Lititz, Pennsylvania: America’s Coolest Small Town
by: Meg Connolly
October, 25 2015
(Harrisburg, PA)—It’s not everyday that one can say their small town is the coolest in America. However, for the citizens of Lititz, Pennsylvania, this is a jubilant reality.
In 2013, Lititz, a small town in the heart of Lancaster County, was appointed the enviable title of “America’s Coolest Small Town” by Budget Travel. To some, this may not seem like an accomplishment, but for the locals, it has given the town new meaning.
“It’s definitely something we pride ourselves in,” said Agnes C., a Lititz local. “Everywhere you go, you will see it advertised. In shop windows, on bulletin boards…I’ve even seen some car stickers! We’re just so proud because our town is recognized for something we’ve been thinking forever!”
After 100,000 votes for 924 votes across America, Lititz won its title thanks to a contest sponsored by Budget Travel. The key points that were kept in mind were local independent shops, sense of energy, community culture, epic backyard, heart, edginess and, of course, access to delicious coffee.
Activities that can be found in Lititz are the famous Saturday morning Farmers Market, which is home to various local farmers vending booths. Freshly picked produce, hand-made baked goods and ice creams can be found at the market, along with Lancaster favorites like Whoopie Pies and ciders. This event has generated large community involvement and an overall close-knit atmosphere that cannot be found in most other neighborhoods. The Saturday Farmers Market is open on Saturdays, mid-May through mid-October, 8 am until noon.
During the second Friday of every month, Downtown Lititz hosts “Lovin’ Lititz Every 2nd”, where shops, restaurants and art galleries stay open past their usual hours and offer free activities, entertainment and events for all ages. Anyone is welcome to gather around the Main Street, which is conveniently across from the Lititz Springs Park.
Lititz Springs Park is a seven-acre plot of grassy land home to ducks that swim along the spring-fed Lititz Run, which begins at the beginning of the park. Lititz Springs has been of use for over 200 years for different festivals, live music showcases, art shows, antique shows and a variety of other community events. The tall trees that line the Lititz Run help to create a relaxing walk up and down the park, no matter the season. Lititz Springs continues to be a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Other attractions include the Wilbur Chocolate Museum and Factory Store, which has been a part of the Lititz community since it was built in 1913. Visitors can enjoy the tastes of Wilbur’s chocolates and the informative self-guided tour of the modern kitchen used to make the chocolates and other treats including: chocolate covered pretzels, nuts and fruits.
“Wilbur’s has to be my favorite, by far,” said Bri Smeltz, when asked about her favorite attraction in Lititz. “You can never go wrong with chocolates. When I tell my friends that I live less than five minutes from a chocolate factory they never believe me!”
Challenges that Lititz will face in the upcoming months will be the closing of the Wilbur Chocolate Factory and the release of 130 locals from their jobs this January. The plant is set to move to more modern facilities in the area, all of which is owned my Cargill.
“There will be changes, for sure, but we will stay positive. That’s all we can do. After all, this is America’s Coolest Small Town!” Agnes C. commented, smiling as she looked at the small store fronts that surrounded her.
It’s clear that no matter the obstacles, the people of Lititz will always keep their spirits high, because they know their small town will always be the coolest.