Monday, April 14, 2014

Historic Smithton Inn All-time Favorite Recipes – Baked Eggs Florentine

Before exploring all that Lancaster County has to offer, I want my guests to start their days off with a

phenomenal breakfast. One of my favorite morning dishes is this Baked Eggs Florentine with eggs, jack cheese, and sausage over potatoes. If you’re looking for a fantastic brunch recipe, this one’s for you!

What you'll need:

  • 3-4 cups shredded potatoes
  • 1 ½ lbs sausage, cooked
  • 2 cups cheddar jack cheese (1 ½ in with eggs, ½ on top)
  • 3-4 cups spinach
  • 18 eggs

What to do:

  1. Combine eggs, spinach & 1 ½ cups cheese. 
  2. Spread the potatoes into an even layer on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  3. Next, spread the cooked sausage evenly over the potatoes.
  4. Top with egg/spinach/cheese mixture. 
  5. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove baking dish from oven, top with remaining cheese, bake 5-10 more min.
  7. Serve with Hollandaise sauce on top, and garnish with chopped parsley.

Try this hearty, flavorful breakfast masterpiece at home, and comment here to let me know what you think of it!

By Rebecca Gallagher

Monday, April 7, 2014

Want a Sweet Day Trip? Visit Hershey, PA!

Hershey, PA, most famous for its chocolate-themed attractions and ties to chocolatier and philanthropist Milton Hershey, is any easy 29 mile drive from the Historic Smithton Inn. That makes it a PERFECT day trip destination! I love helping my guests tailor their day trip itineraries to their specific

interests. To help you get the most out of your day in Hershey, here’s a list of  just a few things to do and see while you're there:

Hershey’s Chocolate World

Whether you’re a history buff or chocolate lover or both, you won’t want to miss out on this Hershey attraction. With a tour/ride, 4D movie experience, hands-on attractions, food, and shopping, Hershey’s Chocolate world offers a lot of variety and a ton of fun. Visit their website for hours, ticket info, and other information. Note that admission to the Hershey Great American Tour Ride is free, but other attractions require purchase of a ticket.

Hershey Gardens 

With beautiful botanicals and even a butterfly garden, Hershey Gardens is a sight to behold. You’ll find 23 acres of roses, other flowers and shrubs, and a collection of rare trees. Plus, the gardens offer activities for visitors of all ages including a hands-on children’s garden. Visit their website for ticket information, what’s in bloom, and directions.


You’ve probably heard the line, “Hersheypark happy.” After you visit this amusement park, you’ll discover there’s no way to be anything but happy while you’re there! If you go to Hersheypark, anticipate spending your entire day there exploring roller coasters, water rides, kiddie rides, shows, food, and other attractions. The summer season starts in full swing on May 9 and continues through September 1. Days and hours in spring, fall, and winter are limited to select weekends. Check out their website for details about tickets, hours of operation, and more.

Antique Automobile Club of America Museum 

A must-see for all fans of classic cars, the AACA Museum has exhibits with vintage automobiles from eight decades of travel. Among the galleries are automobiles formerly owned by celebrities including Betty White and the late Whitney Houston. The museum displays a permanent collection and then also features limited-time special theme exhibits. Stop by their website for information about hours, tickets, and what’s new there.

The Hershey Story 

Want the story of how the town synonymous with the “Great American Chocolate Bar” came to be? If yes, definitely make time to visit this attraction! It will guide you through the life of Milton S. Hershey. And it shares how this great American entrepreneur built a business and a community, and used the fruits of his labor to enrich the lives of others. It’s a fascinating story! For more information, visit their website.

Shopping and Eating

Hershey also has some primo places to get some “retail therapy.” You’ll find the Tanger Outlets there and many unique shops in the downtown district, too. And you'll discover an ample assortment of restaurants (from seafood to delis to pubs to pasta, and more) in town when you're ready to satisfy your appetite and refuel during your day trip.

For more information about all things Hershey, check out the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau website.

Ready to make a day of it in Hershey? Enjoy!

By Rebecca Gallagher

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Museum Events in Lancaster County: Historically Fun for All

Spring Museum Events in Lancaster County

Springtime is one of the best times to get out and enjoy what Lancaster County museums and historical sites have to offer. What variety! Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, there are activities and events to capture your imagination and indulge your interest in days gone by.

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening at a few of our area museums over the next few months. Mark your calendars!

The Ephrata Cloister  - Almost in our back yard, the Ephrata Cloister has these springtime events on deck…

  • Spring Search - Saturday April 12 from 1 to 4 p.m.
    Your entire family can join in the fun and search for clues to Ephrata's past. Follow the trail to the final prize! 

  • Mother's Day – Sunday, May 11 from 1 to 3 p.m.
    Treat mom to an afternoon tea with mothers from Ephrata's past. This one is sure to create a unique and memorable Mother’s Day!

For more information and to see other upcoming events, visit the Ephrata Cloister website’s Events page.

Landis Valley Museum - Just 20 minutes from the Historic Smithton Inn, the Landis Valley Museum always gives visitors interesting and entertaining activities to savor.

  • Victorian Tea and Tour  - Saturday, April 5 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
    Get a close look at the museum’s newest exhibit “Chairs! Chairs! Chairs!”; take a guided tour through the village; enjoy a delightful tea at the 1856 Landis Valley House Hotel. For more information, refer to their event flyer.  Reservations are required in advance.

  • Spring Benefit Auction - Saturday, April 12. Silent auction starts at 4:30 p.m.; Live auction starts at 5:30 p.m.
    Bid on handcrafted items from respected local craftspeople, gift certificates to local restaurants, and lots of other fascinating items and services. For details, see the event flyer

  • 27th Annual Herb & Garden Faire - Friday, May 9 & Saturday, May 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    With over 80 vendors to explore, you’ll find plants, herbal skin care products, garden art, and jewelry throughout the historic village area of the grounds. For more information, visit the event website.  

James Buchanan’s Wheatland Estate - Collocated with, President James Buchanan’s Wheatland has some fascinating “Living History at Wheatland” presentations lined up that let you look into the triumphant and turbulent lives of historical figures.

  • Life As It Is: James Buchanan Henry - Saturday, April 5 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Harriet Lane- Democratic Queen - Saturday, May 3 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

See Wheatland's website’s Events page for details about these upcoming events and others.

Whether you're a history buff or simply like to get out and experience something fun and different, I hope you'll check out some of these wonderful activities at sites that have such a meaningful place in our Lancaster County heritage.

By Rebecca Gallagher

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day in Lancaster County: Step Out and Enjoy the Luck of the Irish in PA Dutch Country

St. Patty's Day shamrocks - Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Lancaster County
At last, Saint Patrick’s Day is here again. A time when all of us, no matter where we are or where we came from, celebrate Irish food, drink, and traditions. You might be surprised to find out that Lancaster County, known for its PA Dutch heritage, has no shortage of places where you can get your Irish on.

As you think about shamrocks and leprechauns this St. Patty’s Day, check out these Irish-inspired establishments in Lancaster…

Annie Bailey’s at 28 E. King St. Lancaster - This traditional Irish pub is just steps away from the Lancaster County Convention Center in downtown Lancaster. Its menu offers a mouthwatering selection of traditional Irish fare and contemporary American dishes. The Victorian Dublin ambiance makes dining there a memorable Irish experience.

St. Patty's Day Man Drinking Green Beer - Celebrate St. Patty's Day in Lancaster, PAMolly’s Pub at 253 E. Chestnut St., Lancaster - You’ll find this warm and welcoming Irish pub in the heart of historic Lancaster near Musser Park. From its award-winning burgers to Irish favorites like Shepherd's pie, you'll find lots to love.

McCleary’s Public House at 130 W. Front St., Marietta - Located in historic Marietta, PA, McCleary’s offers an Irish experience in a relaxing setting by the Susquehanna River. With its 2,000 square foot covered patio, it's a wonderful place to gather with friends and enjoy dining outdoors rain or shine.

Tellus360 at 24 E. King St. Lancaster - The 100-year-old bar at Tellus360 features fine Irish whiskeys and beers. Tellus360 also serves variety of sandwiches, soups and salads...with all ingredients sourced fresh from local farms. Plus, they host a variety of events and entertainment.

Of course, you don't have to wait until St. Patrick's Day to enjoy any of the above. They're ready for you year-round whenever you hunger or thirst for a taste of Irish culture. Also check out the Lancaster Irish American Cultural Society website where they list events and happenings of Irish interest.

As you can see, PA Dutch Country has plenty of Irish influence to enjoy and share. And all of it is only about a half hour away from the Historic Smithton Inn. So step out and experience life on the Irish side this St. Patty’s Day!

By Rebecca Gallagher

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sight & Sound's Moses is an Epic Lancaster County Theater Experience

I was honored and fortunate to be invited to attend a special preview of Sight & Sound Theatres' production, Moses. At the performance on Friday, March 7, the theater was packed with local tourism-business owners, Sight & Sound vendors, and VIPs as the epic Old Testament tale came to life.

As usual, Sight & Sound did NOT disappoint. They managed to weave timeless themes, including struggles with identity, insecurity, destiny, faith, family, and redemption, into the Biblical story. Moses had all the extraordinary elements you come to expect from Sight & Sound productions…stunning sets and staging that make you feel a part of the show (so much so that at one point I actually started to feel dizzy!), lighting and sound that's so good you feel like the actors are standing right next to you, and of course, live animals that add an extra authentic touch!

With a flair for knowing how to amaze audiences, Sight & Sound made the show absolutely unforgettable with how they presented the burning bush, the plagues, the parting of the red sea, and the Ten Commandments.

 At the beginning of the show, the producer said they hoped Moses would be "impactful"… and I'd say they nailed it! And I love the quote from the executive director, "We set out to turn this from an "event-driven" story into a ‘character-driven’ story.”  They SO did that!!

I heartily recommend this show to you. Its official premier was on March 8 and Moses will continue in Lancaster into February 2015. To learn what went into creating this magnificent production, check out this video. After watching it, you’ll understand my enthusiasm.  For information about show dates, times, and ticket prices, visit the Sight & Sound website.


Sight & Sound Theatres' Lancaster location is only about a half-hour drive from the Historic Smithton Inn. If you’re staying with us, please do let me know if you’ve ordered tickets. I’ll be happy to make recommendations on area restaurants so you can have the ultimate Lancaster County “dinner and a show” experience.

By Rebecca Gallagher

Monday, March 3, 2014

Celebrate the Beginning of Spring with Sweet Sounds of Cool Jazz at Berks Jazz Fest

Piano with wavy keysWhether you’re a fan of great jazz music or just want to get out and celebrate spring in style, put the 24th annual Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest on your “not to miss” list! The festival runs from Friday, March 28 through Sunday, April 6 and offers some primo entertainment. It features cool performances by hot musical artists, a variety of local events, and even educational workshops. All activities will be held at various venues in the Reading, PA area.

This annual festival is presented by the Berks Arts Council in Reading with the purpose of promoting and supporting the arts in the Berks community. A great mission! And it’s only about a half hour drive from the Historic Smithton Inn!

The full list of performing artists is available on the Berks Jazz Fest website, but here are a few of the many talented musicians you can see there:

  • Spyro Gyra and Raul Midon
  • Lalah Hathaway
  • Gerald Veasley’s Midnight Jam
  • Candy Dulfer
  • Keiko Matsui and the Reading Pops Orchestra
  • And many, many others!

Ticket prices vary so see their website for rates. I absolutely recommend ordering in advance so you don’t miss out on seeing the talented artists you’ve got your sights set on.

Get out there and have a great time!

By Rebecca  Gallagher

Monday, February 24, 2014

Lancaster County Artisan-Style Cheese Makers Know How to Please the Palate

Lancaster County Cheese MakersReally, really good cheese…there’s nothing like it whether you’re savoring it while sampling wine or preparing a gourmet meal! And Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is home to some downright amazing cheese
makers. I'm talking about folks who create some of the finest artisan-style cheeses you will find anywhere.

Here are a few I feel compelled to tell all my guests about:

September Farm
5287 Horseshoe Pike, Honey Brook, PA
610- 273-3552

From our inn, you can be there in less than a half hour. It’s a family farm with a herd of over 50 Holsteins where they make an array of award-winning cheeses from all-natural ingredients and hormone-free milk.

A few of their unique varieties include: Amish Butter, Pepperoni Augusto Jack, Garlic & Basil Jack, Apple Cinnamon Cheddar, Salsa Jack. Plus, they make standard favorites like Smoked Cheddar, Muenster, and Swiss, too.

Farm Fromage 

Farm Fromage works with local cheese makers to create a variety of goat milk and artisan cow milk cheeses. They sell their world-class selections at a variety of locations within Lancaster County and beyond.

Some of their finest include the remarkable goat cheeses by Misty Creek Dairy in Leola. Other varieties to look for: Lacy Cup Camembert, Farm Fromage Mushroom Leek Jack, Farm Fromage Beer Washed, and Royer Mountain. And that’s just the start of it…they also have many other types to choose from.

Misty Creek Dairy
43 W Eby Rd, Leola, PA

Owned by an Amish family, Misty Creek Dairy is known for making the very best raw goat milk cheddar cheese around. Their other organic, all-natural cheeses are equally as divine. You can buy them directly from the small shop on their farm that’s less than a half-hour’s drive from the Historic Smithton Inn, or find them at the locations Farm Fromage distributes their cheeses.

I encourage you to sample the incredible creations these fine cheese makers bring to the table!

By Rebecca Gallagher