Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Comic Store

Well into my college years, I collected comic books. Titles like Spiderman, Ironman, Captain America & G.I. Joe (Yeah, I was a Marvel guy) were purchased with the small amount of disposable income I had on hand at the time.   loved the art and the creative storytelling that was inherent with the medium.  hat’s why when Sarah needed someone to go down to the Comic Store in Lancaster for the 25 days of Christmas Shopping assignment, I was quick to volunteer.

Stepping into the store, I was filled with nostalgia from my collecting years. Besides having a wall filled with the week’s new delivery of fresh issues, the Comic Store has shelf upon shelf of graphic novels for every taste. I spent some time thumbing through some past issues in backers and bags hunting for bargains and also took some time to look at the wide variety of collectible figurines, toys, statues, collectible card games and board games.

They had something for every comic and movie lover on your list. From an eclectic selection of Star Wars comics, magazines and action figures, to toy replicas of the characters from the Rankin/Bass stop motion classic, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, there was a wide array of comic, tv, and movie memorabilia for sale.

I ended up buying myself a wind-up tin robot of URL from Futurama (in a fantastic looking two-color box no less!), a current G.I. Joe book, and a few younger-skewing comics as stocking stuffers for my boys. Hopefully, one day, one of them will take up my interest in comics.  If they do, we’ll have a great place nearby to go together in the Comic Store to look for the latest and greatest.

Wilbur Chocolate Factory Store

Exploring the delicious options on offer at the Wilbur Chocolate Factory Store in downtown Lititz last week, I couldn’t resist a Peanut Butter Mega Melt Away. Mmm, mmm. I’m sure glad I didn’t.

The Wilbur folks have been making chocolate and other fine candies for more than 125 years, including their signature Wilbur Buds – dollops of smooth, velvety milk or semisweet chocolate whose taste delights every part of your mouth.

But it’s way more than just the buds, as I found out from my scrumptious Mega Melt Away experience. There’s chocolate peanut clusters, a rainbow of gummis, chocolate-covered cashews, chewy spearmint leafs, caramel creams – all made with that distinctive Wilbur goodness, and some of which you can watch being made right onsite.

A classic Wilbur sweatshirt, a few funky chocolate- and candy-related knickknacks, and a look ‘round the store’s neat Candy Americana Museum can all add up to a fun and delectable holiday tradition!

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Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery

How do you like your history? I’ve always liked mine crackly and flavorful. How’s that, you ask? Well, just follow me to Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery in downtown Lititz and you’ll quickly understand.

Established by its namesake in 1861, Julius Sturgis is the first commercial bakery in America and today still makes warm and delicious hand-made soft pretzels onsite, while also selling a wide selection of hard pretzels produced by Julius’ direct descendants at Tom Sturgis Pretzels just up the road in Reading.

The types of hard pretzels on offer include traditional Dutch and Thin pretzels, but it’s all the great flavors that really get me – Cinnamon Stix, Jalapeno Minis, Little Cheesers, Real Baked Chocolate . . . you see what I mean?

Plus, during the holiday season they’re featuring a fiendishly-delicious little concoction called the Pretzel Popcorn Pie, which is peanut brittle with pretzels spread over a mound of popcorn, topped with a drizzling of chocolate. Like I said at the outset – crackly and flavorful.

You can also buy stylish-looking Sturgis t-shirts and mugs or a shippable sampler box of Sturgis favorites. Combine your shopping with a bit of history by taking a hands-on tour of the original pretzel bakery in the same building, and you’ve got the makings of a wonderful experience.

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S. Clyde Weaver

I’m sure you’ve heard of being a “meat & potatoes” man. Well, I’m more of a “meat & cheese” man, myself, and if you or someone you know shares this passion for enjoying some great sharp cheddar or smoked bacon, then have I got the place for you – S. Clyde Weaver in East Petersburg (and other locations ‘round the area).

The Weaver folks have been at it since 1920, and all that experience shows in the flavorful quality of their products and the easy expertise of their customer service. Longtime specialties like natural hardwood smoked ham, Canadian super sharp cheddar, and farm-style sweet bologna are certainly worth the drive, and are staples in the beautiful and bountiful gift baskets that are always on offer.

The store also features an onsite bakery, where delectable pies, cakes, breads, and various other baked goods are made from scratch daily, not to mention the house specialty – sand tarts, a thin cookie-like wafer that crackles with flavor in your mouth.

S. Clyde WeaverEver thought of giving olive oil or vinegar as a gift? That’s what I thought, but S. Clyde Weaver might just change your mind with the wonderful array of types and flavors they offer, straight from individual storage tanks. You can bottle it with one of those they sell at the store, or bring in your own (perhaps a stylishly-shaped classic or antique bottle) and create a very unique present.

And to top it off, you can order up a slice of one of those mouth-watering pies or a sandwich of those famous meats & cheeses, and sit down to enjoy them in the S. Clyde’s Café portion of the store. After all, what better way is there to see if someone will like their gift than by trying it yourself, right?

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Waltz Vineyards & Winery

Looking for some great wine to take as a hostess gift? Head right over to Waltz Vineyards & Winery. Need it soon? They do ship wine via UPS.

I went with a few co-workers for a wine tasting at Waltz Vineyards – and it was amazing. We met with Jan & Kimberly Waltz, who established the business in 1997. The tasting room is on a beautiful hill on their family farm. We got to enjoy the wines paired with local artisan cheeses and chocolates.

They grow and hand pick all of their fruit that goes into the wines – and one thing that I found really interesting is that they use wine-making technology imported from Italy, and the wines are aged in 100% French oak barrels! Currently, the Waltz’s produce 3 white wines, 3 red & 1 rose – my favorite is the Cherry Tree Merlot.

So there are two things that I want to do in the future at Waltz – one, you can plan a picnic on their property – call ahead to reserve a table and chairs, or roll out your own picnic blanket, and enjoy a peaceful afternoon! Second – I want to attend one of their Summer Concerts – they have live entertainment throughout the summer from 5:30 – 8:30 PM – and they even have an outdoor movie night to end the summer!

Hershey Farm Country Store

I love whoopie pies. Where I grew up in Philly, I had never even heard of a whoopie pie – the closest thing we got was an ice cream sandwich, which is good, but doesn’t come close to the whoopie pie. I like to pick some up to take to my family as  a special treat when I visit them.

Hershey Farm Country Store doesn’t just carry baked goods though, they’ve got a wide variety of great gifts available for purchase from Lancaster County souvenirs, beautiful figurines, decor, clothing, dolls, games, and much more.

While I was there, I picked up a batch of mini-whoopie pies for my co-workers, as well as something for my sister Abby. She loves to bake, but she works night shift so she doesn’t always have a lot of time to bake. I picked her up a jar of Cranberry Chip cookies – all of the ingredients are in the jar, she just needs to mix it, add some wet ingredients and bake! Super simple. Happy shopping!

Miller’s Bake Shop & Quilt Shop

If you’re visiting, and are looking for a traditional gift, something that screams “Lancaster County,” Miller’s is the place to go. They’ve got fresh baked goods, such as raisin bread, whoopie pies, shoo-fly pies, apple pies, as well as canned preserves, like chow-chow, red beets, fruit, jellies and much more. In addition to the food items, the little shop has tons of little trinkets – one of my favorites is this choo-choo train with letters as the cars – this would be great for my nephew. He LOVES Thomas the train, and pretty much anything trains. For the little girl in your life – they have Amish dolls!

Something that I picked up for myself was a little coat rack that you can hang on the wall – my husband & I have wanted something like this to hang in the mud room to put our jackets on!

Lastly – the Quilt Shop at Miller’s. What a great place to get a handmade quilt. They have amazing quilts, and other stitched things, such as pot holders, hot pads, coasters, and more.

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