Skip to site content
group travel leader select traveler small market meetings

Tranquil Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Stretching across the gentle hills and verdant farmlands of south-central Pennsylvania, Lancaster welcomes faith-based groups with a landscape as tranquil as it is lovely.

There’s an undeniable peace to be found here, reflective not only of the county’s topography but also its origins. Like the Commonwealth as a whole, the area has long embraced practitioners of a wide variety of religions, including the communities of Amish and Mennonite Anabaptists for which it is best known.

According to Joel Cliff, director of communications and advocacy for Discover Lancaster, it is both the county’s vibrant religious heritage and its current tradition of worship that makes it so appealing to those interested in the spiritual side of travel.

“We have places where you can truly touch the past,” he said. “But we also have theatrical attractions that are no less heartfelt. Faith is part of our past yet also a part of our daily living today, and that makes us a natural and inspirational destination for faith-based groups.”

Groups might want to begin their Lancaster adventure in beautiful Lititz, founded by the Moravians in 1756 and still home to the Lititz Moravian Museum and Archives. They can learn about the pre-Luther Protestant sect with a guided visit that includes a tour of the 18th-century church and exhibits of everything from rare musical instruments to Revolutionary War relics. The monastic Ephrata Cloister was established even earlier — in 1732. It went into decline after a few decades, but the Protestant settlement’s remaining buildings enjoy National Historic Landmark status and are also open for tours.

When groups are ready to sit back and enjoy a show, Sight and Sound Theatre presents Bible stories on a massive, 300-foot stage with professional casts, state-of-the-art lighting and sound, and sky-high sets. Look for the hotly anticipated new production “Daniel” to run through year’s end. Meanwhile, the Biblical Tabernacle Experience, located on the Mennonite Life campus, immerses groups in a rousing, 35-minute multimedia presentation detailing the historic construction of Moses’s Tabernacle in the Wilderness.

But these soul-stirring institutions are not all Lancaster offers. Cliff recommends visits to the following attractions as well.

Amish Farm and House

No visit to Lancaster would be complete without a chance to learn about the area inhabitants who so famously reject modern conveniences, living simple lives focused on faith and family. The country’s first Amish attraction, Amish Farm and House provides an authentic look at the “Plain People” with a variety of customizable tours for groups. The two-hour visits can include a look at an 1805 Amish farmhouse, an Amish buggy ride or hayride, and a presentation at the property’s one-room schoolhouse. Step-on guide service is also available, and the BBQ Barn serves Amish-made meals from April through October.

Kettle Kitchen Village

The perfect spot to give groups time on their own, Kitchen Kettle Village boasts more than 40 shops and restaurants set within a charming little neighborhood made for strolling. The heart of the attraction is the family-run kitchen, where shoofly pie (a sweet molasses crumb dessert), pepper jam and other local favorites are available for sampling. Other boutiques sell locally made, handcrafted furniture and goods, like quilts, primitive candles, braided rugs, artwork and much more. Group packages, which can be customized and may include a meal and special offers from shops, are available.

Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

For theater-loving groups, Sight and Sound isn’t the only game in town — Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre has been presenting high-quality productions of new and classic Broadway shows for four decades. Depending on the day of the week, meal options include a plated dinner, a buffet and an “enhanced” buffet with prime rib. The 320-seat venue, which greets 150,000 guests annually, also gives leaders the choice of an add-on experience for their groups that features a welcome from a cast member upon arrival at the theater, autographed programs, an after-show Q&A and an on-stage group photo.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum

An interactive living history museum, Landis Valley Village interprets two centuries of Pennsylvania German heritage beginning in the mid-1700s. Ranging over 100 acres on a former homestead and rural crossroads village, it features dozens of structures original to the site, relocated historic buildings and new facilities. They host a breathtaking array of artifacts, as well as demonstrations of traditional skills ranging from blacksmithing to weaving by costumed interpreters. Travel planners can choose from a variety of customized or speciality-guided tours, with a huge assortment of add-ons like make-and-take craft activities, food tastings and wagon rides.