Welcome to The Village of Bird-in-Hand, PA
A Distinctive Name. A Rich Tradition.
Legend credits the Village of Bird-in-Hand’s distinctive name to two men surveying the Colonial highway between the port of Philadelphia and Lancaster. At dusk in 1734, they found themselves at an inn by a Conestoga wagon stop. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” suggested one surveyor, so they agreed to stay there for the night. The inn and the Village became known as Bird-in-Hand.
Today, the Village of Bird-in-Hand offers farm-fresh foods, hospitable lodging and entertainment from miniature golf and live stage shows to special events and hot air balloon rides over the rolling farmlands. For visitors to Lancaster County, Bird-in-Hand offers a relaxed Amish country experience and memories for a lifetime. Bird-in-Hand is one Lancaster County village you won’t want to miss!
Bird-in-Hand Village Map & Guide
About the Village of Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania
The Village of Bird-in-Hand was first inhabited by Native Americans, until Europeans began moving into Quaker William Penn’s colony in the early 18th century. Penn’s “Holy Experiment” offered many persecuted groups a refuge to worship as they chose, and Swiss Mennonites were among the first to permanently settle in Lancaster County in 1710. The first Quakers arrived in 1715, building a brick meetinghouse in Bird-in-Hand in 1790 and replacing it in 1888 after a fire.
By the end of the 18th century, many Amish families joined other German-speaking denominations (German Lutheran, Reformed and Baptist) in the area. The “Pennsylvania Dutch” Amish emigrated from southern Germany and Switzerland. They were called “Dutch”, an anglicizing of “Deutsch”, the German word for “German”.
As early as the late 1700’s, the Underground Railroad ran through Bird-in-Hand. Its first “conductor” was James Gibbons, a Quaker who founded the oldest operating commercial mill on the west side of Bird-in-Hand. His son and wife continued the family’s anti-slavery efforts on their nearby farm, shepherding about 1,000 slaves through their “station”.
In 1938, Bird-in-Hand came into the spotlight when Nation Geographic discovered a young mother – today known as Grandma Smucker – in her Pennsylvania Dutch kitchen. Bird-in-Hand hit Broadway in 1956 when the “Plain and Fancy” musical opened and started the early boom of tourism in Lancaster County. Today, with a population of only 300, on any given day the Village of Bird-in-Hand welcomes more visitors than inhabitants.