Friday, April 11, 2014

Need a Broom? Head to Lancaster County!

How about a rug?  Need any of those?
I discovered a place this week that has a nice variety of both.  And they are all made in America.  In fact, they are hand made right here in Lancaster County by the Amish.
Here's a peek inside the shop area where the brooms are "born":

There are all sorts of brooms - long handled, wisk and even old-fashioned cake testers.
There's also a room that displays the woven rugs, table runners and placemats.  I couldn't resist this blue rug for the cottage.  It is perfect and didn't have to be shipped from overseas, or trucked across the country.
Most importantly, it supports several local Amish families. 

So, the next time you find yourself in need of a rug or broom, head to Stoltzfus Carpet Shop in Lancaster County.  You'll find them at 39 Pequea Valley Road in Kinzers - about half an hour from The Artist's Inn and Gallery.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pansy Mania in Lancaster County

It's been a long winter.  So the first windy day of 65 degrees swept me into a greenhouse oasis filled with spring.   Black Creek Greenhouse is about ten minutes from The Artist's Inn and Gallery

There were flowers everywhere, but I knew that it was a little too early to plant anything but pansies.  No problem - there were enough varieties to keep everyone happy!

Frilly ones!

And, my favorite - blue striped.  Don't they remind you of seersucker material and summer?

The best part of this greenhouse is their imagination.  Every year they feature a whimsical display.  This year it's Goldilocks!

I hope this has inspired you to grab a girlfriend or your mom and go find some pansies!



Monday, February 3, 2014

Spinach and Quinoa Salad

Our friend and neighbor, Kathy, brought this salad to our annual New Year's Eve Party at The Artist's Inn.  I promised to share the recipe!  It was quite yummy and pretty healthy.  Hope you like it!


1 cup quinoa (or orzo pasta)
4 - 6 oz. baby spinach (cut up)
1/3 cup oil packed sundried tomatoes (chopped)
small cucumber peeled and diced
1/4 cup Kalamata olives - (cut in half)
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
3 oz. feta cheese

Red Wine Vinaigrette

1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. chopped shallots
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil

To prepare the vinaigrette, combine all ingredients in a jar - shake to mix.

Cook orzo or quinoa according to package directions.  While that is cooking, combine spinach with sundried tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and oregano in a large bowl.
When the pasta or quinoa is cooked, drain under cold running water until room temperature.  Toss quinoa and the other ingredients with mixed vinaigrette to taste (I don't always use the entire dressing mix).
Serve at room temperature, topped with crumbled feta.

Makes 6 - 8 servings.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas at American Music Theatre

If the recent snow hasn’t put you in the mood for Christmas, then head to American Music Theatre.  Their production of The First Noel WILL!
Jam-packed with songs and dance, it also doesn’t forget the real meaning of Christmas.  The sets are breathtakingly beautiful and, when the cast dances down the aisle, you’ll feel like you’re part of the show.

My favorite song comes when the orchestra belts out The Wizard of Winter like a hurricane of song, lights, and energy.

This show is sure to delight kids from 1 to 92.

Don’t forget – guests of The Artist's Inn enjoy discounted tickets.

The 2013 Christmas Show

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Broadway Runs Through Lancaster County

I love the shows at American Music Theatre (on Route 30 in Lancaster).  There’s always so much energy on stage–and I swear those dancers and singers actually work even harder than I do! 

If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t miss Broadway, Now and Forever.  Songs from your favorite shows that you’ve seen on Broadway over the years (and a few that you wish you’d seen), transform two hours into what seems like minutes. 
A scene from Mary Poppins brought back childhood memories of seeing the show in movie theaters.  Performances from Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia, Chicago, Evita, Cats and Phantom are included.  What’s my favorite song in the show?   Master of the House!  Just thinking about it makes me smile!
After the production, the singers and dancers come down from the stage to meet the audience – making AMT seem like one big family.
Unlike the title, Broadway will not run forever – so you’d better plan to go now!  The show closes October 12.  American Music Theatre is just 25 minutes from The Artist’s Inn.  Call us for discounted tickets.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Best Way to See the USA, According to the Red Chair

It has often been said that the best way to explore an area is to take the road less traveled, seek out some hidden gems and get to know the locals.

Sound like good advice?  Yep – even if it is coming from a new source....a chair.

A red chair.

The Red Chair.
The chair’s humble beginnings (you can read about them at taught it well.  Starting in New England, it is on a journey across America…courtesy of innkeepers from coast to coast.

Red couldn’t have picked a better group – innkeepers are some of the best concierges in the country – they love where they live, and they love to share their surroundings with guests--even guests of the four-legged variety.
We know that guests love to have fun and explore new places, just like Red.
They like to see things from a new perspective and take in the views.

  Guests like to learn about our local culture...

Lancaster County is known for the amount of food that we grow...especially corn
 lots of corn...
Just like guests, Red also enjoys meeting new folks,
like Senator Mike Brubaker,
Ed Stoudt, master brewer and owner of Stoudt's Brewery,

and Whoop-E-Pie of Shady Maple Smorgasbord!
Guests like to do something new and daring, like going for a hot-air balloon ride with New Horizon Balloon Team.

They also enjoy venturing out, looking for great food--like local organic cheese...

and home-gown produce.
The artist in Red knows he always looks good against green--that's his complementary color.

And most of our guests really like the animals...especially the cows.
And who could resist a swing at a local one-room schoolhouse?
At the end of the day, Red is just like all of our guests....they are looking for a great place to kick up their feet and relax,

perhaps have a glass of wine on the hammock,

and enjoy a chuckle or two from Bruce's artwork in the gallery.

  But most of all, guests (and Red) want to feel loved.

After all, life is about the connections you make.

And that is why Red has chosen to stay at bed and breakfasts across the country.  Red knows that no matter where his travels may take him, he'll find terrific hosts, a great breakfast and clean and comfortable accommodations. 

Bruce and I were honored to host the Red Chair at The Artist's Inn in Lancaster County and we hope that all our guests feel as welcome and special as the Red Chair.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Let’s All Scream for Ice Cream in Lancaster County!

July is National Ice Cream Month.  What better excuse for exploring ice cream parlors in Lancaster County.   And, in my opinion, the best tasting ice cream is the kind made from scratch by small, local businesses.   Yes, Friendly’s and Ritas and Baskin Robbins dot the landscape throughout much of the U.S.  We’ve all been to these places and know what they look like.  Yes, they are good, but I like to support local, “mom and pop” businesses that are passionate about what they do.  After all, no one screams ice cream like Americans – we are the top consumers of ice cream in the world!
Here’s hoping you seek out and enjoy these gems, all near The Artist's Inn.  Please feel free to add your favorite – especially if I missed it. 
Boehringers , Adamstown – This is pure Americana,  stuck in time somewhere in the 50’s.  Actually, they’ve been in business since 1937! Staffed mostly by high school kids and spotlessly clean, there is one rule you must follow.  Reminiscent of Seinfeld, you must step up to order and step back to wait!   
It’s the only way they can keep the orders moving.  Enjoy your sundae or cone on the picnic benches near the stream.  Bring the kids, their water shoes and maybe a fishing line.  They’ll have a ball.  Boehringers  also serves burgers and fries.  My favorite ice cream flavor here:  Chocolate Almond Amaretto--but the Peach and Lemon are great, too.
Carmen and David’s, Lancaster – You never know what special flavors will be waiting for you, but there’s always a sugar-free ice cream, sorbets and sherbets.  This is a great location to grab a cone and walk the streets of downtown Lancaster.  I love the waffle bowls here.
The Creamery, Strasburg – This old-fashioned parlor serves up food as well, but the hot fudge sundaes served in thick parfait glasses are my favorite.   I have no idea what they are feeding their hanging baskets out front, but the flowers are spectacular!  With over 140 flavors throughout the year, their selection of home-made ice cream may be one of the largest in Lancaster County.  They also serve sandwiches and have a candy shop in the back.

Freeze and Frizz, Leola – Reminiscent of food at the Shore, this location has been around for about 30 years.  There’s also one in Lititz.  They offer burgers and fries too, but we go for the ice cream.  Lots of flavors to choose from, including soft serve with a bazillion toppings.

Jigger Shop, Mt. Gretna – This is my favorite quirky restaurant--with a tree growing in the middle of the deck.  It’s a terrific stop after biking the Cornwall Rail Trail.  Opened in 1895, the Jigger Shop serves up meals and colossal sundaes - some of which are served flaming!  There’s a Baked Alaska sundae, a beignet sundae and a gigantic one that will serve six people.  Definitely put this place on your list.
Lapp Valley Farms, New Holland – Long a Lancaster County favorite, this pristine Amish farm is surrounded by corn fields. It boasts wonderful views, a peaceful setting, and incredible ice cream.  They keep the ice cream a pure experience here - you have a choice of about 10 flavors, served in a dish or a cone.  The best entertainment is sitting and watching the Amish buggies go up to the drive-through window.  They sell five-gallon buckets of ice cream and I can remember my dad taking 6 of these back to Ohio!  My favorite flavor is coconut.  Kids love to watch the milking of cows and the feeding of the calves, and there’s usually a peacock around, too.  There’s a large deck with picnic tables.   When we first started going here, Lapp’s was just a tiny little room where they scooped the ice cream – and the line of customers stretched outside and around the building!
Lickity Split, New Holland – Housed in the old Kauffman’s Hardware Building, this restaurant serves a full menu of food, but its ice cream concoctions are the main draw for me.  If you’re lucky, you may catch one of Lickity Split’s food trucks around, too.  They feature Leiby’s ice cream and creative sundaes like Plowed Field and Sweet Road Apples.  And something called Philadelphia Water.  If you drink their Cowabunga Shake (6 Pounds and equal to 2 ½ regular shakes) in 10 minutes or less, you’ll get it free.  Don’t forget to take your picture out back in the photo booth – props and disguises are included in the fun.

Shady Maple, Blue Ball – Although the ice cream only takes up one little spot on the gigantic buffet, we had to include Shady on this list because they usually carry 3 sugar-free varieties, making my husband very happy.  Be sure to check out both ends of the smorgasbord as they can be different.
Splits and Giggles, Lancaster – This is a tiny neighborhood parlor, whose menu is almost bigger than the building!  There are only two tables inside, but they serve up soups, sandwiches and 24 flavors of Hershey ice cream, sorbets and Italian Ice – and usually have a sugar-free flavor or two on hand.

Squireside Café, New Holland –  Squires is a favorite of locals – especially those in high school, and they know a good thing.  There’s a rotating selection of Turkey Hill Ice Cream combined in a dizzying array of flavors, toppings and sizes, including several sugar free choices.  Enjoy your ice cream inside or at the walk-up window outside.

I can’t forget to mention great local ice cream like Turkey Hill which is available everywhere (read our previous blog to learn more about the Turkey Hill Experience), and Hershey brand, which is available almost everywhere!
Hungry yet?   Remember to tell us your favorite ice cream spot in Lancaster County.  What’s my favorite?    I haven’t decided.   I’m still tasting!
Special thanks to my mom for accompanying me to most of these spots!