Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Plenty to Do and See in Quaint, Historic Lititz

If I had to describe 2020 as a person, I'd call it a curmudeonly hermit who, without fail, hails from a "place of no." No festivals, no congregating, no hugging, no singing, no bare faces, no smiles, no fun! So when I heard that the small town of Lititz was going to break rank and host an "ice walk" this year, I knew I just had to attend. 

Granted, it was was a little more spread out this year than in year's past, when its main gathering place/focal point was the park. Gone were the food vendors, rides, children's activities and the chili cookoff, but it was still nice to be able to get out and patronize the small businesses that have taken the brunt of this pandemic. 

The sculptures were varied and interesting, with my favorite being the girls playing jump rope. To add to the appeal, the jump rope was lit up at night with twinkly lights. I think this was the largest sculpture I'd ever seen at an icefest.
Ice sculpture
Other interesting sculptures included depictions of a rooster, the Penn State Nittany Lion, a martian, a parrot and Lady Liberty, to name just a few.
Ice sculpture

Ice sculpture
The Nittany Lion Mascot.

Ice sculpture

Ice Sculpture

Ice Sculpture

I've visited other Pennsylvania ice fests, both in Carlisle and Chambersburg, and this is the first time I've seen color used in any of the sculptures.

Ice Sculpture
A cute "rubber" ice duck with Lititz in pink and yellow.

Ice sculpture
This sculpture was sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. 

If you missed this year's "Ice Walk" there's always a possibility that the full-blown IceFest will be held  next year. In the meantime, there are plenty of other things to do and see in the area.

A Shopper's Paradise

Downtown Lititz is home to more than 60 boutique shops downtown, featuring everything from apparel, to gourmet food, candy and home decor. 
Lititz shop

And if you love steampunk, you'll find a nice selection at Cherry Acres and Kirsch's Antiques.

Steampunk lamp

Steampunk Lamp
My husband bought me one of my choosing on Valentine's Day. It's a carburetor topped with an air filter. Here is a picture of it in my house.
Steampunk lamp
My new steampunk lamp.
I also enjoyed browsing the products at The Savory Gourmet, which carries an array of sauces, cheese and exotic meats, ranging from camel, to kangeroo. I've eaten buffalo, elk, venison and wild boar, but I can't say I've ever been tempted to taste camel. I just can't get over that hump.
The Savory Gourmet in Lititz
The Savory Gourmet offers an array of exotic meats, cheeses, sauces and more.
Savory Gourmet in Lititz
Another "foodie" destination is Zest! located at 30 E. Main Street. Zest! offers spices, gourmet foods, kitchen gadgets, cookware and more. If you have a friend who enjoys cooking and seems to have everything, you're likely to find a unique gift there.
Zest shop in Lititz
Zest sells gadgets, cookware, spices and more.

Who has pasta shaped like little Eiffel Towers?

Kids, in particular, enjoy visiting Candyology. Candyology offers a cornucopia of candies, soda, puzzles and unique gift items sure to be a hit with the little ones. I took a picture of one of the unique sodas that they offer and overheard the owner saying they had just sold an enchilada flavor. This one is almost as unique. Grass anyone?
Candyology in Lititz
Candyology sells a variety of puzzles, candy and unique sodas.
The Wilbur factory in downtown Lititz closed in 2016 and the candy is made in other, more modern plants now, including a Lititz plant on West Lincoln Avenue. The retail store, however, is still open in the downtown area and continues to do a brisk business. I was able to take home a box of my favorites: dark, sea salt caramels.
Wilbur candy shop
The Wilbur Chocolate Retail Store was doing a brisk business on Valentine's Day weekend.

Before I left, I was able to snap a few shots of antique chocolate pots that were on display there.

Vintage chocolate pots

Vintage chocolate pots
Antique chocolate pots on display at the Wilbur retail store.

Vintage chocolate pots
Another shop with a rich history is the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory.  In 1861, at the age of 26, Julius Sturgis purchased the home at 219 E. Main Street in Lititz, where he opened the first commercial pretzel bakery in America. The house dates back to 1784 and is one of the oldest structures in Lititz.
Julius Sturgis Pretzel sculpture
My husband stands for the mandatory picture in front of the Sturgis building.
Today, families visit to view historical artifacts, purchase a variety of pretzels and try their hand at making their own. 
Julius Sturgis Pretzel shop
A variety of pretzel products for sale at the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery.

Artifacts at Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery
Artifacts on view to the public at the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery.

Julius Sturgis Pretzel factory equipment

Pretzel making at Julius Sturgis
Families learn how to twist pretzels at the Sturgis bakery.

The Historical Foundation and Museum

Just a few steps from the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, is the Lititz Historical Foundation & Museum, which is generally open from Memorial Day through October. I suggest visiting their website closer to Memorial Day to discover what their plans are for this year. I visited the museum about two years ago and snapped a few shots at that time. You'll see a variety of artifacts relating to Lititz area businesses, craftsmen and people.

Lititz historical society
The Lititz Historical Foundation & Museum is located at 137-145 W. Main Street in Lititz. 
Lititz springs write up

Ad for Ideal Almond Bars

Mary Todd Lincoln's fan
A fan that belonged to Mrs. Lincoln.

room at the Historical society in Lititz
A day in the life.
Lititz Springs Whiskey company
Artifacts from the Lititz Springs' Whiskey Company.

Magic Lantern
Before the movies, there was the "Magic Lantern." This one dates back to the 1800s.
Linden Hall, located across the street from the Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, is an all-girls school, founded in 1746 and still operating today. Below are artifacts from the school and a shot of the school campus.
Linden Hall artifacts
Linden Hall artifacts at the Lititz Historical Foundation and Museum.

Linden Hall
The Linden Hall campus.
Lititz Springs Park

Located near the old Wilbur Factory is Lititz Spring Park, owned by the Lititz Moravian Foundation and maintained by the churches of Lititz for public use. Prior to Covid, there would often be live entertainment and a popular Fourth-of-July celebration. Today kids can run through the park and also buy pellets from dispensers to feed the ducks for 25 cents.
Lititz Welcome Center
The Welcome Center across from the Wilbur Factory-turned hotel.

Lititz Springs' park
Children and adults enjoy feeding the ducks at Lititz Springs Park.

Lodging and Eats

The Wilbur Factory now exists as condominiums and The Wilbur Lititz, which is part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton.
We enjoyed being so close to downtown and our room was comfortable. The only issues we had was a wonky door that was hung wrong and wasn't flush with the jamb, which concerned us a bit, but it seemed to lock okay. We also had a great deal of difficulty using the phone app to get in and out of the hotel. I think they need to work on that.
The Wilbur
A comfy room at The Wilbur.

Wilbur ads
Vintage ads decorate the walls.

The Wilbur lobby
A shot taken from the upstairs level.
During the evening, we enjoyed a delicious meal onsite at the Blackworth Live Fire Grill. The decor was attractive and the place was buzzing when we visited. 
Restaurant in Lititz

The Blackworth Live Fire Grill in Lititz

It took quite awhile to get our food, like about an hour, so if you visit, be prepared to wait a bit. I have to say it was delicious though.
Shrimp in Lititz
Shrimp at the Blackworth.

Strip steak
A delicious strip steak at the Blackworth.
If you'd prefer a more casual setting, I recommend Scooters, located at 921 Lititz Pike. Scooters serves burgers, steaks and pasta. The service was good, the food was terrific and the owner was onsite to offer a hearty, friendly greeting to the customers.

The Wilbur offers fantastic ham or bacon breakfast sandwiches during the breakfast hour, which my husband enjoyed. I, on the other hand, wanted to see what was happening at the Market at the Wilbur and chose to grab a cup of coffee at Whiff Roasters and an acai bowl at Oola Bowls.
Whiff Roaster
Whiff Coffee Roasters at the Market at The Wilbur.

Food at the Market at The Wilbur
Food selection at the Market at The Wilbur.

acai bowls
Oola Bowls are a delicious breakfast option.

If you visit Lititz, I highly recommend the Oola Bowls and do hope they expand into other areas.  I ordered the "What the Flax," containing acai, pineapple, granola, blueberry, flax and honey. 

My two-day stay in the quaint and interesting town was enough to become familiar with just about everything downtown Lititz had to offer. If I could recommend a better time to stay, it would be the summer, because everything's better when your surroundings are lush and green and the temperatures are comfortable, but there's no denying that Lititz offers a little something for everyone all year round.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Take Time to Visit Perry County's Covered Bridges

According to the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, Pennsylvania is home to the most covered bridges in America, with a total of 213. The state is also home to the earliest documented covered bridge. The Schuylkill Permanent Bridge spanning the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, so named because it was expected to last 30 years, was built in 1805 for a cost of $300 by Timothy Palmer, the best-known wooden bridge builder of the time. Sadly, the bridge was destroyed by fire in 1875.

Home to 15 Covered Bridges 

Closer to my home is Perry County, an area which features 15 covered bridges, all within a relatively short drive.  Perry County is part of the Appalachian Mountain Region and is bordered on the north by the Tuscarora Mountain, the south by the Blue Mountain, and the west by a convergence of the Tuscarora, Conococheaque and Blue Mountains.

The folks at Visit Cumberland Valley have simplified the process for those interested in viewing these old structures. Download the turn-by-turn directions listed on their website and you'll be on your way in no time.  

Visitors can choose from between two loops. The amount of time you have to explore will determine which loop you take. Loop A covers 86.7 miles and seven bridges, while the longer Loop B covers 144.5 miles and eight bridges. Both loops begin and end at the Carlisle Fairgrounds and include stops along the way at Little Buffalo State Park for leg stretching, swimming, or maybe even a hike, or fishing for those who want to take a longer break from driving. 

Along the tour, visitors will view several bridges which pass over Sherman's Creek. Adair's Bridge would be one of the oldest bridges on the tour built to pass over Sherman's Creek, had it not been damaged in a flood. Built in 1864, the 150-foot-long, 14-foot-wide bridge was rebuilt in 1919. 

The Rice/Landisburg Bridge dates back to 1869 and is a bit older than the original Adair's Bridge. The 132-foot-long, 18-foot-wide bridge is open to vehicle traffic. This is a picture I took in the autumn.

Covered Bridge
The Rice Bridge is located near Landisburg.

Another bridge on the tour is quite new. Brook's Bridge, originally constructed in 1884, spans 70 feet long and 17 feet wide. Time took its toll on the old bridge, forcing authorities to close the structure to traffic in 1992. It was rebuilt in 2004. 

Visitors who pass through the quaint New Germantown won't want to miss the bridge of the same name. Built in 1891 by John Fry, the 74-foot-long, 12-foot-wide structure with its picturesque mountain backdrop is open to vehicle traffic and perfect for photos. 

Covered Bridge
The New Germantown Bridge crosses Sherman's Creek.

Another bridge built to cross Sherman's Creek is the 174-foot-long, 20-foot-wide Dellville Bridge, built in 1889 by Andrew Clouser. The structure was destroyed in 1972 by Hurricane Agnes, only to be rebuilt by Stephen J. Esh in 1973. Unfortunately, the bridge was a target of arson several years ago. It was rebuilt and restored in 2019. 

Dellville Bridge after arson
This is what the Dellville Covered Bridge looked like when I visited. 

Big Buffalo Crossings, built in 1919 to cross Big Buffalo Creek is Kochenderfer's Bridge. This 71-foot-long, 18-foot-wide bridge is privately owned and closed to vehicle traffic. Also crossing Big Buffalo Creek is Fleisher's Bridge. Built in 1887 and open to traffic, the bridge is 125 feet long and 17 feet wide. 

Other Crossings include Clay's Bridge, built in 1890 by George Harting to cross the Little Buffalo Creek. It is 82-feet long and 15-feet wide and was moved one mile west from its original location to where is stands today in Little Buffalo State Park. 

The last and smallest bridge on the tour is the Red Bridge, built in 1886 to cross the Wildcat Creek. The 55-foot-long, 15-foot-wide bridge is located on private property and is open to foot traffic only.

Another bridge can be found on an old abandoned section of Route 274 on the left side of the road. Waggoner's Bridge was also home to Waggoner's Mill. 
Covered Bridge
Waggoner's Bridge near Route 274.

I took these pictures six years ago while working for the Chambersburg Public Opinion on a piece about covered bridges. These are just a few.

I was recently given a book published by the Perry County Promotional Alliance, which lists all the Perry County Covered Bridges, so I've decided to post additional bridges here, along with their attributes.
Covered Bridge

The Little Buffalo Creek Bridge spans Little Buffalo Creek was built in 1880 and is the shortest covered bridge in Perry County.
Covered Bridge

The Saville Bridge crosses Buffalo Creek and was built in 1903 by L.M. Wentzel.

Covered Bridge
Kochenderfer's Bridge was built in 1919 by the Adair Brothers at a cost of $2,380 and is 72- feet long by 18-feet wide.

Covered Bridge
Clay's bridge was built in 1890 by George Harding and spans Little Buffalo Creek. It was rebuilt in 1959 and is open to pedestrians only.
Covered Bridge

Fleisher's Bridge was built in 1887 and spans Little Buffalo Creek. The road beyond the bridge is a "no outlet" and ends at private property. 

These are but some of the 15 bridges located in Perry County, which are a testament to the craftsmanship of a bygone era. In an time where traveling is tough due to the pandemic, at least we can hop in our cars and treat ourselves to the occasional change of scenery and view attractions in our local region.