2018 Field Trips


Discover the history of Lancaster County

Share an adventure with old and new friends on a learning tour with Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. Our trips combine in-depth historical accuracy with engaging guides and enjoyable visits to noteworthy places in the greater Lancaster County area. Each tour describes a particular piece of local or regional history. Comprehensive information booklets are usually available from the tour leader. Trips begin and end at Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, 2215 Millstream Road, Lancaster. Travel is aboard comfortable coach buses with careful drivers.

To Reserve

  • Click the “Add to Cart” button after any trip below. Add an LMHS membership to receive a discount on each tour. When you’re finished, click the “View Cart” button at bottom. You’ll be able to change the number of reservations you’re making on the “View Cart” page and then pay by credit card. (Your payment will be processed by PayPal, but you don’t need a PayPal membership to purchase.)
  • Or give us a call at (717) 393-9745. We accept credit card payments over the phone, Tuesday to Saturday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Field Trip fees Includes all entrance fees, honorarium, coach and lunch as applicable

Past Trips

Lancaster City Bike Tour

May 5, 8 am to 12 pm

Take a relaxed bicycle tour circling the city of Lancaster with the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society on Saturday, May 5. Learn about the historic neighborhoods from long term residents. Join us in our discovery as we visit individuals, churches, and schools to learn about our city” says organizer Jonathan Charles. Presenters include former mayor Janice Stork, historian David Brenner, and John Lahr, who grew up in Cabbage Hill, well as the African American Historical Society of South Central Pennsylvania.

Tickets cost $30, $20 for students, and can be purchased at lmhs.org or by calling (717) 393-9745. The deadline for registration is Saturday, April 28.

Details at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1624503820936895/

James Street Mennonite Church

Registration due April 28

William Penn’s Holy Experiment: Early Cultural Groups Settling in Berks County, Pennsylvania

May 19, 8 am to 4 pm

When looking for settlers to colonize Pennsylvania, William Penn was guided by a “holy experiment,” an attempt by the Religious Society of Friends to establish a community guided by the principle of freedom of religious conscience.  Join the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society for a tour of the Oley Valley that explores the diverse cultural milieu created by Penn’s approach on Saturday, May 19, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Registration costs $100 for Society members and $115 for nonmembers; registration is due by May 8. The tour includes lunch at the historic White Horse Inn at Historic Morlatten.

The Oley Valley region encompasses three townships in eastern Berks County which, by the mid-eighteenth century, was inhabited by German, Swiss, Swedish, English, Welsh, Scots-Irish, and French Huguenot settlers, as well as by slaves, free blacks and Native Americans.  By 1750 a dozen different religious groups practiced their faiths in the region. The region was the home of the Boone and Lincoln families.  Today the region preserves significant examples of Germanic and English colonial architecture.  Oley Township was the first township in the nation that was placed on the National Register for its remarkable state of preservation.

The tour of Oley will discover the rich diversity of the region and will travel through the English and Germanic settled areas, highlighting the historic and architectural gems of the valley, as well as the traditional agricultural and cultural landscapes.  The tour will visit the Daniel Boone Homestead, the Exeter Friends Meeting, and several historic buildings administered by the Historic Preservation Trust of Berks County.

The tour will be led by Jim Lewars, a native of Berks County where he still lives. He has a B.A. and a M.A. from Penn State. In 2017 he retired after 41-plus years working for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. He directed state historic sites for most of those years, including the Conrad Weiser Homestead, the Daniel Boone Homestead, the Ephrata Cloister, and (from 2009 to 2017) the Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum. He has studied the history of the Oley Valley and has lectured and led numerous tours through the region. He continues to serve on the board of directors of several historical organizations and volunteers at Landis Valley and at other museums.

Please register for this trip by calling the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society (717.393.9745). We apologize for the inconvenience.

Registration due May 8

Mills of Lancaster County

June 9, 8 am to 4 pm

Lancaster’s agricultural heritage is visible in our landscape—not just in the fields, but in the physical structures as well. One of the first buildings constructed by European settlers for their new communities was a mill to grind grain, and mills remained an important part of the Lancaster economy throughout the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. Join the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society to tour the historic mills of Lancaster county, including the last two operable water powered grist mills in the county, on Saturday, June 9, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Grist, or grain grinding mills, were the predominant type of mill, producing various types of flour as the main product. At one stop along the trip, the complete milling process will be demonstrated.

At least 314 water-powered grist mills operated in Lancaster County, found on streams and rivers of all sizes. “even on streams so small they are easily crossed by merely jumping,” notes tour leader Martin Keen. By the mid-nineteenth century steam power became readily available and mills no longer had to be located along a stream for power.

Grist mills were not the only type of mill in operation around Lancaster County. There were also sawmills, oil mills, fulling mills, textile mills, gun barrel boring mills, and more. All the various types of mills will be discussed during the tour.

Registration costs $70 for LMHS members, and $85 for nonmembers. Tickets can be purchased by calling (717) 393-9745 or by going online at lmhs.org. The deadline for registration is Wednesday, May 9. This trip is not handicapped accessible—touring all floors of the mills will require the use of stairs.

Please register for this trip by calling the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society (717.393.9745). We apologize for the inconvenience.

Mennonites and African-Americans in Lancaster County

Rescheduled and expanded for 2019

Learn how local Mennonites interacted with their African-American neighbors around the turn of the twentieth century on this family-friendly tour led by Stuart Metzler and Darlene Colon.

Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society

Underground Railroad Tour

September 8, 8 am to 4 pm

Follow the trail of freedom seekers across Lancaster County, farm to farm, to Christiana. Hear conductor stories, and see entrances to tunnels and trapdoors.

Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society

This field trip is now full.

Franklin County: Early Anabaptist Sites in Southcentral Pennsylvania

October 6, 8 am to 5 pm

Discover the Anabaptists of the Cumberland Valley, exploring Old Order Mennonite, United Brethren, and Mennonite sites in Franklin County, including the Strasburg Mennonite Meetinghouse. Edsel Burdge Jr., coauthor of Building on the Gospel Foundation and research associate at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, will lead the tour.

Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society

Registration due September 6