Lancaster County, Pennsylvania has been my home for the past fifteen years or so, and as a resident, I think I can offer a unique perspective.

Concerning blaaf's w/u:

  • A county in central Pennsylvania, the entirety of which smells of manure.
    No, the county does not smell entirely of manure. While this is often true of the more eastern parts, toward the west it only smells like manure on some days, when the farmers (not Amish, generally) fertilize their fields, and even in the eastern regions, there is sometimes respite from the odor.
  • There are no cities in Lancaster of any size.
    Opinions as to what constitutes a sizable city vary. Lancaster county has the City of Lancaster, and its surrounding suburban sprawl in areas like Manheim Township, Hempfield2, and Manor Township.
  • yes, they have a modest web presence
    County governments rarely have sizable web presences, and usually little of interest. C'est la vie.

Concerning Billy's w/u:
Lancaster is not a place to go to stay in a hotel, sip a drink by the pool, and play a round of golf.
I agree, the larger hotels are not the best bargains. Bed and Breakfasts offer a better experience overall and any hotels are not very close to Amish Country. Then again, they're not that far, either.

Last few points:

  • When visiting, you may detect a "hick" accent among many of the locals; I've been told this is so from people who have moved here from places like Florida and New York.
  • Tourists generally stick out like a sore thumb, because they tend to gawk at corn fields, Amish buggies, and sometimes express surprise when they encounter facets of modern life such as strip malls.
  • All in all, Lancaster isn't much different from other semi-rural areas in the Northeastern United States, aside from a minority that resides within it that has a unique lifestyle.