Showing posts with label Lititz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lititz. Show all posts

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.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Roaming with the Wolves in Lancaster County

You may wonder what this post has to do with "Cheese Plates and Room Service," and I'll admit it is a stretch to say that this fits in with the theme, but  you could consider the Lititz Wolf Sanctuary a hotel for wildlife and instead of cheese plates, frozen turkeys and roadkill tend to be their snack of choice. Plus, there is an historic B&B onsite called "The Speedwell Forge Bed and Breakfast," where you can plan to stay if you visit the Sanctuary, so I suppose I'm not deviating from the theme too much this time. 

Rather than focusing on the onsite B&B however, I've chosen instead to describe the sanctuary due to the unique nature of the place. For those who enjoy wildlife, it's a must-see destination to add to your travel plans if you happen to be poking around Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

The non-profit organization was borne out of love and dedication to the well-being of the wolves that lay claim to the sprawling expanse of land.

Darin Tompkins, caretaker at the sanctuary, tells the story of how it all began, explaining that founder and owner Bill Darlington was fascinated with wolves, allowing several to roam the property until the Pennsylvania Game Commission changed the rules in the 1980's. “They were considered pets, but when the rules changed making it illegal, Bill had to get a license and a permit to keep the animals. He fenced in part of his yard and owned five wolves at the time. Before long, the game commission began calling Bill to see if he could take in others whose owners couldn’t afford the permits, or the fencing, or just simply didn’t want to deal with the animals anymore.”

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, due to a bounty that was placed on wolves starting in the late 1600's and continuing through the early 1900's, it's been 100 years since the last wild wolf existed in Pennsylvania.

Darlington certainly had the room to accommodate the wolves on his 120 acres of land, which once operated as a horse and dairy farm in the 1970's. “Until 1993, Bill funded it all himself. He invited friends over and took them on tours. They would spread the word and others would visit. Eventually Darlington established the wolf sanctuary as a non-profit and started doing tours to help with expenses,” said Tompkins.

When Darlington passed in 1998, his daughter Dawn took over and has been running the place with Tompkins ever since. “Since 2007, we’ve made a lot of changes, added new enclosures and revamped old ones to keep up with the changing laws," said Tompkins. Today the wolves roam approximately 30 acres in enclosed areas on the property.
Wolves at the Sanctuary in Lititz

Volunteering at the Wolf Sanctuary

Volunteers come from miles around and do everything from cleaning, to running the gift shop, to conducting tours. Guides stand at the front of each enclosure and feed raw meat to the wolves, who anxiously await their meals, much to the delight of the crowd. Guides engage the public, answering questions and imparting information on life, habits and behavior of the wolves on their property and in the wild. “We try to make it informative and educational,” said Tompkins.

Volunteers who achieve the rank of tour guides must first expend a lot of time and effort. “We require our volunteers to put in 500 hours to be a tour guide,” said Tompkins, adding that few are allowed behind the fences. “I don’t take just anybody in the pens. Volunteers have to learn our routines, know the animals, learn their and be aware of their body language.”
Wolves roam grounds of the Wolf Sanctuary in Lititz, Pa. 

Dennis Binkley has been a tour guide for approximately eight years now. The Lancaster County resident said, “I’ve always had a fascination with wolves and my wife and I went up six or seven years ago and we kept going back, so we signed up as volunteers.” His wife helps run the information center, while Dennis gives tours. “I love talking to people and educating them on the wolves,” he said. Binkley said the wolves aren’t vicious toward humans, but only about 10 of them permit touching. “We can interact with a few we bottle fed as puppies and they will rub against you, but if you reach down to try to touch them, they take off,” he said of the animals.

“Some come once or twice a year, others come quite often,” Tompkins said of the volunteers. “It’s hard to get people to volunteer during the week, which is why our tours are limited to specific days."

Feeding the Wolves

Because one wolf can eat 25-30 pounds of raw meat in one feeding, providing them with enough food can be very expensive, according to Tompkins. “Companies who distribute meat to grocery stores will sometimes bring it to us if the meat has been refused. For instance, once there was a leak and blood was on the boxes, so they called and asked us if we wanted it. People clean out their freezers sometimes and bring us food and sometimes when there is a power outage, people bring us food too. Hunters sometimes give us food as well.” The organization has also been known to receive calls when roadkill is spotted.

Visiting the Sanctuary

Tours are conducted at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from June through September. “We like to have the tours early before it gets too hot for the wolves,” said Tompkins. From October through May, public tours are held on Saturdays and Sundays starting at noon. Entry fees are $12 per person, $10 for children and $11 for senior citizens.
Tours are also conducted on Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment.

The Bed and Breakfast, mentioned earlier, also belongs to Darlington and dates back to 1760. Two private cottages are situated on the property and feature eat-in kitchens, whirlpool tubs and fireplaces. The main house features three guest rooms and visitor staying there are permitted to tour the grounds for free.

For more information on the Bed and Breakfast visit Speedwell Forge B&B and to learn more about the Wolf Sanctuary visit at: