Lancaster County Trip Review

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Upon our return from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania the words that keep floating through my mind are peaceful and calming. From the winding roads, the covered bridges, the huge farms and the serene parks it was the most relaxing, unstressful vacation we have taken.

Lancaster Covered Bridge

Lancaster Farm As we crossed the tracks at the Strasburg Rail Road to purchase our tickets I noticed that we would be stepping back in time. A steam locomotive chugged into the station, pulling a line of cars restored to their 100 year old glory.

Lancaster Train There is nothing quite like hearing the energy of that engine and seeing the smoke billowing out of its stack. All employees are dressed in period costumes which made the ride much more realistic.

Lancaster Rail Road There are many cars to chose from. We choose the dining car for our ride.

Lancaster Rail Road Dining While on the train we were served a hobo lunch tied up in a bandanna served on a stick. It was charming and delicious.

Lancaster Hobo Lunch Our team working the dining car was extremely informative and helpful.

Lancaster Rail Road Dining Car As the train got ready to move we heard the conductor shout “all aboard”, and the train began its gentle swaying and the clicking of its wheels.

The trip itself provided our first glimpse into what life was like 100 years ago. Passing Amish farms, we saw farmers in their fields harvesting their crops without the means of powered equipment. Amazing that their farms are so huge and they can function without electricity.

Lancaster Amish Field A hundred years ago train companies would develop small parks along their route for people to get away, and Strasburg Rail Road has done the same. Groff’s Grove Picnic Area is a relaxing venue to spend a summer afternoon, before catching another train back to Strasburg.

Lancaster Picinic Area The entire trip is 45 minutes. We enjoyed it so much we thought of doing it again, but decided to go to the Railroad Museum across the street. The train ride is an attraction for all ages. I could imagine the thrill in our grandchildren’s eyes as we chugged along, if they had been with us. In fact I saw it in the little boy who said, “this is way cool!”

On trips I love finding off the beaten track places to visit or stay. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at Willow Valley qualified. It is located south and slightly west of Lancaster in an area of gently rolling hills and wonderful scenery. Willow Valley is a community that believes in friendliness and respect. That premise has carried over to the DoubleTree. They do everything they can to make their guest feel welcome and comfortable. From the moment we entered the vast lobby, walked through the beautiful atrium, to a quick check in, to warm chocolate chip cookies, we felt a sense of how diligently the staff works to please.

Lancaster DoubleTree Lobby

Lancaster DoubleTree Atrium I have a few requirements of a hotel when we travel. The 1st is a room that we can actually move around in. Our room was spacious with two queen beds and plenty of walking around space. The beds were neither too hard or soft and had wonderful pillows and bedding.

Lancaster DoubleTree The bathroom had two sinks, plus a dressing area with a counter and mirror, which was a nice feature. The 2nd requirement is a great bed. DoubleTree met that need.

Lancaster DoubleTree Review The 3rd necessity is quietness. Even though there were numerous children running around once we closed or door, nothing could be heard.

The shared grounds between the DoubleTree and her sister hotel Willow Valley Inn & Suites next door were well maintained and beautiful, they even have a covered bridge on the premises.

Lancaster DoubleTree Grounds

Lancaster DoubleTree Grounds Review The amenities are numerous, a golf course with what appeared to be very challenging holes, tennis and basketball courts, a water play area for young children, a larger inside pool, an outside pool, a fitness center, a children’s program, meeting rooms and even a chapel on site.

Lancaster DoubleTree Pool

Lancaster DoubleTree Kids Club

Lancaster DoubleTree Fitness Cafe 24 Hundred Bar was warm and inviting and the waitress attentive.

Lancaster Restaurant The Breakfast Smorgasbord at the Willow Tree Restaurant at Willow Valley Inn & Suites was great. Everything we could think of and beautifully laid out.

Lancaster Buffet One of the best features was the free, narrated bus tour provided by the resort. We roamed through Lancaster County stopping at an Amish Market, Kitchen Kettle Village and Hayloft Candles and Craft. Places we probably would never have visited on our own, but so glad we did. The driver was great explaining the Amish and Mennonite lifestyle. We were able to see farms up close. We were able to view their harvested crops in the barns. I marveled at the pride they take in their homes. Both homes and yards were spotless.

It was an amazing three days and we can’t wait to go back.

Accomodations, meals, and train tickets were provided. No compensation was received. The honest opinions are own own

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About Tired Grandma Judy

Hi! My name is Judy and I’m a proud Grandma of four. With 3 granddaughters and 1 grandson, I spend a lot of time as a happy babysitter. I absolutely love being a grandmother and my grandchildren growing up in Ohio and Michigan, I spend a lot of time on the road, on the phone, and traveling. I"m happy to be aboard here at 2 Wired 2 Tired where I enjoy dabbling in food blogging, reviewing products for grandparents, and sharing our trip reviews.

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  1. Maralea says:

    The Doubletree Hotel looks really nice! Sounds very friendly!

  2. Janet W. says:

    Beautiful! I love the picture of the farmer harvesting their crops!

  3. Krista W. says:

    I recently moved to Pittsburgh PA and have been thinking about taking a long weekend trip out the Lancaster. This was really helpful!

  4. I’ve been going to Lancaster Co. since I was a kid. It is so peaceful there, and the food is awesome! Now I take my kids there and they love it too!

  5. Nancy Bowers says:

    Very familiar with my home town! Glad you enjoyed your stay!

  6. I love looking at all your trip pictures – I need a vacation this year for sure

  7. Absolutely beautiful! I’d love to take a train ride and see that stunning scenery!

  8. Jennifer I says:

    I’ve been wanting to take a trip over to Lancaster. Now I just want to go even more.

  9. Going to have to do this during the summer! Looks like fun :)

  10. I love your review!!. I have been going to Lancaster for 48 years. I never get tired of it.

  11. What a fun train car to eat in! I love Pennsylvania and how different the geography is.

  12. That area looks great! I’m hoping we can fit it into some future driving trip.

  13. Nice Images from my own neck of the woods. Richard from Amish Stories

  14. Mary Beth Elderton says:

    I’ve wanted to visit Lancaster Co. for years! I didn’t realize how plush the trip could be:)

  15. This looks so nice. How far is it from Cleveland? Love to go there in October!

  16. Beautiful scenery.

    I took a train trip once and have fond memories of it.

  17. That’s absolutely beautiful! I would love a relaxing vacation right about now.

  18. That looks like a great relaxing trip. My kids love trains so I know they would both enjoy it. The countryside looks very beautiful.

  19. Gorgeous pictures! I’d love to take a train trip with the family. I have actually never been on one!

  20. Beautiful photos! That looks like a really fun trip.

  21. Looks like you guys had a great vacay!! I can’t wait to take the girls on a train some day!!

  22. kor halmond says:

    Looks like it was a lot of fin! we have vintage train rides 2o minutes from my house and the kids love them!!

  23. Your room at the Doubletree looks fantastic! I love how big the room is.

  24. This looks like such a fun place to visit! I have always wanted to ride on a train.

  25. This just looks amazing! I would especially love to take that fun train ride!

  26. we used to go to this area when i lived in NJ – very nice area – never rode the train though

  27. The hobo train looks like so much fun. I love it! We’ve been throwing around the idea of heading down there with the kids, I think we have to do it sooner than later!

  28. It looks like you had such a great trip. We’ve been on a train but never in a dining car like that. So fun!

  29. I would love to go on the train ride! I think this might need to be a place we add to our road trip list for the future!

  30. Great photos! It does sound very peaceful there, it’s so pretty! I’ve always wanted to take a train trip.

  31. I love the drinks in the Mason Jars on the train! So, how did you get the food out of the can? Did they give you a can opener or was that just for show? That looks fun! That looks really fun!

    Dawn
    http://www.cheapisthenewclassy.com

  32. How fun! I love riding the trains…Looks like such a great time:)

  33. What a fun experience. The train line looks like a step into the past, but the hotel was nice and modern!!

  34. Oh that looks like a nice hotel! We’ve always stayed at the Best Western Eden Resort. I like how this one though has an indoor water park for the kids, Eden has one outside, but if there is bad weather can’t go out there!

    We’ve never done the lunch car at Strasburg! It looks so nice in there. :) We usually do the first class car or whatever it is called. I don’t know if you knew but Thomas’s (The one that travels around the US) is from Stasburg.

    Looks like you guys had a blast just like when we do whenever we go down. :)

  35. Jennie Turbeville says:

    This looks like so much fun! I have to take my son on the train ride… he loves trains! Thanks for sharing! <3

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