New York is an incredible place to live. The ocean, the mountains, and countless cities are merely a few hours away. After a short 2 hour and a 40-minute drive from New York City, you’ll find the ultimate day trip: Lancaster County’s Amish country. Home to the second-largest Amish settlement in the world, Lancaster County has countless ways to experience Amish life for yourself. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Central Pennsylvania, the Amish capital:
Head to the sky on a hot air balloon ride
A hot air balloon ride over Lancaster County with the Lancaster Balloon Rides (operated by The US Hot Air Balloon Team) makes for an exciting adventure, be it a special date night, anniversary celebration, engagement, or client appreciation. During your hot air balloon ride, you’ll experience beautiful views of Lancaster County’s farmland. Look out for the small towns of Intercourse, New Holland, Strasburg and Ephrata, rolling hills, lush fields, Amish horse and buggies, and possibly even the Chesapeake Bay or Delaware Bay if you fly on a clear day. What better way to experience Amish country than with a view from above?
Experience a local mud sale
Mud sales, annual auctions or sales at a local fire company, are a popular Lancaster County spring tradition you don’t want to miss. Mud sales attract thousands on the hunt for hand-stitched Amish quilts, antiques, locally-made crafts, furniture, produce, baked goods, buggies, and farming equipment. Held on weekends from February through April, mud sales get their name from the rainy weather and muddy ground conditions in late winter and early spring. Bring your boots and be prepared mingle with the locals bidding and buying items for auction.
Tour the Amish countryside by buggy
Climb aboard and experience a genuine Amish horse and buggy tour of the Amish farmlands with Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides. Start your journey passing through a covered bridge and explore the history, lifestyle, and customs of the Amish. New York visitors can choose from several different routes through local Amish country farms. Don’t miss this unique highlight during your visit to Lancaster County.
Stroll around historic downtown Lancaster
Did you know Lancaster was once the capital of the nation for one day? Discover the city of Lancaster on foot with a historical guided walking tour. A costumed tour guide takes groups to at least 50 locations, spanning over 250 years of Lancaster history. Guests learn about Lancaster’s rich history and explore its well-preserved architecture. Many of Lancaster’s historic buildings are still in use today.
Visit the Lancaster Central Market
A visit from New York to Amish Country isn’t complete without visiting Lancaster Central Market, the oldest continuously operated public farmers’ market in America. Lancaster Central Market is located on the site of the original 18th-century open-air market off of Penn Square, marking the heart and the soul of the city. The bustling market is home to over 60 vendors, representing the cultural diversity of the county with its variety of foods, including local Amish favorites.
From its uniquely named towns like Intercourse, Bird-in-Hand, Blue Ball, and Fertility to its charming horse and buggies and beautiful, cloud-filled farmscapes, Lancaster is a city full of charm and history. If you need a break from the hectic, urban life, make your way to Amish country. Uncover a slower-paced world down Lancaster County’s quaint country roads and explore what Amish life is all about. Please also consider gifting the experience of Lancaster County in the form of a gift card to someone who would enjoy its charm and history.