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 National Watch & Clock Museum–Experience Adventure 4 of 100

Every day, since we settled in Pennsylvania, I watch the weather like an obsessed meteorologist.  Yesterday was the first day to bring above freezing temperatures and we took that as a sign to get out and do some more exploring!

The relief and freedom I felt while driving without the fear of ice or snow or sleet is indescribable.  Honestly, I enjoyed the drive more than I should–lol–it was absolutely delightful–no clinched teeth or white knuckle hands!

In preparation for our adventure, I visited the website of our #4 stop and printed reading material and vocabulary for my daughters to study several days earlier.  They each highlighted 5 items of interest to find–kind of a self-created scavenger hunt.  I also chose 4 Brain-Pop corresponding videos.  We began our morning by traveling about an hour from Carlisle, to the adorable town of Columbia, Pennsylvania.

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For our 4th experience adventure, let me introduce you to the amazing

National Watch and Clock Museum.

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With over 12,000 items, the National Watch & Clock Museum is the largest and most comprehensive horological collection in North America.  It is a beautifully organized and meticulously curated museum showcasing the history of timekeeping.

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The tour begins with an 8 minute movie featuring a condensed history of time.  From there, the impressive collection includes clocks, watches, tools and other time-related items.  All of the pieces are displayed in a way that allows visitors to immerse themselves in a very personal manner.

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Several interactive stations feature hands-on activities, such as building a large wood clock from block-like pieces, learning to use a water clock, pretending to be a watch maker and many more.  The connections bring the history of time alive.  The museum offers free activity booklets for children, too!

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**Fun Fact:  The National Watch & Clock Museum opened in 1977.

The exhibits range from early sundials and a replica of Stonehenge to modern marvels, such as the atomic and radio-controlled clocks.  A few displays include life-like figures in realistic settings.

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The most interesting exhibit features The Engle Clock.  Nicknamed ‘The Eighth Wonder of the World”, the Engle Clock stands 11 feet tall and 8 feet wide.  It is the first known monumental clock built it in the United States and it was completed in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

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It took the artist, Stephen D. Engle, 20 years to complete the imposing and ornate time piece.  He worked alone.  With 2 organ movements and 48 impressive moving features, it showcases Jesus, the 12 Apostles, the devil, 3 stages of life, death, justice, Orpheus, and Linus.

**Fun Fact:  The National Watch & Clock Museum competed against the Smithsonian to acquire The Engle Clock.

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The girls and I were lucky enough to be the only patrons in the museum when one of the friendly curators offered to wind up the clock and provide a thorough and interesting lecture, focusing on the history and mechanics of the Engle Clock.  (Side note:  This is one of my favorite homeschooling perks!  We typically only visit museums on a weekday and we have grown so accustomed to the personal attention, we avoid museums on the weekends, like the plague!  I cannot even count how many times my daughters have benefitted from knowledgeable and passionate curators and docents who give a little extra when the crowds are miniscule.  We are always so thankful and grateful.)

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The National Watch & Clock Museum also provides a fun gift shop and an impressive library and research center.

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A great museum features educational hands-on activities that appeal to all ages and offers an organized and complete collection.  In my homeschooling/museum-obsessed eyes, this museum hits all of the marks–excellent displays, friendly staff, and beautiful pieces.  5 stars all around!  The girls and I are already discussing the possibility of a return visit.  It is that good.

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The National Watch & Clock Museum is located at 514 Poplar Street, Columbia, Pennsylvania, 17512-2130.

I bought a Groupon ticket for a family visit for $8.40.

Days of operation and hours vary with the seasons, so for more information, visit www.nawcc.org or call 717-684-8261.

 

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Want to read about our favorite hands-on museum in Oklahoma?  Click here!

Curious about why we homeschool our daughters?  Read this!

Read all about our 3rd of 100 experience adventure here!

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