Since 1972, the Bird-in-Hand Bake Shop has remained family owned and operated. Erwin (Sr.) & Annie Miller were the first of this family chain. Now in the second generation, Erwin (Jr.) & Linda Miller, along with their son, Glenn Miller (3rd generation, who has a son Erwin Miller III, have been running the business since 1996. Many of the recipes used today are still the "tried and true from scratch" recipes Grandma Miller used since the family began operating the business in 1972, which makes this year their 35th anniversary.
The family and its many Plain community employees want visitors to get that great homemade taste at a better price than commercial bakeries. "We take pride in the things that we bake and enjoy the look on people's faces as they taste our selection." And what a selection it is! You'll see varieties of fresh baked breads (their cheese bread is a personal favorite), potato rolls, cinnamon buns, "melt in your mouth" whoopie pies, gooey-bottom Dutch shoo-fly pie (their specialty), cookies, fruit pies, angel food and layer cakes, and many, many more items.
Through a window behind the counter, you can observe the mixing and baking process, and see trays of baked goods waiting to go into the display cases or to be sent to fulfill wholesale orders for several local restaurants. (Bird-in-Hand Bake Shop baked goods can also be found at various market stands in five different states.) The sweet scents of fresh breads and cookies always greet your nose! And don’t miss coming back in August for their free pie and ice cream on Saturdays!
Not only can you indulge your sweet tooth with a chocolate whoopie pie or a creamy cone of local ice cream, but Bird-in-Hand Bake Shop also offers its visitors a few extras. They have a fine selection of local handmade crafts. "Our wide assortment fits many people's tastes and interests." You'll find locally made Amish dolls, pillow cases, pictures, candles, Amish straw Hats, hand painted slates, and much more. In addition there is always a variety of canned goods and bulk foods, especially popular with those large families that live in the area.
The Millers realized that with all that food and country peacefulness, visitors might want to linger and relax. "Our large wrap around porch provides an excellent place to enjoy a hot cinnamon roll and a steaming cup of coffee." And with more than enough green grass to go around, they have installed several picnic areas to enjoy, along with public restrooms and waste bins for your picnic use.
Finally, since the Millers have a family of their own, they know it is important to keep the children entertained on a vacation. "While you shop, your children can burn some energy outdoors in our huge play area." And any place in Amish Country just wouldn't be right without some animals. That's why they've added a petting zoo to their list of attractions.
It may be a little off the beaten path, but at the Bird-in-Hand Bake shop you can truly savor the quiet peacefulness and baked goodness found only in the heart of Lancaster County. As the Miller's would say, "You can consider yourself personally invited to come and spend a day with us in beautiful Amish Country. We are confident that you will find the baked goods, crafts, and location second to none."
The Bird-in-Hand Bake Shop is off the Old Philadelphia Pike (Route 340). You take the main street through the village of Bird-in-Hand, and turn onto Beechdale Road at the railroad overpass. About a half mile up the road is a sign directing you to turn right onto Gibbons Road. Go around the bend, past the Amish one-room school, and you'll see the bake shop on your left. The wonderful aroma of baking hits you almost before you're through the door. And it only gets better from there!
Open All Year: 8:00AM - 5:00PM (Winter Hours - 8:00AM - 4:00PM). Bus groups and tours are welcome. Closed - Sundays, Good Friday, Ascension Day, Christmas, and New Year's.
Telephone: 717-656-7947 www.bihbakeshop.com
---- by Brad Igou 6/17/2007