Thursday, November 7, 2013


 Thinking about a winter getaway?

There’s nothing like curling up in front of our roaring fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book.  Lights of the season and a living pine tree adorn our cozy little inn and make your stay even more inviting.  Waking up to freshly fallen snow and the smell of warm homemade breakfast isn’t too bad either!
Whenever the ground turns white with a blanket of snow, the folks at Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides switch from carriages to sleighs for a peaceful ride through snow-covered Amish farmlands. Enjoy the crisp winter air as well with a picturesque driving tour of our covered bridges, learn about maple sugaring during the last half of February or witness the breathtaking snow geese migration at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area where you can see in upwards of 80,000 waterfowl. Even though it's chilly out, there is still so much to do!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Shopping in Lancaster County

Hot apple cider, the crackle of a wood fire and crisp autumn leaves. Now is a wonderful time to grab a loved one and escape for a few days. If you haven’t gotten the chance to explore what this area has to offer, the opportunities are endless. A few miles south of our inn lies the historic town of Lititz, boasting a plethora of shops, local restaurants and cafes. With tree lined streets, you can only imagine the array of fall colors!

If you’re lucky enough to make it into Lancaster, be sure to check out the country’s oldest running farmer’s market open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday mornings. Locals have been gathering here for years to buy their weekly produce and freshly baked goods. So bundle up in your favorite fall attire, bring a warm drink and see all this beautiful county has to offer!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Red Chair visits the Coolest Small town, Lititz, PA

Recently we were honored to have the Red Chair on a two day visit as it makes it's way across the US. (Follow the Red Chair's travels here) It arrived here at Swiss Woods just as the Lititz Craft Show was underway, so it picked a very busy time to visit. We were the first of 5 inns that hosted Red over a two week period and, at the end of the two weeks we all remarked.. Lancaster County a wide variety of activities, spots of interest, and things to do for almost anyone! From concerts to ball games, wineries, breweries, chocolate factories and pretzel factories.. Red saw them all.

The craft show kept Red busy! There was so much to see

No stop in Lititz would be complete without twisting a pretzel at the oldest pretzel factory in the US. Sturgis Pretzels are hard to beat. Red loved the cheese ones.
 Wilber Chocolate. YUM! Red had a hard time leaving this place and took a moment to sit outside and just enjoy the chocolate smell that wafts through town.

A trip into Lancaster to Hunger-n-Thirst found Red admiring the wide selection of beer and cheese. What a great place that was!

Back to the Inn at the end of a busy day, Red took some time next to the fish pond to write long glowing reports in his journal. It was a short visit but ohh so fun!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Red Chair has arrived at Swiss Woods Bed and Breakfast

After spending some time near Philly Red was ready for the country. A visit to the Lancaster County Farmers Market was her last stop, where she snagged a ride with my sister Joanna after enjoying one of Country Twist's amazing soft pretzels. This morning she is catching up with her journal out by the lily pond, enjoying the soft fall of water and cheerful chirps of birds.
Today will be busy so it is really great that she is starting her day with some peace and quiet.

Friday, April 19, 2013

17-30 (of 100) Reason why Lititz deserves it's Coolest Small Town of 2013 honor

Spring is arriving in Lititz Pa and the streets are lined with the most beautiful spring blooming trees. Every year when they start to flower I am thankful to be living  a midst such beauty. Our thousands of daffodils here at Swiss Woods are delighting guests and passers by as well as the  forsythia  blooming bright golden along the borders of our property.  Every warm day will bring out more of our floral display and we are not alone.  Many Lititz homes are beautifully landscaped with bright blooms.
As I continue on with the list of 100 I am once again impressed with how much Lititz has to offer.. this cool town of ours.

17. Hoovers Farm Market and Greenhouses located on Erbs Bridge Road is a local favorite. Not only  is the drive across the Erbs bridge,( one of our magnificent covered bridges), beautiful, but the produce here is wonderful much of it home grown.   In addition you can find all the plants you need for your flower boxes, planters and garden in their well stocked greenhouse.
18.  Lititz Historical Society.  With all of the rich history it is not surprising that we have a Historical here.
 The museum, the Jacob Muller House and  gift shop are open for visitors to learn all the details of the varied and deep history of Lititz.  For your next visit be sure to find a
19. The Wolf Sanctuary of PA. We are especially pleased to have this one of a kind sanctuary right in our ‘back yard’. Every month they have a full moon tour in the evening complete with music and a bon fire. Guests rave about this unique experience.
20.  Frizz and Freeze. Every small town worth it’s salt needs a good ice cream place. We have several but I just love the raspberry twist cones they serve here.
21.  Appalachian brewing company.   Make sure if you want to eat here on a weekend that you have reservations!  Great beer, fabulous atmosphere and good food. Right near the Moravian Church Square.
22.  Hendrick’s Flowers. You might ask why a flower shop makes the list.  They are comprised of  6 greenhouses with around 70 varieties of cut flowers and there than the strikingly beautiful and uber fresh arrangements to be had here, they are the only carnation grower left in the United States.  They are located right behind the High School.
23. Moravian Manor and Luther Acres United Zion Home and Audubon Villa.  Within our borders are 4 retirement homes. Count them .. 4. Wow.  Landscaped grounds with excellent care and living facilities, make these wonderful places to retire!
24.  Warwick School District. All 4 of our children graduated from this district so I may be a bit biased. Great administrators and teachers and lots of volunteers.
25.  Andy Smith, artist.  Well known for his beautiful watercolors, his work is one of a kind. We are proud that he calls Lititz, home!
26. Pots by De Perrot.  Steve De Perrot posts some of the most beautiful items. Examples of his work can be found all as part of the Lititz Public Library This is a must see while here as is a visit to his pottery studio.
27. Randolph pottery and school. Not only do they have amazing pottery to purchase, you can sign up for classes here.
28. Dennis Maust Ceramics, just outside of downtown on Fairland Rd. Beautiful pieces. At his open house this year I added a few pieces to my dishes.
29. The Mousetrap.  Woodstream Company, parent company to Vector, is one of our stellar Lititz companies and they make.. yep.. the mousetrap! Right here in Lititz. Who knew! Here is a great article telling how they helped our troops in Afghanistan stay rodent free.
30. Mortons Fine Furniture. Right on Main Street is a small shop that makes some of the most beautiful well crafted furniture you will find anywhere.  Using locally grown sustainable wood, Thomas Morton certainly fits the bill for why Lititz is such a cool small town!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

1-16 (of 100)Reasons why Lititz, PA deserves the title of 'Coolest Small Town in the US'

It has now been a few weeks since the voting finished and from a start of over 900 small towns, narrowed down to 12 finalists, Lititz PA prevailed by a significant margin to win the Coolest Small Town in the US in the competition.   Those of us who live and work here were not surprised. Lititz is amazing from its one end to the other, but trying to convey the “why” to someone who doesn’t live here is difficult if for no other reason than there is just so much to tell. So, I decided to gather 100 reasons why I believe Lititz deserved this honor. I am sure that others could add many more. As I started this project I realized it will not all fit in one blog post so, this is the first of however many it takes for me to tell the “Lititz” story!

1.       Pristine and well kept, Lititz is straight off of a postcard
2.       Location. Lancaster County is well known for its beauty but Lititz is also close to Hershey and a short drive from both Gettysburg and Philadelphia.
3.       Wilber’s.      If you have not experienced a Wilber Bud, you have missed one of the best chocolate experiences ever. The store and museum attached to the factory is a must see.
4.       Lititz Springs Park..  This deserves a whole post all it’s own. The venue for the best 4th of July event  anywhere, along with programs all year long at the bandstand.    Not only is 4th of July home of the Queen of Candles pageant , they also always light the stream with candle towers (hence the name Queen of the Candles)  prior to the best fireworks display anywhere. Other events find there way there throughout the year including family movie nights, an antique show, the annual art show and many more.
5.       Bull’s Head Pub.. OK, I have this one high on the list because it is one of my personal favorites.  If you   You don’t enjoy beer?? No problem. The menu is excellent and the dining room one of our favorites and they have serve wine and cocktails too. Guests love their meals here.
Great beers on tap at the Bulls Head Pub

are trying to learn and understand the craft beer that has swept the US in the last year or so, or want to understand and try some world class cask beers.. this is the place to be. The food is good, the beer is stellar and the bartenders know their stuff.
6.       You didn’t have enough chocolate at Wilbers? Well.. the Chocolate CafĂ©   is next on your list!  Make sure to try their organic no sugar added truffles. Wow.. words will never capture how wonderful these are. 
7.       Pretzels.. Lancaster County is known for pretzels but Lititz has Sturgis, America’s first pretzel bakery.   Just down Main Street across from the Moravian Church, you can twist your own pretzel and learn all about the history of pretzel making. I just love their cheese pretzels.
8.       Linden Hall,   the oldest girls boarding school in her Majesty’s colonies. Don’t you just love that? Founded in 1746 this school has not missed a step. If you want to be impressed check out their fast facts. Any school would be proud of those numbers!! With a diverse student body representing 16 nations and 19 states (including students from Lititz!) Linden Hall is a true cultural experience. Amazing. Located right across the street from the Julius Sturgis Pretzel house on the east side of Lititz. 
Cherry Acres is just one of our favorites
9.       Downtown Main Street.    I would love to mention each and every one of the shops that line Main Street and I may in some later posts. Time and again guests return to the Inn raving about a “find” in one of them. Antiques, fun decorative stuff, funky clothing, vintage clothing, and even.. clocks!  Wander Main Street and it’s tributaries ( Sturgis Lane.. etc) in and out of really exciting and fun small shops.
10.   Great businesses.  Both Clair Brothers and Tait Towers are located in Lititz. One is a sound company, doing sound for some really big names and the other working often in tandem designs sets.  Both are known to Lititz as really amazing wonderful people. Support for the High School and its drama/music presentations as well as the annual 4th of July celebration. I am sure that I d not have a clue of the half that these 2 fine companies contribute to their small town.  And they are not the only ones. I would love to list all of the “big business” we have within our borders, all who contribute resources to help us all thrive.
11.   Our very own farmers market! Every summer on Water Street, farmers and local vendors bring their produce and homemade products to sell at this outdoor market. Raw honey, fresh veggies, amazing baked goods.. Plan to take some home!
12.   Bakeries!  What small town worth it’s salt doesn’t have a few bakeries. Make sure to visit Dosie Dough’s for bagels and coffee. Locals hang out on the patio here to visit and catch up over a good cup of coffee. Then go and pick up a drop dead beautiful cake at … Rebecca’s Heavenly Goodies.  
13.   Savory Gourmet..   it is not every small town that has a shop selling bison, alligator and ostrich steaks! Everyone loves this little shop located right across from Wilber’s that sports a wide variety of exotic meats and some really amazing cheese! Just up the street from Rebecca’s.
14.   Rolex.. let’s just say they have a big presence in Lititz and we are proud to have them here.
15.   The Lititz Watch Technicum teaching the art of Swiss watchmaking! A one of a kind school right here on the edge of town.
16.   The Moravian Church  Starting with the magnificent building that seems to be the center of the Christmas celebrations with their trombone choir carols it is also home to the Moravian Stars that adorn so many homes around Lititz during the holiday season. Moravian Stars .. follow the link to see what they look like and their history, are common here. On our way when our 4 children were small we would count Moravian Stars. Werner would take varying routes on the way home from anywhere to make sure that we got them all. It was not unusual to arrive home with a count well over 100. We love that star and many of our guests purchase one in Lititz before going home.  Take a tour of the beautiful cemetery and find the final resting place of Johan Augustus Sutter.. our most famous resident.. (think gold rush CA.. ask Werner for all the fun details of this  interesting Swiss citizen who is buried in Lititz.  Visiting Lititz the last weekend of April?  Make sure to stop in at the all Moravian Craft show and sale, 9-4 in the Brothers House on Moravian Square.

That is it for the first installment with 16 reasons. Stay tuned for the next 15 reasons that Lititz is cool, and in the meantime plan a trip to Lititz and a stay at Swiss Woods!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Save Speedwell, an update

As many of you know the Speedwell Forge lake was drained in October 2011 because the dam sustained damage during a storm. Soon after we were encouraged that Governor Corbet allotted money out of the State Capital budget, 6.4 million to be exact, to repair the dam. Those funds however did not include dredging the sediment from the bottom which has accumulated over the last 40 years and is negatively impacting water quality below the dam.  The Save Speedwell group has been working diligently to make applications to various organizations interested in clean waterways in an effort to find funds to remove the sediment before the lake is refilled.   This afternoon we got word that Growing Greener has awarded Save Speedwell with 430K to do just that.  We are so very grateful that not only will the lake be restored, but that it will be done well and with the future in mind. Our thanks to all who have helped in this effort.

As we wake these mornings and go to bed we hear the calls of the whistling swans migrating north. No, they are not stopping here as there is no lake, but hearing them we are reminded of why we do this. Yesterday Werner spotted the eagle flying overhead and we were encouraged to know that they have not disappeared completely and we hope they will once again call Speedwell Forge Lake home.

In the meantime, the hiking trails are still very much here and the area is beautiful. We are just very thankful to know that the lake will be back, sooner rather than later.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lititz, PA leads the voting... Budget's coolest small town contest. You can read the details and vote here.  Is it any surprise to us that we are even in the running let alone far ahead? No! Lititz is filled with small town pride, a wonderful main street with shops and merchants who love what they do. The park is filled with events all summer long from the Art festival displaying amazingly beautiful artwork, to the ever popular craft festival that takes over town the second weekend in August.

Not only are there events to attend there is our weekly farmers market in the summer boasting the bounty of Lancaster County, there is a nano brewery as well as the Appalacian Brewery/Resturant and a classic English Pub with a great tap list.  Lititz is home to Wilber Chocolate and those yummy Wilber buds and who could miss the pretzle factory and the twist your own pretzle tour.

Lititz has something for everyone and tourists love it, but I can tell you it is even better to live here and raise a family here. Werner and I have been proud residents of Lititz, albeit the Inn is not downtown but is fortunate to be located just out of town with woods and meadows surrounding. Our children all attended Warwick School district, graduated and went to state universities. The community here lives and works together responding to crisis and need as well as fun and festivities.  It banded together with neighboring communities when the lake needed to be drained and monies found to rebuild the damaged dam.... and working together made it happen in record time.  ( see Save Speedwell for more information)

I love Lititz. Our guests love Lititz. Thousands of visitors a year love Lititz. You will want to include this gem of a town in your next trip to Lancaster County, and of course cast your vote for the coolest small town in the USA today!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Winter in Lititz- whats to do?

          Lititz, PA in winter, a cozy/happening  place to be.

As I write this it is cold outside and there is a light snow falling. The fireplace is roaring full tilt in the common room, and a fresh batch of chocolate biscotti are coming out of the oven.  Early February finds us getting ready for the busy times over Valentines and Presidents Day, when so many people want to escape. Cabin fever has set in and we are the perfect remedy.
But, you may ask, what is there to do in Lititz in the winter?  The weekend of the 17th is the annual  Fire and Ice festival. This event  has grown over the years to be quite wonderful. Ice Sculptures are created while crowds watch on Friday night, Feb 15 followed by a block party. Saturday is the Chili cook-off.   Follow the link for the schedule and photos.
Other weekends you can take in the Wolf Tour at the Speedwell Wolf Sanctuary just around the corner from Swiss Woods.  The full moon tour happens once a month in the evening, Feb it is on the 23rd. 
Any weekend is a good time to visit the beautiful Waltz Vineyard tasting room for a relaxing sampling of their award winning wines complimented by local cheeses.  To finish the day restaurants abound! From the cozy and popular Bull’s Head pub with its amazing selection of craft beers to the incredibly upscale Log Cabin, there is something for every taste.  Of course there is time to just relax, read a book, have a cup of tea and enjoy this wonderful, if somewhat chilly, time of year.