Historic lodging in Pennsylvania Dutch country? Ahh, the classic getaway. At Historic Smithton Inn, you can almost smell the fresh bread, sumptuous meals, and delectable desserts wafting on the breeze as they mingle with images of 4-poster beds and romantic fireplaces at this Lancaster County Bed and Breakfast.
Located in scenic southeastern Pennsylvania, 40 miles east of the state capitol Harrisburg and 60 miles west of Philadelphia, the town of Ephrata in Lancaster County was known in its early days for its agriculture and two resort hotels. Today the city of almost 14,000 still draws visitors from all over. Big city dwellers like to dial it back a bit and seek the gently rolling hills and numerous wineries where they can relax and unwind.
The Historic Smithton Inn provides everything a visitor to this beautiful Amish country could want for a perfect getaway. Modern amenities such as free wifi, large screen TVs, plush robes and towels, and silky-soft linens complement the Old Country charm and ambiance built into each of the inn’s eight spacious rooms. And for outdoor comfort, there’s a sunken fire pit where you can enjoy a glass of wine while snuggled in a blanket.
From garden view rooms to a fireplace for added warmth and romance, you have your choice of several different types of rooms. And ask about their separate cottage and guest house, perfect for a family reunion, girls’ weekend away, or even a focused business brainstorming retreat. Four-legged family members are welcome too but call ahead to confirm accommodations.
History of Historic Smithton Inn in Lancaster County
Built in 1763, the Historic Smithton Inn is one of the oldest bed & breakfasts in Lancaster County. With its spacious rooms and intimate gardens, there are various room types to choose from where yesterday’s charm is infused with today’s modern conveniences.
Ephrata Borough began as a religious community founded as the Cloisters in the early 1700s by a German mystic. A hundred years later the borough was in decline. Still, people from the surrounding farms and smaller enclaves continued to gather in the town of Ephrata as an established center of commerce.
Two resort hotels were constructed in the 1800s to provide lodging for increasing commercial interests in the area and passengers on the growing Reading and Columbia railroads. Finally incorporated in 1891, its population had grown to a respectable 2200 and was on the map to stay.
Activities near Historic Smithton Inn
For first-time visitors to the area, you won’t have to look hard to find a long list of exciting activities. There is a great deal of history in the area that dates back to the early days of our nation. Some of the area’s earliest non-native inhabitants are the Amish who are resolute in clinging to their centuries-old ways.
Spending time learning about their culture is an illuminating look into a past that still works well for them today. From horse-drawn carriage tours to secrets of Amish baking and cooking to woodworking with no electricity are all areas of great interest to the uninitiated. The more courageous will want to check out the hot air balloon rides to get an exhilarating view of the countryside.
For those with more contemporary interests, helicopter tours of the area, zip lines to test your mettle, and several amateur sports teams will certainly fill the ticket. A surprisingly robust variety of galleries, museums, and theaters will cultivate your cultural desires.
Head over to Hershey to tour the chocolate industry’s beginnings and get a fix for that sweet tooth. History enthusiasts will want to spend days touring the battlefields of Gettysburg, the location of arguably the American Civil War’s most crucial and costliest engagement.
A quick glance at the number of wineries across the region tells of a rich heritage of winemaking. Tasting rooms abound featuring a wide variety of your favorite wines as well as those you can sample to broaden your preferences.
Waltz Vineyards produces world-class wine based on the quality of their soil, which is similar to that of Northern Italy and Central France. Grandview Winery started as a father’s hobby that became a vision shared by the next generation.
Breweries are popular here too. Sample the local IPAs and take a 4-pack back to the inn for a nightcap or late-night hot tub soak. Bube’s Brewery is a 19th-century intact brewery and museum rolled into one. Have dinner in the catacombs with the rough-hewn stone walls for the ultimate rustic atmosphere.
Springhouse Brewing Company has a doggie deck so make sure there’s a dedicated doggie driver for the ride home! Speaking of home, if you want to stay closer to Ephrata, check out Black Forest Brewery for a family-owned experience. If you need help deciding how to get the most out of seeing the area, ask your host about the Wine Lovers and Beer Lovers tours.
You’ve heard about the bed, how about the breakfast? Featuring Colombian coffee and a selection of teas, their signature blend of juice will refresh you and help shake off any lingering slumber.
The main course consists of made-from-scratch cinnamon apple French Toast, a unique baked eggs in a ham cup, sausage and cheese mini-frittatas, and an assortment of quiche and pancake offerings. Topping it all off, fresh fruit and granola join pastries that are just minutes old.
Anyone in your party have special dietary needs? Simply let your hosts know in advance what foods are off-limits or particular ingredients that are required and they’ll be sure to have something amazing whipped up for you.
While the Historic Smithton Inn doesn’t have an on-site spa, with advance notice (and based on availability) they can arrange for a local massage therapist to come directly to your room. Sounds like the ultimate in pampering – your personal masseuse by the fireplace!
There is great benefit to be gained by a visit to this region. It’s easy to overlook for those not familiar with all this area has to offer, but spending even a weekend at the Historic Smithton Inn will provide you with the luxurious experience your mind, soul, and body craves.