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Kickoff your Visit to Lancaster with a Tour of the Hans Herr House

Luminaries lead the way to the 1719 Hans Herr House

Lancaster county has something for everyone. History, Art, Family Fun, and Friendly people. The Amish community gets a lot of attention, but did you know that the first sizeable group of Amish didn’t arrive until the 1720’s or 1730’? Tucked off the main road on the way to the Doubletree Resort by Hilton Lancaster  you’ll find the oldest surviving homestead in Lancaster County, the 1719 Hans Herr House.


If you are looking for a unique experience, or if you or your kids are intrigued by the history of the area the Hans Herr House is a must see. Plus, if you plan to make a Lancaster Christmas part of your family tradition, I highly recommend beginning with a Christmas Candlelight Tour at the Hans Herr House.


Lenni-Lanape Indians discuss the differences between the German and Indian way of life in the attic of the Hans Herr House during a Christmas Candlelight Tour.

The Hans Herr House holds these Candlelight Tours the first full weekend of December each year, from Thursday-Saturday. This year’s annual tour lead us through the 1719 Hans Herr House, as we learned about daily life, sampled snitz and onion soup, and heard a reading of The Christmas Story in German, all by candlelight. We even sung Silent Night in German, much like they would have done at the time in the meeting room. A definite highlight of the visit for me, was  listening to local historian Martin Keen. Posing as my ancestor Isaac Lefevre, he talked about the French Huguenot settlement in Paradise, the second wave of permanent European settlers to the Lancaster County area. Outside the Blacksmith demonstrated his trade, along with others like bayberry candle dipping, and a foot powered lathe to make table legs.


We reserved the 8:30 pm tour, the last of the weekend, and arrived at 8:00 pm to explore the outside demonstrations. We definitely could have spent a little more time exploring there. After our tour we were treated to hot chocolate and purchased a Hans Herr Smoked sausage for $3. We left the kids at the hotel for this portion of our trip, since they don’t yet have the attention span for the full tour.


Tips to Enjoy Your Hans Herr House Visit:

  • Be sure to stop in the museum gift shop, a hidden gem for stocking stuffers and other gifts for the history buff on your list. The shop contains a wide selection of children’s games from the time period, including Jacob’s Ladder, Cup and Ball, and others.
  • Advance tickets are required for the tours. Order online, call (717) 464-4438 or email for reservations.
  • Make sure you get your tickets early to secure your desired time slot. All tickets were sold out in 2012.
  • Keep in mind that almost none of the collection is in cases or separated from the visitor by a railing or rope. The Hans Herr House asks parents to see that their children not touch or handle any objects in the collection, unless specifically instructed to do so by a Museum guide.
  • If you’d like to further explore the grounds during daylight, consider visiting during regular museum hours. The Museum is open April 1 through November 31, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 4:00pm.
  • Special Events are also held throughout the year, including Snitz Fest in the fall. Check the museum’s website for more information.
  • Return this May 2013, when the Lancaster Longhouse opens on the grounds, to learn about the often overlooked history of the Native Americans.

Women demonstrate cooking practices in the central fireplace, common in German architecture of the time.

 UPDATED FOR 2013 Christmas Candlelight Tour Dates

Visit the Hans Herr House Website  to reserve your tickets and choose your start time. Tours last 1 hour and 15 minutes.

For 2013 Christmas Candlelight Tours take place

  • Thursday, Dec. 5th from 6-8pm
  • Friday Dec. 6th from 6-8pm
  • Saturday December 7th from 5-8:30pm

Hans Herr House Tours and Admission During Regular Hours

Guided Tours
Visitors must be accompanied by a guide inside the 1719 House and the Longhouse. Guided tours are offered Monday through Saturday during regular business hours. The last tour begins at 3:00 PM. Advance reservations for groups (10 or more people) is required.

1719 House Admission  – 45 minute tour
Adults: $8
Children 7-12: $4
Children 6 and under: Free.

Lancaster Longhouse Admission – 45 minute tour
Adults: $8
Children 7-12: $4
Children 6 and under: Free.

Combined Admission – 90 minute tour
Adults: $15
Children 7-12: $7
Children 6 and under: Free.

The 1719 Hans Herr House is located at 1849 Hans Herr Drive in Willow Street, Pennsylvania. Parking is provided.


Click over to see the rest of our Family Travel to Lancaster series.

Visit Lancaster

In full disclosure, this is a sponsored post from the Hans Herr House in Lancaster. We were provided with admission at no charge  so that we could review the Hans Herr House for its family friendliness.  However, our opinions are honest and based on our experiences at the Hans Herr House in Lancaster.

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