I am making a road trip from Columbus, OH to Red Bank, NJ the first week of May. I want to take a side trip through PA Dutch Country (Lancaster, Intercourse, etc for a day or two with my dog). I am looking for suggestions on dining, food shopping, good beer drinking, outdoor things to do as well. Not the tourist bus drop-off restaurants- or other grand scale tourist things. Also, suggestions on inexpensive places to stay (dog friendly if possible) are greatly appreciated. Any and all advice on the area or the drive are welcome!
The farmers market at Renningers in Kutztown is pretty amazing in terms of lots of good prepared food choices and Amish meats, fresh and smoked. There is also a great key lime pie and hoagie guy there. If you bring a cooler you can take things that appeal to you to Red Bank if you're visiting folks who appreciate that sort of thing. In Adamstown there is Stoudt's Restaurant and Brew Pub, which has good beers and everything from burgers to filet mignon. Eating in the bar is the best bet unless you want to spend a lot. http://www.stoudtsbeer.com/
Unfortunately, virtually all of the PA Dutch restaurants that I've seen are structured to take advantage of the tourists so if you want that kind of food you'll have to swallow the setting. I have always bought great rotisserie meats and Amish prepared foods from Stoltzfus' farm market stands. They have a PA Dutch restaurant in Intercourse that is probably worth trying. http://www.padutchcountry.com/member_....
As far as outdoor things where you can bring the dog, Renninger's Flea Markets in Kutztown and Denver provide hours of browsing for antiques and interesting junk. Here is a list of pet friendly lodging. http://www.padutchcountry.com/adv_sea...
There's a truly impressive smorgasborg called Shady Maple that might be your best bet for PA Dutch dining, but as other posters have said, all of these spots are pretty touristy.
A local chain, Isaac's, has good sandwiches -- you can get anything you want on their pretzel rolls -- very dutch country and very yummy.
Bube's Brewery in Mt. Joy might be good for beer drinking -- it's an interesting place, but stay away from the themed banquets (horribly executed and terrible food). The food off the menu is pretty good, though.
For food shopping, don't miss the Market in downtown Lancaster -- oldest continuously running indoor food market in the country, I believe.
For outdoorsy things, I love Village Greens for mini golf -- there are two courses to choose from, one that is fairly typical and another, longer one that winds back a ways and is pretty neat. It's also just lovely country to drive around and meander on back country roads.
Other non-PA dutch restaurants that I like in Lancaster are the Asian Bistro on Rte. 30 (aka chain restaurant hell), Fiorentino's (two locations), and El Serrano (Peruvian).
Stop by the Lancaster Brewpub for one of their famous milk stouts. You might want to have two, and if you are hungry, you won't be disappointed by the pub grub available there.
When you enter PA from Ohio (presumably on I-70), stop at the Welcome Center just inside the PA line and pick up the Lancaster County guide. It has an excellent map on the inside. Kutztown is going to be a little far from where you will be but the Adamstown/Denver Renningers should do and the Stoudt restaurant is a good place to eat. There are a lot of smaller privately-owned motels along Rt. 340 -- the main alternative to Rt. 30 -- that goes through Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse. There should be a couple that will be dog friendly. It is tough to name a non-touristy PA Dutch restaurant. My wife and I have always enjoyed the lunch buffet at Willow Valley resort. A lot of people have recommended Shady Maple to us, so I would second that recommendation if you will be in the New Holland area (Rt. 23). The Lancaster Brew Pub is on my list of places to try. Also, we have had a very nice lunch at the Olde Greenfield Inn.
If you are stopping for lunch along the way from Columbus, you might consider La Tavola in New Stanton and the Rowdy Buck (a burger and beer/soda place -- eat upstairs in the bar) in Donegal so you do not have to eat PA Turnpike food.
You may be thinking of the other Italian restaurant in New Stanton whose name I do not remember. It is also good but I think La Tavola is slightly better. La Tavola is a couple of blocks further from the Turnpike at 400 S. Center Ave. and, probably, a couple of blocks further from the car dealerships. It has been about a year since we have stopped in New Stanton, so, sorry, my memory is not more specific.