Top Ten List of Favorite Things about Lancaster County in the Fall

July 25, 2014

Although summer is in full swing right now, this is also a wonderful time to think ahead and
start planning a visit to Lancaster County this fall. Autumn in Lancaster has so much to offer.
Image courtesy of num_skyman /

Here’s my top ten list (in no particular order because they’re all fantastic) of my fall favorites in Lancaster County:

1. The Weather
Fall has a special place in my heart because the temperatures are mild (not too hot, not too cold), and we generally don’t get as much rain as in other seasons. Lancaster fall weather accommodates all sorts of outdoor activities like biking, hiking, exploring museum grounds, and sightseeing.

2. Harvest Time
When you visit Lancaster in the fall, you have an opportunity to watch Amish farmers harvesting their crops. It’s quite a sight to see the process done the old school way!

3. Apples
Fall is when Lancaster County apples are at their peak. You can visit local orchards to pick your own apples or find fresh locally grown apples (and apple butter and apple dumplings) at farmers markets and roadside stands.  

4. Festivals & Fairs
Fun and incredible food await you at the many festivals and fairs throughout Lancaster County in autumn. In downtown Ephrata, we’ve got the Ephrata Fair on Sept. 23 – 27. Did you know it’s the largest street fair in Pennsylvania? And don’t miss the Bridge Bust (Oct. 4) in Columbia, located on the Rt. 462 Veterans Memorial Bridge between Columbia and Wrightsville.  Check out the PA Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau website for more fairs and festivals. 

5. Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
I know, I just mentioned fairs, but this one is so big it’s deserving of its own independent mention. Spend your day amongst knights in shining armor, queens, kings, wenches, mud beggars, minstrels, fire eaters, jousters, and more as you step back in time on the grounds of Mt. Hope Estate and Winery. There’s food  (much of it reminiscent of the Renaissance period), vendors with renaissance-inspired wares, and lots of entertainment options throughout the shire. AND you can enjoy Mt. Hope’s own wines and Swashbuckler brews at the pubs and porthouses on the grounds. 

6. Foliage
Breathtaking. That’s the best word I can find to describe the fall foliage in Lancaster County. When the leaves begin to change here, don’t forget your camera as you walk, bike, or hike the scenic trails in our area. Plan to get out and stretch your legs! I recommend checking out the new Northwest Lancaster County River Trail, which stretches approximately 14 miles to connect 4 historic river towns and villages along the Susquehanna River.

7. Tours, Wine Tasting, and Events at Vineyards
The weather in fall is sublime for touring, tasting, and taking in entertainment at the many vineyards of our area. Among my faves are TheVineyard at Grandview, Waltz Vineyards, and Nissley Vineyards

8. GREAT Beer Fests
Lancaster County is becoming well known for the array of amazing craft brews hailing from our local breweries. Both the Lancaster Craft Beer Fest (Sept. 6) and the Lititz Craft Beer Fest (September 28) will give you an opportunity to get a taste of what all the buzz is about! 

9. Theater
Our local theaters always have something special in store as their fall seasons come center stage. Sharadin Bigler Theater at Ephrata Performing Arts Center is only about a 3-minute drive from the Historic Smithton Inn. Then there’s the Fulton Theatre in downtown Lancaster. Sight & Sound Theatres, Rainbow Dinner Theatre, and Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre. Dramas, musicals, comedies…whatever your preference, you’ll enjoy the caliber of performances by the talent here.  ‎ 

10. Special Events at Museums
There’s no better time than fall to explore what’s happening at our local museums. Don’t miss the Artisan’s Faire at the Ephrata Cloister (Sept. 20), Harvest Daysat Landis Valley Museum (Oct. 11), Steampunk Unlimited at the StrasburgRailroad (Sept. 24 – 26), and Snitz Fest at Hans Herr House (Oct. 4). 

I could go on and on, but I think I’ve made my point. As you can see, there’s so much to do and see in Lancaster in the fall. Don’t wait to start planning your autumn visit agenda!

By Rebecca Gallagher

Image courtesy of num_skyman /