Hillary Chybinski: Travel Back to Simpler Times in Lancaster, PA

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Travel Back to Simpler Times in Lancaster, PA

There is no doubt that in today's high-tech and busy world, some people would like to take a break and step back in time, when things were a little slower, and a little more simple. Like taking an open-air ride on a steam locomotive on a beautiful day,  exploring Amish Farmlands and the Amish way or life, or even enjoying a 1700 square foot handcrafted, work-of-art model train display. You can do all of that and more when you take the family and travel to Lancaster, PA. We were invited on a press trip recently, so that we could share our experiences.

Ride the Rails in Lancaster PA

We have been going to Lancaster since Ryan was about 2 years old, close to ten years of annual visits (at least) to ride the rails and take in the sights and sounds. We all love the beautiful and peaceful ride on the train. This year, we saw a huge Bald Eagle nest and even caught the eagle in flight. There is a conductor aboard, and he gives a great audio tour and history of the railroad. The kids love to place quarters on the rails and wait for the train to flatten them into metal discs.

Things to See and Do in Lancaster, PA

If you've been to Strasburg Railroad before, you will be pleased to know that there are several new things for this year:
  • Pint-sized Pufferbelly (formerly known as the Cagney) this ride has nearly doubled in length and takes approximately 23 minutes to tour the entire station.
  • Trackside Cafe - completely renovated with a new menu featuring more fresh and local options.
  • Dining Car - newly refurbished and air conditioned, you can enjoy new dining options like the Hobo Lunch and a meat carving station on dinner trains.
And be on the look out for a Kids Play Area and Leaman Place Grove picnic area coming soon.

We returned to the railroad on Sunday, and tried out the Hobo Lunch on the dining car. The kids had a great time and the presentation of lunch was adorable. Do note that there is separate charge for this when you are purchasing your train tickets. You even get to keep the cool red bandanna.

If you are considering going, and will visit more than once, check out the Summer Fun Pass, valid from May 25 - September 2, 21013.

If your kids (or you) really like trains, you won't want to miss a stop into the Choo Choo Barn while you're in Lancaster. Their display features more than 150 animations and 22 operating trains. Our favorite part of exploring this display, is searching out the small-scale local landmarks and detailed scenes from Lancaster County. My personal favorite is the house fire. The fire alarm goes off and the firetruck rushes to the scene. The firefighters even squirt REAL water to put out the fire.

model trains at the Choo Choo Barn

As the display runs its cycle, the lights in the room dim and the lights in the display create an amazing nighttime scene.  If you have a child with sensory issues, keep an eye out for the Choo Choo Barns' Sensor Friendly Mornings coming coon.

There is plenty to see and do on a Family visit to Lancaster. There are farms, and shops, and attractions for the whole family. And with your tourism dollars going about 10% further in Lancaster than in DC, Boston or Philadelphia, it's a great budget-friendly destination as well.

What would you like to see if you #VisitLancaster?

catch you soon -

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