Best Things to do in New Hope PA

New Hope, Pennsylvania, nestled in Bucks County, is a captivating suburb of Philadelphia that has been gaining popularity as both a destination to visit and a place to call home. This picturesque town is a definite must-visit, offering a plethora of activities, shops, and dining establishments that might even inspire you to plan a weekend getaway to savor it all. Immerse yourself in the ambiance of the 1920s with a delightful ride on the New Hope Railroad, or indulge in a global culinary journey at New Hope’s Ferry Market, where diverse food vendors await. 

For a relaxing retreat, choose one of the town’s enchanting bed and breakfasts, each offering stunning river views that will make you feel like a local. Continue reading for an exciting travel guide featuring all the essential experiences and sights for a weekend escape or a day trip to the enchanting town of New Hope, PA, just a little over an hour’s drive from Hoboken and Jersey City.

1. Bucks County Playhouse

The Bucks County Playhouse is a theatre building housed within a converted grain mill. The original mill was constructed around 1790. Many theatrical royalty have performed at this ancient playhouse, including Grace Kelly, Dick van Dyke, Liza Minnelli, and others.

It is still showing a variety of performances that audiences are guaranteed to appreciate today. Aspiring actors should attend the playhouse’s acting classes. If you’re staying in town for a while, this is the ideal activity.

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2. Have a Fresh Cup of Coffee from Ferry Market

Ferry Market sounds like a fantastic place to kickstart your day in New Hope! Starting your morning with a cup of coffee and enjoying the vibrant ambiance of the market is a great way to energize yourself for a day of exploring the town’s tourist attractions. With a variety of coffee shops and breakfast places available, you’re sure to find something that suits your taste.

Home-baked goods and freshly brewed coffee are a delightful combination to savor before venturing out to discover New Hope’s majestic tourist spots. The market seems like a perfect spot to immerse yourself in the local culture and get a taste of the town’s culinary offerings. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Ferry Market appears to be a must-visit destination for a satisfying and enjoyable morning experience.

3. Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve

Discover the abundant natural beauty of New Hope and the Delaware Valley within the sprawling confines of this extensive nature preserve. This sanctuary provides the perfect setting for observing and gaining knowledge about the diverse array of indigenous flowers, plants, trees, and grasses that thrive in the region. At the visitor center, you’ll find a wealth of resources, including self-guided tour materials and additional information to enhance your experience.

The preserve boasts an impressive network of trails, spanning 4.5 miles in total. Most of these pathways are designed for easy navigation, making them accessible to all. However, for those seeking a more adventurous and challenging hiking experience, there are also trails that cater to this preference. Whether you’re a casual nature enthusiast or an avid hiker, this preserve has something to offer everyone looking to immerse themselves in the beauty of the local landscape.

4. The Mansion Inn

For travelers exploring New Hope, the Mansion Inn stands out as an exceptional accommodation option and a delightful dining destination. Renowned for its charming ambiance and tasteful decor, the Inn’s strategic location offers easy access to a variety of excellent restaurants and attractions within the heart of New Hope.

5. Go Biking at Delaware Canal State Park

Delaware Canal State Park in New Hope is a highly historic location. It boasts the remarkable presence of a well-preserved canal, a rarity in the United States, making it a noteworthy destination for history enthusiasts. In addition to its historical significance, the park offers breathtaking vistas and an array of exciting adventure opportunities. Visitors can explore numerous hiking and biking trails that wind through this scenic area, providing ample options for outdoor enthusiasts.

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6. Delaware Canal

Constructed in 1827, the Delaware Canal stretches across a span of 60 miles, tracing a path from Bristol to Easton, following the course of the Delaware River. The adjacent trail that runs alongside the canal is a beloved choice among locals for leisurely strolls, invigorating jogs, and scenic bike rides. 

Its level terrain and picturesque natural surroundings contribute to making this area one of New Hope’s most appealing destinations. In addition to the land-based activities, the access points along the trail provide opportunities for paddling and boating, adding an aquatic dimension to the recreational offerings of this charming locale.

7. New Hope Arts And Crafts Festival

This yearly festival offers a diverse array of artistic treasures for all tastes, including paintings, sculptures, a broad range of jewelry, and photography, among other items. Visitors can appreciate the creations of more than 160 carefully selected artists, alongside an assortment of culinary delights and live entertainment, all at this vibrant September event.

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8. Carriage House of New Hope

This delightful boutique hotel, consisting of just three rooms, combines the best of both bed and breakfast and home rental experiences. Guests can enjoy the privacy and ambiance of a personal residence while benefiting from the services of a dedicated concierge. The Carriage House proudly preserves its historical allure, showcasing original stone walls, a fireplace, and picturesque river vistas that evoke a sense of nostalgia. Yet, modern conveniences such as complimentary WiFi and access to Netflix seamlessly blend the past with the present.

9. Catch a Show at the Bucks County Playhouse

The Bucks County Playhouse isn’t your run-of-the-mill theater. It holds a profound place in American history and takes great pride in its legacy. Often referred to as “America’s most renowned summer theater,” it served as a stage for illustrious artists and actors during a time when theater outshone the burgeoning film industry. Visiting this theater is like stepping back in time and experiencing the nostalgia of those bygone days.

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10. Solebury Orchards

Solebury Orchards spans across 80 acres, dedicated to cultivating a variety of fruits, including apples, cherries, and blueberries. Visiting this weekend promises a breath of fresh air and picturesque vistas, with endless rows of fruit-laden trees creating a serene and tranquil atmosphere. Amidst this abundance of fruits, you’ll find yourself transported far from the city’s hustle and bustle, reveling in the peaceful countryside setting.

11. Washington Crossing Historic Park

History enthusiasts, gather around! This park is nestled just a short distance from New Hope and holds a significant place in American history as the very spot where George Washington famously crossed the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War. To embark on your journey through this historic site, the Visitor Center serves as an excellent starting point, offering valuable park information and engaging exhibits.

This expansive park boasts various areas to explore, including a meticulously preserved historic village and enchanting gardens. For those feeling adventurous and physically fit, a visit to Bowman’s Hill Tower awaits. Constructed between 1929 and 1931, this tower is steeped in legend, believed to stand on the site of Washington’s military observation post. From the tower, visitors can savor breathtaking panoramic vistas of the Delaware River and a substantial portion of Bucks County. Access to the tower is facilitated, in part, by an elevator, followed by a manageable ascent of 23 steps leading to the observation deck.

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12. Fox and Hound Bed & Breakfast of New Hope

For those seeking a more romantic retreat, Fox and Hound Bed and Breakfast emerges as the ideal selection. Their website highlights the establishment’s ability to create a serene atmosphere and provide individualized details that transform each room into a haven of luxury and refinement. 

Fox and Hound take pride in going beyond merely providing a place to spend the night; they aim to deliver a comprehensive and distinctive experience. Each room exudes its own distinct allure, with the added appeal of either a private balcony, a delightful garden vista, or a warm and inviting fireplace.

13. Enjoy a Scenic Ride along the New Hope Railroad

Combining historical charm with a dose of excitement, the New Hope Railroad should undoubtedly find a place on your New Hope travel agenda. This unique railway boasts a vintage 1925 locomotive that continues to operate over a specific route. You have the opportunity to hop aboard this train and set off on a voyage to the nearby town of Lahaska. 

The distance covered is roughly 9 miles, and the entire journey typically spans around 45 minutes. This scenic excursion promises to be a truly unforgettable experience that will likely stay with you for a lifetime.

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14. Nakashima Woodworkers

The George Nakashima Woodworker Complex served as the residence of the renowned Japanese-American contemporary furniture craftsman, George Nakashima. Nakashima himself designed all the structures within this open complex, providing visitors with an opportunity to fully engage with his signature aesthetic of organic naturalism. The essence of simplicity and minimalism permeates every aspect, from the architectural elements to the surrounding landscape and the furniture itself.

To delve deeper into the world of George Nakashima and his captivating philosophy, consider participating in guided tours of the complex. His open and organic design style serves as an exceptional representation of the unique attractions awaiting discovery in New Hope.

15. Peddler’s Village

When I travel, I have a preference for buying products from the area I’m visiting, and Peddler’s Village is the perfect place for this endeavor. Situated about five miles from New Hope, this delightful shopping village boasts around 60 establishments, with the majority being locally operated. Here, you can explore a wide array of goods, including clothing, kitchenware, jewelry, and a diverse range of other items. Additionally, the village offers convenient amenities for visitors.

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16. Covered Bridge Driving Tour

Bucks County boasts numerous historic covered bridges, all conveniently located near New Hope. New Hope itself features one such bridge, the Van Sant Bridge. Embarking on a self-guided driving adventure to explore these charming remnants of a past era is perfect for a day trip or a brief excursion. It’s like taking a nostalgic journey into the past to admire these picturesque relics of a bygone time.

17. Join a Ghost Tour and Search for the Phantom Hitchhiker

Do you have a strong interest in the supernatural, or are you more inclined to be a skeptic looking to debunk such phenomena? Regardless of your stance, paranormal attractions tend to pique the curiosity of many tourists, and New Hope is no exception when it comes to its mysterious happenings. One of the most renowned ghost stories in New Hope revolves around the phantom hitchhiker. 

The city is reputed to be home to numerous spirits that are said to wander within its historic mansions. Consequently, New Hope hosts several ghost tours, providing visitors with a chance to explore these tales. As night falls and the bustling streets of New Hope grow deserted, it’s believed that these spirits freely roam the area.

18. Parry Mansion

The Parry Mansion, dating back to around 1784 and once belonging to Benjamin Parry, one of the town’s founders, stands as a significant historical landmark. For history enthusiasts, this well-preserved house is an excellent destination today, offering profound insights into the town’s heritage. 

Stepping inside, you’ll gain a vivid understanding of life in the 18th century. Take a guided tour through the mansion, and you’ll encounter an interior still adorned with furnishings from that era, providing a glimpse into the evolution of design over the centuries.

19. The Ferry Market

Nestled in the heart of New Hope, The Ferry Market is a culinary haven that caters to the desires of food enthusiasts. This vibrant establishment presents a diverse range of dining options, including Latin American dishes, pizza, vegan and gluten-free offerings, aromatic coffee (an essential for me!), flavorful gyros, and delectable desserts. With such an abundance of tempting choices, the only challenge is finding enough time to savor them all!

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20. Rice’s Market

Rice’s Market spans 30 sprawling acres and operates seasonally, offering a diverse array of stalls and vendors. If you’re in search of cost-free activities in New Hope, a leisurely walk through this market is an excellent choice. Here, you can peruse a vast assortment of merchandise, ranging from stylish home decor like woven rugs and rustic vases to exquisite antiques. It’s advisable to explore multiple stalls before making any impulsive purchases, as you may discover even more enticing finds as you delve deeper into the market.

21. Explore the Doylestown Castles

A visit to the Doylestown Castles primarily revolves around exploring two prominent landmarks: the Mercer Museum and the Fonthill Castle. Upon entering the Mercer Museum, you’ll be struck by the remarkable journey fueled by one man’s boundless passion. 

Inside, you’ll have the opportunity to marvel at the astounding array of items he meticulously collected throughout his lifetime. Adding to the allure is the enchanting Fonthill Castle, a structure brought to life through his distinctive designs and innovative concepts. This castle boasts an impressive 44 captivating rooms, each personally adorned by the passionate visionary behind it.

22. Acme Screening Room — Lambertville

Nestled in Lambertville, the Acme Screening Room is a cozy local indie movie theater, just an 8-minute stroll from New Hope. Why opt for mainstream when you can immerse yourself in indie films and documentaries showcased on the grand screen at this unique venue? It offers a refreshing departure from the typical cinema experience, making it a valuable addition to your list of downtown destinations during your visit. 

For a delightful and spontaneous outing, consider bypassing the show listings and simply head to the theater to catch whatever’s playing. You might just stumble upon your new favorite indie film, making it a pleasantly unexpected cinematic adventure.

23. Parry Mansion Museum

New Hope boasts a wealth of ancient historic mansions, and one such remarkable estate is the former residence of Benjamin Parry, one of the town’s founding fathers. This majestic mansion, constructed exclusively for him in the year 1784, stands as a testament to its historical significance. As the Parry lineage eventually dwindled, ownership of this grand abode passed into the hands of the New Hope Historical Society.

Stepping inside, you will be truly captivated by the interior. Adorned with meticulously preserved designs and furniture from the 18th century, the Parry Mansion Museum exudes an exquisite charm that transports visitors back in time.

24. New Hope Arts Center

The New Hope Arts Center, a non-profit organization, serves as a dedicated hub for regional contemporary artists. This splendid venue provides an ideal canvas for highlighting the artistic brilliance and innovation of local talents hailing from New Hope and Lambertville. From captivating paintings to intricate sculptures, art enthusiasts can indulge in a trove of distinctive creations.

While here, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with kindred spirits. Engaging with like-minded individuals is not only one of the finest activities to undertake in New Hope but also a means to gain deeper insights into the perspectives of the local community. It’s a wonderful avenue for immersing oneself in the vibrant tapestry of the local culture.

25. Drive along the New Hope-Lambertville Toll Supported Bridge

This toll bridge, spanning a length of 1,000 feet, serves as a crucial connection between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. More precisely, it forms a vital link between the charming towns of New Hope and Lambertville, both of which have a multitude of attractions to offer. As you traverse this bridge, you’ll have the opportunity to behold the stunning Delaware River up close and personal.

This bridge serves as an indispensable yet delightful addition to New Hope’s vibrant nightlife scene. Furthermore, whether you’re entering or exiting the town, you’ll enjoy scenic views of the river along the way.

26. Great Barn Brewery

The Great Barn Brewery stands as Bucks County’s pioneering farm microbrewery, offering an authentic farm-to-glass experience. Nestled in the outskirts of New Hope, this 40-year-old barn not only preserves the region’s rich history but also showcases the genuine flavors of locally grown ingredients. Co-owned by Steve Ferguson and Maryana, this rustic brewery epitomizes the essence of freshly brewed beer.

Patrons have the opportunity to savor an array of beer styles while relaxing on a patio adorned with live music and delectable cuisine. Additionally, those in search of a refreshing pint can visit the taproom situated in downtown New Hope. This inviting spot, nestled alongside the picturesque Delaware River, serves as an ideal respite for explorers, ensuring they return for more of its cozy charm.

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27. Dutch Wonderland

Dutch Wonderland is a lively and enjoyable theme park that promises thrills with rollercoasters and rides, and also features a castle and slides, making it a fantastic destination for families. Located just east of Lancaster, this “Kingdom for Kids” is especially well-suited for families with young children.

Spanning a vast area, this fantastic amusement park welcomes visitors through a grand imitation castle facade made of stone, sure to amaze and excite the little ones. Once you step inside, you’ll be immersed in a vibrant world of sights, sounds, and enticing aromas, with colorful rides and attractions in every direction.

Beyond its 32 rides, Dutch Wonderland offers a delightful water park for cooling off, along with entertaining shows and games tailored for children’s enjoyment. After meeting the costumed characters Duke the Dragon and Princess Brooke, guests can explore the adjacent shops and dining options.

28. Philadelphia

Isaiah Zagar turned to the art of mosaicking as a therapeutic outlet to confront his mental challenges when he was in his late twenties. His endeavor, known as Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, has a mission to bring healing and inspiration to others through the transformative power of art. Take some time to immerse yourself in this enchanting labyrinth of mosaics and sculptures on a leisurely afternoon. 

You have the option to explore independently or join a guided tour like the South Philly Markets, Mosaics, Magic Tour. Regardless of how you choose to encounter the Magic Gardens, those who have visited before attest that it’s an experience that will leave you thoroughly enchanted.

29. Explore the cute independent stores

Escape the hustle and bustle by visiting the charming town of New Hope, where you can find solace away from the crowded streets, heavy traffic, and long queues. This riverside town is a haven for vintage enthusiasts, boasting a plethora of eclectic art galleries, antique shops, and flea markets lining its Main Street.

As you meander through these lively streets, New Hope rekindles the joy of shopping by offering a delightful array of creative and inspired gifts for your loved ones. Take in the handcrafted treasures, which include glassware, sculptures, jewelry, and unique souvenirs, during your exploration. Don’t miss the opportunity to peruse the curated collections at establishments like Heart’s Afire Art Gallery, Angel’s Cards and Gifts, and Topeo Gallery, whether you’re shopping for special occasions, holidays, or simply treating yourself.

30. Hershey Gardens

Nestled atop a prominent hill, Hershey Gardens offers a serene and picturesque vista overlooking the equally enjoyable family-oriented theme park bearing the same name. Situated in the town of Hershey, this garden was established in 1937 by the incredibly wealthy chocolate tycoon Milton S. Hershey.

Comprising both a botanical garden and an arboretum, its enchanting grounds are brimming with splendid flowerbeds, beautiful flora, and meticulously manicured lawns. These thoughtfully designed gardens offer a delightful experience year-round, as the vibrant assortment of trees and shrubs showcases seasonal changes.

In addition to immersing oneself in the botanical beauty, visitors can meander through the tropical Butterfly Atrium. Moreover, there’s a Children’s Garden that provides young ones with a hands-on opportunity to connect with the natural wonders around them.

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31. Bushkill

Frequently referred to as “The Niagara of Pennsylvania,” Bushkill Falls sprawls across 300 stunning acres within the Pocono Mountains. Within this natural haven, visitors can explore wooded trails, cross picturesque bridges, and stroll along walkways that lead to eight mesmerizing waterfalls. If you embark on the approximately 2-mile Red Trail, you can take in all of these waterfalls simultaneously.

Bushkill Falls also provides additional amenities such as recreational areas, fishing opportunities, and dining options. It typically opens its doors to visitors from April through October or November, depending on weather conditions. Previous guests have generally expressed their enjoyment of the experience, although some have cautioned that there are a considerable number of stairs to traverse.

32. Canoe down Delaware Canal

In addition to its offerings of riverside dining and cultural attractions, New Hope is a fantastic destination for outdoor enthusiasts. One of its notable outdoor features is the Delaware Canal, which stands as the sole remaining intact canal from the significant towpath canal construction era of the 19th century. In its heyday, it was renowned for its mule-drawn canal boat rides. This 60-mile-long towpath runs alongside the Delaware River, stretching from Easton to Bristol.

Visitors can relish the ever-changing landscapes along this historic canal, which features well-preserved locks, vibrant wildflowers, blooming trees, and picturesque gardens with breathtaking vistas. Whether you choose to canoe, paddle, bike, or simply take a leisurely stroll along this vintage waterway, it provides a serene and tranquil setting by the water for a peaceful and calming outdoor experience.

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33. Presque Isle State Park

Tucked away in the northwestern region of Pennsylvania lies the mesmerizing natural beauty of Presque Isle State Park. Positioned on a sandy peninsula that extends into Lake Erie, this destination is a haven for both nature enthusiasts and outdoor lovers, offering picturesque landscapes and a wide range of recreational activities.

Presque Isle State Park came into existence approximately 11,000 years ago, sculpted during the last ice age, and it encompasses a serene bay sharing the same name. Along the tranquil shores of this peninsula, you’ll encounter stunning beaches, accentuated by dramatic dunes, lagoons, and sporadic forests.

The park’s wonderfully diverse ecosystems cater to a variety of outdoor pursuits, making it an ideal destination for activities like hiking, biking, and sunbathing on the beach, which are particularly popular among visitors. Moreover, the surrounding waters offer a selection of watersports, including boating, canoeing, water skiing, and scuba diving, providing something for everyone to enjoy amidst this scenic natural wonderland.

34. Langhorne

Situated in Langhorne, approximately 25 miles to the north of Philadelphia, you’ll find the inaugural Sesame Street theme park in the United States. This park boasts an array of kid-friendly rides, such as Big Bird’s Tour Bus, the Flying Cookie Jars, and the Sunny Day Carousel. Additionally, visitors can indulge in water attractions, live performances, parades, and meet-and-greet opportunities with beloved characters, including the chance for a breakfast with Elmo.

For an extra special experience, consider planning your visit to coincide with one of the park’s seasonal events, such as The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular or A Very Furry Christmas Celebration. Frequent park-goers suggest arriving later in the day to avoid lengthy queues and make the most of your visit.

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35. Share a wine at The Pour House at The New Hope Winery

An excellent spot to enjoy a meal while perusing antique shops, the Pour House at the New Hope Winery offers exquisitely crafted wines, expertly mixed cocktails, and delectable cuisine. Situated between Peddler’s Village and New Hope, this establishment, with its rustic ambiance and vintage decor, provides a delightful dining experience before attending a show.

Evolved from its original authentic bistro and tasting room, the Pour House has transformed into a charming barn-style restaurant. Here, patrons can savor a variety of seasonal wines produced on-site, as well as imported wines to cater to diverse tastes. Indulge in the refreshing wines straight from the winery, expertly paired with classic American dishes. This lively venue is the perfect setting to gather with friends, savor the concert, and enjoy the sounds of soulful bands.

36. Bicycle Heaven (Pittsburgh) 

Situated along the Ohio River in the heart of Pittsburgh, Bicycle Heaven holds the distinction of being the world’s largest shop and museum solely dedicated to bicycles. Boasting a remarkable collection of over 4,000 models and makes, with many more kept in storage, this expansive exhibit is a must-visit if the opportunity arises.

In addition to showcasing rare and vintage bicycles from across the globe, the museum also features prop bicycles that made appearances in notable films such as “A Beautiful Mind,” “Fences,” and “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.” Among the standout attractions are the futuristic Bowden Spacelanders, as well as whimsical themed bicycles representing iconic bands and artists like The Beatles and Elvis.

For those looking to explore Pittsburgh on two wheels, Bicycle Heaven even offers bicycle rentals. And if you plan to stay in town for an extended period, you have the option to purchase a bike from them.

37. Kennett Square

Encompassing a vast expanse of 1,077 acres in the picturesque Brandywine Creek Valley of Pennsylvania, Longwood Gardens offers a continually changing and captivating experience with each passing season. Many consider the Christmas season to be the ideal time for a visit, as it presents an enchanting spectacle of thousands of poinsettias and other exquisite flowers, accompanied by the melodies of holiday tunes. Visitors can meander through a dazzling half-million lights, gather around a cozy fire pit, and immerse themselves in the enchantment of the festive season.

Throughout the year, Longwood Gardens hosts an array of cultural offerings, including theater performances, concerts, classes, workshops, and themed events, ensuring there’s always something special to enjoy. On-site, you’ll also find convenient dining options, including a full-service restaurant, a cafe, and even a beer garden for a well-rounded and enjoyable visit.

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39. Visit the Hearts Afire Art Gallery

A must-visit gift shop while exploring the delightful town, Hearts Afire is a destination for unique and handcrafted gifts suitable for all. Situated on the main street of New Hope, Hearts Afire and its neighboring store, Heart of the Home, offer a special experience for both gift shopping and a bit of self-indulgence.

Peruse a diverse selection of thoughtfully curated items, which encompass artisanal crafts, home decor, jewelry, apparel, glass creations, garden accessories, and much more as you embark on your quest for the perfect gift. Take your time to wander through the extensive array of offerings, and perhaps even acquire a Pennsylvania-made treasure to cherish. Whether you’re seeking rare and exceptional pieces or searching for great gift ideas, this charming establishment always promises something intriguing with every visit.

40. Amish Farm & House (Lancaster)

Nestled alongside Lincoln Highway, just outside of Lancaster, you’ll find the captivating Amish Farm & House, a place where you can immerse yourself in the history and culture of the rural religious Amish community. Established in 1955, this destination offers an authentic and enlightening experience as you meander through farms, fields, houses, and barns.

The sprawling site offers plenty to explore, including an antique Amish-built schoolhouse and charming paddocks and pastures filled with donkeys, horses, and goats. Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, you can tour the historic buildings while gaining insights into the Amish way of life and their enduring history in Lancaster County.

Beyond delving into nearly 300 years of the farm’s history, you can savor delicious cuisine at the BBQ Barn and interact with adorable animals at the petting zoo. Before concluding your visit, don’t forget to pick up locally crafted souvenirs and embark on a memorable horse and buggy ride.