I like Lancaster. I REALLY like Lancaster. Unlike the suburbs, where I grew up, there isn't the hype of pretension that we're all somehow still city folk, claiming to live near the Big City, when secretly we're thrilled to be away from it. And, unlike the cities I lived in during my single years, there's a home-towny feel to Lancaster City proper. Maybe that has to do with the well-maintained architecture spanning from the turn-of-the-century, or before. Maybe it has to do with by-and-large, good city planning. Maybe it has to do with strangers greet you, and smile at you.
For my part, I'm hooked on the diversity. Example: a typical weekend. Friday evening, I'll drive home from work through miles of corn and soy fields, passing dairy cows, goats and horses. When I first discovered my "secret" back road, I was thrilled and really had to resist the temptation to stop and develop my own personal petting zoo. Now, I usually say "hi kids" as a whiz by the pygmy goats. I'll get home, and hopefully kick back with my husband if he's home by a decent time (since he's a chef, this is somewhat up for grabs). Saturday, I might go downtown and pick up my boastfully local produce at the Central Farmer's Market. In the afternoon, I could take my mom to a matinee at the Fulton (local Equity house); or visit the art galleries on Gallery Row on Prince Street; or see a concert at the American Music Theatre on Lincoln Highway East. On any given Sunday, between June and October, I might also pack a tailgate picnic, with a nice Chardonnay, and head up to Rothsville's Forney Field, to watch the local polo pony club for a few chukkers. Yip; you read right folks: polo pony is alive and well in Lancaster.
And the food. OMG the food. I am not talking about the notorious Amish offal or dreaded whoopie pies. I'm talking Gibraltar; Log Cabin; Carr's; Ephie Ophelia; The Belvedere Inn; The Pressroom...I could go on and on. They are mah-velous dahling. GOOGLE THESE especially if you're headed out my way. And, while not in Lancaster proper, I can't forget my favorite, Lily's On Main in Ephrata. Complete 1930's art deco furnishings, throughout the building, including the background music in the restaurant. They make a mean Manhattan; and now own the cute movie theater on the first floor beneath them (the last I read, was that adult movie goers can now buy cocktails or one of Lily's signature desserts in the movie house!) And, of course, it holds a special sentimental place for me; Chef Hubby proposed to me there. It was a late night dinner, we were one of 3 couples. And yes, he got down on his knee and everything. There was a younger couple across from us; she cried. The gentleman from the older couple handed us a gag million dollar note. If it had been real, it still wouldn't have mattered. I've been feeling like a million bucks ever since.
So, hope you'll visit and find the best of cozy culture and lots of farmland vistas, lakes and parks. And food - don't forget the food. Now, as for the stinkbugs - feh.