Strasburg Rail Road and Family Lunch Break at Hershey Farm Restaurant, Lancaster County PA

Why do trains and railroads bring out adventure feelings in people? What is it about them?

Strasburg Railroad PA

I’m yet to figure that out. However, I do see an underlining pattern when it comes to my searches for our upcoming trips.

How Strasburg Rail Road Became a Must-Visit Attraction for My Family

Here’s how the process to where and how I prepare our family for upcoming trips:

  • I choose the location
  • I filter out all the top and funnest attractions to do in each area (usually around 6 – 10 for both adults and kids)
  • I sit down with the kids and the choosing begins
  • The kids win the majority votes for attractions they want to do and my husband and I get one or two that they either don’t understand or are more fun for adults.
  • Top choices for kid attractions are always trains and amusement parks and animal parks (or something to do with animals), everything else is secondary once they see these on the list.
  • After the deciding and the things to do are in place and secured I get to use these as negotiating tools for them to do their homework and chores until our trip arrives
  • I make sure to plan the activities I want to do first so that I can always say “Let’s do this first and then we get to do yours (whatever they chose to do)

 

Train Conductor - Strasburg Railroad PA

That’s why Strasburg Rail Road was held off after the Amish Village and Bus road trip. Even though they loved the Amish tour, they had no idea what it was when I first brought it up and if it was boring for them, I had the ammunition that we are doing a train ride right afterwards.

Quick Fun Tidbits – What to do at the Strasburg Rail Road Attraction

This is the oldest steam train still running in the world.

Oldest Steam Train in the world - Strasburg Railroad PA

You can travel in style in the first class car or go with the open or economy car.

Train coming in - Strasburg Railroad PA

We chose the first class parlor only because it was the height of the summer and can get really hot. Since I was traveling with my dad (the grandpa) air conditioning and comfort was crucial. But the open car is probably more fun for kids since they get to hang out of the car and feel the breeze on their face.

my favorite conductor - Strasburg Railroad PA

You can eat and drink on the train and there are plenty of different options.

My favorite part was the landscapes to see of Lancaster County.

Amish country side - Strasburg Railroad PA

The ride was only 45 minutes long just enough time for the kids to enjoy and before they got bored.

Can I fall in love with the conductors?

mini conductor - Strasburg Railroad PA

There is so much more than just the train ride at Strasburg.

playground - Strasburg Railroad PA

Our favorite (other than the real train) was the miniature train ride which was also run on coal.

Strasburg Railroad PA - mini train

Cute little rides

mini ride - Strasburg Railroad PA

The shopping area which looked like a miniature old-fashioned city.

stores - Strasburg Railroad PA

History of the Strasburg Rail Road

  • June 9, 1832 the Strasburg Rail Road was incorporated by a special Act of the Pennsylvania Legislature.

  • Over the next hundred years, the Strasburg Rail Road would become an important part of the transportation network in Central Pennsylvania.

  • Passenger travel wasn’t so popular with the arrival of the electric trolley in 1901 but the need to transport freight during World War I and World War II kept the railroad going.

  • By 1957 the freight revenues were so low, mounting operating costs so high and a series of damaging storms led owners to petition the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for abandonment.

  • Local industrialist and railroad enthusiast Henry K. Long along with Donald E. L. Hallock organized a group of individuals to purchase the property and restore it.

  • Twenty-four stockholders (named vice presidents) purchased the Strasburg Rail Road for $18,000 from the Homsher Estate in November 1, 1958, but the railroad was inoperable.

  • The first passenger train in forty years departed from the Strasburg station in January 4, 1959.

  • 1960 the Strasburg Rail Road’s first steam locomotive was bought. The same year, an 1882 Victorian train station was purchased in East Petersburg, PA and moved in sections to Strasburg.

  • September 1, 1960 number 31 takes its inaugural roundtrip run on the Strasburg Rail Road, returning steam locomotion to America’s oldest shortline railroad.

  • 1962 – 5 more steam locomotives are purchased, including a rare camelback engine (Number 4) that burns anthracite coal.

  • The Strasburg Rail Road celebrated its 175th birthday in 2007.

  • 2011 the Strasburg Rail Road received a state historical marker.

Time for Lunch – Hershey Farm Restaurant – Local Food of Lancaster County

Everyone’s gotta eat, right? So when traveling I go above and beyond to find the best options to experience the local cuisine as possible.

Amish man and buggy - Amish Tour - Lancaster County PA

Hershey Farm Restaurant came on my radar several times when searching for the best places to eat while visiting Lancaster County, PA.

Hershey Farm Restaurant Lancaster County PA

We were soooo lucky, we arrived at 12:30 pm and had no problem getting in and being seated for the homestyle buffet lunch.

Grandpa time - Hershey Farm Restaurant Lancaster County PA

However, at literally 1 pm, the place was so full, there was a wait for 45 minutes just to get in. Imagine that wait with kids.

NOTE: find out when is the best time to come without the wait, or ask for a reservation.

The traditional food of this area is inspired by the Amish, Pennsylvania Dutch,  which are really big on hearty foods (my fav).

Hot Station - Hershey Farm Restaurant Lancaster County PA

They love their mashed potatoes and fried chicken. I couldn’t get enough of the Honey Fried Chicken. Way too good!

Homestyle cooking - Hershey Farm Restaurant Lancaster County PA

And, can I just ask, why is Bacon Dressing only found here? This is the most heavenly dressing I have ever tasted in my life. Plus, this was the only restaurant out of all the places we visited that offered this delicious concoction.

Bacon Dressing - Hershey Farm Restaurant Lancaster County PA

I could’ve stuffed my face all day here, but my kids didn’t want to hear about any bacon dressings or fried chicken thanks to the amazing ice cream station. Even I made a couple of trips here – and I’m not at all an ice cream fan.

Ice Cream Station - Hershey Farm Restaurant Lancaster County PA

And the dessert section. I wish these were put in another room so that they are only discovered after they enjoyed the really tasty stuff. But since we are on vacation, I let them go nuts.

Dessert section - Hershey Farm Restaurant Lancaster County PA

Shoofy Pie – have you heard of this? This is one of the most traditional pies in the area and it is so delicious. Basically, it’s pie with a molasses and raisin filling. And when you add the whip cream and ice cream to the mix, you are in for a whole lot of trouble.

Shoofy Pie - Amish Traditional Pie - Hershey Farm Restaurant Lancaster County PA

And why is it called Hershey Farm Restaurant? Cause they have a cute little farm with animals for the kids to enjoy touching and feeding.

Farm Animals - Hershey Farm Restaurant Lancaster County PA

Information for Strasburg Railroad

Address: 301 Gap Road, Ronks, PA 17572

Phone: 1-866-725-9666

Train Times: 11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm, 4:00pm, 5:00pm, 7:00pm

Tours and Prices:

Train ride

  • The President’s Car – All Ages: $25.00 – Find out when it is open, this isn’t always available

  • First-Class Parlor – All Ages: $20.00

  • First-Class Lounge Car – All Ages: $20.00

  • Coach – Adult (12+): $14; Child (3-11): $8; Toddler (0-2): FREE

  • Open Air Car – Adult (12+): $16; Child (3-11): $10; Toddler (0-2): $2

  • Dining Car – Daily Lunch Train or a variety of Dinner Train options offered daily.

  • L.O. & S. Self-Propelled Motor Car – Adult (12+): $14, Child (3-11): $8; Toddler (0-2): Free

Hostling Tour – Children under 10 not allowed

  • Ages 10+: $30.00

  • (Advanced ticket purchase is required and available by phone Monday to Friday during normal business hours.)

Day Pass

  • Unlimited rides aboard Coach Car

  • Unlimited rides on the Fun Extras (when operating)

  • Upgrades to higher-fare cars may be purchased at the Station

  • Adult (12+): $18.00

  • Child (3-11): $12.50

  • Toddler (0-2): Free

Shop Tour – Children under 5 not allowed

  • Get a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the railroad’s mechanical shop, where trains are built and refurbished

  • Ages 5+: $18.00

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Combo Pass

  • Adult (12+): $21.00

  • Child (3-11): $13.00

  • Toddler (0-2): Free

Rail Baron Pass

  • One ride aboard First-Class Car

  • Unlimited rides aboard the Coach, Dining & Open Cars

  • Ticket holder must acquire a specific timed ticket at the station for First-Class, Dining and Open Cars. Food extra on Dining Car

  • Admission to Shop Tour*

  • Unlimited rides aboard Pint-Sized Pufferbelly, Pump Car and Cranky Car (when in operation)

  • Admission to Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

  • Ages 5+: $50.00

Information for Hershey Farm Restaurant

Address: 240 Hartman Bridge Rd. Strasburg, PA

Phone: (717) 687 8635

Hours: Mondays closed, hours change per season

Prices: $10 – $30 (for buffet style) Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Strasburg Railroad and Hershey Farm Restaurant Review

 

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About Marina Kuperman Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 10+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

2 Responses to Strasburg Rail Road and Family Lunch Break at Hershey Farm Restaurant, Lancaster County PA

  1. This looks like sooooo much fun.
    Laura @Travelocafe recently posted..Lower Barns, Cornwall. Paradise FoundMy Profile

  2. Looks like a lot of fun to learn a little bit of history of the area and then to sit down and have some local food! Thanks for sharing your trip!
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..Blogging, the Green Travel Industry & The Future of GGTMy Profile

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