MONTCO Escape: The Smithton Inn and Lancaster County

Amish Buggies in Lancaster
Amish buggies in Ephrata, image via Smithton Inn Facebook.
Crimson Dove Suite at the historic Smithton Inn, Ephrata.
Make it a weekend in Lancaster!

Pandemic got you down? Not doing much these days? Well, I am happy to introduce you to our MONTCO Today Escape travel series!

I’ll be introducing you to great places in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware where you can get away for a mini-vacation, safely, and get to know some of the fabulous places nearby.

Today, I’d like you to come along with me to Lancaster! About 55 minutes West of King of Prussia, Lancaster is in the heart of Amish Country, and full of great places to hike, chill, stay, and of course, my favorite, eat!

Lancaster can’t be done in a day, so you must stay the weekend. Roll up to the historic Smithton Inn in Ephrata and prepare to relax.

About 10 minutes from the Exit 286 off the Pennsylvania Turnpike, this historic and comfortable inn hosts a winery, several rooms and suites, breakfast in the morning, all with incredible charm and safety measures in place.

Barry’s Car Barn hosts an amazing selection of American muscle cars.

The rooms are spacious, with cozy fireplaces, and the beds are incredibly luxurious.

The bathrooms boast glass-fronted showers or whirlpools. While staying super modern with the furnishing, the surroundings are quaint and retain the old-time Amish charm with wide-planked floors, solid stone walls, and wainscoting.

Out back is a great backyard with a large fire pit with chairs, so you can enjoy the weather and your wine as you sip and stay. There are even pet-friendly rooms.

Check out these places to stay as well.

Head out to Barry’s Car Barn (located at 3504 Old Philadelphia Pike in Intercourse), where you’ll take a trip down memory lane with Barry’s collection of American muscle cars from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. This collection is truly awesome.

Right across from Barry’s Car Barn in Intercourse is the iconic Kitchen Kettle Village, where you can see local Amish women in the Canning Kitchen making KKV jams, jellies, sauces, etc., that have been a staple of Lancaster’s hand-crafted foodie scene for 60 years.

Scratch Bakes, offering amazingly delicious cupcakes and pastries in Ephrata.

Some excellent restaurants and cafes in this general area include Scratch Bakes, The ExchangeMax’s EateryPrince St. CaféZoetropolis, and Springhouse Taproom.

For some shopping, check out these unique shops along the 300 block of N. Queen St., as well as Building Character and Madcap & Co.

Some fun activity options include Escape On Queen, as well as a self-guided walking tour of Lancaster’s African American heritage and exploring one of the city’s various public art trails.

See more of the area with Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides in Bird-in-Hand or via the Strasburg Rail Road in Ronks features a picturesque 45-minute ride through Amish farmlands to Paradise, PA and back on America’s oldest short-line railroad.

For dinner, you have so many choices, as Lancaster is an area for total foodies!

We settled on Luca Italian Kitchen (located at 436 W James Street), a fabulous Italian restaurant right down the street from Franklin & Marshall College, tucked among student housing and townhomes.

Luca Italian Kitchen in Lancaster, PA.

You’d never know this place was there!

Owner and Chef Taylor Mason told me the building was once a general store: “In a place that sold food, I now make food for the community.”

Enjoy appetizers, pasta, pizza, and any of their fine wines from their exclusive bottle shop.

Take a special trip over to Luca, stroll the area, and relax for the best meal you’ll have in quite some time—I recommend the bolognaise, the gnocchi, and any of the wood-fired Italian pizzas.

For breakfast, we enjoyed a wonderfully tasty breakfast as owner and Innkeeper Rebecca Gallagher loves to cook breakfast!

Enjoy an Asparagus, Tarragon & Swiss Croissant Boat for breakfast at The Smithton Inn. Image via Heike Martin Photography.

She alternates days of sweet and savory breakfast, such as strawberry-cream cheese French toast or cheesy broccoli eggs in a croissant boat, which we enjoyed with fresh fruit and delicious coffee.

After an excellent night’s sleep and a wonderful breakfast, we set off again in Lancaster to check out the shops (some are closed on Sundays), and then, headed back to Montgomery County.

Make it a weekend in Lancaster, I think this is the first time I was this relaxed since the pandemic started!

Many thanks to the Discover Lancaster team and Rebecca and her team at the Smithton Inn.


The historic Smithton Inn is currently open and accepting guests, for a safe, wonderful stay!


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