Sight & Sound Theatres® does it again!

April 9, 2014 | Posted by: Kristen May

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WOW!

That is probably the best and most powerful word that I can think of to describe Sight & Sound Theatres® newest production, Moses. You gotta see this one! Trust me, I don’t get commission, no special favors, no perks, and they don’t even know I’m writing this blog. It’s just so amazing I wanted to let you know and encourage you to see it. You’ll be glad you did.

The story comes straight out of the Bible. Moses set adrift in a basket, rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter, raised as royalty, flees after killing an Egyptian, lives in the wilderness, meets God in a burning bush, returns to free the Israelites, brings plagues on Egypt, and crosses the Red Sea to escape a pursuing army as a miraculous act of God’s providence.

The music, the acting, the animals, the wrap-around stage, the acts of bringing the show into the audience, and the meticulous attention to detail all worked together in what seemed to be perfect harmony. When it comes to live productions, I typically don’t think in terms of special effects, but this show had amazing special effects! On a scale of 1 to 5, I’d give this show a 6. (You notice I’m not going into a lot of detail. It’s because I don’t want to spoil it for you… just go see it!)

Thank you, Sight & Sound Theatres®, for taking Scripture-based, live theater to an entirely new level!

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This blog post was written by the Visitors Bureau’s Board Chair, Scott Miller. Scott is the Chief Marketing Officer at
Garden Spot Village.

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Tellus360 Showcases the Unexpected

March 31, 2014 | Posted by: Kristen May

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Pig Merchants LIVE at Tellus360

What most people know about Lancaster is the Amish, the beautiful farmland, and the fabulous PA Dutch comfort foods. What you may not know about is the lively artsy downtown in the center of Lancaster County.

This past Saturday night I attended a concert at Tellus360 (showcasing the local bands Mark DeRose and the Dreadnought Brigade, Herbie and The Pig Merchants). I have to rave about this venue for a moment… it’s incredible! The folks at Tellus360 converted what was once a dilapidated plasma bank into a thriving center of art, music, culture, and craftsmanship. The tables are made from reclaimed wood, they serve locally-sourced food and beer, and they host the best local and regional bands. They have a stage in the front of the house and a 600 capacity performance venue in the back. Not only is the building beautiful and impressive, but it’s a great place to just hang out and meet new people. (Did I mention they have a “green” roof where they host rooftop yoga classes!?)

I would be remiss not to mention the new cultural festival that Tellus360 and their partner next door, Annie Bailey’s Irish Pub, hosted on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The King Street Seisiún (sesh-un) was a spectacular event with local Irish music, dancing, and delicious Irish food and beer. The event sold-out well ahead of time and was a blast!

Be sure to check out Tellus360 for yourself – you’ll be so glad that you did.

Grab your calendar then check out their upcoming events here.

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The King Street Seisiún

Jointly, Dave and Kristen May wrote this post. To learn more about them, read “The Bloggers.”

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A Grand Spring Day at the AQS QuiltWeek™ – by Shawn Marie

March 25, 2014 | Posted by: Kristen May

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Every year in March quilters converge at the Lancaster County Convention Center to enjoy all things quilt related. This year we were treated to some spring weather after so much snow and ice.

I always try to go to AQS QuiltWeek™ on Friday or Saturday so I can visit Lancaster Central Market for my favorite breakfast – a chocolate whoopie pie and a great cup of coffee. This year I also picked up a sack lunch for later since I knew there would be more quilt exhibits and vendors than I could fit in during a single trip… but I definitely was going to give it a try!

After munching my tasty breakfast I met up with Katherine Rupp who is the Marketing Director of the American Quilter’s Society. She gave me a grand tour of the three floors of exhibits and pointed out things that I wouldn’t want to miss. One of those things was local quilter Donna Gilbert’s quilt, “Grandmother’s Rose Garden,” which received third place in the “Hand Quilted Bed Quilts” contest. Donna is from Chambersburg, PA. I’ve always known that Pennsylvania had many master quilters, but Katherine confirmed it by pointing out that Pennsylvania had four quilts placing in major categories this year. Pretty impressive!

After a wonderful whirlwind tour, I said goodbye to Katherine on the main exhibition floor and began looking around on my own. If you’ve never been to AQS QuiltWeek™ you find yourself wondering where to begin.  I’ve been to many of these and I still am amazed by the variety of vendors and the craftsmanship displayed in every booth. I can honestly say you won’t be disappointed.

I noticed this year there were some wonderful clothing and jewelry vendors offering items tailored to quilters which is always fun. There were tons of fabric and pattern companies too, with more quilted samples than you could imagine. Every booth had something I wanted to take home with me, so it is really good that they offer a package drop off so I didn’t have to carry everything around with me.

I shopped my way through the three floors of vendors and then found a spot to eat my lunch. I chatted with some quilters from West Virginia and Ohio and they were jealous of the number of quilt and fabric shops we have here in PA Dutch Country. From Zooks Fabric Store to Burkholder Fabrics to the Log Cabin Quilt Shop and Fabrics, we certainly have a lot to choose from.

The highlight for me this year was the “Quilted in Honor” exhibit. This exhibit featured a series of quilts by well-known quilters created in honor of those serving in the United States and Canadian armed forces.  The “Quilted in Honor” exhibit featured a “giving quilt” titled “The Maple Leaf Forever” by Carol Doak and Sharon Penderson. I had never seen one of these before, but it is a quilt created with pockets intended to be filled with monetary donations or gift cards in support of a soldier or a soldier’s family.  What a wonderful, lasting idea!

I urge anyone who is a quilter, who knows a quilter, or who wants to be a quilter to attend this event next year.  You will be happy that you did!

To learn more about Shawn Marie, read “The Bloggers” page and check out her website, www.amusementparkmom.com.

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The Ultimate Pampering Getaway – by Christina

March 18, 2014 | Posted by: Kristen May

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There’s that moment… that wonderful moment. If you’ve ever set foot in a spa you know what I’m talking about – when you step in from the cold frosty air and you’re surrounded by that warm, inviting, lavender-infused air and soothing ambient music; and you know your day is about to get so much better. Earlier this month, I was fortunate to spend an entire day with my sister-in-law at the Spa at Intercourse Village. We each enjoyed the Mindful Relaxation Package with a spa manicure, spa pedicure, lunch, facial and massage. Let me tell you, from that moment when we walked in until the moment we reluctantly gathered our things to leave, it was wonderful!

First, we enjoyed the spa manicure. After being massaged with rich creams and oils our hands are in for yet another treat – a paraffin wax dip! I absolutely love being warm, so of course I fell in love with the delightfully soothing hot dip (which I had never had the pleasure of experiencing before). This was followed by my all-time favorite thing, the hot towel wrap. It was as if the goodness could never end, and each step was better than the one before it! The spa pedicure was equally as relaxing, allowing us to feel as if the world had actually started to slow down around us, even if it was just for this glorious morning. I didn’t even chug my coffee. Instead, I sipped it slowly and enjoyed the savory aromas.

Another pleasant surprise was lunch. We were escorted to a private dining room at the neighboring inn. Our meals were delicious. Sue, my sister-in-law, enjoyed a refreshing pomegranate iced tea with her lunch, while I indulged in another coffee. When lunch was finished it was time for our facials and massages, which they performed individually in dimly lit private rooms. After changing into a spa robe and slipping underneath warmed blankets on the heated table, the facial was underway and included a facial massage with scented oils followed by both an exfoliation and moisturizing treatment. Periodically throughout the facial hot towels would be placed over your face and steam would fill the air. It was total bliss! The day ended with the whole body massage, performed on yet another heated table. It was so warm and you could feel the stress just melt away with every moment that passed. All in all, it was a wonderful experience and a great way to fit a day of pampering into our busy schedules and we can’t wait to do it again!

If you’re not ready for a spa day by now, you can donate one to me because after writing about it I’m ready to go again! But really, if you’re in the Lancaster area and looking for an amazing way to slow down and really connect with a friend while also soothing your body and soul, check out the Spa at Intercourse Village. You won’t be disappointed.

Christina Gallagher is Lancaster County resident, amateur photographer, and the Director of Marketing at St. Anne’s Retirement Community.

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Don’t miss AQS QuiltWeek™ in Lancaster – by Shawn Marie

March 5, 2014 | Posted by: Kristen May

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If you are a quilter, want to be a quilter, or just like quilts – make sure to plan a trip to Lancaster during  AQS QuiltWeek™ being held this year from March 12-15 at the Lancaster County Convention Center in downtown Lancaster.

For several years the American Quilter’s Society (AQS) has held a convention in the Lancaster area and this year they return with four days of classes, quilt exhibits, and the always popular merchant mall filled with quilt and fiber art vendors. This is the 30th anniversary of AQS, so they are doing it up right.

As a fourth-generation quilter, I’ve visited the AQS shows many times both on my own and with my mother who taught me how to quilt. My favorite day to attend is Friday when Lancaster Central Market is open. I make sure to arrive early so I can hit the Market for a whoopie pie and a cup of coffee before crossing the street to the Convention Center for all the quilting goodness.

Classes are taught by well-respected individuals and are a great way to learn something new from those who really knows their stuff. There are classes for brand new quilters and veteran quilters alike. My first class ever was a hand-quilting class with Dierdra McElroy and it was so much fun, I barely realized I was learning!

If you aren’t a quilter or aren’t interested in classes, the show features numerous quilt collections brought together by AQS which will make you think about quilts in a whole new way and help you develop an appreciation for the immense artistry that can be showcased in quilted form. Quilts truly are more than something to throw on the bed, they are works of art and the people who create them are truly artisans.

If you are a quilter, you will find amazing show discounts on sewing machines, long-arm machines, and other tools of the trade. Everywhere you will see kits, templates, fibers, fabric, and notions that you will want to take home with you. I love being able to shop in person for the things I’ve seen in my quilt magazines or online, and there is no substitute for being able to try out a machine before you buy it. This is definitely the place to come do a test drive if you are in the market for a new machine.

While you are attending the AQS show, plan to enjoy lunch at one of the downtown Lancaster restaurants such as The Pressroom, Aussie and The Fox, Prince Street Café and others for a great selection of lunch items. The Downtown Lancaster Visitors Center is right across the street from the Convention Center and they have all the brochures and maps you will need to find someplace interesting to visit. Just ask one of their knowledgeable staff members for a suggestion.

If you’d like to visit during AQS QuiltWeek™ (and you should!) hours for the show are Wednesday through Friday from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM and Saturday from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Single and multi-day tickets are available at the door. For full details on tickets, parking, classes and events, check out the American Quilter’s Society webpage at aqsshows.com/AQSLancaster/homefeature/lancaster-2014.

To learn more about Shawn Marie, read “The Bloggers” page and check out her website, www.amusementparkmom.com.

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Molly of Ogham Stones, live at Tellus360

“We need a three syllable word to describe tonight” exhorted Leo DiSanto,  front man for Vinegar Creek Constituency, as he unfolded a piece of paper that had been passed up to him on stage by a fan.  “Happening.  Hap-pen-ing.  I think that works!” he said to an ecstatic hometown crowd as the band launched into another rousing roots jam.

In fact, “ a happening” perfectly describes the feel of this first annual Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival.

Where many other festivals feel very commercial, with huge sponsors, t-shirt cannons and $6 bottles of water, Lancaster Roots and Blues managed to perfectly capture the spirit of the music it was highlighting. Though the sound, lighting, and organization of the festival were world class, a homespun quality and authentic energy permeated the venues, making concert goers feel at times like bands were playing in their living rooms and at other times like they were playing in the most raucous barn party you could imagine.

There were musicians playing on bar tops, flaming trumpets, and people dancing the Lindy Hop.  Above all there was an overall sense that something important was happening, something special that was bringing out otherworldly performances from the artists and leaving many of us literally exhausted from so much joyous celebration. You never felt like anyone was trying to sell you anything, and it never felt like anyone was trying to take the spotlight from the amazing performers who were giving their all. It was a festival that truly exalted live music, took care of performers and concertgoers, and got so many of the small details right – which is impressive for its first attempt.

People will remember where they were when the first Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival happened; and though it’s hard to imagine how it could get much better, it’s even harder to imagine that word won’t spread far and wide about the amazing new happening in downtown Lancaster City.  I, for one, am already counting the days to the next one!

Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival venues included, but were not limited to Tellus360, the Lancaster County Convention Center, and The Ware Center.

Post by Dave May. To learn more about Dave, be sure to read his profile on “The Bloggers” page.

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The perfect Valentine’s Day

February 18, 2014 | Posted by: Kristen May

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About mid-January Valentine’s Day hit my radar screen. I discovered years ago that if you want a nice dinner out and overnight accommodations, you have to plan ahead because things book up quickly.

Since I started my search early, I found a restaurant that I knew my wife would love and made reservations. The next challenge was to find nearby accommodations.

I was a worldwide sales manager for many years and I’ve literally stayed in more hotels than I can remember. Consequently, I’ve come to appreciate the uniqueness, charm and hospitality of Bed & Breakfasts and boutique hotels. I checked out regional accommodations, but nothing jumped out as unique or special. I continued looking for B&Bs online but was having a hard time figuring out how far away they were, if they required 2 night minimums and whether or not they were clean, well-kept and hospitable.

When I was at the Lancaster County Visitor Center for a meeting, I decided to ask if the travel consultants could recommend a B&B. Bingo! These Lancaster County experts grabbed a 2014 Getaway Guide, pulled out the map and we took a look together. There were several B&Bs in the area, but the one closest to our restaurant was Airy View Bed & Breakfast.

I’ve stayed in B&Bs when traveling, but this was my wife’s first stay at a B&B and she was delighted. Our room was warm and very comfortable and included a Jacuzzi bath. The sitting room is large with a cozy fireplace and surrounded with windows overlooking a pond with a resident swan, Joey. The entire experience was delightful!

The past two years our Valentine’s Day had been disappointing. In fact, last year we’d decided to avoid going out all together. But this year I decided to give it one more try and with the aid of the Visitors Center staff and the hospitality of Airy View B&B, our 2014 Valentine’s Day was absolutely perfect!

This blog post was written by the Visitors Bureau’s Board Chair, Scott Miller. Scott is the Chief Marketing Officer at Garden Spot Village.

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Lancaster Roots and Blues, a festival you will not want to miss

February 4, 2014 | Posted by: Kristen May

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Photo of Chris Thomas King

The Red Rose City will turn blue February 21-22 when it hosts the first annual Lancaster Roots and Blues, A Festival of Music. Past and present will converge to celebrate true American music styles as nearly sixty acts perform across nine stages in five venues. Grammy winners and rising stars will appear both nights at The Lancaster County Convention Center, The Ware Center, The Chameleon Club, Tellus 360 and The Federal Taphouse. Only Lancaster could host this volume of high-caliber musicians at such choice venues within a three-block radius. There will be performances that you will be the first to see outside of YouTube or your record collection.

Does the name Chris Thomas King ring a bell? How about Tommy Johnson, guitarist for The Soggy Bottom Boys in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? Mr. King portrayed Tommy in the film and has since sold more blues records than any other artist in this century. Did you see the bio pic Ray about Ray Charles? He played Lowell Fulsom. He has won Grammys and Oscars. Would you like to meet him and hear him play live? Lake Street Dive will be releasing their first album in February. Besides playing at Lancaster Roots and Blues, they will also be appearing on The Colbert Report, Late Night with David Letterman and Mountain Stage. The buzz they’re creating has spilled onto the pages of Rolling Stone. You can catch these awesome musicians and more during Lancaster Roots and Blues.

Click here to see a complete event schedule, list of musicians, maps, directions, ticket information and hotel accommodations. To see photos of the artists or to get the official play-by-play, you can follow Lancaster Roots and Blues on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter.

The memories you build will be unique, priceless and irreplaceable. Get tickets now for the inaugural Lancaster Roots and Blues festival. You will want to say you were there at its birth!

Post by Sam Campbell: Owner, Gigspots.com and Operations Director, Lancaster Roots and Blues

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Hidden treasure at the PA Renaissance Faire – by Dave

January 28, 2014 | Posted by: Kristen May

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There is hidden treasure on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. No, it’s not a chest of gold left by buccaneers in colonial days, but rather one of Lancaster County’s best up-and-coming breweries: The Swashbuckler Brewing Company (SBC). Established 14 years ago, SBC has quickly made a name for itself in the region’s emerging beer scene with excellent craft beers that can be found in a growing number of establishments outside of its own pub. BeerAdvocate.com gave this noteworthy brewery a “91-Outstanding!” rating.

The Swashbuckler’s brewpub is a unique destination that serves up four very good traditional house beers (“Swashbuckler Gold,” “Red Sea Amber,” “Plankwalker’s IPA” and “Captain Rude’s Blackwater Stout”) as well as highly regarded seasonal brews (“Helles Bock” lager and “Scottish Terror” Scottish ale). These fine beers are paired with simple but tasty pub food at reasonable prices. You can enjoy pub faire and a pint just steps from the brew kettles where those pints were born.

Though SBC is a newer brewery, its beers have quickly been added by many other establishments in the region. My first taste of the terrific “Swashbuckler Gold” kolsch beer was from the taps at John J. Jeffries Restaurant, a fine-dining establishment adjacent to the Lancaster Arts Hotel in Lancaster City. Committed to sourcing only the finest local products, being on tap at John J. Jeffries is proof that the folks at SBC are making seriously good, widely-coveted beer that pairs with high cuisine and candlelight just as well as it does with sandwiches and fries at the brewpub.

Be sure to check out The Swashbuckler Brewing Company. And mark your calendar for the annual Mount Hope Brewfest on May 10. You’ll be glad you did.

Cheers!

To learn more about Dave, be sure to read his profile on “The Bloggers” page.

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Keeping Lancaster City’s brewing traditions alive – by Dave

January 20, 2014 | Posted by: Kristen May

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Lancaster Brewing Company (LBC) stands at the heart of the recent revival of craft brewing and brewpub dining in Lancaster County. Brewing at its current location in the northeast corner of the city since 1995 and under the banner of Lancaster Brewing Company since 2001, LBC produces a wide variety of celebrated beers that honor the rich brewing tradition of Lancaster County.

Head brewer Bill Moore and his crew work hard to create consistently great beer that pairs well with the excellent food served in the pub, from the sweet and roasty Milk Stout (used in a delicious mushroom gravy that tops the brewer’s meatloaf – my favorite!) to its Celtic Rose Ale steamed PEI mussels. LBC is not afraid to venture into the strong, hoppy world of more American style ales such as its award-winning Hop Hog and new Hop Buggy, brewed with Amish grains and a healthy dose of American hops.

LBC’s restaurant, situated on the open loft-style space above the brewery floor, is a great place for a kid-friendly lunch with family (the Hop Hog spiked house-smoked pulled pork is unbelievably good!), a romantic dinner date with a loved one (try the decadent Double Chocolate Milk Stout with a dessert from the a la carte menu), or even a special group outing, which can booked through their banquet manager. If it’s just drinks and snacks you’re after, there are bar specials daily and fantastic small plate options, from delicious Asian Duck Tacos to the truly unique Reuben Egg Rolls, as well as hot, buttery soft pretzels and sweet potato fries.

All of this is situated in an actual working craft-brewery setting within a historic brick building, with copper plated tables and walls adorned with black-and-white photography depicting Lancaster City’s centuries-old brewing tradition. And if you visit during the warmer months, LBC offers a beautiful new outdoor seating area surrounded by rain gardens and raised herb and vegetable beds, which the chef harvests for special seasonal dishes.

For more information and menus, visit them at www.lancasterbrewing.com.

To learn more about Dave, be sure to read his profile on “The Bloggers” page.

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