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Lancaster County Overview

Lancaster County, PA: A great place to call home.

Both Lancaster County and Lancaster City are major tourist destinations for historic interest and natural beauty.  Every year, tens of thousands of tourists are drawn to the area because of the rich sense of history and tradition and the simple life that characterizes the culture of the unique people who live here.

It's a wonderful area to visit, but it's an even better area to call home.

In the heart of southeastern Pennsylvania
Lancaster is situated in the eastern part of the U.S. on the western fringe of the highly urbanized and industrial region that runs from Boston to Washington, D.C.  Lancaster's proximity to major metropolitan areas adds to its richness.  Philadelphia is 65 miles from Lancaster; Baltimore, 70 miles; Washington, D.C., 112 miles; and New York, 160 miles.  Lancaster County's climate is described as humid continental, with fairly mild winters and warm summers.  Precipitation as rain averages 41 inches annually; snowfall averages 29 inches annually.

History
Lancaster County is a prosperous and beautiful locale with a rich heritage.  Lancaster City, the county seat, is one of the oldest inland cities in the U.S. and had its beginnings as an industrial community in the five years preceding the American Revolution.  Lancaster was a point from which travelers were outfitted for their journeys west.  In the value of goods produced, Lancaster County is the leading non-irrigated agricultural county in the U.S.  Lancaster County has a significant population of Plain People, including various Amish and Mennonite sects.

Getting around
Lancaster's transportation services include a centrally located train and bus station, a local transit service, and an airport.  The Red Rose Transit Authority operates buses for both the city and the county.  Lancaster is also on the main line of the AMTRAK system, connecting New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago.  The Lancaster Airport, located a few short miles north of the city, offers charter flights through several agencies.

Commerce and economy
Lancaster's farming, agribusiness, commercial, medical, industrial, tourism and educational enterprises make it very strong economically with consistently low unemployment rates.  Today, the Lancaster area is home to many industrial giants such as Armstrong World Industries, CNH America, R. R. Donnelley, Kellogg Co., QVC and Tyson Foods.

Hospitals and healthcare
Lancaster has some of the finest health care facilities available in the state.  Within the county, four full-care hospitals are available:  Lancaster General Hospital, Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center, Lancaster Regional Medical Center, and Ephrata Community Hospital, plus the Lancaster General Women & Babies Hospital.  In addition, there are many outpatient facilities in the area.

Schools and education
Seventeen independent public school districts provide educational programs. In addition, the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 provides special education programs and services for learners with special needs, as well as for gifted students.  There are also a variety of private and parochial schools and three vocational/technical schools located in the county.

Lancaster has many excellent institutions of higher learning.  Franklin and Marshall College is one of the oldest colleges in the nation.  Millersville State University and Elizabethtown College also have a long history.  Harrisburg Area Community College offers a two-year academic program, as well as shorter topical programs.  Several other colleges and universities maintain satellite campuses in Lancaster County.  Lancaster Bible College and Lancaster Theological Seminary are also part of the educational environment.  The Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, The Pennsylvania Academy of Music and Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology add to the academic community.  Lancaster County has a full-service public library system.

Places of worship
There are more than 100 places of worship of many denominations and faiths throughout Lancaster County.

Culture, arts, food and things to do
Lancaster County is rich in history and culture.  Museums, theaters, colleges and community organizations offer everything from exhibits of fine paintings and concerts to theatrical productions and educational lectures. The city of Lancaster is home to First Fridays highlighting the large and expanding art community.

There are many parks offering everything in outdoor recreation from quiet walks, golf, hiking, and taking in a game with the Lancaster Barnstormers.  Wheatland, Ephrata Cloister, Rock Ford Plantation and the Hans Herr House offer a rich history.  Dutch Wonderland and Hershey Park are two amusement areas nearby.  Numerous shopping areas and outlets are also located in the Lancaster area.

And no description of Lancaster would be complete without the subject of food.  Lancaster County is well known for its wonderful food.  The county is a market basket for fresh fruits and vegetables.  The farmers' markets in the county reflect the long and prosperous farming traditions.