One of my favorite spots to take a field trip is Lancaster! It’s been a bit of a tradition among my family to take rather frequent trips out there and it is so much fun finding new spots!
This year, the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania’s (CHAP) convention is in Lancaster! So if you and your children come out for the convention, why not take advantage of being in Lancaster County and plan a day for a field trip too? One thing my parents taught me – you can make a field trip out of wherever you are!
*Note– all of my time references are based on the convention center as a starting point which in in Lancaster!*
The first stop that I recommend is Lititz, which is about 20-25 minutes from the convention center. Plan on spending at least the morning here!
Visit the first commercial bakery in America, the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory (www.juliussturgis.com). This bakery dates back to the beginning of the Civil War when founded in 1861 by Julius Sturgis. When you tour this bakery, you can see old tools that were used in pretzel making. You also have the opportunity to make your own “old style” pretzel!
Next, visit the Wilbur Chocolate Store (www.wilburbuds.com). Unfortunately, you can’t tour the factory in Lititz anymore, but you’ll be able to see the factory building located right across the street. In the store while obtaining a free Wilbur Buds sample, check out some of the old chocolate making equipment, which is pretty cool. Here’s a fun tidbit – Wilbur Buds (bite-sized molded chocolate resembling flower buds) were first fashioned in 1894 by Henry Wilbur; however, the chocolate factory, H.O. Wilbur & Sons, had opened ten years earlier in 1884.
Now, take some time and just walk around Lititz. You’ll find many cute little coffee shops and other specialty stores. Along the way, you’ll find Olio Olive Oils & Balsamics (www.oliooliveoil.com), and for curiosity sake, you’ll go in. Inside the store, you’ll sample a wide variety of oils and balsamic vinegars (recommended for children ages 10+).
Next, travel to Honey Brook, and visit September Farm Country Market and Sandwich Shop (www.septemberfarmcheese.com). This is about 40 minutes from both Lititz and the convention center in Lancaster, but it is a great place to have a bite to eat for lunch!
September Farm is owned and operated by the Rotelle family. What started as a small store on their farm grew into a flourishing cheese business! After you’ve sampled the cheese and ate lunch at their sandwich shop, you can go to the back room where you can watch cheese being made. It is such an interesting process! And if you’re new to September Farm, be sure to purchase their freshly made cheese tarts. You won’t regret it!
As you travel back to the convention center, a fun place to stop is Emma’s Gourmet Popcorn (www.emmaspopcorn.com) in New Holland. This is 15 minutes from the cheese farm but on your way back to Lancaster. You may think you are merely twisting and turning along some back country roads, but the stop at the end is very much worth it! Emma’s Gourmet Popcorn makes many fun flavors of popcorn, ranging from sweet to salty, plain to chocolate. A great snack to be enjoyed by the whole family on the way home!
Finally, if your time allows, visit Kitchen Kettle Village (www.kitchenkettle.com) in Intercourse. This is 10 minutes from Emma’s Gourmet Popcorn and only 25 minutes from the Lancaster County Convention Center. There are forty unique shops to visit in this village; some offer some delectable treats for the children! Perhaps you even want to take a horse and carriage ride or an Amish buggy ride for a full Pennsylvania Dutch experience.
Lancaster County offers many attractions and field trip options; find more great things to see and do in and around the area at DiscoverLancaster.com. I hope that it will become one of your favorite spots like it is mine!
Previous published in the CHAP Magazine
Copyright, 2017, Rachel Rittenhouse