LITITZ, Pa. — Inflation has been driving up the price of nearly everything in recent months, including travel. The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows airfare costs spiked 18.6% from March to April of this year.
That's why FOX43 is showing you destinations in your own backyard that you can get to with a tank of gas or less.
This week’s stop is Lititz in Lancaster County. The small town of approximately 10,000 people has the energy of a big city and is about a 30-minute drive north of downtown Lancaster.
Voted the "Coolest Small Town in America" in 2013 by Budget Travel Magazine, Lititz was founded in 1756 by German-Moravian settlers.
Today, it's charming and easily walkable, with plenty of shops and restaurants.
“We have this amazing history, so our architecture, it's almost like walking through an art gallery when you walk down Main Street and Broad Street," Rebecca Branle, executive director of Venture Lititz said. “Our shops are amazing. They might be in historic buildings, but they're very forward-thinking.”
Lititz is a food lover’s dream with everything from burgers and fries at the Bulls Head Public house to Mediterranean eats at Cafe Arabella.
While you're in town, be sure to stop in the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery. It's the first and oldest commercial pretzel maker in the country.
The family business, now in it's fourth and fifth generation of owners, has been making both soft and hard pretzels since 1861. Apart from trying all the various different flavors and varieties, you can also take a tour of the historic bakery and try your hand at twisting.
As General Manager Kurt Van Gilder describes, the bakery offers “a 25-minute historic-based tour where everyone gets a twisting exercise using a flour and water mixture so they'll learn the religious and historical significance of why a pretzel is shaped the way it is.”
Make sure to save room for dessert though.
Right around the corner is Wilbur Chocolate, which has been making sweet treats for nearly 140 years. Stop in and savor the sweet aroma of marshmallows getting coated in chocolate. You can also watch candy makers cut caramel into bite-sized pieces by hand and even sample some of the famous Wilbur Buds.
People far and wide come for the renowned chocolate and to soak in all that Lititz has to offer.
“Well it's been a long time since I've had their chocolate and we just thought let's go get some,” Kate, who made the 90-minute trip from Havre de Grace, Maryland, said. “It's a cute downtown. It's also our 10-year anniversary so we wanted to get out with the kids and do something fun.”
And there is plenty of fun to be had in Lititz.
“You can do a bunch of things within a small area,” Branle said. “You can spend your morning shopping and then you can head off on the Warwick to Ephrata rail trail, you can use the bike share and go into Ephrata, come back and then have dinner outside at one of our awesome restaurants. So you have history you have shopping, you have outdoor activities...a little bit of everything.”
Lititz also has plenty of events for you to check out this summer. Every Thursday from 4 p.m. to dusk, the Lititz Farmer's Market features a variety of produce, as well as tasty baked goods and of food trucks.
The 4th of July celebration in Lititz spans multiple days with parades, live music in Lititz Springs Park, and of course a huge firework display.