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Weekend Getaways at Repurposed Hotels: Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square and Lancaster County Convention Center

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LANCASTER MARRIOTT AT PENN SQUARE AND LANCASTER COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER
25 S Queen St, Lancaster, PA
marriott.com/hotels/travel/lnsmc-lancaster-marriott-at-penn-square/
(717) 239-1600
Distance by car: 3½ hours

In 2009, Marriott incorporated a whole city block (and conference center) into its 299-room Lancaster hotel, preserving the ornamental Beaux-Arts marble façade of longstanding department store Watt & Shand, and integrating into the lobby of the adjoining convention center the three-story, 1803 home of attorney William Montgomery (designed by Stephen Hills, architect for the Pennsylvania State Capitol building). Marriott did not stop there. Excavation of the convention center’s foundation unearthed a cistern and artifacts that pointed to a hiding place for runaway slaves, and visitors can now observe this working archeological site through lobby windows.
ROOM: Redone, comfy rooms; bedside “JackPacks” at the ready to charge all of your electronic devices; and granite and tile bathrooms round out a pleasing space.

The Lancaster Marriott preserved the façade of an old department store.

Photo courtesy of www.discoverlancasterpa.com

Downtown Lancaster, PA

BOARD: There’s a street entrance to the Rendezvous Lounge, just as there was for Watt & Shand’s Rendezvous restaurant. Have a drink there, but for phenomenal Pennsylvania Dutch food, walk over to Carr’s Restaurant. Sip local wine at Tim Carr’s outrageously festooned Crush Wine Bar, then head downstairs to the more sedate, candlelit dining room.   
ONLY HERE: If you arrive on Tuesday, Friday, or Saturday, bring a cooler and tote it across the street to the country’s oldest public market, Lancaster Central Market. That’s where you’re going to snag the freshest organic meats and produce straight from the farm. Just don’t forget to say “hi” to Vince at Sweethearts of Lancaster County. He sells celery and nothing but celery—the best, of course.
WHILE HERE: This city of almost 60,000, amazingly, has two live theaters. Built in 1852, and renovated in the 1870s after Sarah Bernhardt declared it “the worst place to perform,” Fulton Theatre (named for Lancaster County-born Robert Fulton, steamboat-travel pioneer) became one of the best places to perform. Plan to see a performance of Gypsy, which runs from September 9 to September 30.
JUST THE FACTS: Rooms range from $149 to $209 per night.

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