You probably did not know this about me, but I live in the coolest small town in America. That’s right–according to Budget Travel, Lititz, PA is the coolest small town in America, 2013. There are official banners hanging over our streets, so it must be so. Funny thing–I would describe my town as quaint, charming, historic…but cool? Cool is not the first word that comes to mind. I decided to explore my town on this sunny, spectacular Saturday, as if for the first time, to see what I may be missing.

Like any good librarian, I start my quest for information at the library. I live on the outskirts of town–not Lititz proper–and it isn’t easy to walk directly from my house into town. So, I parked at the library and headed out, camera in hand. I took all of the photographs in this post today.

As you enter the town proper, by way of my chosen route, the first landmark you will encounter is Linden Hall followed by the neighboring Lititz Moravian Church. I could go crazy in this post with history lessons, but then we would be here all day. Suffice it to say that Lititz was originally established as a Moravian Mission Community by immigrants from Germany and the Czech Republic of Moravia. The Moravian Star is one of the symbols associated with Lititz (along with the pretzel and Wilbur bud–more on those in a bit). Linden Hall is the nation’s oldest independent boarding and day school for girls. (If you’re interested in more detailed, historical or other information, a good place to start is the Lititz link near the beginning of my post.)

Across the street from Linden Hall and The Moravian Church, you will find The Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, where you can take a tour and make your own pretzel, which I have done as part of the Lititz walking tour field trip with my kids when they were in elementary school. You will also find this handy map of downtown Lititz in front of the Pretzel House.

Continuing down the street toward the center of town, you will come across a sundry of shops that will entice you to come inside to either browse, drink, or eat.

Once you reach the town square, if you turn left, you will come upon one of my favorite stops for coffee and home to the famous Achenbach’s Long John, as well as their own delicious pastries–Dosie Dough.

If you turn right at the square, you will happen upon Tomato Pie Cafe (I cannot convey in words how much I love the tomato pie, which is better than Quiché), Wilbur Chocolate (home of the Wilbur bud), and Lititz Springs Park, famous for its Fourth of July celebration, including the Queen of the Candles Pageant. The canal that you see in the picture weaves through the park and is covered with a wooden structure that holds candles so that the entire park is illuminated in a soft glow for Independence Day festivities.

Heading back out of town, the same way we came in but on the opposite side of the street, you will pass more shops (Aaron’s Books has been a great partner to Lancaster County libraries), my family’s favorite place for pizza, and if you duck down an alley and go behind Main Street, you’ll encounter part of Lititz Run, which winds its way out of town. You may also find a family of ducks waddling by.

As I make my way back to the library, I pass Pots by de Perrot, one of the many artisans in Lititz.

Walking down Kissel Hill Road (the view explains the name) from behind the library, I have come full circle thereby ending my walking tour of Lititz. It took me about an hour, including brief stops to take pictures. It will take you much longer if you explore every corner and go behind the facades shown here.

See? Charming, quaint, historic, yes? Moravians, pretzels, and chocolate. All of this is cool, I suppose. But what about the rock and roll and zombies? Well, there is more (cool) to Lititz than meets the eye.

Lititz is home to three of the biggest companies behind some of the biggest names in the music industry–Clair Global, Tait Towers, and Atomic Design. There is even a new Rock Lititz Penthouse at the General Sutter Inn, which is beside The Bull’s Head Pub but not pictured above. We also grow some up and coming bands, including The Districts (my nephew’s band). These boys have gotten some great buzz and are scheduled to play at WXPN Xponential Festival on July 26 along with big names like The Lumineers. 

And on October 19, cool will culminate in Dawn of the Lititz Dead, a “zombie-filled, 5k obstacle run”, a Rock Lititz event, although I’m sure there are those who do not think that zombies are cool. As a fan of The Walking Dead, I may have to bear witness to this event even though I will not participate. My town is cool; I am not.

I have lived in Lititz for almost 24 years. It is a great place to raise a family. I haven’t shown you nearly all of it. I haven’t named, photographed, or linked to nearly all of the wonderful merchants that inhabit our town. Like all small town businesses, these entrepreneurs fight for every dollar and every customer because we have our share of chain and big box stores nearby. We are also centrally located for easy access to Washington D.C., New York, and Philadelphia. As part of Pennsylvania Dutch Country in the heart of Lancaster County, Lititz has a rich heritage and a unique personality. And of course there are the people, too. The people are Lititz in many ways.

Hopefully, I have at least given you the flavor of this town of many flavors. Lititz–the Coolest Small Town in America.

My town.