Lititz, PA: Chocolates and Wolves
By Esha Samajpati
Wilbur Chocolate Factory
Famous for their Wilbur Buds chocolate drops (a product launched way back in 1893), the entrance to the Wilbur Chocolate Factory led us to a gift shop with a museum and a kitchen tucked in the back. Not your typical museum, this Candy Americana Museum is all about making, eating, storing and gifting chocolate – The Food of the Gods.
Behind a glass wall, we saw some diligent candymakers hard at work dipping and molding, setting the scene for various confectionery products and memorabilia that crowded each step.
What with the aroma of rich cocoa in the air and the soft droning of the machines above, it was hard to break the spell and step outside the store.
Open from morning 10 to 5 in the evening, through Monday to Saturday and located on 48 North Broad Street, right next to the Lititz Welcome Center and a bright red engine, the factory is hard to miss. Call 1-888-294-5287 toll-free or 717-626-3249 for special holiday hours.
1764 Restaurant at the General Sutter Inn
Earlier known as the Lititz Springs Hotel, this historic inn got renamed as General Sutter Inn in 1930 as a tribute to John Augustus Sutter, who played a critical role in the founding of California.
Unable to protect his property which was at the center of the Gold Rush, he retired to the peace and quiet of Lititz, but till the day he died, he kept on trying to seek compensation for his losses from the government. He and his wife are the only two non-Moravians to be buried in the Moravian cemetery.
Arriving at the 1764 Restaurant for dinner, I was glad that we had made early reservations. Most of the tables were filled, the bar overflowed with wine and conversation while the servers whizzed past with trays and a smile.
We enjoyed the wine, the food and the ambience. As I shared a raspberry cheesecake with my husband and went over the day’s events, I began to understand why people who came to Lititz seldom left.
Alden House B&B
Now we had put up at Alden House B&B, a brick building with inviting porches on Main Street. Each morning, we were served breakfast by Lynndell Eccleston, our hostess who made our stay perfect in every way.
The day we checked in, she had stayed up late to let us in so when I apologized for the inconvenience, she asked me not to worry about it and replied with a smile “Oh, I finally got time to catch up with my reading.”
On Sunday morning at breakfast, Lynndell started us off with orange juice, fresh coffee and pears in cinnamon sauce followed by blueberry pancakes, sausages, banana cake and gingerbread muffins. Yes, it was a good spread and quite easy on the taste buds too.
At our table were three other couples and what are the odds that two of them live minutes away from us? Having made plans to meet up at the local café in our hometown, we packed up and set off.
Speedwell Wolf Sanctuary
Driving past fields and silos, we came upon a gate which led to a place unlike any other – a home for the most misunderstood creatures in all of history – wolves.
We were greeted at the parking lot by Darin Tompkins, a man with kind eyes and a life dedicated to wolves.
After a brief history of the Darlington family and their contribution towards building a safe place for these oft-feared animals, Darin took us on a tour of the property and introduced us to his furry friends.
As was made clear at the onset of our adventure, “Wolves do not make good pets.” They are wild animals and should have the right to live like one.
Trying to make a statement or for whatever reason, people often try to domesticate wolves and wolf-hybrids. Darin recounted various instances when the sanctuary had to rescue abused wolves that had refused to co-operate and were kept captive in small enclosures with muzzles on their mouths.
It was with nothing short of child-like wonder that I watched Darin indulge the wolves with treats from outside the chain-link fencing. Time to debunk myths, I thought.
From what I gathered from Darin, “Little Red Riding Hood” may have lied and wolves do not particularly howl at the moon.
Fairy-tales have done their bit in damaging the reputation of these big strong animals. As explained by Darin, both the male and female of the species take care of the pups, usually there is an alpha in the pack who takes charge of the rest and more often than not, they run away from humans.
With strong jaws and powerful eyesight, they sure can hunt. But if you come upon one of them in the woods, “Do not run,” advised Darin. “Wolves love a good chase. The chances of scaring one away are better if you charge at them.”
Having taken care of them since they were born, the bond between the caregivers and the wolves were apparent. Soon it was time for the Sunday tour. While Kelly walked the crowd through the history of each wolf, Terry threw in huge chunks of raw meat for them to gorge upon.
After spending an entire morning in the company of wolves, we were left wanting more. As Terry put it “I like working with wolves because they are better than humans.”
Before leaving, we met with Dawn Darlington who owns the place. She also runs the adjoining B&B and like her ancestors, she shares the same love for animals. For more information on the Sanctuary and its hours, please visit wolfsancpa.com.
Additional information on Lititz, Pennsylvania
Click padutchcountry.com to get basic background info, maps, a virtual tour, and links to popular destinations in town.
You can also find more detailed material on the town’s history and offerings at venturelititz.com.
Lititz was named one of America’s 2009 Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Some of Lititz’s notable annual festivals include Fire & Ice in mid-February, Fourth of July (one of the longest running such celebrations in the U.S.), and Chocolate Walk in mid-October. Please check out the events calendar for detailed info.
You can also check out the Lititz-area covered bridge driving tour.
More Lodging Options
Watch the Videos:
A Day in Lititz
Speedwell Forge Wolf Sanctuary
Esha Samajpati worked in advertising in India, before moving to Connecticut and becoming a travel writer. “Even now, when I visit a city, the billboards draw my attention,” she says. “How a city advertises tells me a lot about the place and the people.”