Craving Dole Whip

Disney & museum obsessed, homeschooling mom of 3, parenting to focus on experiences, not possessions. Sharing Disney tips, educational adventures and a few reviews. Constantly craving Dole Whip.


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8 Fun Food Adventures To Experience In Pennsylvania

DANG, y’all (spoken in my best Texas twang accent).  Pennsylvania offers some DE-LICIOUS food.  The restaurants, the desserts, the tours, the hands-on experiences…everything surrounding the PA food industry is top-notch.  For people who enjoy fresh, farm-to-table, innovative, vegetarian and vegan, wholesome foods and clean meals, Pennsylvania is the state for you, my friends.  Book a flight.  Now.

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My family and I are only here for a short time and I do NOT want to leave.  Who knew that PA would become my food mecca?!?

For the gastronomically adventurous readers, here is a list of 8 cool and fun food adventures (not just restaurants!) to explore and enjoy while you visit the super awesome state of Pennsylvania!  Click on the links for more info, details and locations!

1.  Cinnaholic

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What is Cinnaholic??!?  Cinnaholic is a nation of deliciousness–where an exquisitely handmade, heavenly dessert is created–tempting and luscious, indulgent and rich, melting and mouth-watering…and…and…and…It is a cinnamon roll!

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Cinnaholic specializes in high quality gourmet cinnamon rolls.  Each roll can be customized to personal tastes with a variety of frostings and topping options.

And, HELLO–it is VEGAN!

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2.  The Lancaster Central Market

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The Lancaster Central Market is the oldest, continuously operating, farmers market in the country.  WOW!

Inside a beautiful and historical brick building, the Lancaster Central Market showcases approximately 65 stands where local farmers, bakers, makers and shakers sell homemade wares, local vegetables and ethnic food from around the globe.

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All sorts of things are available at the market, such as pickles, grains, dried beans, herbs, pasta, fresh juice, pretzels, farm-to-market produce, candy, bread, meat, pastries, seafood, milk, sauces, quilted goods and fresh flowers.  Shoppers find stands featuring delicious Amish, Greek, African and Middle Eastern food.

Fresh.  Organic.  Straight from the growers’ hands.  Fabulous!

3.  Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery

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In 1861, Mr. Julius Sturgis built the original ovens for his pretzel bakery in a 77 year-old building located in Lititz, Pennsylvania.  Today, pretzel lovers, visitors and crazy homeschooling families on sabbatical (like us!) can visit the site, which is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Guests can watch large, soft pretzels being made onsite!  The company still uses the same recipe from 1861!  AMAZING!

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A very informative tour and the opportunity to learn how to twist a traditional pretzel are must-dos.  All kinds of yummy flavored hard pretzels, souvenirs and hot, fresh soft pretzels can be purchased in the front gift shop, separate from the tour.  But, take the tour!  (And then shop!)

4.  The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe & Stroopie Co.

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The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe is an adorable and delightful place where the fresh goodies of three local treat makers–Groff’s Candies, Pine View Dairy Ice Cream and Stroopies–can be discovered (and eaten!)

 

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Established in 2008, the Stroopie Co’s mission sparks social change, the fundamental backbone of the company.  As well as making delicious, high quality cookies, the company exists to support and hire refugee women who, after fleeing their homes in countries ravaged by war, natural disasters, poverty and uncertainty, find a safe haven and a chance to start over in Lancaster.

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Husband and wife team, Jonathan and Jennie Groff, became co-owners of the Stroopie Co. in 2010.  Their focus on social impact centers around providing meaningful employment for refugee women (and creating an uber delicious cookie!).

Small batches of Stroopies are made fresh daily on site by the Stroopie Co., in a cozy and modest kitchen space in the back of the candy shop.

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Homemade caramel is hand-spread between two slices of warm cookie, creating a super yummy Dutch Stroopwafel right in the heart of Lancaster, Pennsylvania!  Fantastic cookies and social awareness…forward thinking in delicious action!

5.  The Accomac

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With a long, winding history, dating back to the early 1700’s, the Accomac Inn overlooks the beautiful rushing waters of the Susquehanna River.

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Offering visitors the opportunity to dine only by candle light, the Accomac hosts “Firelight Nights” on select evenings from November to early March.  Charming and über romantic, the tiny flicker of soft candle light and a roaring fireplace fill the dining room with a peaceful glow and calming warmth.  No light bulbs.  No lamps.  No electricity generating light. 

And the food…

Mouthwatering.  Fresh.  Unique.  Heavenly.

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The Accomac works with local Pennsylvania farmers and provides a list of menu food sources online, which I appreciate and rarely find.

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6.  The Wilbur Chocolate Store

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The Wilbur Chocolate Store features a tiny glimpse into the history of the company and the process of making yummy chocolate candies and goodies.

Visitors can watch an informative video and see historical candy making equipment and beautiful, antique tins and packaging.

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The aromatic space is a dedicated and delicious store filled with all kinds of chocolate treats!  A little hint:  Find some free samples in the back!

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7.  Caputo Brothers Creamery

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The amazing story of the Caputo Brothers Creamery began when owners David and Rynn Caputo decided to quit their corporate jobs to attend culinary school in Italy–a bold and exciting decision made while on their honeymoon!

After 6 months in Italy, the couple returned to the United States with a love for authentic Italian cheeses.  In 2011, David and Rynn opened Caputo Brothers Creamery, which is named after their sons, Giovanni and Matteo.

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Caputo Brothers Creamery produces the only fermented cheese curds that can be stretched into fresh (DELICIOUS!) Mozzarella–in the entire United States.  Go visit their retail shop in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania.  Better yet, get the Groupon for the awesome Italian cheese making tour and tasting!

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8.  Beiler’s Doughnuts

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Beiler’s Doughnuts is a family-owned, Amish donut store, with three locations in Pennsylvania.  30 years ago, Beiler’s Doughnuts was one of the first Amish merchants to begin selling homemade goods in Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market.

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The mouth-watering doughnuts are made fresh daily, on site at each location.  FRESH baked and fried desserts taste so much better!  The heirloom doughnut recipe has been in the Beiler family for generations and each delicious doughnut is hand rolled and carefully decorated.

Traditional, creative, whimsical, sweet and savory toppings make the doughnut case look like a piece of yummy, edible artwork.

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Get a dozen.  For real.  You will regret it if you don’t.  🙂

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I am kind of a donut snob.  If you know me personally, you know I have a favorite donut place in Austin, Texas, and I rarely (almost NEVER) eat donuts from other shops.  Sub-par donuts are just not worth the extra calories.

Friends, these donuts are worth the extra time at the gym.  Beiler’s Doughnuts are the BEST Amish donuts EVER!  I do not see how they can be improved.

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Put all of these cool places on your Pennsylvania bucket list and ENJOY the experience!

Looking for other cool things to check out in Pennsylvania?

I recommend:

The State Museum of Pennsylvania

The National Watch and Clock Museum

The Harley Davidson Steel Toe Tour

George’s Furniture

Dutch Apple Dinner Theater

 

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The Lancaster Central Market–Experience Adventure 8 of 100

For our 8th experience adventure, my daughters and I visited the magnificent Lancaster Central Market.

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The Lancaster Central Market is the oldest, continuously operating, farmers market in the country.  WOW!

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Inside a beautiful and historical brick building, the Lancaster Central Market showcases approximately 65 stands where local farmers, bakers, makers and shakers sell homemade wares, local vegetables and ethnic food from around the globe.

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Local shopkeepers own and operate family stands, which have been passed down through generations.  All sorts of things are available at the market, such as pickles, grains, dried beans, herbs, pasta, fresh juice, pretzels, farm-to-market produce, candy, bread, meat, pastries, seafood, milk, sauces, quilted goods and fresh flowers.  We also saw stands featuring Greek, African and Middle Eastern food.

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If I lived in Lancaster, I would visit constantly.  This is my kind of place.

Fresh.  Organic.  Straight from the growers’ hands.

I only took a few, very controlled pictures out of respect for the many Amish vendors.

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The girls and I enjoyed fresh juice from one stand and warm, Amish pretzels from another.  I bought beautiful broccoli sprouts and raw Brussel sprouts (surprise!) straight from the farmers that grew the produce.

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Put this historic farmers market on your Pennsylvania must-do list.

Only a few stands accept plastic.  Bring some cash–there is one lonely ATM in the very back of the market.

The market is open year round on Tuesday and Fridays from 6 am to 4 pm and on Saturdays from 6 am to 2 pm.

The Lancaster Central Market is located at 23 North Market Street, Lancaster, PA, 17603.

For more information call 717-735-6890 or visit www.centralmarketlancaster.com

 

Want to read about the 7th of 100 experiences?  Click here!

Curious about our first experience in Pennsylvania?  Read this!

Check out this super cool experience if you are planning a trip to Florida!


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The Turkey Hill Experience and Lab–Experience Adventure 5 of 100

Our 4th of 100 experience adventures lead us to the amazing National Watch & Clock Museum in the adorable town of Columbia, PA.  To read all about the horology fun, click here.  Because we traveled about an hour to get there, I wanted to check out some other cool places in the area.

A good Google search never disappoints a homeschooling mom.  When we exhausted all of the awesome time exhibits, we headed to our next stop.

Welcome to The Turkey Hill Experience, our 5th of 100 experiences!

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A quick and tiny history lesson to get you all caught up:

More than 85 years ago in Pennsylvania, a man named Armor Frey started selling milk through personal home delivery and in 1947, three of his sons bought the business from him.  The brothers expanded the company in 1980 to include ice cream production.  As the popularity of the ice cream and the brand grew, the company added frozen yogurt, iced teas and other frozen goodies.  To read more historical details, click here.

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The original milk delivery truck

Today, Turkey Hill products can be found all over the country.

The Turkey Hill Experience is an interactive, hands-on, and completely immersive destination, where people of all ages can experience everything milk, ice cream and Turkey Hill tea related.

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Level 1 of the complex offers classrooms, lab space and a large gift shop.  Level 2 showcases all of the exhibits and activities.

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Step back in time to the early days of milk and cream delivery and wind through the history of Turkey Hill–you can even sit in the original milk delivery truck!

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For the 2nd time since we moved to PA, my daughters milked a mechanical cow.  A theme is beginning to emerge here.  LOL

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One of my daughters is totally obsessed with milking the cows…I will let you guess which one.

Lots of interactive exhibits lead visitors through the building.  Taste and discover different teas–all you can drink!!!–from the unlimited and free drink dispensers. Eight different drinks were available.  (For you Disney lovers, there is no Beverly, fortunately/unfortunately. LOL)

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Learn about tea and its origins.  Take a test to find out which Turkey Hill tea matches your personality.  I don’t know what kind of magical voodoo this interaction uses, but just by answering a few questions, the computer nailed me with Unsweetened Iced Tea–right on the money, little enchanted machine…though it did suggest a career as a tabloid news editor.  Apparently job placement is this exhibit’s downfall.  HA!

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Moving through the history and tea areas brings patrons to the ice cream section.

ICE CREAM.

Yes, I know.  Not vegan.

Cool and interesting exhibits include a smelling station, virtual ice cream making, the ability to create your own ice cream packaging (plus a commercial!) and a chance to step into a blast freezer!  BRRRRRR….

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Virtual ice cream flavors, packaging and commercials can be accessed on the Turkey Hill Experience website using an individual’s code.

**Fun Fact:  Though vanilla ice cream reigned as the favorite flavor for years, buttered pecan took the lead as the winner recently.

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We bought the Turkey Hill Experience plus the Lab, so at our assigned time, we headed downstairs to the classroom and lab station area–TO MAKE OUR OWN ICE CREAM!!!

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The lab is a self-contained lab/classroom with long tables and stations around the perimeter.  Each station seats 2 people and a Turkey Hill ice cream master runs the class.

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Our master ice cream maker was friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful.  The lab was clean, organized and lined with candy dispensers.  I felt like I walked into a scene from Willy Wonka and completely expected Oompa Loompas to dance through the door at any minute.  The flavors!  The toppings!  The swirling sauces!  Oh my!

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The master hand delivered every student a pint of creamy vanilla ice cream and then lead us through the ice cream making, flavoring and tasting process.

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I loved the ice cream making process and everything the lab offered.  I LOVED LOVED LOVED EATING THE ICE CREAM!  I made cinnamon ice cream, with toffee bits, almonds and pretzels, swirled in some creamy caramel to create heaven on Earth.  It was DELICIOUS!

After the lab, we walked back to the exhibits and spent more time learning about milk and ice cream production at Turkey Hill.

Because we didn’t eat enough ice cream already (HA!), we indulged a bit more by visiting the FREE ice cream sample room–16 different flavors–and all you can physically eat!  Seriously!

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The Turkey Hill Experience is located at 301 Linden Street, Columbia, Pennsylvania, 17512.  The hours of operation vary with the seasons, so for more information, check out www.turkeyhillexperience.com or call 1-844-847-4884.

For the 3 of us to visit The Turkey Hill Experience and participate in the ice cream making lab, it cost $45.75.  Parking was free.

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So, the girls and I have indulged in marvelous vegan cinnamon rolls here and over-eaten the delicious and creamy ice cream of Turkey Hill.  What delicious treats are on the experience menu for tomorrow?  I guess you will have to wait to find out!

Read all about our very 1st of 100 experience here!

Traveling to Florida soon?  Check out this amazing museum!

Want to know how a Disney obsessed momma plans the ultimate Walt Disney World vacation?  Click here!


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The Pennsylvania Farm Show–Experience Adventure 1 of 100

WOW!  As luck would have it, the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show began just 4 days after we moved to Pennsylvania.  As soon as I heard about this event, I knew it was going to be the first experience in our attempt to enjoy 100 adventures!

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102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show

The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the nation’s LARGEST indoor agricultural expo.  If you are from Houston, think about a farm-themed Nutcracker Market–add live animals, contests, and competitions–and then multiple the size by 200.  That *might* actually be accurate math.

Consisting of 24 indoor acres, housed in 11 buildings and including 3 arenas, the Farm Show represents just a tiny slice of the Pennsylvania farming industry.  There are 10,000 competitive exhibits, 6,000 animals and 300 commercial exhibits, as well as an enormous food court serviced by 2,000 volunteers.

**Super cool extra fact:  The first Pennsylvania Farm Show was held in 1917.

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Honestly, it would take me a month to write about all of the amazing events, animals, booths, shops, snacks, and people we encountered, so I will highlight just a few of our favorites.

The 2018 Historical Maker Scavenger Hunt immediately caught my homeschooling momma’s eyes.  Replicas of actual Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission historical markers are placed around the enormous Farm Show complex.  Readable text on the markers provide information relating to agriculture and rural heritage.

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2018 Historical Marker Scavenger Hunt

**Super cool extra fact:  There are 2,000 authentic markers throughout the state of Pennsylvania.  We hope to find some! 

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Replica of a PHMC Historical Marker

Several booths are dedicated to the unwanted spreading and impact of the Spotted Lanternfly.  Native to China, India and Vietnam, this insect attacks grapes, fruit trees and pines.  The insects first invaded the United States just 4 short years ago.  Last year, only 5 Pennsylvania counties found infestations.  This year, 13 counties are aggressively fighting the invasive species.

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The Spotted Lanternfly was first discovered in 2014, in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

The vegetables!  The gourds!  The mushrooms!  The fruit!  Seriously, what can I say about the breathtaking beauty of these gifts from Pennsylvania farms?

Just look at the pictures!

 

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With 6,000 animals, the Pennsylvania Farm Show’s livestock exhibits rival the world’s most popular zoos.  Countless isles display hundreds of diverse varieties and species.  We enjoyed seeing and learning about unique hens, roosters, ducks, rabbits, cows, sheep, and alpacas.  My youngest daughter milked a mechanical cow and was allowed to pet a rabbit and a black angus.

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Almost all of the food vendors offer delicious samples.  We tasted creamy dips, spicy BBQ sauces, hot garlic pickles, sweet dessert pies, rich maple syrups, sour fruit drinks, mustards, ghee, cinnamon nuts, warm pretzels, and marinated chicken.  The best part of our indulgence of these mouth-watering samples was the fact that every vendor represents a Pennsylvania farm and local business.

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While we made our way around the sample offerings, I met many interesting, friendly and passionate people.  One woman makes stroopie, a Dutch cinnamon waffle cookie with caramel syrup hand-spread between two wafers.  The Stroopie Co. empowers and provides meaningful employment to refugees resettling in Pennsylvania.  We plan to visit where the cookies are made and hopefully take a tour of the Lancaster Sweet Shoppe.

***Added:  After the Farm Show, I emailed the owner of The Stroopie Co. and she graciously invited me and my daughters to visit and learn all about the social enterprise at The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe. Read all about that amazing experience (our #7 adventure!) by clicking here!

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Spoonably Sweet is another interesting booth.  The chef told us how she “invented” her creation by accident, while trying to make something else.  I LOVE happy (and DELICIOUS) accidents!  Spoonable cookie dough can be used as a dessert topping, a pastry spread or eaten directly with a spoon!  She creates vegan options, too!  Um…yes, please!

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Last, but not least, there is a butter sculpture.  That’s right.

BUTTER.

SOLID BUTTER.

Everyone should experience butter artwork.

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I wish my writing skills flowed with lightning speed so I could tell you everything about the Pennsylvania Farm Show.  Hopefully, this little blog post will offer a tiny taste of an amazing experience that is available year after year, if you ever find yourself in the great state of Pennsylvania.

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The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center is located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, off of Exit 67 of Interstate 81.

Admission is FREE, but parking is $15 per vehicle.  Bring cash.

The 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show runs January 6-13, 2018.

Plan to visit the 103rd show–January 5-12, 2019.

For more information, visit www.farmshow.pa.gov

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Other cool things to do in Pennsylvania?

Check out the Lancaster Central Market–the oldest farmers market in the country!  Read about it here!

Learn how to twist pretzels at the first commercial pretzel bakery–Julius Sturgis!  Read about it here!

Traveling to Virginia soon?

Check out the Edgar Allan Poe Museum!  Click here!

And, visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, too!  Click here!