Fresh air, rolling pastures, beautiful countryside, professional shows and dinner theaters, great shopping, and so much more can be found in the Lancaster area.
Whether spending a weekend in the Amish Country of Lancaster or just passing through, you have to stop at one of the delicious Amish bakeries. Their fresh baked goodies will delight your tastebuds.
They use the freshest ingredients, mostly sourced from local producers when possible, and the Amish know how to cook and bake -- often using recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.
During a recent trip to Lancaster, I taste-tested quite a few treats from the Amish bakeries.
1. The Bird-In-Hand Bake Shop
The Bird-In-Hand Bake Shop was our first bakery stop.
It could have been the only stop, and I would have been thrilled. The baked goods at this shop were homemade, freshly baked, and absolutely gorgeous.
Located in the town of Bird-In-Hand, it is about eight miles east of Lancaster.
When we arrived, our eyes were drawn across the parking lot to an animal petting area. Quite a few people were around the fenced area, and we walked across to see what was there. They had a half dozen goats from baby kids to mama and billy goats. They loved the attention! We spent about 10 minutes taking pictures and watching them play and eat. Then we went back to the reason we stopped: the bakery!
Outside the store, they had crafts and Amish items for sale. Inside I was amazed by the things they had in bulk for purchase for people who like to bake. They had a variety of different kinds of sugars and sprinkles to put on cookies and cupcakes.
Every color imaginable stacked as high as you could reach -- actually higher than I could reach.
Then there were all the baked goodies, everything from home-baked hot dog and hamburger rolls to loaves of bread, pies, cakes, cookies, whoopie pies (some people know these as gobs), sweet rolls, apple dumplings, and more. All items are homemade, not mass-produced.
They had chocolate chip, molasses, oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodle, sugar, chocolate drop, and a few other types of cookies.
Pies included shoefly, cherry, blueberry, peach, mincemeat, and apple. Angel food cakes in a variety of different flavors were available, and they had apple dumplings.
They had loaves of fresh-baked white and wheat bread and then smaller loves of pumpkin, banana, and zucchini bread.
If you are not familiar with a whoopie pie or gob, there are two round cakes about the size of a large cookie with a fluffy, creamy icing between the two. They had a variety of flavors: banana, chocolate, red velvet, pumpkin, and oatmeal, all with white icing in the middle, plus they had chocolate with a peanut butter icing.
We purchased some cookies, whoopie pies, and fresh hot coffee. The chocolate chip cookies were still warm, and the chocolate was delightfully rich and still gooey. Let's just say the chocolate whoopie pies were my mid-week decadent treat.
They also sell a variety of candies, nuts, and other treats.
2. Mr. Sticky’s Homemade Sticky Buns
The main item on the menu at Mr. Sticky's is their homemade sticky buns. They are fresh, hot, deliciously gooey sweet sticky buns. You can get them with or without nuts and with cream cheese or peanut butter icing.
Mr. Sticky's started as a bakery on wheels serving their delicious treats for breakfast, and before long, for all kinds of events. Eventually, they decided on a permanent location in Williamsport, and they added a second location in Lancaster at 501 Greenfield Road.
They also offer soups, sandwiches on Mr. Sticky's homemade rolls, and salads. But customers often eat dessert first because the sticky buns are so tempting.
Whether you choose the regular ooey-gooey sticky roll or one with nuts or icing, you will love them and buy an extra couple to take home with you.
Note that Mr. Sticky's is closed most holidays.
3. Dutch Haven
This place is world-famous. You can't miss it! As you drive down Route 30 in Ronks (about two miles east of the Rockvale Square outlets,) you will see a windmill on top of a building, and it is one of a kind.
Dutch Haven is known for its shoofly pie. They tout it as being "America's Best." They have been making their shoofly pie since 1946, and they are still using the original recipe.
Wondering what exactly a shoofly pie is? They mix molasses, corn syrup, cinnamon, and brown sugar and bake it in a pastry pie crust. It is deliciously sweet and gooey.
They give out bite-size samples of their old-fashioned, gooey molasses, wet bottom shoofly pie to visitors. You can purchase pie by the slice or the entire pie. You can also ship their yummy pies throughout the country.
Shoofly pies are most certainly a unique taste made famous by the Amish in Pennsylvania Dutch Country.
They also sell chocolate shoofly, chocolate pecan, and pecan pies. You can purchase a variety of fruit pies, cookies, and gobs (whoopie pies) here, too.
Be sure to check out their homemade root beer. You can buy a cup or take a jug home with you. It is a bit stronger flavored than the carbonated version you usually purchase at the grocery store.
They also sell a variety of Amish crafts, furniture, and other souvenir items.
4. Achenbach’s Pastries
In Leola, about 10 miles northeast of Lancaster, you will find Achenbach's Pastries. They have been making from-scratch baked goods since 1954.
Located on 375 East Main Street, they are famous for their Long John Cakes. A Long John is an individual cake that requires no cutting. There is less mess with the single-serving delights.
They also have wholesome loaves of homemade bread, mouthwatering pies, donuts, delicious pastries, cake rolls, and country recipe cakes.
5. Lancaster Central Market
Lancaster Central Market has a variety of baked goods for sale. You can find just about any baked product or food you would desire in the market.
For 290 years, a central market of some sort has been thriving in Lancaster.
Standholders bring their goods to the Central Market to sell. If you only have time to go to one place for a variety of things, this is probably the best place to get a sample of all things Amish.
The market located at 23 North Market Street is only open on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 7 a.m. till 2 p.m. (COVID hours). Typically it’s open from 7 to 4 p.m.
6. Sweet Legacy Gourmet Bakery And Candy Kitchen
Located about nine miles from Lancaster in the quaint town of Lititz, Sweet Legacy Gourmet Bakery and Candy Kitchen has everything sweet, from delightfully rich brownies to simple and delicious shortbread cookies.
They also have a variety of caramel and nut candies and creamy, rich fudge.
A more modern-looking bakery at 55 East Main Street, they use generations’ old recipes and the freshest of ingredients for their homemade specialties. Everything is made by hand.
I was seduced by the large caramel apples, the peanut butter fudge, and the homemade caramel candy.
7. Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery
The final stop on our bakery tour was the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery in Lititz. While not sweet, they were delicious! Sturgis makes their own brand of bagged pretzels as well as soft pretzels, sold hot, straight from the oven.
They give tours of the original pretzel bakery, and you can enjoy a hands-on lesson about how pretzels are made by twisting a playdough mixture, watch bakers in action making pretzels, and buy their brand of pretzels and snacks to take home from their shop.
The day we were there they had a special on pretzels in the shape of a horse and buggy. We had to stock up on them since they were unique, and we enjoyed a hand-twisted soft pretzel before we left.
- If traveling in the summer, take a cooler for your goodies and your root beer.
- Try the things the Amish are known for -- including shoofly pie and whoopie pies (gobs) -- that you might not find elsewhere.
- Make sure you have a map or GPS if going from place to place. Country roads make it easy to get lost.
- Be respectful of the Amish. Do not expect them to look at the camera for a photo. They do not believe in having photos taken and they will look away.
- Pace yourself! I visited multiple bakeries the same day and don't recommend more than two or three a day. You can make yourself sick on sweets!
Want more on eating well in Pennsylvania? Consider my advice for the sweetest trip: a perfect weekend in Hershey, PA, and my perfect Pennsylvania foodie tour for travelers ages 50+.