a 5 ounce taste for $2.
This is how we spent our money, including taxes.
- Dinner, Dienner’s Country Restaurant, 3 adults & 2 kids, $43 (+ tip)
- Verdant View Farm, one night, $148.87
- Lancaster Central Market, $30.95 (worth noting the iced coffee and latte were only $4.75 for both!)
- Lunch, Lancaster Dispensing Co., 3 adults & 2 kids, $20.70 (+ tip)
- Lancaster Dispensing Co. T-shirt, $15
- Lapp Valley Farm, 4 ice cream cones @ $1.75 each (seriously, that’s it!)
- Mt. Hope Winery, bottle of Riesling, $16.91
Surprised there was so much to do and see we plan to visit again to check out the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Sight and Sound Theatre, Wheatland or the James Buchanan House and the Hans Herr House. We also hope to attend a Mennonite Church service, do more fishing and, for me especially, learn more about cooking in the Amish electricity-free kitchen!