Lancaster lies within the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and is a natural base for many tourists looking to explore the region. It's an odd town, home of secular higher education institutions (Pennsylvania College of Art and Design and Franklin & Marshall College); religious schools (Lancaster Theological Seminary and Lancaster Bible College); and a burgeoning tourism industry that showcases both traditional Amish simplicity and more contemporary farm-to-table branding – which happens to jibe well with the area's rural charms.
The area is essentially farmland interrupted by strip malls and kitschy attractions. Modern Lancaster is, if anything, a balance between kitsch and the granular charm of authentic Pennsylvania countryside. For all that, the town feels refreshingly urban, especially after a night or day trip to Amish country.