by Chrysa Smith

It was a busy work week, and when it was done, I put down the laptop and picked up my shopping bag–that’s right; a little retail therapy. We all need a little now and then, and better yet, is when you find a whole new assortment of shops and treasures to be discovered.

So, rewind to yesterday afternoon. I found myself in the Lancaster, PA area. Now to me, Lancaster shopping had always been the Rt. 30 strip of outlet malls—been there, done that since I was old enough to drive. Besides, the once pioneering shopping experience has been duplicated over the decades. In fact, it’s been duplicated to death in so many towns, the thrill of outlet shopping is long gone.

So, imagine my delight in discovering Lititz, PA. Off Rt. 222, I’ve passed the signs numerous times, thinking it was probably another PA Dutch tourist town, surrounded by pretty and fertilized farmland. Wrong! This hamlet is small but adorable. And I hit it just right; in late afternoon, while the sun was at that angle—the angle that says it’s time to wind down and have a glass of wine. The clock struck 4pm and I wandered into the Bulls Head Public House ( for a bite to eat, while I watched the shoppers stroll by. Then it was an easy walk down one side of the street and up the other, where I discoverd wonderful gifts at the Sassy Tassel, ( , contemporary clothing at Tiger’s Eye, ( , great kitchen gadgets at Zest, a cute and manageable bookstore named Aaron’s Books, ( and the perfect baby gift at Spoiled Silly ( What great shop names! I didn’t make it to Dosie Dough or Cafe Chocolate though—so I must plan a girls weekend in the near future. I have no problem sitting solitary with a glass of wine. That merely says, aah, the end of day. Sitting solitary with an ice cream cone however says depressed, lonely woman. I’ll do ice cream with friends and fellow bloggers, which just says to hell with our diets for today.

To make it a weekend, I’d mosey over to the downtown Lancaster area. I visited some months back and was blown away by all the hip shops, galleries and bistros, plus a huge Central Farmer’s Market housed in an old brick warehouse, freighthouse or some other cool house. Maybe I’m a seasoned Retail Therapist now, because I can just look at a shop or store and pretty well know if it’s worth a deeper look. Now only if that would pay $150/hour, I could fully support my habit and part-time career.

Have a favorite shopping area to recommend? Click on comments. Women want to know.