This past weekend a group of friends and I decided that it was time to get out to Lancaster. As much as I love Harrisburg, I am never opposed to visiting our surrounding cities, especially if I get to go by train. There are perks to taking the train such as drinking responsibly and that it only costs $16 round trip, but it also has its drawbacks such as not having a car and the limitation of walking. We created a quick 3-stop walkable afternoon that was one of the best adventures I’ve been on in awhile.
Stop 1: The Fridge
Our first stop was the much anticipated journey to The Fridge. Their menu features unique pizzas, and for Memorial Day weekend they were also serving up a variety of smoked meats. They also boast an impressive bottle selection for both dining in and mixed 6 packs/bombers to go, which are great for your train ride back. I opted for the asparagus, pork belly, green peppers and mozzarella pizza paired with DuClaw’s Morgazm, a grapefruit blond ale. Don’t expect to see this slice next time you pop in as they change up their specials each day.
Stop 2: Iron Hill
I’ve always been a huge fan of Iron Hill not just for the craft beer they make, but also because of their delicious menu. When we popped in on Saturday it just so happened to be Superheroes vs. Villains Day. On tap were 8 different superhero themed IPAs and on the menu were dishes named for villains. Also, everyone was dressed in costume so of course we followed suit. I chose to get the 8 beer IPA sampler, which was a great idea in theory, but with IPAs I highly recommend you grab some water and crackers to use as palate cleanser between each brew. As a snack, or what I thought would be a snack, we ordered the hummus bowl. What I love about Iron Hill is that their food never disappoints. The hummus bowl was more than just hummus but also chopped cucumbers, feta cheese, diced olives, and tomatoes allowing you to make little Greek piles on your pita bread. I found that this paired perfectly with their Rising Sun Sorachi Ace IPA.
Stop 3: Hunger n Thirst
This was the first new place on the trip list for me so I naturally was quite excited to get there. Hunger n Thirst is more than just a bar with an in-house bottle shop and provisions store as well. I was delighted to see local artisinal sauces, snacks, oils, vinegars, cheeses, meats and more just waiting for me to explore them. On the bar side there are 24 rotating taps with a variety of beers that many of us were unfamiliar with and anxious to try. I opted for a Blaugies la Moneuse Saison from Belgium and stole sips of everyone else’s Dark Horse Plead the 5th Imperial Stout. We also sampled cheeses, meats and snacks from the provisions shop in the form of cheese plates. Beware of the cheese plates because you will fall in love with at least one of the cheeses and happily spend the rest of your drinking money on pounds of cheese to go. I don’t regret that decision.
If it’s your first time taking the train, I have a few quick tips for travel:
- You can drink on the train. I repeat, you can drink on the train. BYO bottle openers, cups, and beer and you’ve got a nice little pre- and/or post-party.
- Want to leave earlier or later? Go for it! Your ticket gets you to and from fare for that date and location, but you can change your mind about times without having to get a different ticket.
- Get there on time. Unlike a plane, it takes very little time to board the train and they aren’t going to wait for you. Because you can change up the times they aren’t expecting you to be there so they’re going to go without you.
- Take a bag with you. If you’re anything like us you’ll be leaving with beer, cheese, glassware, a cape from superhero day and more back home. Take a decent bag in the form of a tote, backpack or strong purse as you will be walking around with said items.