First Friday In Lancaster City Draws Thousands To Downtown For Food, Music and Shopping

Another great First Friday in Lancaster City.  The day appeared to possibly be “iffy” weather wise but despite some ominous looking clouds at one point in the afternoon, the sky cleared in the early evening and the sun came back out.

There were a bevy of food trucks on the plaza next to the Hotel Lancaster. Musicians lined the streets. The pianos are back and we didn’t pass one that somebody was playing.  We even heard some very good jazz being played in Lancaster Square.  People from many cultures mingled and enjoyed the entertainment, shopping, eating and warmer weather.  The Lancaster Police Department was present along with the Ambassadors ensuring everyone behaved themselves.  There was even a break dancing competition going on next to the food trucks that drew a very large crowd.

We also checked out the new pop up pocket park on Prince Street before the First Friday throng arrived. What a nice thing for tourists and city residents, alike.  A coffee company and an ice cream vendor (selling Carmen & David’s ice cream) have set up shop here.  The park makes use of a parking lot which eventually will be a boutique hotel.  The asphalt was been painted, trees and flowers and seating were added.  There was even a television crew there from Blue Ridge Cable TV who were filming and interviewing the vendors.  Many people were checking this out.  When we went by much later in the day it was very full!  People were really liking the space!

Lancaster is such a great example of what revitalization can do for a downtown.  Up until the 90’s there was no reason go to downtown (other than Central Market).  Now, it’s full of shops and restaurants. There are always people on the streets taking advantage of all downtown has to offer.  There is nothing better than spending time in a vibrant city!

To check out Passenger Coffee Roasters, click on

Prince Street Park Pops Up In Downtown Lancaster Parking Lot

Coffee and ice cream vendors

Coffee and ice cream vendors

A new park just popped up in downtown Lancaster.

The Prince Street Park will have its full unveiling Friday in downtown Lancaster in part of a parking lot at 118 N. Prince St.

The temporary park will be open through Labor Day weekend next to the building where construction will begin this fall on The Surveyor Hotel, a 60-room urban boutique hotel.

The 2,300-square-foot park features Passenger Coffee Roaster’s Airstream Coffee Bar and Penny’s, an ice cream truck serving Carmen & David’s Ice Cream.

Read more:

Lancaster City Council Approves Vegan Bar

Come mid-May, Lancaster city should have its first vegan bar and restaurant.

City council on Tuesday unanimously approved a liquor license transfer that paves the way for restaurateur Rob Garpstas to open root (The “r” is lower case) at 223 West Walnut Street.

Council approved the transfer following a brief public hearing that included a recommendation from Mayor Rick Gray for approval. No one opposed the transfer, which had been in Ruby Tuesday Inc.’s name, but was being held in safekeeping by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Gray wondered if there were many vegan bars around. Vegans do not eat or use animal products.

Read more:

Lancaster Roots & Blues Drew More Than 6,000 Downtown; Organizers Call It A ‘Success’

Rich Ruoff’s Sunday afternoon was a simple one.

He took a hot bath and lay down.

“I’m exhausted,” the director of the 2nd Annual Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival said around 5 p.m.

Not surprising, since he’d been running around like a madman well before the event started Friday evening, and for hours after it ended early Sunday morning.

Same goes for his director of operations, Sam Campbell.

Read more:

Downtown Lancaster Marriott’s Owner Proposes 96-Room, $23M Expansion

Lancaster MarriottThe math is simple.

If the Lancaster County Convention Center wants to attract bigger numbers of large conventions, it needs bigger numbers of nearby, convention-quality hotel rooms.

And right now, despite 299 rooms in the adjoining Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, plus 134 more at The Hotel Lancaster two blocks away, research studies show that downtown is coming up short.

But a new proposal by the Marriott’s owner would make the convention center more appealing to the organizers of these big events.

Read more:–room-m-expansion/article_b1b39a1e-a8da-11e4-b47b-3bbb05f76f38.html

New Website Allows Customers To Shop Downtown Lancaster Businesses 24/7

Editor’s note:  We think this is a great concept and we like the fact that so many merchants are already on board.

About 30 businesses in downtown Lancaster have banded together and created a way for customers to have more access to their products.

The new website gives anyone unfettered access.  Save on gas, parking and time.  If you are busy, don’t live in the area or don’t have access to transportation, but enjoy shopping online, then this site is for you!

The website is easy to use, you can shop by vendor or type of product etc…

Just create an account and start spending!

Lancaster Craft Beerfest – Saturday, September 6th

Lancaster SquareBringing a great beer event to Lancaster, Pa.

On September 6th, the second annual Lancaster Craft Beerfest is returning to the vibrant, growing, and creative city of Lancaster. Last year was a huge success with a sold out crowd of over 2,000 attendees, and this year it’s going to be bigger and better. Like last year, our goal is to provide craft beer drinkers with an amazing selection of unique beers so they can discover new and old favorites. There will be dozens of options from some of the best breweries, including those right in our neighborhood and from across the country. Not only will there be craft beer, there will be great food and live music to enjoy as well.

To check out the website for all the festival information, click here:

Art College Creating Influence In Downtown Lancaster

PA College of Art and DesignThe message taking form this week at North Prince and West Chestnut streets is different depending on where you stand.

From Chestnut, across from the Post Office, the last few letters of the word “influence” are shown.

From Prince Street, across from the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, the letters will form “create.”

“This is what we do inside the building across the street,” said college President Mary Colleen Heil.

Read more:

Lancaster City Alliance Moves Toward New Phase Of Revitalization

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stadium: Check.

Arts district: Check.

Convention Center: Check.

Tourism: Check.

Sixteen years after business leaders tried to revive Lancaster city with an economic development plan, many of the plan’s major components have come to pass.

Lancaster is a very different city than it was in 1998.

Read more:

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Lancaster Food Scene, ‘Totally Happening’

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LANCASTER, PA – Amish buggies and all-you-can-eat buffets. Those are the images that have long defined Lancaster County for most outsiders – with the added bonus of outlet shopping.

And there is ample truth to feed the cliches along the tourist honky-tonk of Lincoln Highway, where faux windmills spin over signs touting shoofly pies, and seniors come by the busload to gorge on bargain smorgasbords of brown-buttered noodles, gloppy gravy platters, and dry roast chicken.

But there’s another, far more sophisticated food culture finally sprouting through Lancaster’s famously fertile earth. From the Italian red corn and fraises des bois strawberries blossoming on Tom Culton’s farm of rare heirloom wonders in Silver Spring, to the whole-animal cookery at John J. Jeffries restaurant, a thriving beer culture, a bustling historic Central Market, and a growing downtown scene of food artisans, there is a palpable new excitement here when it comes to the pleasures of the table, and the drinks beyond.

“Lancaster is totally happening now,” says Andrew Martin, who in December opened a rye distillery called Thistle Finch in a rehabbed old tobacco warehouse. Set back on an obscure downtown side street, and marked only by a black-painted bird on the building’s exterior, a speakeasy-style bar open three nights a week pours cocktails with the spicy but smooth white liquor made just feet away in Martin’s handmade copper still.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Fulton Bank Starting Temporary Fill-In Of East King Expansion Site

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fulton Bank is facing another delay to its East King Street expansion project and temporary fill-in of the site.

This time, Mother Nature is the culprit.

“We’re behind due to the extreme weather” this winter, said bank spokesman Laura Wakeley on Tuesday.

In its previous timetable, Fulton planned to start filling in the 23 E. King St. site in January.

Read more:

Enhanced by Zemanta

Video – Happy Lancaster, PA

Happy Lancaster – Inspired by Pharrell Williams “Happy.”

Lancaster is Happy! Special thanks to featured dancers – Franklin & Marshall Dance Department, Heads Up kids, Mayor Rick Gray, Cylo and Lancaster Barnstormers, the Infantree, Iron Hill Brewery and Lancaster Central Market for putting up with our shenanigans and helping celebrate our extraordinary community!

Lancaster County Community Foundation –

Wells Fargo Building In Downtown Lancaster Adding Tech-Firm Incubator

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The new owners of a key downtown building are creating a technology-company incubator there.

The incubator, initially with nine young firms, soon will open on the now-vacant top floor of the Wells Fargo building, at Queen and Orange streets.

Operating the incubator will be Aspire Ventures, founded by developer Robert L. Redcay, tech entrepreneur Sam Abadir and others.

“We’re trying to do something unique, even for the East Coast,” said Abadir on Tuesday.

Read more:

Enhanced by Zemanta

East King Street Building To Fall For New Building To Rise

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The three story building at 26 E. King St. in downtown Lancaster has been a furniture store, a bank, and a drug store.

But in recent years, it has been empty and it has been neglected.

And, in the near future, it could be replaced.

On Thursday, members of the Lancaster city Historical Commission voted to recommend approval of plans to demolish the existing building and construct a new three story building in its place.

Read more:

Enhanced by Zemanta

Hotel Lancaster Will Replace The Brunswick Downtown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Standing amid workers installing tile and trim and painting the new lobby, real estate developer John Meeder declared: “The experience starts here.”

The experience is one of a bright, open lobby; clean, well appointed rooms; and a well-managed facility.

It will be the experience of The Hotel Lancaster, promised Meeder.

“The Brunswick is history. It is no longer the name of this hotel,” he said. “Sorry historians, but there is too much baggage.”

The street-level lobby had long been recommended by urban planners, but by moving it to the East Chestnut Street side of the building, Meeder and his partners also are getting a new address.

Read more:

Lancaster Central Market: The 13th Best Market In The United States?

62291_464860577791_784297791_6553207_5848835_nLancaster County loves Central Market. We know that.

But so do fresh-food aficionados across the United States, according to recent rankings.

Lancaster’s Central Market is ranked the 13th best among 101 farmers’ markets across the nation by The Daily Meal, a website that celebrates all things culinary.  It was the only farmers’ market in Pennsylvania to make the list.

The Daily Meal said its ratings factored in the quality, number, and variety of products sold at the markets, and the availability of each vendor’s background information.  The website also weighed what it described as “street credibility.”

Read more:–The-13th-best-market-in-the-United-States-.html#ixzz2fS8zsrGf

Judge Clears Hotel Brunswick For October Reopening In Downtown Lancaster

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Lancaster County judge has OK’d a series of agreements that will allow a developer’s plan to makeover the shuttered Hotel Brunswick.

Judge Jeffery Wright signed an order Wednesday that includes 21 operating agreements between the city, the district attorney’s office and developer John Meeder’s Meeder Development Corp.

The order clears the remaining legal hurdle Meeder had in reopening what was once a city landmark.

Meeder said Wednesday that the order keeps his planned reopening date of “early October” right on track.

Read more:

Architect Plans $5 Million, 7-Story Condominium Project In Downtown Lancaster

Three decades after building Steeplehouse Square, architect John de Vitry again is building condominiums in downtown Lancaster.

Magnolia Place, a seven-story building he wants to build at North Duke and East Chestnut streets, would be the first entirely new downtown residential project since Steeplehouse opened in 1982.

The 13-unit building would replace the building on the northeast corner of the intersection, which was built as a gas station and later served as a law office.

De Vitry and his partners hope to begin construction of the $5 million-plus project in October, with occupancy of the units by September 2014.

Read more:–5-million–7-story-condominium-project-in-downtown-Lancaster-.html#ixzz2W7xdrWlt

Lancaster Summer Arts Festival Still Going Strong After 50 Years

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fifty years ago, Lancaster was a very different place than it is today.

There was no Long’s Park amphitheater, no Gallery Row and the Fulton had barely survived being turned into a parking lot.

If you loved concerts, art shows, dance recitals or children’s shows, your options were few and far between.

But the Lancaster Summer Arts Festival, which officially got started 50 years ago this summer, began to change all that.

Read more:

To Stay Open, Hotel Brunswick Must Meet 21 Conditions

2114_57086842791_2010_nIt’s time for the Hotel Brunswick in downtown Lancaster to clean up its act, according to a judge’s order signed this morning.

Lancaster County Judge Jeffery Wright approved a series of agreements between the city and hotel owners that would essentially clean up numerous ongoing issues at 151 N. Queen St.

Wright ordered that 21 specific improvements be made or ownership risks a future court hearing that could shutter the hotel, deemed a “nuisance” last year.

The city and district attorney’s office each filed complaints last year alleging the hotel as a site of drug use, brawls and underage drinking.

Read more:–Hotel-Brunswick-must-meet-21-conditions.html#ixzz2SFCC9hVP