The Pennsylvania Dutch Experience

Landis Valley tinshop

Landis Valley tinshop (photo: Vicki Weisfeld)

How often have I passed the signs for Landis Valley Village and paid them no mind? Recently, with kids in tow, a group of us finally made a visit. The Village was a little gem, perfect for a two-hour stopover in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. We had cheese, nuts, and fruit with us, and with water from the LVV gift shop, we put one of their picnic tables to good use too.

In the heart of Amish country, the Village (and Museum, which we did not visit) focuses instead on the Pennsylvania Dutch heritage of the region and began. It started with a farm owned by two brothers and their collection of Pennsylvania Dutch artifacts, gradually adding other historical buildings. These include a schoolhouse, blacksmith’s forge, tin shop, tavern (natch!), among others, many of which are arranged around a shady central square. It was perfect for strolling and letting the kids run off some energy, even on the 90-degree day we were there. Horse-drawn wagons are another option for touring the acreage. Snow-white horses are in the field, chickens in their coops.

Depending on the day, costumed interpreters are available to describe how a particular building was used. The day we were there, we talked to a tavern-keeper, a blacksmith who was full of stories and working at his forge in front of us, a tinsmith who had a terrific backstory, and a young man supervising a private home. The kids loved it!

One of the activities of the Village and farm museum is a Heirloom Seed Project, which has been under way for three decades. Find out more about the seeds available, the many special events and exhibits at LVV, and other details at

Landis Valley, horse-drawn wagon

photo: Vicki Weisfeld

Your Travel Circles

I provide this information to help you make the most of your trips to “destination cities” by also seeing attractions in a reasonable driving distance. I’ve had too many business trips when I never got out of the meeting hotel!

  • If you’re visiting Harrisburg, Lancaster County is less than an hour (45 miles) away.
  • If you’re visiting Philadelphia, Lancaster County is only 90 minutes (64 miles) away.

2 thoughts on “The Pennsylvania Dutch Experience

  1. Thanks, Vicki. Wish I’d known about this when I was in Lancaster a few months ago visiting Franklin and Marshall with my grandson. My brother-in-law is of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage.

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