During any of the four seasons, one of the most perfect spots to enjoy them is by exploring the Pennsylvania Dutch Country.


credt: Terry Ross

When traveling through towns like Bird-in-Hand, Lititz and Intercourse to Lancaster one thing is clear: this is not the place to be on a diet.

Trust me – in this land of chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes with real butter along with shoofly and whoopee pies and powder sugared funnel cakes the Atlantic Compass 28″ Expandable Upright Suiter is the suitcase to bring along.

There is plenty of room for clothes to expand. Feel free to bring lots of elastic banded pants and skirts.

This is farm country, where for centuries people worked hard and ate big.

The Amish live here.

Members of this religious sect have been in the US since the early 18th century. They first came from German-speaking regions of Switzerland, France and Germany.

Known for their simple way of living without electricity, cars or zippers, you can frequently see them on highways and byways in horse-drawn buggies with large reflective safety triangles on the back.

Just remember the Amish are not entertainers like at Colonial Williamsburg or Epcot.

The plain dresses, aprons, caps and vests are not costumes and the beards worn by men indicate their marital status.

Do not go rushing up to them with camera in hand and expect them to pose willingly.

Respect is the keyword to all encounters.

A mainstay of Penn Dutch eateries is the Plain and Fancy Farm Restaurant.

For over six decades customers have gathered to eat mouthwatering items like chicken pot pie with homemade noodles, roast eye round of beef, sausage and shoofly pie and much more.

For those unfamiliar with Amish sweets, a shoofly pie is a baked molasses custard pie, while whoopee pies are circular pieces of chocolate cake held together by either whipped cream or vanilla frosting. Sometimes the cake is pumpkin or carrot.

Central Market, in the middle of Lancaster, is America’s oldest building holding a farmers market. On Tuesday, Friday and Saturdays come early to get the best in local produced fruits and vegetables, crafts and fresh meats and flowers.

Another place to shop for regional specialties to snack or send is the Birds-in-Hand Farmers Market.

Should your trip occur during the wet and soggy spring, look for the seasonal mud sales that occur on Saturdays in towns like Strasburg, Gap and Airville. They benefit local volunteer fire departments and deliver wonderful prices on Amish quilts and antiques, farm animal and lawn equipment. Expect to find freshly made yeasty doughnuts and funnel cakes.

If you are still hungry after all the shopping head for free food.

In Nottingham visit the Herr’s Snack Factory where warm potato chips are served.

Pretzel samples are offered at both the Julius Sturgis and Intercourse pretzel factories.

Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate can be found in the charming town of Lititz, where the Wilbur Chocolate Factory Store awaits.

Also located in Penn Dutch County is the town of Hershey… yes THAT Hershey.

Streetlamps are in the shape of their famous kisses and the air is permeated with the delectable aroma of chocolate.

Although there are no free samples, you can take the free Chocolate World tour. It ends in a huge shop filled with confectionery.

A visit to Pennsylvania Dutch Country is always a sweet one.

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