Living History Theme and Experiential Tours
Upon arrival your group will be greeted on the coach by a village host and receive a welcome orientation. We will view a 13-minute award-winning video to introduce Landis Valley and the history of Pennsylvania German culture. The tour itself is, quite literally, a “walk back in time” through our crossroads village. Your group will travel back through 200 years, from 1700's to 1900's, and relive many daily activities experienced by early Pennsylvania German farmers, craftsmen, tradesmen and merchants. This approach provides a fascinating glimpse of a bygone era, when German- and English-speaking immigrant cultures joined together to help plant the seeds of a new nation. Then enjoy a unique shopping experience in The Landis Valley Museum store, where you will find traditional Pennsylvania German crafts and quality merchandise from local, as well as, our own craftsmen.
Please plan to spend between 2½ to 3 hours for a complete living history tour.
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Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum is proud to offer exceptional Theme Tours. All theme tours include:
- Award-winning video
- Guided tour with costumed guides in the buildings located in ourVictorianVillage
- Sampling of Pennsylvania Dutch foods including sticky buns, snitz and cider
- Horse-drawn wagon ride (subject to weather)
*Buildings in the Victorian Village are close together in a small loop. Walking is kept to a minimum.
A Taste of Penn Dutch (available year-round)
A food lover’s delight! Visit the Victorian Village and buildings including the historic Stone Tavern with kitchens, hearths, and bake ovens. Learn about a century of Pennsylvania Dutch food, 1700's to 1800's. You will visit our Old Country Store and the Victorian home of the Landis Brothers, founders of the museum, as well as several craftsmen plying their trade. Take a horse-drawn wagon ride around the outskirts of the site where you will experience traditional farming, live crops, our 1700's Log Farmstead and historic gardens and historic breeds of animals. Enjoy a sampling of wonderful Pennsylvania Dutch delicacies…sticky buns, snitz and cider…in our historic 1856 Landis Valley House Hotel.
Landis Valley – Its Faith Community (available year-round)
The story of the Pennsylvania Dutch is the story of a people and their faith. From the Amish and Mennonites–the plain people–to the Reformed and Lutheran congregations, religion has played a significant role in the lives of Landis Valley residents. Visit our 1700's log farm and learn about the earliest members of the Landis family. You will experience three centuries of Pennsylvania Dutch faith and spirituality as you visit the historic village and farms. Take a horse-drawn wagon ride and enjoy a simple taste of hearth-baked food.
Through the Garden Gate (available May – October)
Take a stroll through 1700's and 1800's herb, vegetable, and flower gardens, interlaced with tales of early garden folklore, and learn about our nationally recognized Heirloom Seed Project. Take a back-stage tour of the Heirloom Seed building where we package heirloom seeds and distribute them internationally. Sample an herb-baked delight in our historic Hotel. A horse-drawn wagon will carry you down dirt roads to discover the many different gardens hidden among the historic buildings. This informative tour is for both the beginner and the sophisticated horticulturist.
Harvest Time on the Farm (August – October)
Stroll the historic village and farms bursting with autumn colors, with fields and gardens ready for harvest. Costumed guides will relate stories of winter preparations on the 100-acre site. Take a horse-drawn wagon ride to the 1820s stone tavern and enjoy a taste from our bake oven.
“Beloved” Movie Tour (available year-round)
Visit the village of Landis Valley where Oprah Winfrey’s movie “Beloved” was filmed. Go into our Country Store that was used as a location in the film. Interesting stories and tales of the village and how the movie was made.
The following tours are geared toward hands-on interpretation with guests participating in various activities.
Heirloom Gardens of Landis Generations
Take a stroll through our 1700's and 1800's herb, vegetable and flower gardens, interlaced with tales of early garden folklore. Learn about our nationally recognized Heirloom Seed Project, including a tour and packaging demonstration. Learn how heirloom vegetables are making a big comeback in culinary and gardening circles. Take a backstage tour into our Seed Building and watch how they package the seeds.
- Tour the gardens and greenhouses
- Learn the history and folklore about gardens and why they were so important to the lifestyle and health of early communities
- Learn about the vegetables, how they are grown, and the food process from beginning to end.
- Go through the gardens and green houses and identify the mint used to make the tea (option: pick mint right out of the garden) and proceed to the 1856 Landis Valley House Hotel where you will prepare your own meadow tea.
Yesterday and Today: The Evolution of Farming in Lancaster County
Step back in time and explore the everyday early farming of the Pennsylvania Dutch. You will visit the state-of-the-art Landis Valley Farm machinery and Tool Exhibit. Get an insider’s look at the technology of agriculture, and how it has evolved since the simple shovel! You will work shoulder-to-shoulder with one of our farms to learn about our historic breads of animals living at Landis Valley. You’ll receive hands-on experience by hitching up a couple of Clydesdales for a day in the fields.
- Tour the farm and learn about the daily life of a farmer
- Learn the role of animals on a farm and meet the array of animals at Landis Valley, including Percherons, Belgian Draft and Clydesdale horses, Tunis sheep, Lineback cattle, oxen, geese, and chickens.
Interactive Cooking Tour: With Sticky Buns in the Tavern
You will experience first hand the traditional way of baking over an open hearth in our historic Tavern. This includes instruction and hands-on baking of our famous Sticky Buns. Assist the tavern keeper in the making of the buns, roll the dough and of course when finished, sample the goods! Experience another Pa. German craft in our Visitor Center.
Tour is restricted to after 3:00 PM during season, off season times are more flexible. Please call
- You will learn how to make our famous sticky buns, and sample them, of course!
- Learn the history of taverns and the role they played in transportation, socialization, and stagecoaches
- Learn preservation and storage of food for the winter
Fraktur: The Craft of the Pennsylvania Dutch for adults or children
Roll up your sleeves to learn one of the most unique and elaborate crafts of the Pennsylvania Deitsch (Dutch), Fraktur. Learn the history of this craft, and try your hand at creating this beautiful art form. Make your own sampler of Fraktur to take home with you. Frakturs were made for Birth Certificates and Weddings Announcements as a treasured family keepsake.
- Tour specific buildings where children and adults would have learned Fraktur
- See examples of this art form and create your own message in Fraktur