They had me at “Chocolate factory”. Gene Wilder’s Willie Wonka was a formative influence in my childhood, so my mind reels with images of oompa-loompas and everlasting gobstoppers. And then I heard “pretzyl factory”! I’m originally from Pennsylvania Dutch territory and I love me some pretzyls. I had to check out this place. Mr Fantastic and I took a trip here alone and decided to return with the kids for the Lititz Chocolate Walk. We were told about it by the
oompa-loompas folks working behind the glass at Wilbur’s and it sounded like something we would enjoy. We ended up buying tickets again this past July for last week’s Chocolate Walk after enjoying it so much last year. I am actually reluctant to share this with too may people because tickets are limited and its such a great event. But, sigh, with no international trips to write about I am letting the cat out of the bag.
me + twins outside gorgeous stone house, Fiercely with twins at historic church, twins at the park with train station seen behind pond
If you’re keeping track, that makes 3 Fantastic trips to this little town in Amish country. The historic downtown is adorable with many storefronts, a park, and a replica train station by the old train tracks. Nearby the station is The Wilbur Chocolate Company, maker of ‘Wilbur Buds’ that strikingly resemble and in fact preceded Hershey’s kisses but we’ll keep things sweet and won’t delve into that controversy here. Opened in 1865, Wilbur currently makes some chocolate for retail sale but mainly processes cocoa to sell to other confectioners. There is a fantastic little museum one walks through after entering through a side door – there are glass cases with chocolate tins and other paraphenalia from years past- then there is a small retail store before the exit. All the while you hear above you the rhythmic churning of what must be delicious ingredients and you smell wafts of chocolate bliss.
Outside and inside the Chocolate Factory
So, then there is Sturgis Pretzel House just a few blocks away. They started making pretzels in 1861 and you can tour the original factory for only $3 (kids are $2!!). They teach you how to twist the dough into the eponymous shape and you get to see the original ovens and other equipment. Awesome!
Cleverly and the twins outside of Sturgis
And now about the Lititz Chocolate Walk. Its a charity event, and we’re all about charity at the Fantastic household, yesirree we hardly noticed that word between ‘Lititz’ and ‘walk’ and if you believe that…your candy is safe with us..LOL. It happens once a year, as I said with limited tickets. The $25 tickets have numbers 1-30 on them to correspond with 30 locations where you can get a chocolate sample. Each location marks their number on your ticket when you get something chocolate there. Three tickets were plenty for our family of six, and we took a lot of samples home.
Cleverly with her ticket and a ticket at the end of the day – as you can see, we hit every one of the 30+ stops!
So basically we spent all day wandering about the sweet little downtown, in and out of shops, showing our tickets and getting so much chocolate that we couldn’t eat it all. We walked around the oldest girls boarding school in the country, a pottery studio, the farmer’s market, and more tchochkies shops than you can shake a stick at. Wilbur Chocolate Co. had an elaborate edible display with a Mother Goose theme and also gave us Wilbur Buds and a banana-nut-chocolate creation. We had ice cream, chili, numerous brownies, and on and on. There were musicians at some spots with bluegrass, saxophone, guitar. The kids made 2-3 pumpkins each at the farmer’s market. There was a coffee roasting business, a microbrewery, a canal bike trail, man, Lititz is a small town that really seems to get it right.
Twins looking at the Wilbur display, all 4+ Poppa outside a business on the main street
Decorating pumpkins at the farmer’s market, Red Hat Society ladies in the house!!