Friday, December 3, 2010

December is special in Lititz

I must say that I love to see the decorations go up in downtown Lititz. It is my favorite spot in Lancaster County for the old time feel of the Christmas season. Founded by the Moravians in the 1700's who also founded such towns as Bethlehem, PA and Winston-Salem NC, it has an old world charm about it that just lends itself to Christmas. Street lights are decked out with beautiful stars, Store fronts are decorated and the pub has seasonal beer on draft. What's not to like?
We just hosted a local couple who were escaping for a night before their kids got home from college and the relatives all descended at Christmas. They were looking for a night away to watch a movie, enjoy the fireplace, and just relax. Dinner at the pub and some shopping in town totally fit their mood, and after an amazing breakfast that featured stuffed hazelnut baked apples, a farmers fritata chock full of leeks, potatoes, bacon and peppers, and brandied pear muffins, they left energized to conquer the coming days.
That gave us an idea. In the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle why not take a day off, escape to the peace and calm of the woods on the edge of town and enjoy some time together. We at Swiss Woods, would love to make that possible for you and are offering a special from now thru December 20, 2010.   Any room, any night first come first serve... $135.   Call it an "escape" special. Call it a visit Lititz special. Call it a "sit in front of the fire and drink tea" special.   Whatever it is that you need this time of year, join us for a wonderful breakfast, peace quiet and the charm of the winter woods for the special price of only $135 a night for 2.

Later today, I will help with your holiday entertaining by putting a wonderful baked apple recipe up on the Eight Broads blog as well as (are you reading this Beth??) our Cranberry Cookies with Brown Butter Icing recipe. We wish you all a wonderful, cheerful and fun filled December.   Don't forget to visit our online store for some amazing teas and our world class biscotti. 

Recommended tea:  Nutcracker Sweet , If you are looking for a tea that smells "Christmas" this is it. Very fragrant, filled with cinnamon, cloves, oranges and all manner of spices it is perfect for the holidays.

Swiss Woods Gift certificates make the perfect gift of time for those loved ones who could use a few days away. We ship these priority with maps and visitors guides to the county. Click HERE to order securely online. 

EVENTS:  December 10, 2010 Friday Second Friday Historic Downtown Lititz is bursting with energy every 2nd Friday of the month. Each month Downtown Merchants are happy to announce great family activities and entertainments, free and open to the public, in stores and venues throughout the downtown shopping area. The 2nd Friday of each month year round, rain or shine, 5-9pm.

Monday, November 29, 2010

December is for Decorating, Natural window boxes at Swiss Woods

It is amazing how quickly we go from a garden in full bloom to one that is dormant and resting for the winter. The cold snap hits and the last of the bright beautful blooms of summer and fall are brown and gone. It is then that, that we look at the garden with an eye toward decorating for the winter. Werner is really an artist at heart. I am continually amazed at his creative side when it comes to flora and fauna, landscaping in general. We have a huge variety of plants in our gardens. He does not cut them down or back until spring when he is getting ready for the summer plantings. Many of them have berries or seeds that feed the birds, some are bushy providing shelter for them during the cold winter months. There are long grasses with plumes, short twigs with bright red berries, prickly holly, and fragrent pine. All of this arranged together makes for interesting and beautiful window boxes and potted arrangements.
Take a walk in your backyard thinking of what can be cut and arranged to make an appealing decoration. Pine cones can be sprayed with gold paint or glitter to add some color and sparkle. Even bark can add some interest to an arrangement.
Add a little snow and you have added interest to your porch or pots in the garden.

We wish all of you much fun and enjoyment as you decorate for this holiday season.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why I love Lititz

Cherry Acres
I am sure that I will not even hit half of the reasons why Lititz is such an amazing small town and why so many people put it on their must see list when visiting Lancaster County. Many of our guests come specifically for this quaint town filled with delightful shops, charming cafes, a really wonderful pub and permeated with the smell of chocolate. How can you not love a town that smells like chocolate while you shop?
Cherry Acres

One of my very favorite shops is Cherry Acres right on Main Street. They feature furniture made from old barn wood, enameled sinks, and a wide variety of metal artsy figures that are just plain fun. It is a place that you walk through and each time see something different. My last visit found me leaving with a wonderful old mirror framed in barn wood.
Morton Fine Furniture
Across the street you will find some of the finest furniture you can imagine at Morton Fine Furniture. Works of art, each individual piece is crafted to stand the test of time and beauty, all  from the most beautiuful wood and many designs that are just breathtaking. I am in love with a table he has on display of light wood with darker inlays. There are pieces here that would make wonderful additions to anyone's home.

These are just a few of my favorites. Main Street is lined with many small shops including one at the Moravian Church, a favorite place to purchase Moravian Stars for the holidays.
After all this shopping a break at the Chocolate Cafe for one of their smooth and rich chocolate drinks is just a perfect way to break up the day.  If you are into something stronger the Bull's Head pub just down the way has an impressive array of truly stellar beer on tap.

Chocolate Cafe`
So, it makes perfect sense to me that the Lititz Businesses called their once a month Friday's with longer hours, "lovin Lititz every Second"!  There is music, food and the shops stay open till 9pm. Why not come join us Friday December 10 for some last minute shopping, in a town decorated to the hilt and with all the charm to match! We are so excited about this event that we are offering 25% off of a 2 night stay December 6-23, 2010.  This kicks off a year of  25's for us as Swiss Woods goes into it's 25th year, but more on that in the next blog.
 Now all we need are a few snow flurries to make it all just ... perfect.

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Rooms are avaialabe at the inn on all December weekends. Gift Certificates to Swiss Woods make a wonderful gift for the holidays. And we are pleased to announce that you can now shop Swiss Woods from home at  our online store. All the teas you have come to know and love as well as our incredible toffee and biscotti are all available here. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lancaster , Lititz and Mt Gretna all venues for upcomming art and craft shows

Pick your weekend! Any weekend. Art and Craft shows abound.

This coming weekend, August 14, the annual Lititz Craft show takes over Lititz. Over 700 crafters line Lititz Springs Park as well as Broad and Main Streets with booths of interesting crafts and artwork. People come from all over to visit this show and it is so popular with vendors that there is a waiting list to be able to show here. Parking is well orcestrated and trollys run often.

The following weekend August 21 Mt Gretna turns from a sleepy little summer cottage town into a buzzing village filled with artists showing their works. This town is just 15 minuites from the inn and beautiful in it's own right. 200 juried artists are to be found and it is well worth a trip.

Labor Day weekend the annual Longs Park Arts and Craft show takes over the huge park just outside of Lancaster. 200 juried artists bring their works to show here. There are discounted tickets availabe on their website.

We love August with all of its fun things to do. Make Swiss Woods your base as you take advantage of all that Lancaster County has to offer!  

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Wuppertal Boys Choir vists Lancaster in August

Join me on Sunday August 15 at Mellinger Mennonite Church for the Wuppertal Boys Choir.  This is part of the ongoing series of programs celebrating the 300 year anniversary of Mennonite settlers in Lancaster County. I have looked forward to this particular program all summer and it is just around the corner.

Biking is always popular here and this year has been no exception. At guest requests Werner has spent time mapping out some wonderful biking tours to the north of us where there is less traffic and and still that wonderful farmland landscape that everyone loves.  His latest ride was 30 miles and included a stop at Middle Creek Wildlife Preserve where, if you are lucky you will see the nesting eagles. If you need to rent bikes we have just the place. Green Mountain Bikes is a short 15 minutes from the inn and will deliver. Let us know and we are happy to make the arrangements for you. Bikes are a wonderful way to explore all of the back roads at a leisurely pace.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lancaster Pa's Keys for the City

Keys for the City...
Pianos show up all over Lancaster City for any and everyone to play.


Over the past decade it has been fun to watch a variety of symbols show up in our cities not only nationwide but internationaly. Zurich had cows, I believe they were the first to start this fun trend, decorated in every imaginable way dotted thoughout the downtown. Burlington Vt had moose, fun ones creatively featured in front of stores or on downtown corners.   And now, Lancaster, PA has pianos. I kind of like this one because it is different and interactive, and promotes music along with art. Yes, the pianos are decorated, painted, designed in all manner of themes but the best part is that they are designed to be played. Anyone wandering past is welcome to have a seat and play their heart out.
Arriving in May, they have found a wonderful reception. From the very young to the  very mature, people enjoy the opportunity to play for their own private concert hall, Lancaster, the stage. Here (short video link) you get a good feel for how much fun this is.  Click here for another wonderful clip. 

We encourage you to add a stop in downtown Lancaster during your stay with us. First Fridays are a good choice as shops are open late, there is special music and special everything on the streets. Any market day is also a good choice (Tue, Friday and Saturday) Find a piano, any piano,(here is a map of them all), settle in and let your inner Chopin perform

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lititz welcomes Bulls Head Pub

Lititz has always been a quaint and wonderful town chock full of interesting stores, small cafes, a fabulous park and even a small farmers markets. The General Sutter Inn on the corner of Broad and Main has a varied and flavorful menu, outdoor seating in the warmer months and now to make a good thing better they have opened  Bulls Head Pub adjacent to the restaurant. I decided to take a look on Saturday afternoon and was greeted by a completely full house, standing room only. The menu was simple but good. Chicken and Leek Pie, Fish and Chips and Sticky Toffee Pudding. But the best thing about this beer pub was of course, the beer. I counted no less than 15 micro brews on tap including 2 casks, a chocolate stout and a frambois (raspberry) lambic. Check the chalkboard picture below. I am a huge fan of the fruited beers and the Cherish raspberry lambic was wonderful.

So a big hearty welcome to Bulls Head. Lititz is thrilled to have you here!

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Monday, March 29, 2010

So, What’s there to do?

I get this question daily as we answer the phones and help our guests plan a stay they will enjoy in Lancaster County. Every time I go through this exercise I am amazed at the variety and “amount” of activities available to people visiting (or living in!) Lancaster. From wildlife preserves and sanctuaries to a vibrant downtown to quaint villages the breadth of interests is truly amazing. History buffs can immerse themselves in Civil War History, Anabaptist History, or Settler’s History. Shoppers are in Outlet Heaven. Antiquers have Renningers and the many auctions particularly in the springtime. Gardeners have huge garden centers, the Leola Auction as well as Longwood Gardens within driving distance, not to mention the grounds here at the inn! Those who enjoy music and theater have great options including Fulton Opera House, Ephrata Playhouse, Rainbow Dinner Theater and the American Music Theater or the wonderful music in the vineyard events at Nissley Vineyards. And the list goes on! For the foodies there are farmers markets, wineries and amazing restaurants including an English Style Pub with great micro brews on tap that just opened adjacent to the General Sutter Inn in Lititz.

So, our challenge as innkeepers is to keep you current on what is happening here so you can choose your visits well. I will try as we go into the summer season to list the most interesting (subjective I know) events here. We certainly welcome your feedback if there are types of things you especially wish to learn about our county.

April 2 First Friday, Downtown Lancaster

April 10 Rawlinsville Mud Sale at the Rawlinsville Fire Co

April 17 & 18 Lancaster Art Walk

April 24 Full moon wolf tour, Wolf Sancturary of PA

Thru April 24 Nana’s Naughty Knickers, The Rainbow Dinner Theater

Thru October 30, Joseph, Sight and Sound Theater

April 20 Vince Gill, American Music Theater

April 21 The Beach Boys, American Music Theater

April 22, Comic Bill Engval, American Music Theater

April 24, Bryan Adams, American Music Theater

Looking ahead:

June 26, The Letterman, American Music Theater

June 27, the Platters, Drifters and Coasters, American Music Theater

July 6, Ringo, American Music Theater

Aug 1, Amy Grant, American Music Theater

Sept 10, Stephen Curtis Chapman, American Music Theater

Give us a call if you have questions, want suggestions, or wish to make a reservation.

Friday, February 19, 2010

March in Lancaster, Swans and Mud Sales

It is hard to believe that winter is almost over, or at least we hope it is. The sun is shining brightly and the almost 4 feet of snow is down to about 2 feet. This is the time of year we look forward to the Tundra Swans and Whistling Swans stopping at the lake on their way north. There were several groups here before the snows and the larger migration will now start. 10’s of thousands will land here at Speedwell Forge lake but many more will stop at Middle Creek Wildlife Preserve, a short 10 minute drive from the inn. Bird enthusiasts from all over the US find there way to Middle Creek to watch the huge flocks of birds take off and land. It is truly amazing. Though it is hard to predict when the largest flocks will be there, there are significant numbers from now through the middle of March. As soon as the warm weather arrives the birds are gone so the earlier you plan your visit, the better. We are so enthused about this migration we are offering Sunday-Thursday nights, stay 2 nights and the second night is 50% off. Ask for the Migration special when booking. We also offer a late check out with this offer (subject to availability) so that you can spend a full day watching the swans.

March is also Mud Sale month! Appropriately named because the spring thaw tends to be muddy, these sales are community oriented and feature everything from quilts to farm equipment. There are handmade crafts, furniture, antiques.. you name it, the list is long. The closest one to the inn is the Penryn Mud Sale on March 20. If you follow this link you will see a list of what is all there as well as pictures from past year offerings. There is remote parking and shuttle services. Just remember to pack a pair of boots. There are mud sales every weekend from Feb 20 through April 28. Ask for our 10% mudsale discount when booking your stay.
A complete list of the wide variety of mud sales in Lancaster County can be found at the Lancaster Tourist Bureau website.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dream Weekends in Lancaster County

Join us for the first in a series of Dream Weekends here at the inn. We are very excited about the specials we have in store for 2010 and are launching these weekends with our Wine and Wolves Weekend Feb 26 and 27.
We have been dreaming here at Swiss Woods and would like to share some of our excitement with you. There are so many things to do and explore around the Inn and we have decided offer Dream Weekend packages. Our inaugural Dream Weekend will be Wine and Wolves Weekend Feb 26 and 27, 2010.
Partnering with the PA Wolf Sanctuary which is located right across the lake from the inn and with Waltz Vineyards in Manheim we have put together a fun and educational time. Take a break in your winter routine and join us for this exceptional event.
Included in this package:
Friday check in dinner. 5-8pm whenever you arrive
Debbie’s wonderful oven roasted Beef Stew, freshly baked cornbread, and a sweet Lemon Toffee Pudding for dessert.
Saturday- Our superb full breakfast from 8:30 to 9:30 AM, off to an
11 am wine tasting tour at Waltz Vineyard followed by lunch in the barrel room at the winery. Waltz Vineyard is the area’s premier winery with some really wonderful wines. Jan and Kim will tell you about the grapes and the winemaking process. We just love this place and are excited to share it with you. They have won numerous awards in the past 2 years making them one of the premier wineries in Pennsylvania. As they say, these are the wines that will make you change your mind!

Saturday- afternoon is free to shop in Lititz or you may want to visit Middle Creek Wildlife preserve to watch the Tundra Swan migration. (10 minutes from the inn). The migration time varies from year-to-year but this should be a good weekend to see the swans. At the peak of migration the fields around middle Creek are covered with swans. Enthusiasts come from all over to photograph these amazing birds.

Dinner on your own – consider the General Sutter Inn, conveniently located on the square in Lititz or Cappricios a casual Italian Cafe. We would be happy to make your reservations to ensure that you will be finished in time for the moonlight tour.
Saturday 7:30- Moonlight tour at the PA Wolf Sanctuary. This evening includes a bonfire, tour of the wolf enclosures, music and hopefully howling wolves! They are more active in the winter than in the summer so dress warmly and enjoy this rare treat.
Sunday morning brunch at the inn 9-11am with late check out. Sleep in and enjoy a leisurely breakfast with no hurry to leave. We are extending check out on this weekend till 6pm.

First Floor Rooms: Lugano, San Bernadino, Wilhelm Tell and Emmental:
Double occupancy $450.00 plus tax

Upstairs: Lake of Geneva, Appenzell and the Matterhorn Suite: double occupancy $525 plus tax

Rooms available on a first come first serve basis so reserve yours early.