A few weeks ago we took a day trip down to Lititz in Pennsylvania and visited the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery. The bakery is located in historic downtown Lititz and in the middle of beautiful Pennsylvania Dutch Country. The drive is approximately 40 minutes from Harrisburg, 50 minutes from Camp Hill, 20 minutes from Lancaster and was a beautiful drive through the back country.
For GPS Users:
Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery
219 East Main Street
Lititz, Pennsylvania 17543
In 1861, Julius Sturgis opened America’s first commercial pretzel bakery in Lititz, Pennsylvania. More than 150 years later, the Sturgis family is still making pretzels and giving visitors a unique view into the hisotry of pretzel making and baking in America.
During their family-friendly tour, you’ll get a hands-on lesson in pretzel twisting, learn about vintage baking tools and techniques, and see their bakers hand twist the old-fashioned soft pretzels that they bake on site. You can purchase them in the bakery gift shop after your tour.
On the day that we visited, they were extremely busy. We had to wait about an hour for our tour to begin. Each tour lasts approximately 20 to 25 minutes in length and a new tour is offered every 30 minutes. You buy your tour tickets as soon as you go in. You can go out and do other things, until your tour is ready to begin. Cost: $2.50 per child and $3.50 per adult.
Our tour started out with all of us trying our hand at twisting the dough to make a soft pretzel. The tour guide gives you some history on pretzel making & baking and shows you how to twist your own pretzel. The grandchildren really LOVED this part of the tour. The dough is just practice dough and isn’t edible. Once your done with this part of the tour, they give you a certificate “Official Pretzel Twister” from Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery.
We then moved onto the old stone & brick oven area where the tour guide will give you more history and talk to you about how the pretzels were actually made and baked during the good old days, before things became modernized. For the adults, I think this part was the most interesting part of our entire tour. Our guide was extremely good and was patient with everyone. He allow people to ask him questions and he knew every single answer. Knowledgeable indeed!
Finally, we moved over to the other side of the room where the tour guide showed us some retired pieces of pretzel-making equipment and showed us how it works. He gave visitors information on the new facility located in Reading, Pennsylvania.
As soon as he was done…there was another guide who was behind a counter and showing all of us how he hand rolls, twists and makes soft pretzels. We stood there for a few minutes watching him make them and place them into the oven. As soon as the tour was finished, we all got an individual bag of hard pretzels to take home along with us.
You can taste the delicious results of 150+ years of pretzel-baking heritage in their bakery store, which offers different varieties of hard pretzels baked at their modern facility in Reading, Pennsylvania. In addition, you can buy soft pretzels which are made on-site daily and pick up a few souvenirs and gifts.
While in their bakery and gift shop we saw Lititz souvenirs (refrigerator magnets, post cards, t-shirts and other items, along with snack items from Julius Sturgis. On the day that we visited the grandchildren got pretzel-shaped pencils, soft pretzels and we got t-shirts. Their snacks and gift items are reasonably priced.
My family enjoys going out and taking factory tours and visiting museums. This is one place that has been on our bucket list for quite awhile and we’re glad that we finally went. The tour is family-friendly and isn’t too long. You’ll learn a lot during the tour about past and present-day pretzel twisting, making and baking. We love affordable family-friendly activities like this!
You can visit Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery
online to get driving directions, their scheduled hours of operation and to learn more about their facility. You can connect with them on Facebook