As families grow and new generations are born, it’s important to keep the family ties strong. Traveling together can help. But planning a multi-generational getaway that will keep everyone in your family happy can be challenging. Our Globetrotting TravelingGrandmom has plenty of experience when it comes to planning multigenerational travel. Her family of 13 spans four generations, ranging in age from 6 to 78. They live all over the country from New York, to Chicago, to Chattanooga, to Orlando and have a variety of interests. Here’s why she chose Lancaster County, Pennsylvania for a multi-generational travel experience.
Finding the Right Destination is Key
Travel was simple when I was a kid. My parents loaded up our family car, my brother and I jumped in the back seat and we set off exploring the country. But then we grew up and the family grew. Now our family spans four generations and the original four have grown into a family of 13. Our interests are as varied as our zip codes, so finding the right destination is key.
Located in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Lancaster County has a wealth of activities to please everyone in our family. From outdoor adventures and cultural experiences to some of the best antiquing in the country, this is a place where every family member will come away with treasured memories.
Keeping the Grandkids Happy
When you’re traveling with grandkids, you want to be sure to include memory making experiences. We found plenty In Lancaster County, starting with the Turkey Hill Experience. This interactive ice cream-making experience was a huge hit with the grandkids—seriously, HUGE. This 17,000 square foot facility is filled with interactive exhibits exploring dairy culture and the story of the Turkey Hill Dairy.
We created a virtual ice cream flavor and the kids even recorded their own ice cream commercials. Our visit also included a session in the Taste Lab where we created our very own ice cream flavors. It was a delicious good time. In fact, the only challenge was keeping my grandson, Marshall, from eating his weight in ice cream.
Petting farm animals, horseback riding and learning to make pretzels the old-fashioned way were also some of our favorite experiences.
For the Family’s Art and Antique Lovers
In the northeast corner of Lancaster County, the antique lovers will be delighted to find the Antiques Region. Home to thousands of antique shops and dealers, the treasures from days gone by range from fine furniture to historic postcards and everything in between. The county is recognized as the premier year-round antiques destination in the Northeast.
And for the art lovers, follow the Lancaster Art Trail to explore the county’s eclectic collection of art galleries. While some of my family members lean toward fine art, others prefer handmade pottery or stained glass creations. Lancaster has it all from city to country, contemporary to classic.
Connecting with the Local Culture
Lancaster is home to the country’s oldest Amish settlement. Traveling with my grandkids and introducing them to the unique Amish culture and way of life was truly special. They were intrigued by the horse-drawn buggies sharing the roads. And there were plenty of questions about what Amish kids were allowed to play with, since video games aren’t an option. Taking a tour of the countryside in an Amish buggy is a fun way for the grandkids and the grown-ups to learn more about the culture.
Farm to Table Cuisine—Something the Entire Family Loves
While my family may be diverse, we have one thing in common: we all love to eat good food. With such lush farmland, Lancaster County has always embraced the farm-to-table concept. Head to Lancaster’s Central Market to sample produce fresh from the fields, succulent fruits, local meats and cheeses, and the sweetest baked goods.
Downtown Lancaster has a nice variety of fine dining options too including Ma(i)Son—an urban cookery with a farm focus. Using the best ingredients sourced from Lancaster County and the Susquehanna River Valley, Ma(i)Son defers to the culinary traditions and techniques of the old world. The menu is small, simple and changes weekly. And the food? Well, you won’t find anything fresher.
Choose Transportation That Brings the Family Together
Lancaster County stretches 951 square miles—every inch of it beautiful. Dotted with Amish farms, charming small towns and picturesque covered bridges, the landscape itself is an attraction. To experience all the beauty this region has to offer, you’ll be spending some time driving from place to place. For larger families, consider a private charter bus as opposed to traveling caravan style in two or three cars. When you’re all riding together from place to place, the journey becomes part of the memories you’ll make. The private charter buses also have restrooms on board, eliminating the need to stop and find a clean restroom while you’re out exploring. That’s a win-win for everyone. And if you plan to imbibe in the Pennsylvania craft brew scene, the chartered bus will take care of the designated driver dilemma.
Even better, using a charter bus is an affordable option for families. When you consider the price of gas and parking for a family caravan, you’ll find another reason a private charter may be the best choice.
Memories for a Lifetime
We definitely made some memories on our last visit to Lancaster County. The grandkids declared it the best place ever. In fact, they are already planning what they want to do on their next visit. I’d say that’s a successful multi-generational trip.
I hope you can use some of these tips for traveling with grandchildren and other family members to make your multi-generational travel memorable—in a good way.