Lititz, Pennsylvania

Photo: lititzpa.com

It’s finally starting to feel like fall. An autumn chill usually swoops in shortly after Labor Day. Not this year. Summer-like weather held on through the entire month of September and even into the first few days of October. Just a week later, it’s a different story. Rain and wind are all over the forecast, and temperatures are firmly in the 60s. It’s time to switch gears.

Autumn is when you start pulling out boots, hats, and sweaters. You want to feel cozy since the sun doesn’t feel as warm. Apples, mums, and pumpkins replace herbs and tomatoes. While weekends are spent close to home—so you can enjoy fall festivals and Halloween activities—instead of off at the beach.

That makes fall the perfect time to visit Lancaster County. This rural area lies in between Philadelphia and Harrisburg in South Central Pennsylvania. It’s home to a large Amish community, rolling farmland, and historic towns. Life slows down here.

Photo: Hotel Rock Lititz

Lititz is the heart of Lancaster County. The picturesque town was founded by the Moravian Church in 1756. The church became a hospital during the Revolutionary War. Linden Hall, next to the church, was the first all-girls boarding school in the United States. Lititz Springs Park has fountains, stone walls, and ducks. Federal and late-Victorian architecture fill what is now considered the Lititz Moravian Historic District. The Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, founded in 1861, is the oldest pretzel bakery in the country. While Wilbur Chocolate, established just a few years later, is a famous candy store and museum.

Not everything in Lititz is historic, though. Main Street’s red-brick townhouses are now occupied by bookstores, cafes, and craft shops. Cafe Chocolate serves breakfast all day. The Bulls Head Public House is one of the best beer bars in the country. Tomato Pie Cafe took over an old trolley stop. Appalachian Brewing Company did the same to an abandoned, 100-year-old building. Then there’s Stoll & Wolfe. The distillery is producing one of the top rye whiskeys in the United States.

As of last year, this little town finally has a hotel to match its cool vibe. Rock Lititz, a campus where large-scale productions (think stadium concerts) are created, sits on nearly 100 acres on the outskirts of town. Touring crews needed somewhere to stay. So the hip Hotel Rock Lititz was built near the studio. The five-story building is filled with local art. Its industrial-chic Lobby Lounge features a reception desk made out of speakers and wallpaper created from backstage passes. It has colorful furniture, a billiards table, and shuffleboard, too. Plus its indoor/outdoor fireplace extends onto the sun terrace.

Per Diem, the farm-to-table restaurant, is covered with live plants. Its coffee bar opens bright and early, craft cocktails are served during happy hour, and there’s a late-night menu for night owls. There’s an indoor pool, a hot tub, and Peloton bikes. While large rooms have sliding doors made out of old equipment road cases and 55-inch televisions. So which weekend are you free this month?

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