What makes Lititz so cool?
Do a quick search, and Google will tell you that Lititz is the coolest small town in America.
It was voted as such in 2013, and we decided to take a quick day trip to see why it's so cool. Here are some suggestions for spending a day in the nearby town.
I asked for recommendations around town, and every person I spoke with told me to go to Lititz Springs Park. I made it my last stop, but if you're wondering where to start, the park includes a train station that serves as a visitors' center with plenty of ideas for your stay.
You can feed the ducks, and wander to the back of the park, where the spring begins. There's a playground if the kids get antsy, and the park frequently holds events, which you can learn about online.
Learn some history
It could be easy, amid the shops and cafes downtown, to miss the historical spots in Lititz. But the town has several places to learn about its roots as a Moravian community begun in the mid-1700s.
Learn more about that at the Lititz Museum, or pay a few dollars for a tour of the Johannes Mueller House next door, where a costumed guide shows what it was like to live in the 1792 home. Guides at the museum offered me a brochure for a self-guided walking tour about town, which shows you what some local spots looked like back in the 1700s.
The Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery is worth a stop, especially if you have kids who want something to do besides shop.
The tour of "America's first pretzel bakery" starts with a lesson in hand-twisting pretzels while a knowledgeable guide walks you through the history of pretzels. See the old-style baking tools, and find out just how hard pretzels came to be. The tour is offered every 30 minutes and costs $3.50 for adults and $2.50 for children 4 to 12.
Shop for unique gifts
Plan some time for Main and Broad streets, where in the span of a few blocks you'll find shops with everything from antiques to special olive oils.
I stopped at Indulge Lititz to see its advertised "wall of coffee" — which has you covered if you're into flavored brews. A giant teddy bear sitting on a bench drew me into the Teddy Bear Emporium, a toy and gift store with fanciful decorations that are sure to catch a kid's eye as much as the stuffed animals that are loaded aboard a hand-crafted pirate ship.
If you love a good bookstore, get lost in Aaron's Books, where owner Sam Droke-Dickinson says visitors come from hours away looking for a good independent seller.
The shopkeepers were all happy to chat and take pride in offering items that you won't find in shopping malls. Droke-Dickerson noted the town boasts only two chains — a CVS and a Subway.
Eat your way around town
With spots like Chocolate Café, Sugar Whipped Bakery and Candy*ology, you could just skip meals and work your way through the treat shops in Lititz.
And while I didn't eat a meal in Lititz, I heard recommendations for the Tomato Pie Café, where you'll find the namesake dish on breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.
I was also pointed toward the Bulls Head Public House, where you'll find a good selection of beers on tap. If you're feeling fancy, make a reservation at the nearby A Tea Affair for tea and scones, quiche or tea sandwiches. (Owner Alice Pepper says she sometimes sees groups splitting between her shop and the pub.)
Brewery tanks gleam in the window of JoBoy's Brew Pub, where southern-style BBQ joins the menu with burgers and plenty of other options.
Lititz is an easy day trip from York.
At a glance
How to get there: Lititz is less than an hour from York. Hop on Route 30 east, and take 501 North when you near Lancaster. Follow that road to Lititz.
To plan: Find visitor info at lititzpa.com.
History: Learn about the town at www.lititzhistoricalfoundation.com.