New Yorkers looking for a weekend getaway alternative to the Hamptons or Hudson Valley this spring can dial it down by taking a three-hour train ride from Penn Station to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

There’s a lot more to the laid-back, culturally diverse city than its main tourism draws — handmade Amish goods and outlet shopping. There’s also a thriving culinary, craft brew and arts scene.

Once you scratch past the stereotypical surface, there are endless layers to this city that was our nation’s capital for just one day in 1777, during the American Revolution.

As one of the most visited spots in Lancaster, Central Market (centralmarketlancaster.com) has long been a hub for those in the city and the surrounding bucolic areas to gather, and buy and sell the bounty of the county. The red brick Romanesque Revival style of Central Market’s building, with its terra cotta roof, dates back to 1889. The actual market, however, is the longest continuously running farmers’ market in the U.S., dating back to 1730.

Today it’s a mad mix of Amish, Mennonite and German vendors touting Pennsylvania Dutch favorites alongside hip, young farmers pushing organic foods. And since Lancaster takes in more refugees per capita than any other U.S. city, that diversity is reflected in the culture and cuisine here, as well as at the market with vendors cooking up authentic fare from Kuwait, Thailand, Cuba, Kenya and Greece.


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