Lancaster may be the capital city of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, but don’t let the surrounding farms fool you—it packs a serious city-chic punch. From a hotel right smack in the middle of everything to a restaurant with a treehouse to a gigantic complex for sports enthusiasts, Lancaster has something for everyone.
Where to Stay
It is awe-inspiring to arrive at the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square. “Guests walk right through the preserved façade of a department store that dates to 1898,” says Josh Nowak, director of sales and marketing for the hotel that is integrated with the Lancaster County Convention Center. “Right in the middle of this enormous shared lobby sits a 212-year-old rehabilitated federal-style mansion that was the home of William H. Montgomery.” There is 90,000 square feet of event space, including inside the mansion, and Freedom Hall that can accommodate 4,500 reception-style and 5,000 theater-style. “The rest of the event space,” Nowak says, “is essentially stacked on the second, third and fourth levels, which is really convenient for transporting guests to and from rooms.” The hotel has 300 guest rooms and the Penn Square Grille and Rendezvous Lounge. There is also the Mandarin Rose spa, inspired by the Red Rose City of Lancaster, and a fitness center that includes a weight room, an indoor pool and a whirlpool.
When it is a family-owned business, you know it’s handled with care, and that is exactly the case when it comes to the Cork Factory Hotel at Urban Place. “The family resides in Lancaster,” says Megan Kelley, social media coordinator. “They’re very hands on. The hotel has a simple, industrial-chic atmosphere. Off the wall in the bar are helmets worn by workers when it was a glass manufacturing company.” A ballroom can accommodate up to 200 guests for a seated event and 300 standing, while two other spaces can host 50-125. The hotel has 93 guest rooms. There are two dining options—the Cork & Cap Restaurant and The Baker’s Table.
Eden Resort & Suites is quite simply a beautiful place. “It’s got a casual, elegant feel with contemporary comforts and conveniences throughout,” says Managing Partner Stephen Sikking. “It’s also got something for just about everyone.” There are 301 guest rooms that include suites and villas, two award-winning dining options—Garfield’s Food & Spirits and Arthur’s Terrace Restaurant—and the Encore Lounge. The amenities also include indoor and outdoor heated pools, a splash park for kids and a putting green. There is 30,000 square feet of meeting space, including an 11,000-square-foot courtyard and three ballrooms that are 4,400, 2,700 and 2,600 square feet. There are also several smaller breakout rooms and several boardrooms. Outdoor events accommodate up to 150 guests seated and 300 standing.
Where to Eat
A Robin Hood theme awaits guests of Loxley’s Restaurant, located on-site at Heritage Hotel – Lancaster. “Loxley’s offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience, which centers around a tree growing through the middle of our patio and deck,” says restaurant General Manager John McCarthy. “We have a real treehouse, part of which is sheltered, that you can dine in above our deck.” Inside the restaurant offers additional seating and three bars. Menu favorites include the outlaw salmon, chicken penne and Loxley’s signature crab cake. There are two event spaces in Loxley’s: the Outlaw Chamber accommodates 45 and the Manor House holds 25 guests comfortably.
Tellus360 offers an authentic Irish pub experience. “Our owner and two bar managers are from Ireland. All three have true Irish accents,” says Ken Mueller, director of marketing and communications. “The back of our bar is more than 200 years old and is made out of doors from a famous Irish Catholic Church in Dublin.” Live music is the norm at Tellus360, where favorite dishes include shepherd’s pie, Irish stew and Tellus smoky pizza. Groups can rent the entire restaurant, which can accommodate up to 500 guests seated and 1,000 standing. Smaller spaces can host from 100 seated and up to 500 standing, with the roof seating 50 guests.
The Brasserie began as a farmhouse in the 1800s. “In the sports-bar area right off the wall is the judge’s bench from the original court in downtown Lancaster,” says General Manager Becky Uveges. “People come in just to check out the original woodwork in a lot of the rooms.” The Brasserie is famous for its crab cakes and tomato bisque soup. Four event spaces can accommodate from 20-40 guests seated and 25-60 standing. A full deck outside can host up to 100 seated and 150 standing.
What to Do
Renew. Repurpose. Reimagine. REology, a creative event space and studio, can have many meanings, but they always center around “using your noggin.” While the studio, a retail area that studio director Erica Horning likes to call the “idea shop,” has the supplies, it is the event space in the back where the ideas come alive. “It can be used for teambuilding activities and parties,” Horning says. “Many times there’s a theme like bottle- or picture-frame workshops, or a quote shop in which each guest comes up with their very own quote in which they turn into an art piece.” REology accommodates up to 36 guests seated and 70 standing.
The Demuth Museum, which also houses Demuth’s studio, is on the National Register of Historic Places and celebrates the art of Lancaster native Charles Demuth, as well as other area artists. “Demuth’s work is shown throughout the year, but a larger exhibit of his work is usually shown in the summer,” says Mallory Hane, general museum manager. “The rest of the year we hold exhibitions of local artists works and one major exhibition of an artist from outside the area.” Also located on the property are a townhome, where Demuth’s uncle lived, and the oldest operating tobacco shop in the country. The museum and townhome have the original wood floors and ceilings. The three-level townhome is available for private events. It can accommodate up to 120 guests seated and 275 standing. Tours of the museum are available.
It is the largest indoor sports complex in North America, but Spooky Nook Sports is so much more. “We also have a hotel with 135 guest rooms, a restaurant with two bars, a food court and meeting and event space,” says Mike Messina, chief business development officer of the 700,000-square-foot property. The largest of the event spaces is the fieldhouse, which, in addition to hosting basketball, volleyball and field hockey games, is used for trade shows that can accommodate 2,800 at rounds or 4,000 theater-style. Other event space includes an area than can host up to 1,000 guests and four meeting rooms that together make up 10,000 square feet. “We have a nice teambuilding program in which groups have a variety of options, whether it be our rock-climbing wall, our turf fields, our arcade … you name it, we have it,” Messina says. Other activities include cheerleading, football, baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer and a mini version of soccer called futsal. There is a 200-meter running track and a swim spa, too.
LANCASTER BY THE NUMBERS
250,000 SQUARE FEET OF MEETING SPACE
34,000 AMISH POPULATION, THE LARGEST IN THE U.S.
33 MILES TO HARRISBURG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
27 COVERED BRIDGES (THE MOST IN ANY PA COUNTY)