Retirement In Lancaster County: Things to Do and See in Elizabethtown

One of the biggest draws about retiring in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is the easy access to many wonderful, small-to-mid-sized towns. Among those towns, one that stands out in residents’ hearts is Elizabethtown.

Referred to as E-Town by most locals, Elizabethtown is situated in northwestern Lancaster County. With more than 11,600 residents, it is in the heart of Central Pennsylvania and offers easy access to Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, Hershey, and Lebanon.

In 1830, the railroad was built running through the town. The town was primarily agricultural until the early 1900s, when the Klein Chocolate Company, now part of Mars, Inc., and several shoe factories opened. Elizabethtown is also home to Elizabethtown College and Masonic Village senior living community.

Read on to discover why Elizabethtown remains a fan favorite among residents and out-of-towners year after year.

Explore Retirement Living Open House

October 15th, 2022, 10am to 4pm

Join us for our open house event where 17 participating non-profit life plan communities will all open their doors to showcase the wide variety of homes and services that each campus offers.

White Cliffs of Conoy, Pennsylvania

White Cliffs of Conoy, Pennsylvania

Get Outdoors

If you like hiking or biking, there are many great options in E-Town. One favorite is the White Cliffs of Conoy, with its large white mountains up to 30 feet tall.

This amazing sight is the result of the excess limestone and dolomite that were piled up near the river.

Enjoy the spectacular views of the Susquehanna River while sitting atop the bleached rocks.

Love to bike? Try the Northwest River Trail, with breathtaking views of the river and plenty of shade as you roll along.

Farm Markets

The fertile Lancaster County soil makes farmer’s markets popular in the area.

The Masonic Village Farm Market is open all year. Sweet cherries, tart cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, pears, and more than 60 varieties of apples are grown on-site.

Pick-your-own apples and pumpkins are available each fall. Pies, apple dumplings, and cookies are baked fresh. 

Award-winning apple cider is available year-round. Made from Farmer Tad’s secret blend of sweet, ripe apples, this unfiltered juice is great served hot or cold. The farm market also sells Masonic Village’s home-grown premium dry-aged beef.

Located at the farm market, the Orchard View Café is open May to October and offers hand-dipped ice cream and specialty sandwiches while visitors take in the 20-mile view of orchards, farms, fields, cattle, woodlands, rolling hills, mountains and more.

Elizabethtown Fair

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023, the Elizabethtown Fair is one of 109 Pennsylvania State Fairs.

Slated for the last week in August, the fair includes animal, agricultural, competitive and commercial exhibits. It provides an opportunity to showcase agriculture in Lancaster County and surrounding counties.

Many local civic organizations and church groups use the fair as their principal fundraiser for the year, and local businesses and organizations promote themselves.

The fair also features a free petting zoo, free nightly entertainment, contests for all ages, rides, and great food.

The Celebrity Milking Contest attracts a large audience, and the fair also hosts a talent show and a Senior King and Queen contest. Demonstrations include fleece-to-shawl, sheep herding, and martial arts.

Stone Gables Estates

Star Barn

Star Barn

A unique event venue and tourist destination, the 175-acre Stone Gables Estates includes the historic Star Barn; the Harrisburg, Lincoln & Lancaster Railroad; and the National Christmas Center Museum, as well as horseback riding.

The Star Barn is a majestic Gothic Revival-style barn built in 1877. After being transported from Middletown and fully restored, it now serves as an event venue.

Take a nostalgic train ride through the property on the Pumpkin Patch Express, Santa Express, or Winter Train Excursion, offered seasonally.

The National Christmas Center Museum has more than 18,000 square feet of vintage Christmas décor, lights, trees, stores, and more. It features more than 1,250 nativities from around the world; storefronts representing the town of Columbia, PA; and sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas.

Winters Heritage Museum

Winters Heritage House Museum preserves two of Elizabethtown’s earliest structures. Erected in 1760, the colonial log buildings exhibit the styles of Scots-Irish and German settlers.

Slated for demolition in the late 1980s, the historic structures were rescued and preserved by Elizabethtown Preservation Associates.

A non-profit educational entity, the museum is dedicated to research, preservation, and education of Elizabethtown’s history. It includes the Seibert Genealogy Library and Resource Center. Members and guests can research and enjoy all aspects of Elizabethtown’s rich past.

Downtown Businesses and Events

Elizabethtown has a robust downtown area with unique small businesses and restaurants. Discover Lancaster has a full list of shopping, places to stay, attractions, and eateries, ranging from quirky boutiques to breweries, as well as outdoor recreation.

The LIV E-Town project organizes events for downtown, ranging from Halloween-themed festivities to Christmas in July to an annual Strawberry Social to a Star Wars event on May 4.

Their events are listed on Facebook and Instagram. The Elizabethtown Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors events, which are listed on its website, for businesses and the community, including a holiday parade and annual Christmas tree lighting.

Elizabethtown College

Elizabethtown College

Elizabethtown College was established in 1899. In addition to its full catalog of undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and self-study micro-credentials, the college hosts world-renowned speakers and lifelong learning programs. The Blue Jays also compete in a full range of intercollegiate athletics with events open to the public.

Elizabethtown is a small community with a big heart. The town provides an ideal environment to raise a family, start a business or retire, a great place to live, work, and visit.

It is an ideal spot to embrace the beauty of Lancaster County while enjoying unique and memorable opportunities.

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