Aside from Hershey...
July 8, 2011 9:56 AM   Subscribe

I'm visiting a friend in Lititz, PA this weekend. What should I do while I'm up there?

I'll be there from July 9th through the 15th. I'm sure she'll have some suggestions on what we should do, but I'd like to have some of my own as well!

-Food--any great restaurants to try?
-Photography--I'll be carting my Nikon D7000 around most of the time.
-Light shopping. I have a little one on the way, so any cute baby shops (or decorative shops in general) specific to the area would be good.
-General fun, of course!

-Excessive exposure to The Outdoors i.e. wilderness, hiking, biking, etc
-Excessive exposure to (extreme) heat
-Excessive exposure to large crowds
posted by litnerd to Travel & Transportation around Lititz, PA (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Used to live in Hershey. The hershey hotel is a nice place to amble around and will be a cool place to shoot photos thanks to the architecture and the gardens. Lancaster is nice, too, and surprisingly has very good Vietnamese food.
posted by The White Hat at 10:19 AM on July 8, 2011

Best answer: Skip Hershey chocolate and go straight for Wilbur chocolate. It's right in downtown Lititz and is heaven.

I'll second the Hershey Botanical Gardens. That's a stop we take every year. I know you're not into "The Outdoors" but it's truly lovely. Very nice photography available there.

There's a relatively new museum in Hershey that is the "Hershey Story." Despite being two adults without kids, we had a really nice time. Very hands on. Company propaganda of course, but lots of integrated technology that I thought was cool.

If you like zoos, you may want to check out Zoo America. It's part of the Hershey Park, but you can go in separately and not do the park (nor pay for the park). The animals are all native to North America, and pretty cool.

Let me keep thinking. We do that area fairly often as a "quick getaway."
posted by librarianamy at 10:39 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, if you like beer - Lancaster Brewing has a nice restaurant attached. And well, beer.

Our last trip out we stopped at the Iron Hill Brewery as well, which is on a college campus. Might be less crowded/better service since it's summer... but I really liked my meal. (Service/noise level, eh.)

Local friends took us to El Serrano and I thought it was completely surreal, this massive Mexican place in the middle of Amish country. Not overwhelmingly authentic food but crazy atmosphere.

Out in Mount Joy there's the Catacombs & Bube's Brewery that we've enjoyed. The brewery used to be a speakeasy down in a cave, during prohibition. Now you can eat dinner down in the catacombs. There are several sections to this establishment, so just pick which one might suit you best. (We like the catacombs, it's sort of romantic. Until you start making zombie/vampire jokes.)
posted by librarianamy at 10:46 AM on July 8, 2011

Best answer: The Sturgis Pretzel Factory in Lititz runs quick, cool tours, with free pretzels at the end. There's also a local Wolf Sanctuary that admits visitors for canine encounters.

Definitely worth driving down into the heart of Amish country, around the Intercourse area, and spending some time just poking around the furniture shops and sampling random food. The Lancaster Farmer's Market is a good place to grab lunch sometime if you're in the area.

Lastly, it's a slightly longer drive, but if you're at all scientifically inclined, the National Watch and Clock Museum has fabulous exhibits on the history and culture of time-keeping through the ages.
posted by Bardolph at 10:47 AM on July 8, 2011

Best answer: Use a Saturday, Tuesday or Friday morning to go to Central Market (earlier is better), which is in the middle of the city of Lancaster. Here's an events calendar of things to do in the city during the time period you'll be there. Go driving around the county and find some covered bridges to shoot. Tuesday afternoons, Root's Market is open; Manheim and Lititz aren't that far apart. (Other markets you may pass in your travels here.) Jethro's in Lancaster remains one of my favorites; if you're looking for something more upscale, try the Accomac Inn. Lancaster's Here to Timbuktu, near Central Market, generally has interesting gifts/clothing. Honestly, I would pass on both the Hershey Outlets and the Lancaster Outlets, which are stores that are found nationwide and crowded in summer, besides. Lapp's Wooden Toys (3006 Irishtown Rd., Ronks, PA 17572 717-354-2278) has a small but nice selection of wooden toys; the double-racer has been a favorite with my kids. Ten Thousand Villages has a lovely outpost in Ephrata, and the Ephrata Cloister is nearby. Another good historic site is the Landis Valley Museum, which has a neat gift shop.
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:49 AM on July 8, 2011

Best answer: Shopping in Lancaster:

Here to Timbuktu - tiny little gift shop, kooky jewelry, fun obscure toys, fair trade clothing. I always spend too much there.

Not that far off of the Central Market in downtown there are a few cute kids clothing places - based on the downtown Lancaster shopping site I want to say they're called "Jari & Mimi's" and BellaBoo.

There is also a fairly interesting home decor place just off of the market, I believe called Art-chi-Textural Curiosities.

There is a museum next to the Central Market as well, which we'd skipped in the past but if you're looking for photography, it's got amazing interior structures (used to be a Masonic Temple). And the gift shop is also quite good. That would be a good starting point, after you go to the market, to get a good feel for things.
posted by librarianamy at 10:54 AM on July 8, 2011

Oh, and seconding the Thai food rec, specifically Lemon Grass Thai (warning: autoplay music). I like Viet My Oriental Food Market (Lancaster) for cooking supplies.

librarianamy has a good idea with Lancaster Brewing. Iron Hill is chain-ish--I believe it started in Delaware. Good food. Franklin & Marshall College, across the street, is an arboretum and has a number of lovely trees. Oh, El Serrano! Delicious. The Historical Museum right across from Central Market (literally spitting distance) is small, but often has lovely exhibits. My advice is to skip the Hershey Zoo (expensive, and the animals mostly hide from the heat) and instead do Hershey Gardens (not cheap, but has some great photo opportunities).

I have to put in a good word for LiliBea's, over in Berks County, if you need great bras (I'm not sure she does nursing bras--email to check--but you'll get a great fitting). Vanity Fair, also in Reading, is surrounded by a huge outlet complex, and is close to the Reading Public Museum. The Lancaster Museum of Art has a baseball-themed exhibit up now; you could also catch a Barnstormers game.

Are you a knitter/quilter, or are you shopping for someone who is? There are a metric boatload of quilting shops, and Lancaster's Oh Susanna is supposed to be an amazing (if very, very tiny) yarn shop.
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:13 AM on July 8, 2011

Best answer: El Rodeo is a very good Mexican restaurant on the outskirts of Lancaster (city), on Rt. 72. Fantastic place to have lunch, and handy from Rt. 501/Lititz. The Harrisburg branch is good too, but a longer trip.

Another really good Mexican restaurant is further afield, close to Harrisburg and a bit of a haul from Lititz--Herby's. Worth the trip, even though you'll get into the residential neighborhood and say "Where's the restaurant?" (It looks like it used to be the neighborhood bar, but OH, THE FOOD.)

If you guys are willing to do a longer day trip, you could do much worse than to visit the Brandywine River Museum, especially if you're a Wyeth fan. Then there's Longwood Gardens and Buckley's Tavern, or perhaps the Delaware Art Museum and a quick bite over in Trolley Square.

[Sorry for the multiple posts; it has been one of those days.]
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:39 PM on July 8, 2011


Longwood Gardens, Central Market, Sturgis Pretzel, Wilbur Chocolate


Utz Potato Chip Factory - an hour away in Hanover
Herr's Potato Chip Factory 30 minutes away in Nottingham
Intercourse Pretzel Factory 11 miles away in Intercourse
The Railroad Museum in Strasburg
Winterthur - another DuPont property
Nemours - the third DuPont museum in the area
A word of advice: admission to Longwood, Winterthur and/or Nemours is not cheap & Nemours requires reservations. If you visit, plan to spend the whole day to get your money's worth. The restaurant at Longwood is awesome (but pricey) - try the popovers!

If you're interested in Amish cooking, try CR Lapp's down in Quarryville. While you're there, drive over to Good's. They have a nice selection of 'old fashioned' stuff.

I highly recommend the pork & sauerkraut and/or the chicken pot pie at Lapp's. The pork dish is usually offered on Saturdays and the chicken pot pie (aka slippery chicken pot pie) on Tuesdays. The fisherman's chowder is also good.
posted by jaimystery at 7:21 PM on July 8, 2011

jaimystery, the Good's recommendation is spot on. If you'd rather drive north, up 501, you can cross over into Lebanon County and go to the Good's in Schaefferstown; I think of it as a Mennonite department store circa 1970. It's packed with canning equipment, toys of innocence (lots of books and puzzles and model kits), fabric, shoes, straw hats (for the men) and little to no Amish kitsch. Dutchway (a grocery store) is right next door and has a restaurant that is OK for a quick bite. Up the road a piece, past Good's, is Fischer's Variety Store, run on an Amish farm, by an Amish lady. Schaefferstown is also home to The Tweed Weasel and its beautiful, though pricey, handmade primitive goods. You'll also pass right by Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, which has some good birdwatching and easy, flat walking trails (short, too).
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:48 PM on July 8, 2011

Best answer: Yes, Wilbur Chocolate is fun, and seconding going to Ephrata. If you like history check out Cornwall Furnace.

Take a jaunt to Mt. Gretna, and go to the Jigger Shop for ice cream (can get crowded at peak weekend times). Mt. Gretna itself is unique and worth walking about with your camera, particularly check out the old Victorian houses in the Campmeeting section. Bonus, it is always cooler there than other places in the area. Random video of a house in Mt. Gretna to give a sense of the town.
posted by gudrun at 3:12 AM on July 9, 2011

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