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Gone Amish

Faced with a kid-free day with nothing we *had* to do, Wayne and I decided to explore Lancaster a little yesterday.

First stop: Wilbur Chocolate Factory and Candy Museum. 
When we got out of the car in the parking lot, the smell of chocolate practically smacks you in the face.  It was so cool!  We walked into the candy store and museum and were just overwhelmed.  They had an old-fashioned candy kitchen set up with a million molds to look at and old packaging, lots of information about the history of chocolate and a current candy kitchen that makes all the stuff for sale in the store.  We took advantage of the chocolate for filling Easter baskets soon. 

Next: Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery
What an education experience at the first hard pretzel bakery in America!  The house that holds the pretzel bakery was built in 1784!  It's one of the oldest buildings in Litiz, PA, and was really neat.  There were four brick ovens where the pretzels were initially baked, and then they were brought upstairs and laid on the floor (!!!) to dry overnight from the heat of the ovens downstairs.  We got to roll our own pretzel dough and be silly.  We brought home a bunch of these awesome cheese pretzels from the gift shop.  I'm actually munching on some now!

From Lititz, we drove to Intercourse, PA.  Yes, that's the real name of the town!  Oddly, all of the Amish towns have vaguely sexual names: Intercourse, Blue Ball, Bird-in-Hand, Bareville, Virginville, Mount Joy, Paradise.  It's amusing.

Kitchen Kettle Village
A lot of the little shops were closed but Kitchen Kettle was actually open and we got to sample a hundred different jams, jellies and preserves.  Some of them sound really strange but ended up being really tasty-- like the Garlic & Herb jelly.  I think I'm going to try that one tonight as a glaze on some chicken breasts.  We went into a cool candle store and I got a Woodwick candle.  In one of the little gift stores I grabbed some cute stuff for Mothers' Day gifts.  I can't wait to go back in the Spring to have an Amish buggy ride and get some Kettle corn.

Flower and Craft Warehouse
The mom's group had a trip to this place a few months ago and I couldn't go for some reason, so since we were out in that area, I asked Wayne if he'd mind going.  I knew it was a big store but really, I had no concept of how GIGANTIC it was!  It was seriously like 8 Michaels or AC Moore's put together.  Each type of craft had their own 25,000 square foot room.  It was insane.  We didn't even browse up and down all the aisles (except in the scrapbooking area!)  and it took forever to get through the store.  They had the most incredible paper selection I've ever seen and that was even with a lot of bare shelves because they're waiting for the stuff they ordered from CHA to come.  Overwhelming on every level.  I can't wait to go back when I'm less tired!

Last stop was food!  We didn't eat all day.  So because I'd heard so much about it, I wanted to go to this buffet.

Shady Maple Smorgasbord
OH MY GAWD!  First of all, normally buffets are pretty cheesy and the food is mediocre at best.  Soooo not the case at Shady Maple.  These people have the whole buffet thing DOWN.  The actual buffet is a huge strip along the wall of the immense dining room and there are big Sub Zero fridges along the wall for cold stuff and pass-throughs to the kitchen for the insane amount of hot stuff.  Then there were four grill areas where they were cooking steaks and fresh fish and carving stations with ham and brisket.  The food was incredible and obviously all fresh made.  (You can tell when stuff is frozen prepared, at least I can.)  There was just so much variety and everything we tried was good.  I don't even want to list all the stuff I ate because I'd be embarrassed by the volume.  Just so good.  Now I want to go back for breakfast.  :)  The place was PACKED, which is always a good sign, but we were seated right away and I just can't believe how good it was.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 1st, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
omg i love shady maple!! when i was in highschool my friends and i used to ditch class and drive to lancaster just to go there! man i miss that place!
Mar. 4th, 2008 01:59 pm (UTC)
I am soooo wanting to go back. It's like an addiction.
Mar. 1st, 2008 09:21 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a fun little day outing! How funny about Intercourse PA! I'd heard that but always wondered if it was real. Must be embarassing to say you live in Intercourse! :) As for the other names, that is weird they're all sexual. I don't think Bird-in-Hand really is though?

It's so weird to picture the Amish having shops. I mean they shun everything modern except making a buck? Haha! :)

That buffet sounds awesome... I just can't do buffets anymore though :( My OCD got the best of me last time I was in Vegas at one & I thought about ALL the peoples germs that pass thru and nope... never again. Sucks too because I used to love them. Now I'm just skeeved out by even thinking about picking up a spoon!
Mar. 4th, 2008 01:12 am (UTC)
Nope, Bird-in-Hand is real too. In Lancaster county (home of the Amish) there are the following town names:

Bird in Hand
Blue Ball

Look them up on MapQuest, they're all real.

Those poor pent up Amish....
Mar. 4th, 2008 01:57 am (UTC)
No I wasn't saying they weren't real places. I think I said that I personally didn't think "Bird in Hand" sounded like all that sexual of a name... especially compared to the others.
Mar. 4th, 2008 01:59 am (UTC)
Oh I guess I didn't say "I wondered if it was real" but I was sort of being facetious... since it's just so absurd.
Mar. 4th, 2008 02:01 pm (UTC)
There's also a Maiden Creek. :)
Mar. 4th, 2008 02:01 pm (UTC)
He was reading too quickly and misunderstood you. The reason "bird-in-hand" is considered sexual around here is that I guess it is a euphemism for a man taking care of business himself, if you know what I mean? The "in-hand" part kinda gives it away. :)

Mar. 2nd, 2008 12:29 am (UTC)
Sounds like a great day!!!! I love going to Amish shops. Great stuff!!
Mar. 4th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
The jams and jellies place was my favorite.
Mar. 10th, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC)
(finally reading your back entries)

I used to live in Reading, PA, btw!
Mar. 11th, 2008 12:35 pm (UTC)
No kidding??? I live just west of Reading in Newmanstown. Well, halfway between Reading and Lebanon. We're looking for a house in Sinking Spring.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )