Q: What are the three most important things about choosing a new home?
A: Location, location, location.
Why did we choose Warwick Woodlands? There are, after all, dozens of other retirement communities in Lancaster County, PA. In 2018, in fact, U.S. News & World Report ranked Lancaster County as the #1 retirement destination in the country. Here’s how the decision-making process evolved for us:
friends our age (early Baby Boomers) began to explore retirement communities — a decade or more earlier than their parents did
some of them put down deposits and then moved in
we visited several communities and deposited at two of them, one in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania
when our daughter’s family decided to move to Lancaster County, the balance tipped toward Pennsylvania
Warwick Woodlands had some distinct advantages over other good options.. First, Lititz was my hometown, a place that takes great pride in its thriving, creative, downtown. Warwick Woodlands is a quiet village of new houses and an apartment complex on the edge of downtown that features “walkability” with real destinations — pubs, bookstore, boutiques, restaurants, churches, and concerts. Free admission to my own alma mater Warwick high school events. And free membership in a terrific rec center. In addition, there is great “ride-ability” with two award-winning bike paths just a few blocks away. One of these paths is contiguous to one sister’s house and another to a second sister’s farm. I can bike to their houses, to the Farmer’s Market, and to the grocery store.
Then came an amazing opportunity. One carriage house at Warwick Woodlands opened up. And it happened to be next to good friends who had moved in six months earlier.
After one visit to view the available house, we signed the papers that brought us here in late May.
The last four months have been filled with a sense of adventure in which we enjoy both the new and the familiar, and making friends
When I wrote about our visits to Aaron’s Books, I asked Lititz friends to recommend other places to visit and write about. The first recommendation was Bruno’s Hoagies: Where the Locals Eat.
The emphasis on where the locals eat illustrates that this area attracts many tourists. They bolster the economy and the locals welcome them. Traffic on Broad St. and Main St. comes to a halt if pedestrians step out into the crosswalk, and friendly conversations arise naturally as locals explain how to feed the ducks in the park or where to find the best homemade pie.
Lots of visitors come to Lititz just to stock up on Wilbur Buds, the most popular product among the many, many chocolate items in the Wilbur Chocolate Retail Store. Triple-coated chocolate almonds and dark chocolate peanut butter cups might find their way into the basket also.
Not only do the chocolates of Wilbur Chocolate company come in clusters, but so do the neighboring eateries. Bruno’s, for example, is on the first floor of the building across the parking lot from The Wilbur Chocolate store. And below Bruno’s is Greco’s Italian Ices, which also features soft serve, and my favorite hand-dipped, homemade ice cream. This is a great place to end up after riding the Lititz-Ephrata rail trail when it is a little easier to justify the calories in a “child-size” (just right for septuagenarians) cone. The prices are great, so leave a generous tip for the high school students who work there.
I haven’t talked with the owners of these places yet, but it interests me to see that both of them feature foods influenced by Italian cuisine influences in the closest city, Philadelphia — hoagies and Italian ices. The urban areas of the whole state feature unique, Italian foods designed originally to keep laborers fortified for a full day of hard physical work. In Pittsburgh, it was Primanti brothers sandwiches with fries and coleslaw along with (Capicola) meat and melted Provolone cheese in a giant bun. In Philly (the preferred lingo here), the locals and tourists have hundreds of options for cheese steaks, but I have it on good local authority that Delassandro’s is the place to go. We had our first one when we went to see the immersive Van Gogh exhibition a few weeks ago. So good.
Oh yes, and did you notice that Bruno’s in Lititz sells hoagies. Not subs, hero, grinder, or any other type of sandwich. Hoagies. On real Italian rolls with fresh meats, cheeses, and oil and vinegar. The menu says “approved by Uncle Bruno.” I have to find out what that means. On any of these sandwiches, a half is MORE than plenty. Like your diet lighter? You can get veggie hoagies and salads there too.
Today is the kind of day E.E. Cummings must have been enjoying when he wrote:
i thank You, God, for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes.
Stuart and I will be heading out soon on our bikes and plan to enjoy our location fully. When I come back, I hope to hear from you about YOUR location. I have learned from living in more than eleven places that each location has its beauties and that our deepest attachments are to the people living there. When we travel, we love getting the insider scoop from the locals. So what’s your scoop on your place? Curious minds want to know.
My scoop is going to be Cappuccino chip today. Unless they have lemon. Then I’ll have a hard time deciding. . .