A Cheap Meal Out (and a Winter Coat for 85 Cents)

file7501340931583Last Saturday, we decided to take a trip up to a tourist spot, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Many people vacation there because Lancaster has a large Amish community. Sure enough, there are plenty of fun things to do and buy. There are handmade items, such as quilts and furniture and plenty of yummy pies, cakes and bread to purchase.

While we can’t resist picking up a pie, our usual stops in Lancaster have nothing to do with the Amish tourist trade. Instead, we focus on where the value is.

Our first stop is an Amish-run natural food store. The store is tucked away at the end of a long driveway, past a farm or two. Devoid of traditional electricity, the store is lit only by natural light, and the “cool room,” where the flour and other grains are kept, is powered by a generator. It is here that we pick up bulk organic goods, such as flour, corn meal, raisins, oats and apples. The store generally gets a mostly local trade.

Another stop was to the bargain room at the Goodwill. Clothing here will run you only 85 cents an item no matter what it is, and I was able to pick out a really nice name-brand winter coat for my daughter (for next year), as well as a dress shirt for my husband and several other clothing pieces. Score.

Contemplating dinner in Lancaster is a feat. There are a number of places to eat, from buffet to family style choices. Yummy Yummy. These places, tend to run anywhere from $18-$24 per person. With six of us in tow, we opted for Cici’s pizza, a buffet pizza restaurant that was offering all you can eat, including dessert, for $5 a person. No, it isn’t the Amish experience, unless you count the fact that about a third of the customers were Amish families who came to eat.


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About Mary Ann Romans

Mary Ann Romans is a freelance writer, online content manager, wife and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania in the middle of the woods but close enough to Target and Home Depot. The author of many magazine, newspaper and online articles, Mary Ann enjoys writing about almost any subject. "Writing gives me the opportunity to both learn interesting information, and to interact with wonderful people." Mary Ann has written more than 5,000 blogs for Families.com since she started back in December 2006. Contact her at maromans AT verizon.net or visit her personal blog http://homeinawoods.wordpress.com