Lancaster County is a popular tourist destination, due mostly to the many plain sect residents, known as the Amish or Pennsylvania Dutch. The term 'Pennsylvania Dutch' comes from the earlier use of "Dutch" to apply to all immigrants from middle Europe. They are the descendants of Germans ("Deutsch") who immigrated in the 18th and 19th centuries for the freedom of religion offered by William Penn, and were attracted by the rich soil and mild climate of the area. Also attracted to promises of religious freedom, French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution settled this area in 1710.

Information on Lancaster County

Lancaster County, known as the Garden Spot of America, is a county located in the south-central part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in the United States. The county also promotes tourist visits to the county's numerous historic and picturesque covered bridges by publishing driving tours of the bridges. At over 200 bridges still in existence, Pennsylvania has more covered bridges than anywhere else in the world, and at 29 covered bridges, Lancaster County has the largest share.

This 'Amish Country' is far more than just the Amish. Visitors are surprised to find out how diverse this area really is. There are attractions and entertainment for all ages and interests. Nestled in among the Amish farms and country villages are activities just waiting to be discovered!



Due to the agricultural productivity of this area, one of the most popular attractions here is the food. The local restaurants and markets offer foods that have that fresh-from-the-farm goodness. Be sure to savor delicious Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, whether it's smorgasbord, family style, or menu dining.

Lancaster County is the leading non-irrigated county in the country, and has been called the 'garden spot of the nation'. Farmers markets here offer a pleasurable, down-home flavor of the Dutch Country.

Throughout this area you'll also find many roadside stands offering a variety of home grown vegetables, freshly baked pastries and desserts, and handmade craft items.

Lancaster County also features one of the largest concentrations of antiques in the country. Antique shops abound throughout the county. Adamstown is known as the "Sunday Antiques Capital of the United States". Over 3000 antique dealers gather here to display and sell their merchandise.

Lancaster County has been called America's quilt capital. Many Amish quilts are passed down from generation to generation as family heirlooms. Here you'll find hundreds of quilts, wall-hangings, and pillows at our many gift and craft shops. Sometimes the Amish sell quilts and homemade craft items right in their homes.

Some more information on Lancaster County can be found at the following websites:
PADutchCountry.com
800PADutch.com

Lancaster County is a beautiful place, but if you wanted to go more inland and Appalachia you could visit the Hocking Hills in Ohio.  The Hocking Hills are surrounded by state parks and forests. There are plenty of activities to do including: hiking, fishing, rock climbing, zip lining, horseback riding, camping, atv riding, and canoeing.  For more information on the area and where to stay, visit Hockinghills.com.

A Brief History

The first known residents of Lancaster County were American Indians, making little change in the woodlands that had stood for centuries, but inhabiting villages and leaving some examples of their civilization in their burial mounds.

One of the principal Indian Stages was south of what is now Lancaster City -, early settlers called it Indian Town, and it became a site for conferences between representatives of William Penn and Indian chieftains.
William Penn was granted Pennsylvania -"Penns Woods" in 1681. The first persons to live in this particular part of the New World were fur traders. John Kennerly was the first person to receive a Penn deed for land that is now in Lancaster County. This was in the eastern section, in 1691.

The first permanent settlement, in 1710, was made by a group of Mennonites fleeing from persecution to find the religious freedom which Penn had promised them. They settled trading posts east of Willow Street, near the Conestoga Indian Town. Hans Herr was the bishop who led this group. His home, built in 1719, is still standing. It is the oldest building in the county, on Hans Herr Road, near Route 222.

Lancaster County Formed
Penn originally set up three counties - Philadelphia, Bucks and Chester, but residents in the western section of Chester County, away from the seaboard, made formal protest. They were not getting enough protection from lawbreakers, and it took too long to get to courts upland. Hence in 1729 the provincial government set up the County of Lancaster, fourth in the state, taking the land from Chester. Lancaster was much bigger then than it is now, for it was later whittled away for formation of other counties. The county was given its name by John Wright, a leading citizen, in honor of his home in England. The county seat was also named Lancaster. It was placed in 1730 at what had formerly been known as Gibsons Pasture, or Hickorytown.

By the time of the French and lndian War, 1754, Lancaster was a thriving center of trade, but residents in outlying areas still lived under threat of Indian attacks. The farmlands were being busily tilled, and Lancaster's crops were well known. The villages around the city were growing and thriving.

Benjamin Franklin was no stranger to Lancaster. As he later recalled in his autobiography, he was requested to muster wagons for General Braddock's expedition, and obtained these in the Pennsylvania Dutch country. Lancaster County waggoners made the trek with Braddock's ill-fated troops, and conducted themselves well.

Active in The Revolution
Lancaster held another distinction during the Revolution. When Lord Howe entered Philadelphia, which had until then been the capital of the young nation, many notable residents fled westward for haven in Lancaster, which became state capital.

Capital of the Nation
Continental Congress also vacated Philadelphia, on the day Howe entered. The Congressmen, all with prices on their heads, made their first stop at Lancaster, where they held a session in the old Court House on September 27, 1777. This made Lancaster capital of the United States for a day. The Congressmen could find no lodging in refugee-crowded Lancaster, and left the next day for York.