A Night Away in Lancaster #DiscoverLancaster

Once in a while it’s nice to leave everything behind and just get away for an overnight. Whether you get away for a date night, a girls night, or maybe even a solo night out, there is just something decadently relaxing about going an hour or three away, booking a hotel room, and just exploring a new place. I’m hoping to share a series of ideas for “nights away” at places not too far from home in Madison.

Lancaster, PA is about two and a half hours from Madison. During my visit I stayed at the Hotel Lancaster. After a little research I found that the hotel recently was acquired by IHG and is being rebranded as the Holiday Inn Lancaster, and is having $23 million dollars of renovations. I have to say… I thought the hotel was beautiful inside… so I’d love to see it after the completed updates are done.


Lancaster has a number of “regions and towns”. I stayed right in Downtown Lancaster, but you can also look into the Antiques Capital, Small Towns & Northern Countryside, Amish and PA Dutch Countryside, Riverlands, and Next-Door Neighbors (as they’re listed on the Lancaster tourism site). Honestly, I think Downtown is the perfect spot for an overnight, but as it is right in the center, it would be a great home-base for exploring all of Lancaster during an extended trip. What I most enjoyed about Downtown was the ability to park the car and then just walk to explore the area.


As we walked over to North Prince Street towards our dinner location I realized it is also the home to the Pennsylvania School of Art and Design. I loved realizing it was also known as “Gallery Row”. The street had a cool, creative, artsy vibe to it, and I loved doing a bit of window shopping at all of the little galleries. The outdoor art was also fun to come across randomly.


For dinner we ate at POUR. It was cozy but hip inside, and featured a variety of craft cocktails and food. While not everyone would like where we were seated, I enjoyed having a bit of a behind the scenes look by sitting at the end of the bar near the kitchen and prep area. There is something fun about feeling like you get to be a part of the process. We were able to chat with some of the prep staff and see how much fun they have with their job. You could tell they enjoyed working with each other… and the food.


We left POUR satisfied, but not stuffed (which for me means the portions were perfect not oversized). We did a little more walking around the downtown area before stopping at Federal Taphouse for a beer. The have 100 beers on tap, and “pride themselves on keeping their taps fresh, rotating many each week.” I loved their tap menu organization… and easily found a local stout that looked good (I’m a dark beer girl). I love trying the beer and wine locally made where I’m visiting if possible. I had #92 on their menu; a Milk Stout made by the Lancaster Brewing Company. We also couldn’t resist trying the Nutela Pizza on their dessert menu. After enjoying a drink or two, we called it a night. The Hotel Lancaster was right across the street… and I could hear my bed calling my name.


Before completing our stay in Lancaster, we made a stop for breakfast at Rachel’s Cafe & Creperie. The cafe in Downtown Lancaster is adorable… and the menu is enormous. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a variety of crepe choices. They also have an amazing coffee bar that features locally roasted Lonely Monk Coffee. They describe themselves as a little taste of Paris in Lancaster, PA and they don’t disappoint. I will warn you… the wait was LONG. I would suggest attempting to call ahead to get your name on the wait list. There were only two of us having breakfast the morning we went… and I believe we waited 45 minutes (which was only possible for me to stand because I ordered a coffee while we waited. Having waited as long as we did… I have to tell you it was TOTALLY worth the wait. If it was local for us here in Madison it would be one of my favorite spots.


My overnight stay in Downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania was truly enjoyable. It’s on my list of places to return to, and I’d absolutely recommend a visit. For more information and to plan your trip to Lancaster I would suggest visiting Discover Lancaster, the official tourism site.