October 19, 2010

The Rest of The Story

We took another trip up to our DD's college this past weekend. Our last Parents Weekend - that happened fast! It was truly the best one ever. Mostly we go to see this choir sing. They're great. Our girl is the one in the upper center of the top pic. Yes, I cut off her mouth in the photo, but there is only so much you can do in a packed performance hall - that's my excuse. We got to see some dear friends from Maine who were on campus for the week and as always that was precious time. We also had the privilege of spending time with our daughter's roomies - fantastic girls who have loads of personality and laugh easily - such a good combination! We also took in a movie and a hockey game while we were there - they were playing against my alma mater - strange coincidence!

Now for the rest of the story of our PA trip. We were only an hour from the town where my husband's mother grew up. Much of her childhood history is unknown to us because she and her siblings were orphaned at a young age. But we do know that she was from Lititz, PA, which is a very charming, beautifully preserved, historic town. On the afternoon of our last day in PA, we took a quick trip over and we were so glad we did.
This town of Lititz was settled by Moravian people, and you can see it in the beautiful architecture all over town. This was home to a very industrious group of folks, manufacturing all sorts of things, and even John Sutter of gold rush fame hailed from Lititz. We had dinner at the historic General Sutter Inn, and our meal included an incredible macaroni and cheese with lobster - ohhhhh!

We took two tours in Lititz, and came home with these lovely goodies!

The Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery is one of the well known businesses in Lititz. It's now on the National Historic Registry. The current Sturgis in charge is Tom, which explains why his name is now on the pretzel bag. This has been a strictly family business.
They were the first ones to bake crunchy pretzels as well as soft pretzels, and the crunchy ones were sent in barrels to the soldiers in the Civil War.

We took the factory tour and made pretzels the way they did in the earlier days of the company, and of course we were awarded a goofy certificate for our efforts!

We also got a close up look at the old ovens that were once used - really beautiful. Our guide told us that it took at least two days to get the pretzels crunchy and even longer when it was humid. In an effort to control the quality of their pretzels and to avoid preservatives, they have maintained their original decision to keep their distribution local, so unfortunately we can only order them online. They really are unique in flavor, and worth taking the trouble to order.

Another company well known in these parts is the Wilbur Chocolate Company, which had the wisdom to flood their chocolate scent outside into the streets surrounding them, therefore making it impossible to pass them by! They were celebrating 125 years in business.

There was also a museum in this building and this room was full of chocolate molds and candy making equipment. Notice the HUGE chocolate Santa mold hanging on the wall! One of the things we purchased here was a book written about the history of Lititz, and one of the fudge makers at Wilbur was the author. Our cashier told us to head back there and get her to sign the book, so my husband did that and was able to chat with her a little about the orphanage as well. Nice benefit!

These little candies are called Wilbur Buds, and they have been well known in this part of the country for many years, and yes they are in competition with Hershey's Kisses! There is some dispute about who came up with the shape first. You can see here that there is a charming swirled design on the bottom, which spells out the name Wilbur. Regardless of who invented this shape first, my opinion is that these are a world apart from Hershey's Kisses - these are very rich and have the flavor of the best hot chocolate you've ever had. These pictured here are their dark chocolate, and they get my vote hands down! These too are available to order from them, or several other old fashioned catalogs as well. I'll be hoping for them in my Christmas stocking - hint, hint!

As with most trips, we always try to visit at least one of Guy Fieris Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. On our way home, we hit pay dirt in Cleveland when we had lunch at Lucky's Cafe!
This is a lovely hippie joint that serves local and organic foods whenever possible, plus they make nearly everything from scratch!

They also have an outdoor area for eating, which is among their own raised-bed vegetable garden used for their menu. It was a gorgeous day and we thoroughly enjoyed everything from our honey sweetened lattes, to our totally homemade Reuben sandwich. Can you imagine? - homemade rye bread, home cured corned beef, homemade sauerkraut, homemade dressing - I could just about drool thinking of it! We saw the episode on TV some time ago and what a treat to get to go there!

So, the rest of the story is that even though the PA trip was a long and challenging one, as always, we were blessed by many things along the way - not the least of which was the smile on the face and the tear in the eye of a 95-year-old man as we bid him goodbye. We left him happy, by God's grace, and will always be grateful for all of these experiences.


  1. what a fantastic trip you had. I really enjoy reading your travel stories.

  2. Thanks. I like writing about our travels so that we won't forget!