When you arrive at the Lancaster Amtrak Station go up the stairs, through the lobby, and down the main staircase. Just outside the front doors the Red Rose Trolley drives by about very fifteen minutes. Give the driver a little wave and he’ll stop for you. TIP: Try to have the correct change for the trolley fare, they don’t give change ($1.15 each way, per person). Just ask the driver to drop you off at Penn’s Square, a short ride.
You will recognize Penn’s Square when you see a Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the center. The trolley passes the statue, then stops. Catch the trolley back to the station from the same spot.
On the square, you’ll find The Lancaster Cultural Museum, historical markers, banks, and soon, a convention center.
Central Market , America’s oldest farmer’s market, is located beside the Cultural Museum. Market is open Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. I highly recommend a visit to market, a Lancaster icon. Go in the morning for a tasty baked treat, then later in the day for produce, cheese, meats, or flowers to take along home.
Just behind the market is the Quilt and Textile Museum , Hagar Arcade of Shops, and Central Market Mall. Among the shops in the Central Market Mall is The Pottery and Bead Works . I recently stumbled across this place so I have yet to try it, but it looks like fun and runs about $15 per person to make a project. Another shop I like here is Country Chic which sells scarves, jewelry, odd handbags, belts, and other cool stuff.
I have two favorite old churches, but only one is open for touring, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. The second church is St. James, just a block north of Trinity, that has a courtyard cemetery with large stone tablets going back hundreds of years. I enjoy reading the names and dates of the souls laid to rest here.
Just a few paces from St. James is the public library. Climb the marble stairs to the second-floor kids' section if they are along. It is an inviting room with bright colors, computers, and thousands of books.
For a place to eat, there is Marion Court or Isaac’s on Queen Street, or try my favorite place–-Lancaster Dispensing Company .
All the places mentioned are within 2 blocks of Penn’s Square. Enjoy your day!
September 21, 2005
From journal Inexpensive PA Day Trips on AMTRAK