John J. Jeffries 300 Harrisburg Ave., 717-431-3307, johnjjeffries.com. This farm-to-table restaurant offers a menu based on local ingredients, much of it organic and hormone-free. The menu includes small and large plates, and changes often based on season and availability. On our visit, we enjoyed curry butternut bisque, grass-fed beef and pork chili, and pumpkin-spice creme brulee. Reservations are a good idea, especially on weekends.
If you go
Lancaster is about 75 miles from Baltimore. Take Interstate 83 north into Pennsylvania. Take Exit 18 onto Route 124 East. Turn left onto Haines Road and follow to merge onto U.S. 30. Take the Harrisburg Pike exit. The Harrisburg Pike becomes West James Street and leads directly into downtown.
Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, 25 South Queen St., 800-940-4627, marriott.com. Modern hotel in a historic building. Rates start at $149 for weekends in January. Additional fee for garage parking.
Lancaster Arts Hotel, 300 Harrisburg Ave., 717-299-3000, lancasterartshotel.com. The hotel has lots of art on display and is also home to the restaurant John J. Jeffries. Rates start at around $165 per night on weekends.
Cork Factory Hotel, 480 New Holland Ave., 717-735-2075, corkfactoryhotel.com. This boutique hotel is located in a once-abandoned building that was the site of a 19th-century cork factory. Lots of character, and there's a spa next door. Rates start at around $137 per night.
Lancaster Brewing Company, 302 N. Plum St., 717-391-6258, lancasterbrewing.com. Come for the plethora of beer, stay for the food. Try the Adirondack Chicken Salad with champagne vinaigrette. The beer is brewed on site.
Spyro Gyros, 241 N. Queen St., 717-797-3939, spyrogyros.com. When I asked a local student where to eat, she directed me to this small restaurant offering tasty and authentic Greek food with several vegetarian options. (Unfortunately, she had never heard of the band Spyro Gyra from the 1970s.)
Square One Coffee, 145 N. Duke St., 717-392-3354, squareonecoffee.com. Delicious fair-trade coffee roasted on site.
James Street Improvement District, downtownlancaster.com
Lancaster CITY Arts, lancasterarts.com
Lancaster County, padutchcountry.com