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!

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Signs of Lancaster County

Ever feel like you are bombarded with signs or advertising?  Click on a website and there’s a video about THE secret formula for losing weight, drive down the road and there’s a sign flashing your speed for the entire world to see.  Gosh, you can’t even look up the weather without being forced to sit through a car commercial.
While the rest of the world goes high tech crazy with QR codes, banners, pop-ups, or sites asking you to like, tell a friend, click through or submit information, parts of Lancaster County are still decidedly low tech.  Somehow I find that refreshing and don't mind this sort of advertising at all!

These are some of my favorite signs on the back roads around The Artist’s Inn.



And this is my all-time favorite. I'm sure that lunch special really pulls in the crowd!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Really Easy Apple Pie Squares

This recipe was given to me a long time ago by someone.  I can't even remember who they were - that's how long ago!!!  But it is super easy and I think you may like it. 

Really Easy Apple Pie Squares

1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups thinly sliced apples

Beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add oil, vanilla and dry ingredients.
Fold in apples.
Spray a 9 x 13 pan and pour mixture into pan.
Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Cut into squares.  Makes about 12.

Now, wasn't that easy?

You can make them yourself or enjoy them at breakfast at The Artist's Inn.  Yes, we are happy to take requests.



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Old Advice for a New Year

It’s January – the month of diets, resolutions, exercise and much too much quiet after the holidays.  It seems a good time to offer up some of the advice from my childhood.

I grew up in the ‘burbs of Cleveland, home of many nationalities, especially from Eastern Europe.  Both my parents were of Polish decent and my best friend’s parents were of Slovak descent.  I never much thought about the sayings, expressions and old wives’ tales that were repeated throughout my family and hers until my husband, Bruce (who hails from about 57 different nationalities) started to comment that he had never heard such sayings and thought we were just a bit superstitious.  I’ve endured many odd looks over the years, but I love these old sayings and, in an effort to bring you good luck in the new year, I happily share my favorites with you:

  • Get a new broom for the house around New Year’s Day to make a clean sweep.
  • Don’t eat chicken on New Year’s Day or you’ll scratch for money all year.  Eat pork and sauerkraut and you’ll prosper.
  • If you are having bad luck at cards, get up and walk around your chair and your luck will improve.
  • If you say the same thing at the same time as someone else, the first person that says “you owe me a beer” doesn’t have to pay for the next beer.
  • Green cars are unlucky.
  • If you drop silverware, it means that “company is coming!”  A fork is a guy, a spoon represents a woman and a knife is trouble.  The utensil will point in the direction from which they’ll travel.
  • Knock on wood for good luck.
  • Always leave a building by the same door that you entered.
  • When a woman is pregnant, she shouldn’t eat a lot of sour foods or the baby will have a sour disposition.
  • You can get sick in any month that has an “R” in the name.
Of course, here in Lancaster County, the Amish have plenty of wise advice and sayings of their own.   This one seems appropriate for the start of a new year:

  • To grow old gracefully you must start when you are young.
We hope that this blog brightens your January day and keeps you on track for 2013.  From everyone at The Artist’s Inn, Happy New Year!