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4 Day Trips You MUST Take If You Live In Lancaster

4 Day Trips You MUST Take If You Live In Lancaster

From up and coming hotspots to outdoor activities, it’s no secret that Lancaster County is home to a robust combination of art, fine dining and scenic surroundings. However, the perks of living here extend far beyond the city center.

With dozens of locations in driving distance from downtown Lancaster, residents have easy access to major cities, nearby towns, national parks and quirky attractions. And while popular places like Washington D.C. and Philadelphia will forever remain classic stops on the list, there are a ton of lesser known areas to explore.

One such example is the White Cliffs of Conoy.

Situated alongside the Susquehanna River, this local sight has been affectionately dubbed one of Lancaster’s strangest outdoor attractions. Why? Well to answer that question, we need to dive into some history.

In the early 1840s, a successful quarry was opened for business next to the river. After decades of operation, deposits of excess limestone and dolomite piled along the water’s edge until they reached upwards of thirty feet in height. Because of their distinguishable chalky tint, the mounds were cleverly named after England’s White Cliffs of Dover. And while they may technically be the result of industrial waste, these local cliffs have become a popular (and safe) place for tourists to overlook the Susquehanna.  

To score beautiful views of the area, visitors must park at the Bainbridge trailhead, located in American Legion Park on Race Street off Route 441. From there, they can follow a fairly flat, paved trail up to the vantage point of their choosing. However, it’s interesting to note that the history lesson doesn’t begin and end with the Cliffs. In fact, today’s path was originally the Main Street of a now infamous ghost town called Billmyer.

If a quirky roadside attraction is more in line with what you’re after, then look no further than Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium.

As unique as its name, this family friendly stop is home to a collection of over 12,000 elephant figurines, souvenirs, political paraphernalia and toys. In addition, it’s charming garden landscapes provide the perfect setting for casual strolls and picnic lunches.

Located in Orrtanna, Pennsylvania, Mr. Ed’s isn’t just a place for elephant oddities. In fact, as its name suggests, the attraction is also a retreat for anyone with a sweet tooth. From 100 flavors of homemade fudge to 900 varieties of old time candy, Mr. Ed’s is known for its wide range of mouth-watering treats. So, next time you’re in the mood for an unusual stop, be sure to add this place to your list.

For those who rather a trip outdoors, you may want to write down the name of this next hidden gem.

Situated along the coasts of both Maryland and Virginia sits a 37 mile long barrier island known as Assateague. Considered a national seashore for nearly sixty years, this untouched region is widely recognized for its dynamic ecosystem and ever-evolving natural landscape.

Prior to its purchase by the Federal Government in the 1960s, Assateague was set to become home to a popular resort town. However, its unique coastal positioning between the Atlantic Ocean and the Sinepuxent and Chincoteague Bays proved too easily affected by elemental forces. As a result, the island has remained largely untouched by human development. That is of course with the exception of one major human influence: horses.

At the time of colonization Assateague was a sight regularly used by locals to graze their livestock. Over the years ancestors of those animals remained in the area and to this day roam free along the island. Captivating roughly 3 million visitors a year, Assateague has become well-known for its rare community of feral ponies. However, aside from this remarkable attraction, it is also a great place to boat, fish, bird-watch, hunt, clam and camp. So, if you’re interested in a day of relaxing in the sand or bonfiring on the beach, consider driving out to this little-known oasis.

Rounding out our list of local must-sees is a one-of-a-kind conservatory conveniently located an hour outside of Lancaster County.

Frequented by millions of visitors each year, the Longwood Gardens of Kennett Square have become a national epicenter for horticulture displays and performing arts events. Regardless of the time of year, this botanical garden offers breathtaking glimpses of fountain systems, architecture and landscapes. So whether you want to see flowers bloom on a crisp spring day or get into the holiday spirit with illuminated trees and firepits, Longwood Gardens always has something to offer.

Considered “a living expression” of its founder, Pierre S. du Pont, the public gardens are not only a beautiful vision for visitors, but also a site for sustainability efforts, research and education. With a mission to preserve and improve the earth’s natural resources, Longwood Gardens is known for innovative recycling and composting practices, water conservation and wildlife habitat preservation. In addition, approximately 65 percent of the organization’s 1,083-acre property is comprised of perimeter and natural lands that provide a buffer between the Gardens and neighboring properties. And in our opinion, this fact alone makes it a place worth visiting.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, we’re pretty enthusiastic about all that our neighboring communities have to offer. From outdoor excursions to wacky drive-by stops, there’s something for everyone. So, get out there and explore, after all, you’re only a drive away.

By: Sam Maracic

Zach Blair

Zach Blair

Innovator: Peter Barber & Brian McCaskey, Two Dudes Painting Company

Innovator: Peter Barber & Brian McCaskey, Two Dudes Painting Company