I love summer. I love the warmth, the long days, wearing sandals, taking trips, shopping for produce at farm stands and the spectacular sunsets. Summer in Lancaster is warm, with average temperatures in the mid-80's, but highs can hit 100. Some summers are wet enough to keep the grass green, but not this year. Our grass is brown, but it will bounce back. Lancaster is a year-round destination, but some things are just better during the summer. Our farmers markets are stocked with local produce and farm stands pop up all over the countryside, selling whatever they grow or make. Flowers, pies, zucchini and corn. Lots of sweet corn. Local sweet corn is another thing I love about summer in Lancaster. There are outdoor festivals, outdoor theaters and miles of trails to hike. Check out www.discoverlancaster.com/events.asp for a taste of all there is to do in Lancaster this summer. If you love the water, try a self-guided paddle tour in the Susquehanna: http://www.shanksmare.com/ Or, try a day at Mt. Gretna Lake & Beach: http://mtgretnalake.com/ You can also cool off with a visit Duke's Lagoon at Dutch Wonderland: https://www.dutchwonderland.com/DukesLagoon When it's time to relax, try one of these beers on tap: http://www.discoverlancaster.com/lancastories/whats-on-tap-summer Lastly, I'm always interested in pet-friendly places to take my Wheaten Terrier, Finn: http://www.discoverlancaster.com/lancastories/pet-friendly-lancaster-pa If only summer could last a few extra months.
The Lancaster Barnstormers are Lancaster County's professional baseball team and part of the Freedom Division of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. They compete against the York Revolution, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, Long Island Ducks, Somerset Patriots, New Britain Bees, Sugar Land Skeeters and the Road Warriors.
The Barnstormers inaugural season was in 2005. Prior to this it had been 44 years since Lancaster County had a professional baseball team. The Barnstormer's play at Clipper Magazine Stadium which is a 6000 seat stadium located in the Lancaster City's Northwest Corridor.
Forbes published this top 10 list yesterday, and Lancaster City made the list! Lancaster is a world-renowned tourism destination and a wonderful environment to operate a small business that can serve these travelers. It is an honor to be included in this Forbes list with cities like San Antonio, Texas and Savannah, Georgia. Come for a visit and see for yourself!
The full list is here: www.forbes.com/sites/annabel/2018/02/26/the-10-coolest-u-s-cities-to-visit-in-2018/
Lancaster County has outdoor spaces to keep the locals busy, and the parks are available for our visitors, too.
The Lancaster County Parks include trails that follow former railroad tracks, a scenic overlook with a panoramic view of the Susquehanna river, acres of preserved natural land, an historic plantation which was once owned by George Washington's Adjutant General and the list goes on. Here is a link to a brochure with details about these parks:
The Pennsylvania Game Commission manages the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. This 5,000+ acres is designated for the protection of of wildlife, an specifically for water fowl. It is know as a migration stop for snow geese. Learn more here:
Lancaster County is home to the Wolf Sanctuary of PA. Situated on 80+ acres, the sanctuary is home to the Speedwell Wolves. Guided tours are available. For more information click here: https://wolfsanctuarypa.org
The Lancaster County Conservancy manages several preserves, and they even manage their own Airbnb. Here is a link to the many trails, fishing areas, wild flower preserves and more: https://www.lancasterconservancy.org/preserves/
Long's Park is an 80 acre city park and home to a petting farm, children's playgrounds, a 3 acre spring fed lake, tennis courts and an amphitheater. It is notable for the summer music series, featuring free outdoor Sunday concerts all summer long. Long's Park also hosts one of America's top 50 fine art festivals. This year will be the 40th annual festival on Labor Day weekend. Click here for more info: information: http://longspark.org/about-the-foundation/
These are just a few of the many recreation spaces found in Lancaster County.
The first step is to determine what you can afford to purchase. This is not the fun part, but it will make the rest of your search so much more productive. If you plan to finance your purchase of an existing bed & breakfast you will need a commercial mortgage, and the structure and terms of a commercial mortgage are very different from a residential mortgage.
First, you will need a minimum downpayment of 20% of the purchase price. Banks often have a portfolio loan product that is suitable for a B&B purchase. This means the mortgage is funded by the bank and kept in their "portfolio". The underwriting requirements can be very different from one lender to the next. Most B&B's are not generating enough income to satisfy the lender as the exclusive source of income. In reality, the B&B income can be sufficient for making the mortgage payments, but the lender may need to see additional income. Many B&B owners have an additional source of income, including retirement/pension income or from a job outside of the B&B.
Next, the typical residential mortgage is amortized over 30 years. A commercial mortgage is typically amortized over a shorter period of time with a balloon payment due after 5 or 7 years. If you have a principal balance on your mortgage when the balloon payment is due you will need to refinance the loan at that time.
Lastly, commercial interest rates are higher than those for a residential mortgage. They run approximately 1% to 2% higher than their residential counterparts. Commercial financing is higher risk for the lender so it is more expensive for the consumer.
The bottom line is when compared to a residential mortgage you will need more money down, you will have a higher interest rate and you will have a shorter amortization schedule.
For these reasons, it is best to explore your financing qualifications and costs prior to finding the "perfect inn". You will be able to evaluate prospective B&B's with greater confidence knowing your financing options up front.
Yankee Magazine has a great article from their September/October 2013 issue . The article takes the reader through a day in the life of the innkeepers at the Inn Vicotria in Chester, Vermont. It is a good snapshot of what it is really like to live the dream. Here is the article:
There are a couple of networks of experienced innkeepers in Lancaster County. These groups are exceptional resources for members, especially if you are a brand new owner-operator of a local B&B. Members offer decades of experience in the hospitality industry and can offer everything from recommendations for a reliable plumber to who is offering the best credit card processing.
One group is Authentic Bed and Breakfasts of Lancaster County, PA. This is a group of about 30 B&B's. Learn more on the website: http://www.authenticbandb.com
Another organization is Lancaster County Bed & Breakfast Inns Association. This is 14 local B&B's with more information on their website:
Lancaster City has a nice art scene, lots of great restaurants, an historic market house, a professional theater and so much more. It is great to see this article in the New York Post today that highlights many of the shops, galleries and restaurants. Read the article here: http://nyp.st/2db8hgJ
The fourth annual Lancaster City Restaurant Week is coming up, from September 19-25. There are 35 restaurants participating in this cuisine showcase, including breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner offerings. Visit http://lancastercityrestaurantweek.com/restaurants/ to see the choices at each spot in the city. There are deals to be had, with pricing at $10, $20, $30 or $40 for a fixed menu. For example, a $30 dinner at The Stockyard Inn includes three courses with a few choices for each course. I would spend my $30 on the poached pear and goat cheese salad, then a petite filet mignon and ending with lemon citrus shortcake. Spring House Brewing Co. has a $10 dinner deal of schnitzel sushi (cabbage, apple, pork loin rolled and breaded in pretzels then deep-fried). It is located in Cabbage Hill, after all. Rachel's Creperie has a $30 "crepes and soup for two" (including 2 Nutella crepes for dessert!). Specials include local beer from Wacker Brewing Company at Pour. Or you can indulge in an all you can eat waffle and omelette buffet at The Baker's Table. Sprout of Rice & Noodles has a $10 lunch or dinner deal of 2 spring rolls or 2 egg rolls, 1 banh mi sandwich and a drink.
Take some time next week to sample the delicious food of Lancaster City. Many of the restaurants value farm-to-table locally sourced foods (John J. Jeffries) and Tellus 360 has a menu showcasing Central Market's fresh ingredients. If you can't make it next week, check out the website for a preview for your next visit.
Here are a few sample menus:
Our guests often travel to regional attractions while staying in Lancaster County. Here are a few of the popular ones:
Hershey offers more than Hershey Park, although the park is great fun and becoming large enough to spend more than one day to take it all in. Hershey's Chocolate World and ZooAmerica are open year-round. When Hershey Park is open you can seamlessly travel between the park and the zoo. ZooAmerica is 11 acres and specializes in North American animals. Take in a concert at Giant Center or catch a Hershey Bears game. The historic Hershey Theater brings broadway shows, comedians, music festivals and more to town. Indulge in a day at the Chocolate Spa at The Hotel Hershey. The Hotel Hershey has several restaurants and there are three local golf courses. Hershey Gardens includes a year-round tropical Butterfly Atrium. Best of all, it is short drive to Hershey from Lancaster.
Gettysburg is an hour and twenty minute drive from Lancaster. There are many ways to tour the battlefield. You can hire a guide, take a horseback tour, ride a Segway or take a carriage ride. There are probably more options if you look. There are several ghost tours available, as well. Besides the battlefield tours and history museums, other activities in the Gettysburg area include seasonal festivals, theaters, wineries, golf courses and much more.
Harrisburg is our state capital and is situated along the Susquehanna River. The capital city has a wide variety of dining options, performing arts centers and museums. You can visit the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum, the State Museum of Pennsylvania, Fort Hunter Mansion & Park, Susquehanna Art Museum, the National Civil War Museum and the Whitaker Center of Science and the Arts. Take in a Senators baseball game at City Island or take a riverboat cruise in the Susquehanna. Harrisburg is a short 45 minute drive from Lancaster.
Lisa Naples, Realtor
I'm enjoying my 16th year of selling residential real estate in Lancaster County. In my past career I was an innkeeper for a 9 room local B&B. Now I enjoy the best of both worlds - finding new owners for Lancaster County bed & breakfasts. Please leave comments, I'd love to have your feedback!