In the Pennsylvania Dutch Country that has a multitude of colourful names of towns like Bird-In-Hand, Bareville, Blue Balls, Paradise and Intercourse, it seems like RONKS had the last choice. That said, it has some of the best places my wife and I enjoy with our family every time we visit the area.
RONKS happens to be the center of much of what we do when we visit the "Amish Country". It's nestled between Paradise, Strasburg, Bird-In-Hand, Intercourse and Smoketown. Many of its destinations and restaurants are on E Rt 30 and on Ronks Road. Much is also farmland, lovely farmland.
Our Favorites in RONKS
Cherry Crest Farm Corn Maze in RONKS
My favorite place to go in this area is the Cherry Crest Farm Maize Maze. Every time I go I am "amaized" at the effort by its owners and workers to make it the best in all the east. Probably the rest of the country too. This year they have a "cowboy" theme. it's re-enforced with western music playing and a host of other things that are cowboy related. I had fun roping my spirited grand daughter. ; )
The maze itself is a lot of fun with clues and fun stops along the way. Read my review for details.
Cherry Crest has much more than just the maze. It offers many innovative yet simple fun things for the kids and families to do. The place is awesome! One thing I never checked into was the fact that they have accommodations on the property too. If I find out, I'll share.
Mill Bridge Village in RONKS
Also in Ronks is the Mill Bridge Village and Camp Resort. There was a time when we stayed there often and enjoyed camping in our tent and using the grounds that features a beautiful stone, multi-level mill, the largest covered bridge in Lancaster county and grounds that were lovely to walk. They also had some exciting theme days. I remember sitting along the stream one year as many pianists were competing in a Joplin "Rag" contest. The music was wonderful and the setting perfect.
Over the years hard times hit the place with a fire and a downtrend of campers. Now new owners have transformed the place back to a "place to be". They built cabins, new restrooms, more trailer hook-ups and much more. They offer buggy rides on weekends and the Millbridge Village once again has the "spirit" of years gone by.
Cherry Valley Motel in RONKS
Through the years my wife and I have stayed at a number of the camping/motel/hotel options in the area. There are many others right in RONKS too. We now settle on one place exclusively in Ronks. It's the Cherry Valley Motel. It's not as new as most nor does it have some of the upgrade amenities of others. What it does have are clean rooms, and a laid back feel. It's one of the few places off the main drag so its relatively quiet and radiates a "homey" feel. An Amish gentleman takes care of the buildings and grounds "to do" list and the overall maintenance of the grounds is well kept, though a couple of rooms in the upstairs older section I do avoid. The pool is crystal clear with lounge chairs and tables. The small playground out on the large lawn with a couple of benches is perfect for our grand-daughters to frolic in. We feel relaxed there and the gentle rhythmic sound of the horses of the Amish carriages trotting by during the day and evening adds to the simple aura of the farmlands. I like the convenience of their small, very simple, continental breakfast every morning.
Miller's Smorgasbord in RONKS
When it comes to a full breakfast there is no better in the Lancaster area than Millers Smorgasborg Restaurant in Ronks. It's a little pricier than most but it has superior food by far. It offers a good dinner buffet style too. The breakfasts are complete with the absolute best selections in a slightly upscale, for the area, dining room. The foods are as fresh as can be and served buffet style in the neatest and most attractive setting possible. I love that place for breakfast. No need for lunch that day.
The OUTHOUSE in RONKS
Conveniently stationed just a short walk from Millers is the OUTHOUSE. No, it's not one of the small buildings with a crescent moon cut into the door. It's a fun & gift shop kind of place that offers some good laughs and sweet treats. A number of quarter eating slots, (no, not gambling machines) will amuse along with some site gags and novelty items. It's a place to explore together as a family with the kids dragging mom and dad to see this or that. Be sure to hold onto the quarters so you can experience some of the gags together. Also, the outside porch holds a laugh or two. Be sure to study all the signs and items. Bring your sense of humour.
Gone from RONKS
Unfortunately one of our highlights of the pig races brought to us by a blind Amish man are no longer held outside the OUTHOUSE. I understand he retired or perhaps the pigs did. Perhaps he ate the pigs. Don't know but that was always a fun diversion. Still, there is plenty yet to find and discover in RONKS.
"The Village of Dutch Delights" RONKS
The OUTHOUSE shares the same parking lot and is part of "The Village of Dutch Delights" that is easily spotted from rt 30 by the huge Dutch Style Windmill (see the photo above) that beckons all to try their "Shoo fly pies". The place seems to have been there forever. I like wood shops and out back there's a place that makes and sells many furniture items. My wife and I made a purchase for our home from there just a couple of weeks ago.
I should also mention two places to eat in this little "village". We had a fine breakfast at Dienner's Restaurant one morning that was a good value. For something a bit different from the usual Amish foods offered in the area, you might want to try Jakey's Amish Barbeque just behind the OUTHOUSE. We had lunch there one day last trip.
Red Caboose Motel/Shop/Restaurant
The Red Caboose Motel was always more than just a motel to us. It was a fun little destination. This place, like the Millbridge Village went through some hard times but now has new ownership and it's another "different" kind of site. I understand they are once again refurbishing all their actual railroad car cabooses converted into over 40 rooms and a restaurant.
Fun for our family is to stop by and sit on the porch of the gift shop. Outside sharing the benches is a tiny merry-go-round and other novelty rides and such. Have a few quarters at the ready. Every once in a while, just in front of the building, the Strasburg Railroad trains come by filled with tourist in regular and also in the "Hello Dolly" open car. There's nothing like sitting back and giving a friendly wave as others wave back while listening to the train's whistle. The gift shop is different than most you may have ever seen with many fine pieces of memorabilia. Treats for kids are available too. My kids loved this place. For enthusiasts the National Toy Train Museum and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania are just down the road a piece.
From what I read the Red Caboose now has a tower from which to check out the countryside. I'm sorry I missed the place on our last trip in the area a couple of weeks ago. There's just so much to do in RONKS! I've never tried their RR car restaurant. It looks very cool. Someday...soon I hope.
Finishing It All Up
So now you know why I like RONKS and why we stay and play there. It's also centrally located for all the many other things we do in the area whether it be a ride on the Strasburg Railroad, a visit to Dutch Wonderland, seeing a show at the Living Water Theater, playing miniature golf, eating at Good and Plenty restaurant, shopping the many outlet stores or simply taking a leisurely ride through the lovely back roads of RONKS and neighboring towns.
RONKS may not have the prettiest of names but I'm attracted to all it offers.
Other Pennsylvania reviews by poprocks
The Cherry Crest's Amazing Maize Maze This is family fun at its best!
Miller's SmorgasbordExcellent Pennsylvania Dutch Fare served buffet style
Jakey's Amish Barbeque
Dienner's Country Restaurant
Cherry Lane Motor Inn A very simple well priced, place to stay while in PA. Dutch Country
Pennsylvania Dutch Country An overview
Intercourse There's nothing quite like it.
DUTCH WONDERLAND An amusement park for young families.
Sight and Sound Millennium Theatre, One of the Most Popular Venues in the East
Amish Farm and House Tour
Sturgis Pretzel House
Tangers Name Brand Shopping Mall
Ghost Tour of Lancaster County
Good'n Plenty Restaurant Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking served Family Style
Plain and Fancy Farm Restaurant
Harvestview Family Restaurant, Intercourse
Lapp's Family Restaurant
Lancaster HOST Resort and Conference Center
Bird-in-Hand Family Resort The best bet in Amish Country
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