Written by Brianna Wiest
When you live in one of the “hidden gems” of the country (as Lancaster is so often affectionately referred) there are just some things you could only really get when you actually take residence among us.
Try telling someone from out of town that you’re just “going to market” on Saturday, and see if they’ll understand
exactly where and what you mean. Call something a “jawn” in another state and wait for them to ask: “Wait, what did you say?”
Lancaster is “home” to each of us for our own reasons, but it’s heartwarming to realize that there is always some
common ground; things you could only really know if you’ve lived in Lancaster at some point in your life.
1. Lancaster is a famous county, but there is also a city within it, which is confusingly also referred to as “Lancaster.” Anybody outside of the area will automatically assume you live in a corn field unless you explain the difference.
2. There is a difference between Amish and Mennonite, and it’s one of those things you start to figure out over time,
even if nobody sits you down to explain it to you.
3. You pronounce the name “Lang-kister” not “Lan-cast-er.” Anybody who isn’t used to it will think that you’re just
saying “Lan-cast-er” very, very fast.
4. Having to slow down in traffic because you’re passing a horse-drawn carriage is common occurrence.
5. Downtown may be home to some of the most unique and charming restaurants, cafés, shops and businesses, but it
retains it’s old school roots in that only a handful of places are open past 9 p.m., even fewer are open all 7 days of the
week, and good luck if you’re interested in late night food on the weekends (even the bar kitchens close!)
6. Lancaster is a coffee haven, and you are probably already thinking about which roaster is your favorite (because
multiple shops carry coffee from just a few roasters). When you say you like Cafe One Eight’s coffee, you’re really
saying you like Square One’s coffee, too.
7. You can say you’re “going to market” on Friday and everyone will know exactly where and what you mean.
8. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone is friends with everyone. Everyone is basically family with everyone.
9. You know who James Buchanan was.
10. You know what the word “jawn” means, or at least, you’ve heard it used before.
11. If you’re a Lancaster transplant, the first question people ask is: “Well, how did you end up there?”
12. Driving out of the city you can usually tell the exact block wherein political lines shift (you’ll see nothing but signs
for one candidate, and then nothing but signs for the other).
13. To people from other states, you live in what is affectionately known as “Pennsatucky.”
14. Lancaster is huge on local business. “Shop small Saturday” is basically every Saturday for us, and it’s typical for local businesses to go out of their way to support one another. It’s all part of one big ecosystem, and it thrives because so many of our independent shop and store owners are so community-minded.
15. Living in Lancaster means you get a bit of the best of everything. You can live downtown, still be a bike ride away from nature, can connect with people from all walks of life, and don’t have to foot the overhead of a larger metropolitan area. (Who could ask for more than that?)