Situated along the AAA scenic byway stretch of Route 340, the town of Bird-in-Hand began its history as a place where farmers met to converse and do business. The village was established in the 1700s, and served as a rest stop for travelers heading west. It was during this time that Bird-in-Hand earned its unique name. Inns were identified by painted signs (completed by a long-forgotten artist) since pictures could be understood by all travelers, no matter their nationality or education level. The 18th Century inn sign that inspired this town's name literally depicted a man with a bird in his hand.
Today, Bird-in-Hand remains a meeting place for farmers and locals, where they are joined by visitors passing through the area to experience the village's rich traditions. The village offers the flavors of Pennsylvania Dutch culture and history via its restaurants, bakeries, quaint local shops, and an old-fashioned farmers' market packed with fresh foods, handmade crafts, and homegrown produce. In fact, this market resulted in Bird-in-Hand being designated a "market town."
Right in Bird-in-Hand's backyard is picturesque sprawling countryside dotted with neighboring Amish farms. Luckily, there are a myriad of Amish attractions to admire the landscape, a popular option being buggy rides. A good place to look into taking a buggy ride might include Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy Rides, owned and operated by Amish people. If you’re especially adventurous, we recommend trying a balloon ride to get a bird’s eye view of Bird-in-Hand.
For those curious about learning more about the Amish, check out The Amish Experience at Plain & Fancy Farm. This farm contains a theater that tells the story of an Amish boy, and is the only “experiential” theater on the East Coast. There is also an on-site one room schoolhouse for visitors to walk through and get a taste of Amish life, along with countryside tours offered. Another great place to check out and witness Amish people in a natural setting is the Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market, which features tons of local vendors selling a variety of homemade goods, including fresh meats, cheese, fruits & vegetables, baked & canned goods, spices, and candy.
One event that is unique to Bird-in-Hand is the Run, Ride and Soar event in early September. This includes either a half marathon or a 5k race for athletic people, the choice between 12, 23, and 62 mile rides for bicyclists, or hot air balloon rides to those who prefer to relax and enjoy the breathtaking view from a distance. Another fun event is the Lancaster County Carriage & Antique Auction in June, which auctions off fine carriages, miniature horses, and all sorts of antiques, furniture, quilts, and more. If you want to bring home a piece of Lancaster, this auction is a great time to do so!
Other popular events held in Bird-in-Hand
Where to Eat
Bird-in-Hand offers plenty of options to get your fix of PA Dutch food. Stop over at Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant & Smorgasbord for all-you-can-eat goodness. Whether its savory pork and sauerkraut, roast turkey with gravy and mashed potatoes, or its signature ham balls with pineapple sauce that tantalizes your taste buds, you’ll be sure to leave there feeling full and happy. For some good old fashion BBQ, venture over to Smokehouse BBQ and Brews at Plain & Fancy to experience its quaint small town feel and devour some mouth-watering home cooked BBQ. Later, stop by Bird-in-Hand Bakery & Café for locally made dessert including whoopie pies, shoofly pie, cakes, cookies, apple fritters, and more. Don’t miss out on these delectable dishes!
Where to Stay
Other Places to Visit
Abe’s Buggy Rides
Water’s Edge Mini Golf
Magic & Wonder at the Bird-in-Hand Stage
Creative Home Shoppe
Log Cabin Quilt Shop and Fabrics
Fisher’s Handmade Quilts
Plain & Fancy Farm Village of Shops
Forest Hill Leather Craft
Village Country Crafts
Kauffman’s Fruit Farm & Market