Life is looking up. Nature is awakening after a cold, dark winter. There is a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, as vaccination efforts ramp up across the state. The days are growing longer, and temperatures are climbing higher. As we begin to see some semblance of normalcy, it is the perfect time to get out and safely enjoy all-things spring in Lancaster County.
1. April is National Volunteer Month. Lancaster is home to countless nonprofits centered around diverse causes. Find a local nonprofit that you are passionate about and donate your time to help further their cause.
2. Go on an adventure created by Uncharted Lancaster. Similar to geocaching or letterboxing, the quests curated by Uncharted Lancaster aim to take locals off the beaten path in pursuit of the county’s history, lore and best-kept secrets.
3. Visit a local farm, such as Spooky Nook Farm or The Amish Farm and House, to meet the adorable baby animals born this spring.
4. Show your support during Lancaster City Restaurant Week (April 12-18). Our local restaurants need our continued support after enduring shutdowns, ever-changing regulations, limited seating and reduced hours. While ongoing restrictions continue to limit indoor seating, outdoor dining and take-out will be an integral part of this spring’s Restaurant Week. For the latest list of participating restaurants, click here. Stay tuned for more information!
5. Get curious. Lancaster Parks and Recreation offers numerous educational programs for people of all ages. Learn from the department’s skilled naturalists about the animals and plants that comprise our local environment or get hands-on experience in hiking and survival skills. Click here for their spring program listing.
6. Challenge yourself to a race. Even if you aren’t a running enthusiast, races and runs (most of which can also be walked) are a great way to get active and support a good cause. If you are physically able, training for a long-distance run or triathlon is a great way to push yourself. Lancaster County has no shortage of options, including the Race Against Racism 5k (April 24-May 22), the Be the Difference 5k (April 17-May 17), the Red Rose Run (June 3-6) and the TRI for Life (May 2), just to name a few.
Our Conservatory is popping with signs of spring. Here are just a few to color your Sunday morning.
7. Visit Longwood Gardens. Take a trip to Chester County to stroll through refreshing green foliage, colorful tulips, flowering trees and fragrant wisteria during Longwood’s Spring Blooms display (March 27-May 2).
8. Catch dinner. Trout season opens on Saturday, April 3! Spring is also a great time for foraging; Pennsylvania provides a wealth of natural ingredients like dandelion flowers and greens, nettles and the elusive morel mushrooms.
9. Take your dog to Happy Hour. Four-legged friends are welcome at Dalton’s Doggie Deck at Spring House Brewery’s Hazel Street location. A water dish and treats are on hand for all canine guests.
10. Catch a drive-in movie. To accommodate for social distancing, Penn Cinema created a pop-up drive-in theater last year during the early months of the pandemic. After closing for the winter, the drive-in is back! Tickets must be purchased in advance, as space is limited. Check their website for an up-to-date movie schedule.
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11. Join in on the Easter festivities! Treat a sweet-toothed loved one to an Easter basket filled with local treats from Lancaster Local Provisions. Create an Easter egg hunt in your yard or attend one at Kitchen Kettle Village (March 27 and April 2-3), Terre Hill Park (April 3) or Barnyard Kingdom (March 27-28 and April 2-3). Or, take the family for a ride through beautiful farmland on the Easter Bunny Train at Strasburg Rail Road (April 2-4).
12. Pick up litter. Earth Day is April 22, but you don’t have to wait until then to help make our county more beautiful and hospitable for wildlife. Next time you go for a walk, bring a trash bag and a pair of gloves and pick up any trash you see along the way.
13. Have a tea party. Gather a few friends and catch up over tea at Piccadilly Tea House or A Tea Affair.
14. Support the arts. Visit online galleries and participate in other virtual art experiences, like online classes or museum tours. Attend or stream a show from a local theatre. Explore downtown Lancaster’s many art galleries and museums during First Fridays or Lancaster City Artwalk (May 8-9).
15. Shop at your favorite local market or roadside stand. Enjoy the fresh tastes of early spring vegetables, like asparagus, leafy greens and rhubarb, while supporting local farmers.
16. Have a picnic. Grab take-out from a local eatery, head to your favorite park, spread out a blanket and enjoy.
17. Start your garden. Lancaster County has a wealth of garden centers and nurseries with staffs that are equipped with the knowledge, passion and experience to help you create a thriving garden.
18. Pamper yourself. Visit your favorite salon or boutique to help refresh your look. Now that it’s almost sandal weather, treat yourself to a pedicure at a local nail salon.
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19. Have an outdoor, spring photo shoot. Tudbink’s erected an arch on their farm in Conestoga that is available to the public for photo sessions. They are in the process of decorating the arch with beautiful spring blooms. To learn more, click here.
20. Reawaken your love for ice cream. Rita’s and Dairy Queen may have canceled their annual First Day of Spring ice cream specials, but you can still continue the tradition of enjoying a chilly treat on March 20 by visiting one of Lancaster’s many dairies and ice cream shops for a scoop (or three) of ice cream made from local cows.
21. Refresh your home. Of course, spring is notorious for cleaning, decluttering and reorganizing. It’s also a great time to redecorate or refresh your living spaces with new décor or furniture. Click here to check out some of Lancaster’s many home décor stores ready to help you breathe new life into your home.
22. Take your workout to the outdoors. Break your routine by going for a hike, attending an outdoor fitness class or simply doing your usual workout regimen outside. Lancaster Rec, along with the City of Lancaster and Lancaster Township, created the Big Green Gym, which provides equipment and directions for self-guided workouts in parks across the city and township.
23. Attend a Mud Sale. Although many were canceled due to the pandemic, some volunteer fire companies will continue to hold their annual mud sales this year. If you’ve never been to one before, mud sales are auctions that raise money for local volunteer fire companies throughout Amish communities. The “mud” aspect refers to the thawing ground during late winter and early spring. At these sales, you can bid on anything from antiques to quilts to farm equipment to livestock. Gap Fire Company (March 27), Robert Fulton Volunteer Fire Company (April 3) and Farmersville Volunteer Fire Company (April 23) are a few of the companies still holding their sales this spring.