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If you travel about 30 miles from Harrisburg, you’ll come across Lancaster (pronounced as one fluid word…don’t say LAN-caster!)…Pennsylvania Dutch country and land of the Amish. Our neighbor to the east has Harrisburg beat population-wise by about 10K residents and it offers its fair share of shopping and attractions.

Having attended graduate school in Millersville, right outside of the City of Lancaster, I like to think I’m somewhat familiar with what the area has to offer…but I’m always up for finding something new! That is what brought us to Lancaster for a Saturday day trip…a new restaurant. Before we get to that, I’ll fill you in on some of what we did throughout the day.

First, I can’t go to Lancaster without making a stop at one of the S. Clyde Weaver locations. I’m partial to the main store in East Petersburg since the market is larger and there is ample seating if you want to enjoy a sandwich in the cafe. Known for their meats and cheeses, you are hard-pressed to find a sandwich that isn’t good on the menu. They also offer freshly made bakery items and ready-to-cook meals to make week nights a bit easier.

I was first introduced to S. Clyde Weaver back in college when my roomie — who grew up in Lancaster — gave me my first sand tart. If you’ve never tried these thin and crispy cookies, you are missing out!  Proceed directly to S. Clyde Weaver and buy a tin to take home. That is precisely what I did during our trip. I would have also grabbed a tin of their sticky buns, but sadly, they were out. Luckily, those of us in the Capital region don’t have to drive the whole way to Lancaster to experience the taste of this little shop…they have a booth in the West Shore Farmers Market in Lemoyne!

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After we had our fill of delicious food at S. Clyde Weaver, we took advantage of the shopping Lancaster has to offer. We made stops at my favorite stores (HomeGoods and TJMaxx) before heading to Park City Center. The mall is significantly larger than those here in Harrisburg and offers a great deal more variety. Then, we took a drive down Route 30 to the Tanger and Rockvale Outlets. Like I said…no shortage of shopping options!

And now, the real reason we planned a day trip to Lancaster…to try a new restaurant! Alex and I LOVE ice cream and I’m always on the lookout for something unique. I was reading one of those “top 10 ice cream shops to visit” posts on Facebook and came across an ice cream parlor in Ephrata, Pa.

The Udder Choice is a small, unassuming restaurant that offers up fresh sandwiches and salads…but more importantly, homemade ice cream. I was particularly intrigued by two things I saw on the menu…chocolate chip cookie and pretzel cones. ARE YOU SERIOUS? Why have I never heard of such a great idea before? I knew we had to give it a shot…and I’m so glad we did!

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I opted for the toffee-flavored butter brickle in a salty pretzel cone, which really could not have been more delicious. Alex chose vanilla in a chocolate chip cookie cone and was happy with his choice. They offer the usuals — chocolate, vanilla and strawberry — along with others like peanut butter swirl, cherry vanilla, chocolate marshmallow and mint chocolate chip.

If you’re local to the Capital City region or even visiting for just a bit, I think it’s well worth a drive out to Ephrata to try this hand-dipped ice cream in a unique cone! Make a day of it in Amish country. This is really just the beginning of what Lancaster has to offer…stay tuned for a few more blogs this summer with other great activities! 🙂