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 Dutch Apple Dinner Theater in Lancaster, PA–Experience Adventure 31 of 100

For holidays and birthdays, my family and I typically forgo traditional gifts.  No chocolate bunny on Easter.  No huge red heart on Valentine’s Day.  We focus on gifting educational items (books, kits, crafts, DVD’s) and experiences everyone can enjoy (tickets to a lecture, concert, museum).

In celebration of Valentine’s Day 2018, I bought my family tickets to see Ring Of Fire at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theater in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

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The Dutch Apple Dinner Theater features Broadway-worthy productions and performances, enjoyable concerts and fun children’s shows.  As a popular, live entertainment establishment, the Dutch Apple Dinner Theater captivates audiences of all ages, sharing a love of music and talent for more than 30 years in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

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Venue doors opened at 6:00 pm for dinner and the program began at 7:30 pm.  We visited on a Friday evening, with a prime rib buffet offered before the show, which was included in our ticket price.  The buffet featured traditional American, (what I would call home-cook’n) style food, with a decent salad bar and a variety of homemade desserts.  For those interested,  The Dutch Apple also offers a full service bar.

Tables, assigned by the tickets purchased, designate seats for dinner and the show.  My family enjoyed meeting and sharing our ‘section A’ table with a friendly, older couple.  Most tables seat 4, our table sat 8, but I also saw a few smaller tables with only 2 chairs and some floating 6 toppers.

The friendly servers and staff were attentive and personable, consistently checking if drinks needed refills, which is always appreciated and often overlooked in a buffet-dining situation.

About 7: 15 pm, the buffet closed and the tables were quickly and efficiently cleared and cleaned to prepare for the beginning of the show.

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The production of Ring of Fire chronicles the extraordinary and challenging life of legendary singer Johnny Cash through entertaining musical theater.  The talent, the music, the performance and the professionalism blew us away!  WOW! 

Every scene captivated the audience with a phenomenal cast of über talented  performers who joyfully danced and played multiple instruments while singing over 30 Johnny Cash songs.  The show created an engaging timeline of the musician’s troubled life with stand out, brilliant performances by Emily Woods and Candice Lively.

Act 1 focused on Johnny Cash’s boyhood years, Opry and fame, with Act 2 showcasing the dark years, redemption and celebration.

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The level of talent and entertainment found at the Dutch Apple was extraordinary and charming–live theater at its BEST!

Put The Dutch Apple Dinner Theater on your “Must-Do in Lancaster” list!  

Celebrating their 32nd season, future shows for 2018 include Showboat, Grease, The Wizard of Oz, Swing, Sister Act and A Christmas Carol.  I wish we could stay in Pennsylvania long enough to see all of these performances!

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We hope to visit again soon to enjoy at least one more production.  🙂

**The Dutch Apple Dinner Theater will also feature 6 concerts and 5 children’s shows during the 2018 season.

The Dutch Apple  Dinner Theater is owned by the Prather family and is located at 510 Centerville Road, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 17601.  For more information, call 717-898-1900 or visit their website (and purchase tickets!) at www.DutchApple.com

Ticket prices vary by type and performance day.  See ticket pricing below:

Tuesday & Wednesday: $59 per person

6:00 Dinner and 7:30 Show

Thursday–Served Dinner: $61 per person

5:30 Dinner and 7:30 Show

Friday & Saturday–Prime Rib Buffet: $65 per person

6:00 Dinner and 7:30 Show

Sunday: $59 per person

5:30 Dinner and 7:00 Show

Matinees: $55 per person

11:45am Lunch and 1:15pm Show

Students 13-18: $29 per student

All performances for dinner and show

Children 12 and under: $25 per child

All performances for dinner and show

Show Only Tickets: $40 for adults

Show Only Tickets: $22 for children

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For other fun things to do while in Lancaster, click on these links!

Lancaster Sweet Shoppe

Lancaster Central Market

Burning Bridge Antiques

 

 

 

 


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Beiler’s Doughnuts–Experience Adventure 9 of 100

I spend an obscene amount of time searching and Googling for information about future adventures and possible experiences.  When I am researching a new area, town or city, I always check out the local Groupon offers.  Good ol’ Groupon led me to our 9th experience adventure.

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.

We visited the Lancaster location.  

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OMG.  DELICIOUSNESS TO THE MAX!

The mouth-watering doughnuts are made fresh daily, on site at each location.  FRESH baked/fried goods 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.

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

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The Groupon I bought gave me two vouchers for (1) dozen doughnuts for $11.25.  Total.  $11.25 for 24 doughnuts.  Hello.

The sugary stash we brought home to my husband was well received.  LOL

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I will tell you–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 eat donuts from other shops.  Sub-par donuts are just not worth the extra calories.

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Friends, these donuts are worth the extra time at the gym.  Truth time–I have never eaten an Amish donut before, so this next statement *might* be skewed, but I am standing by it until proven otherwise:

These are the BEST Amish donuts EVER!  I do not see how they can be improved.

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Rock on, Beiler’s Doughnuts.  I am very impressed.

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Beiler’s Doughnuts is located at 398 Harrisburg Pike, in Lancaster, PA.

Visit their website for more information and to find other locations.  www.beilersdoughnuts.com

 

Read all about our 2nd Pennsylvania experience here!

Do you like cinnamon rolls?  You will want to read about this experience!  Click here!


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The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe and Stroopie Co.–Experience Adventure 7 of 100

I love to plant seeds.  Literally and figuratively.  The process of tending to a tiny treasure, watching it develop, grow and evolve, patiently waiting and working towards the moment when it transitions into what it was always meant to become–I find this metamorphosis fascinating and fulfilling–the fundamental process of my gardening, parenting and choosing to homeschool.

I love when one life experience leads to another journey which then plants a seed that leads to research which evolves into passion and results in action.  Essentially, this is why I do what I do and why I created this goal of 100 experience adventures for my two daughters.  The figurative “seeds” planted by this journey, might develop into something spectacular someday.  I just need to be patient.  Plant the seeds.  Tend to my tiny treasures.

This particular experience, 7 of 100, represents one of those seeds.

We met a lot of passionate people when visiting the Pennsylvania Farm Show last Saturday. (Read about that experience here.)  While walking through a crowded aisle of vendors, we sampled chips, dips, pickles, cheese and ghee, but the booth that grabbed my attention was the Stroopie Co.  As the woman handed me a sample of a freshly made Dutch Stroopwafel, she mentioned an interesting fact about her company–they hire and provide meaningful employment for refugee women.  I immediately asked her if she offered tours and she gave me a card so I could send an email to set something up.

For our 7th of 100 experience adventures, my daughters and I drove to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to visit the Lancaster Sweet Shoppe.

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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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World-wide, 60 million refugees are forced to flee their homelands and each year, the city of Lancaster invites approximately 1,000 of these humans to re-establish and begin a new life in Pennsylvania.  Before settling in a new city, some refugees endure living in refugee camps for 12 to 15 years.

Many refugees experience difficult challenges, painful tragedies and separation from family.  In a new country, the process of trying to find work proves problematic due to language and cultural barriers.

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!).

**Fun Fact:  The refugees are taught English by a certified ESL teacher.

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The gracious Jennie met with me and my daughters for almost two hours on the day we visited the candy shop.  (She is also the woman who handed me the Stroopie sample at the Farm Show.)  Immediately, Jennie’s dedication and passion for refugees and her love of all people shines through her peaceful and welcoming personality.

She is delightful.  Her genuine and honest charisma generated a magnetism–and without sounding too weird–I really longed to talk to her all day and be her new BFF. LOL.

Friends, this woman is a world-changer.  A mother.  A tranquil soul.  A peaceful warrior.  A seed planter.

She inspires.

I want to be her when I grow up (even though she is younger than me!).  The impact her company makes on this world can never be measured–it has the potential to not just change a few lives, but also to change this world.  Once a human is given the chance to live in a safe environment and the opportunity for meaningful work, the positive ripples continue for generations to come.  The seeds of this business transform lives.

I am reminded of the commonly quoted story of the boy who threw a star fish back into the ocean in the hopes of making a difference–even if that difference was only for one star fish.

Jennie explained that the Stroopie Co.’s dedication to social impact and public transparency practices opened the door for the company to become a Certified B Corporation.  A Certified B Corporation (“B” stands for “Benefit”) focuses on the human side of business–measuring what truly matters–social and environmental responsibility, legal accountability and the innovation to solve social and environmental problems.

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Jennie also gave us free Stroopies.  THANK YOU, JENNIE!

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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.  A mix of local flour, eggs and cinnamon create the dough and creamy, homemade caramel turns and blends in a large, electrical vat.

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An exposed work space and viewing area allows visitors to watch each Stroopie travel from raw dough to completed product.  Four dollops of Stroopie dough are placed in a waffle iron for about one minute.

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Stroopie cookie in raw dough form

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4 dollops of Stroopie dough on the waffle iron

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2 waffle irons cook the dough for about 1 minute

When the cookie comes out of the waffle iron, it is cut in half and made into a perfect circle.

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**Fun Fact:  Jennie’s husband, Jonathan, designed the machine used to slice and stamp out the perfect circle!

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Then, homemade caramel is hand-spread between the two slices, creating a super yummy Dutch Stroopwafel right in the heart of Lancaster, PA!  Once cooled, some Stroopies are dipped in chocolate and other goodies or served in the original form.  Either way, I have been craving them since we left the shop.

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A deliciously warm Stroopie

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The master Stroopie maker shown in the photos is Mary.  Mary left Myanmar and moved to the United States in 2013.  She began working for the Stroopie Co. in 2015.

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The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe opened this location in 2016, after the Stroopie Co. won The Great Social Enterprise Pitch.  WOW!  That is AWESOME!  (Think ‘Shark Tank’ for local businesses)

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**Fun Fact:  The Stroopie Co. makes 3,000 Stroopies each day!

The Groff’s renovated the once barbershop space into a simply charming, farm-house style, sweets store, which stylistically benefits from Jennie being raised on an 100 acre Mennonite dairy farm.  HGTV should be envious.

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The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe

Jonathan Groff’s parents own Groff’s Candies and the chocolate morsels fill the glass display cases like tiny jewels.

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I love a family-owned business!  I also LOVE the reclaimed wood and white marble!

Pine View Dairy Ice Cream fills the space between the chocolate and the Stroopies production area.

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**Fun Fact:  Stroopies are sold in over 80 local shops and markets!

The relaxing back patio provides a wonderfully fun space to enjoy a warm Stroopie!

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Though the girls and I LOVED the delicious Stroopie cookies and will no doubt return for more, the take-away from our encounter with Jennie Groff was PURE inspiration and motivation.  This company’s innovation and shift toward social progress is creating a revolution of acceptance, diversity and transformation in small business/corporate America.

Since we returned home, the topic of social enterprise and being a mighty tool for social change continuously fills our family discussions.  My daughters are both naturally advocacy-minded, but this experience catapulted their awareness and triggered something that has yet to be realized.

A seed was planted and I look forward to the development and action it might create.

Thank you Jennie and Jonathan for being genuine.  For making a difference.  For generating change.  And, for planting seeds.

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“I am only one; but still I am one.  I can not do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do.”  Helen Keller

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”   Jane Goodall

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For more information and to order Stroopies online, visit www.stroopies.com

Seriously, order some online.  Now.

The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe is located at 141 N. Duke Street, Lancaster, PA, 17602.  Visit their website at www.lancastersweetshoppe.com or call 717-869-5955.

For more information about B Corps and social enterprise, click here

A video of my daughter signing in ASL about our experience can be found below.