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Lititz – Rooted in History but Exhilaratingly Trendy

1792 Frank Comi, a guide for the Lititz Historical Foundation dressed in the garb of an 18th century Moravian tradesman. He's shown standing in front of the 1792 Johannes Mueller House. , which has retained its original architectural character and furnished with hundreds of traditional items, many of which are family heirlooms passed down through generations and donated to the Historical Foundation. An informative museum is adjacent to the house and open to the public.
 Featured photo of Frank Comi, a guide for the Lititz Historical Foundation dressed in the garb of an 18th century Moravian tradesman. He’s shown standing in front of the 1792 Johannes Mueller House, which has retained its original architectural character and furnished with hundreds of traditional items, many of which are family heirlooms passed down through generations and donated to the Historical Foundation. An informative museum is adjacent to the house and open to the public.
By Dave Zuchowski and all photos by: Bill Rockwell
A Refreshing Spot on a Lititz Walkabout.

In my travels I’ve enjoyed several junkets to Lancaster County. Surprisingly, I’d never heard of Lititz, eight miles north of Lancaster, let alone been there.

What got my curious juices flowing for a visit was a YouTube video on the town that came up somewhat randomly. It put the town in a good light, spotlighting its Moravian roots, its charming atmosphere, solid food scene, stunning architecture and alluring string of boutiques along Broad and East Main Streets.

Adding this all up together, I decided to explore this town of 9,385 residents for myself.

Driving up to Hotel Rock Lititz

My own first look at Lititz came as a shock from the modern and contemporary rather than the historic and traditional. After driving through some beautiful Lancaster County farmland, I pulled into the parking lot of the Hotel Rock Lititz, located about a mile north of town. Sited on the 96-acre Rock Lititz campus, the hotel serves both the general public as well as the design and  tech crews who plan and create mega live events for rock tour giants like U2, Madonna, Beyonce and Justin Timberlake.

The campus has also served as the creative think tank for half time shows, big festivals, Broadway touring shows, televised awards shows and other live events. – virtually anything live and mega-sized.

The hotel plays on the live event theme starting at the front desk where vintage  speakers line the back wall, and, in the lobby, a lighting grid from a past Red Hot Chili Peppers tour hangs over the billiard table. Elsewhere, artificial grass that once appeared on Justin Timberlake’s concert stage and “grew” throughout his performance is part of the lobby décor.

Each Floor of the Hotel Has a Dazzling Display Coming off the Elevator

In the guest rooms, custom wallpaper is a mélange of images of a collection of access passes to hundreds of concerts, and road cases, once used to transport equipment and gear on tours, have been repurposed as desktops and sliding doors. The boutique hotel sports Per Diem, a trendy bar and restaurant and swimming pool, and the campus provides additional opportunities for guests like yoga, a bouldering wall, obstacle course  and bike rentals, brewery tastings and more. For more information, phone 717-925-(ROCK) 7625 or www.hotelrocklititz.com.

Inside the Wilbur Chocolate Store

In town, I found Lititz to be a blend of quaint and upscale sophistication. Quaint starts at the Wilbur Chocolate Store at 45 N. Broad, stocked with dozens of different chocolate and candy items. There, visitors can see museum type items like chocolate molds, tins and porcelain chocolate pots and watch confectioners in action making hand-fabricated chocolates behind plate glass windows. When leaving, they’re given a complimentary package of Wilbur buds, the company’s answer to Hershey kisses. The recipe for the buds, named for their resemblance to a flower bud, has remained since they were first introduced back in 1894.

Just across the street, the huge Wilbur candy factory since has morphed into a trendy mix of condos, a boutique hotel and the stylish Blackworth Live Fire Grill.

A Look down Main Street

If you’re in to shopping more than 50 boutique shops line Lititz’s two main thoroughfares. Not one known for my love of frequenting such places, I must admit I succumbed to curiosity while walking by Renewal Kombucha.

Outside Renewal Kombucha

The shop features fermented, non-alcoholic beverages full of probiotics and antioxidants, available in cups, flights and growlers. I managed to sample the butterfly pea flower and lavender, two of the more exotic flavors on hand.

Savory Gourmet Offers Exotic Meats and More

Next door, the Savory Gourmet also pulled me inside after I saw some of the exotic meats listed on signs on the windows. Always an adventurous eater, I was amazed to see exotics like camel, jack lope, kangaroo, yak and python in the deli cases next to more common meats like duck, rabbit and quail. Owner Bill McManus even posts a serving temperature chart on the wall in case you’re wondering how much and how long to cook things. He has another poster that tries to describe what the exotic meats taste like, and it’s not always chicken.

More Shops to Explore

Another establishment that drew me in was the Zum Ancker Alley Shoppes, housed in the former Lititz Record Express newspaper building. Filled with creative works by area artists, the gallery displays some related treasures from its newspaper past like black and white photos that go back to 1942, a typesetter’s desk, an advertising plate maker and copies of editions that go back to 1918.

Fountain in Lititz Spring Park

Want a break and a chance to relax? Lititz Spring Park is a narrow but long strip of tree-lined tranquility and a swift flowing creek that’s home to a large gathering of ducks. They seem to like flying upstream, then land in the swift current that carries back to their starting point.

Lititz Glows with a Magical Sheen in the Evening

Don’t leave town without a look at the Moravian Church Square, a complex of buildings that include the Church, Single Sisters House, Single Brothers House, the architecturally stunning Corpse House, where the dead were kept until burial, and Linden Hall, the oldest, continuously operating boarding and day school for girls in the nation.

Outside the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery

Just across Main Street, The Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery was founded in 1861, which gives it the title “America’s first commercial pretzel enterprise.” A guided tour shows how pretzels were made in the old days with antique equipment and methodology. The tour also give visitors a chance to twist their own pretzels and leave with a packet of freshly baked Sturgis pretzels.

If you’d like to learn more about the town’s history, a visit to the Lititz Historical Center and Museum is a must. On the way out, walk through the beautiful gardens out back for some horticultural ideas.

1792 Johannes Mueller House – A Great Way to Experience Early Moravian Life in Lititz

For more information, go to www.lititzpa.com.

The Gorgeous Bulls Head Public House

For places to Dine, the Bulls Head Public House, 14 E. Main St., is not only charming it also won the title “Best Beer Bar” in Pa. 5 times. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available, and the cuisine is creatively prepared and runs the gamut from pub fare to Chicken Tikka Masala, one of the most popular dishes. Phone 717-626-2115 or  http://www.lititzspringsinnandspa.com. The Bulls Head Public House is located in the Lititz Springs Inn and Spa.

The Tomato Pie Café Offers Indoor and Outdoor Seating

Tomato Pie Café, 23 N. Broad St., features its namesake, the owner’s family recipe made with seasoned red tomatoes baked in a flaky pie crust and covered  with a rich cheesy topping. Pizza it’s not! Vegan friendly and health-oriented, the restaurant prepares a tasty menu that includes burgers, sandwiches and more for omnivore and carnivore patrons. Phone 717-627-1762 or www.tomatopiecafe.net.

                                                                                                                       Tomato Pie Anyone?

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