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Art and Amish await in Lancaster

Strasburg Railroad, all photos courtesy PA Dutch Country CVB

Enjoying a city’s local sights and cuisine is one of the biggest trends in travel today. Many travelers are seeking authentic experiences that may be found only in the places they are visiting. Thus, delegates to the Going On Faith Conference in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, this September 4-6 will arrive in anticipation of enjoying the area’s local 300-year-old Amish culture. But many may also be surprised to find lots of other local experiences in the area as well.

Delegates will undoubtedly be interested in faith-based offerings, such as All in One’s Church Picnic and Hymn Sing, family-oriented entertainment offered by venues like Sight and Sound or the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, and authentic experiences such as Brunswick Tours’ Old-Fashioned Amish Picnic.

But what about enjoying a dining experience at the Himalayan Curry and Grill or the ForknSpoon Café, both in downtown Lancaster? How about a side trip to the Tomato Pie Café in nearby Lititz or going for a spicy meal at Prudhomme’s Lost Cajun Kitchen, just down the road in Columbia?

If it sounds like we’re not in Pennsylvania Dutch Country anymore, that’s because a trendy culinary scene is developing in the area, offering lots of additional reasons to come and enjoy this iconic travel destination.

Art, Food and Shopping
“There’s no question about it,” said Joel Cliff, media relations manager for the Pennsylvania  Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau, “in downtown Lancaster there is an arts scene, restaurants and funky shopping that offer a contrast to our Amish culture. But the two blend nicely, and there is a Pennsylvania Dutch ethos here that everyone shares.”

Because this three-day conference includes a downtown dine-around event one evening, Going On Faith delegates can look forward to experiencing both sides of this longtime favorite for groups in September.

“With a history steeped in religious freedom and Amish ways, Lancaster is a natural and inspirational destination for faith-based travelers every year,” Cliff said. “So it will be a real pleasure to welcome Going On Faith and its attendees early this fall, when the region’s beauty and hospitality are equally inviting.”

Cliff points out that the local shopping scene in the region is fueled by authentic goods. “Homegrown stuff,” as he calls it.

“We were actually named one of the top 25 areas in the country for shopping by Indie City Index 2011,” he said. “That was from a pool of 363 cities they rated. That’s due to all the locally produced goods we offer.”

“And we have a really great outdoors scene, too,” added Cliff. “In the countryside here, we have kayaking, hiking, bicycling and lots of runners.”