Wilbur Chocolate Co., A Last East Coast Adventure (For Now)

Well, my PA trip has come to an end, sadly. As I sit here in the Cincinnati airport I thought I’d tell all of you of the wondrous factory that is Wilbur chocolates. 

  
Yes, Pennsylvania is obviously known for Hershey’s chocolates, everyone knows that. But have you heard of the lesser known and – dare I say – BETTER tasting chocolates that can be found in Lititz, PA? Mandy took me to the factory/museum today and it was super tiny, but so. dang. delicious. They offer free samples of their “buds,” in both milk and dark chocolates and they were so creamy and melt-in-your-mouth delicious that I swear if there had been a chocolate fountain, I’d have swam in it – no hesitation. 
 The factory/museum was made up of only about three rooms but it was definitely enough to transform me into a lifetime fan of Wilbur.

The first room was the gift shop, full of all the chocolate your little mind could ever imagine. 

 The second room was an extension of that but with a closed off area featuring chocolate molds and chocolate sculptures – including a full carousel THAT IS MADE ENTIRELY OF RICE CRISPIES AND CHOCOLATE.

 The third room is where they make the chocolate and again, though small, it looked so fun. Maybe I’ll become a chocolatier next.. Who knows. 

 So there you have it, my last stop on the East Coast before flying back home to the Midwest. I’d say it was a pretty good stop indeed.

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On Orange, the Chillest Cafe Experience in Lancaster

Anyone who knows me knows I love food. It’s almost all I ever think about.

What’re we going to eat for lunch?

What time is breakfast?

Can we do brunch too?

I know we just ate but when is dinner?

I’m like a hobbit.. “But what about second breakfast?”

And Orange Street in Lancaster, PA just so happens to house the cutest and yummiest little cafe around. If you happen to be in the area, On Orange is a must. 

 It was small and crowded when Mandy and I walked in but fret not! There’s a basement with wooden booths topped with paisley pillows all around. We waltzed down the stairs and found a cozy little booth in the corner by the fireplace and took a seat.

Immediately I saw the chilaquilies, a Mexican dish of tortilla chips soaked in a spicy chorizo sausage soup, topped with feta, avocado and eggs. I was hesitant, but decided it sounded weirded enough for me and oh my goodness! It was so delicious.. Like I’m sitting here writing this and wanting more. I think I’ve just found my new favorite breakfast go to. And maybe lunch go to. And probably even dinner go to. 

   
Even the service was wonderful and it completely topped off the experience. Our server, Alan, a bearded man-bunned dude covered in plaid was so kind and gave me that little push I needed to venture towards the chilaquilies. Oh, dude’s got dance moves too.. He kept dancing out of the kitchen and making us laugh. He was great and definitely left us with a smile.

If I haven’t convinced you yet of this place’s awesomeness, then I have one last treat to throw at you – literally. The checks come with a cookie on the plate. Free dessert! 

 So, there you have it.. I’ve found you all the perfect cafe experience within Lancaster. Now, go try it out for yourself!

York, Lancaster & Gettysburg; Pennsylvania Autumn is Magnificent

Three days into Pennsylvania and I might not ever leave.

Philly, York, Lancaster & Gettysburg are the amazing places I’ve visited thus far and I have to say that Gettysburg took my breath away. The girls and I took the auto tour and drove through everything and it was just mesmerizing. Gettysburg in autumn is stunning and add to it the history of what occurred in that very spot, it’s quieting.

The color of the trees, the stillness of the fields, everything. I loved Gettysburg.

We also ate at markets, explored so many downtown shops and walked to our heart’s content these past two days.

If you’ve never visited this part of the U.S., please indulge in these photos. 

    
    
   

   

I’ve Always Depended on the Kindness of Strangers; My First Day in Philly

I’m in Philly!

This long awaited trip to visit my best friends on the east coast has FINALLY arrived.

It’s been a long day of driving, flying, walking and now train-ing (I think I just made that verb up). Mom and I woke up around 3am to get ready to drive me to the airport for my early morning flight.. Have I mentioned how wonderful she is lately? I mean seriously, that lady got up at 2:30 this morning to take me to the airport and then had multiple hours stuck in the city before needing to be at work and now she’s been working all day.. She’s amazing. Love you, Momma. 

 Okay, anyway. I landed in Philly this morning and have spent the entirety of the day exploring the city on my own – exactly what I love. Since Caitie and Mandy had to work today (which they couldn’t focus on as soon as I’d told them I’d landed in PA) I did my own thing in the city. I truly can’t explain the feeling of excitement and anticipation I get every time I’m alone in a new city.. So fulfilling being on your own and smiling down the streets of some place new to you. Gah, I love it so much.

But before I go into details on what I spent my day doing, I have to start with what happened to me on the train from the airport to the city center. So, picture me standing on the train platform studying the subway map with my floral backpack strapped on and jacket tied around my waist, practically jumping I’m so happy to be here. I notice a guy kind of noticing me and I decide to ask him,

“Hey dude, where do I buy a ticket for this?”

“From the conductor,” he says with a kind smile that I certainly was NOT expecting from a Philadelphia native. After all the Always Sunny that I watch, I pretty much expected everyone to yell at me and steal from me (which I actually secretly hoped for too, considering I wanted to see fiction come to life before my eyes).

“Oh, great.. Thanks!”

And I shuffle quickly back to the massive map board and continue studying. The train arrives and we all pile inside one at a time, and the kind man from the platform sits right behind me.

The conductor comes through to charge tickets and I notice literally everyone handing him cash. Uh oh. I don’t have any of that..

I turn to the kind man.

“I hope he takes cards.. ”

*Awkward smile* “I don’t think he does.. ”

“Uh oh.. ”

*Conductor comes by*

“Do you take cards?”

“No.”

“Okay.. What will $4 get me?”

*Exasperated sigh* “I’ll be back for your driver’s license to bill you.”

“.. okay.”

Kind man interrupts.

“Where are you going?”

“Market street.. ?”

“Okay, I’ll pay the rest of her fare.”

He proceeds to pay for me and I get my ticket.

I blush intensely over the embarrassment of perfectly fitting the stereotype of a broke 20something traveling the world but also have a swelling and warmth in my heart over perfectly fitting the stereotype of a broke 20something traveling the world.

You see, when you live your life day to day going wherever the world takes you, you develop a sense of excitement over the unknown and a love for the people in the world who can surprise you.

And man, did that kind man surprise me.

After the conductor walks away, I turn to the kind man to ask his name to thank him.

“Don’t worry about it,” he says with a smile across his lips.

We continued to talk for the entirety of the ride and turns out he’s originally from the Midwest too. He talked to me about the city and gave me tips.

Apparently, I reminded him of someone.

He began my trip on the best note it could have started out on and now reflecting on the experience, I can’t help but think of Blanche from Streetcar..

http://youtu.be/DSTd1LuiVUs

I leapt off the train, gave him a quick wave and wide smile and turned toward Market Street.

After that kind of morning, the rest of my day was wonderful. Having lived in Paris, I have a deep love of walking so I decided to skip the subway and instead walk everywhere. I walked the entirety of Market Street, saw the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, toured Congress Hall, ate lunch in Washington Square Park, stopped by Mac’s Tavern (which I’ll be eating at on Sunday – and coincidentally stalking the Sunny cast) and explored the Mütter Museum

 
   
I had such a fantastic first day in PA and know it can only get better. As I sit here on the train, I’m counting down the minutes until I see my girls again (36, to be exact). They have a spectacular five days planned for us and I can’t wait.

Mainly though, I’m just excited to be with them again.