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|Amber Brooks • 3/29/18|
The Short Version: Located 10 miles east of Lancaster, Kitchen Kettle Village is a treasured date spot for many Pennsylvania residents and visitors. The outdoor village has 40 specialty shops and restaurants that serve fresh-made jams, jellies, relishes, and other delicious dishes. What started as a two-person jelly business in 1954 has since expanded into an old-fashioned town center where couples can enjoy free samples, fun festivals, and budget-friendly lodging. You can even take a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in the kitchen — where local farm women are hard at work creating original Kitchen Kettle products in stainless steel kettles. The family-run kitchen stocks the pantries of thousands of people across the country. You can take a trip to Kitchen Kettle Village to see what the fuss is all about and partake of some sweets with your sweetheart.
Kitchen Kettle Village is a popular getaway in the countryside of Pennsylvania. Named after its signature cooking appliance, the quaint village began three generations ago with a homemade recipe for jelly. In 1954, Bob and Pat Burnley started a small business selling flavorful jars of jelly. Today, Kitchen Kettle Village offers an old-fashioned good time exploring dozens of shops, restaurants, and lodging options.
The village’s specialty shops delight visitors with authentic tastes of sweet and savory treats. Every spoonful of jam and relish is locally made by local farm women in the Jam and Relish Kitchen. Lisa Horn, Director of Fun at Kitchen Kettle Village, called the kitchen “the anchor of our business” because it’s where the magic happens. The team feels so proud of the jam-making process that they invite people to come see it for themselves.
Walking into the open-air kitchen is like stepping into the past. Visitors can see the jam-making process up close as the women fill each jar by hand. The kitchen uses stainless steel kettles to whip up fresh, original, and unforgettable batches of jams, jellies, and relishes. Local farm women in traditional dress make over 80 recipes to stock 30 specialty shops and eight restaurants in the area. Each year, Kitchen Kettle Village team produces over 1 million jars.
“If a couple wants to recharge and take a break, they can come and stay in the village and do a little shopping,” said Lisa. “December is a great time to visit because it’s not that crowded, and it’s romantic with all the colorful lights turned on.”
Every year, over 800,000 people visit Kitchen Kettle Village, which is surrounded by Amish farms in the sprawling countryside of Lancaster County. As you travel along Route 340, you’ll probably see horse-drawn buggies on the road and fruit stands on the shoulder. The scenic byway awakens the senses and helps people ease into the country life.
Kitchen Kettle Village is an off-the-beaten path date destination for couples looking to relax. Over 40 local shops and restaurants give visitors plenty to do throughout the day. You can browse pottery shops, take a buggy ride through town, or pick out some home-baked goods. The Jam and Relish Kitchen offers free samples of its canned goods, so you can taste before you buy. Lisa told us the pepper jam is the number one selling item in stock. She loves to serve it over a block of cream cheese with crackers. “It’s so delicious and so authentic,” she said.
You can get inspiration for romantic meals to make at home by using the online recipe directory, which features appetizers, soups, drinks, desserts, and main dishes using Kitchen Kettle products. Any of these recipes would be a great surprise treat for you and your date. All it takes is a little research and some fresh ingredients.
From a musical celebration in the summer to lighting up the village with Christmas lights in December, Kitchen Kettle Village hosts special events all year round.
The annual Rhubarb Festival in May typically draws a big crowd, especially during its original Rhubarb Race Car Derby. Participants build ingenious and colorful race cars out of a stalk of rhubarb and then race one another for a prize of $100. Plus a cool trophy. This one-of-a-kind event also has a rhubarb dessert contest, a mini parade, and a rhubarb whoopie pie filling contest.
Adventurous eaters will have a ball sampling rhubarb wines, rhubarb cake pops, and other flavorful dishes inspired by rhubarb. “It’s a whole flavor fest,” Lisa said. “It’s a little zany. Locals even enjoy the festival. It’s definitely my favorite event of the year.”
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, Kitchen Kettle Village can certainly give you a cozy place to snuggle up with that someone special. The Inn at Kitchen Kettle Village has a variety of lodging options to suit your budget and schedule. You can choose from 17 unique guest accommodations and book a stay in the quiet countryside of Pennsylvania.
Once you arrive, you won’t have to worry about driving anywhere — everything will be within walking distance of your room. The Inn offers free parking as well as complimentary breakfasts at the Kling House, which is open Monday through Saturday. The Kling House Restaurant serves traditional home-style breakfast foods, including farm-fresh eggs, French toast, home fries, and oatmeal.
On Sundays, when the restaurant is closed, you can pick up a box of fresh-baked cookies from the bake shop. Kitchen Kettle Village closes on Sundays, so you’ll pretty much have the place to yourself all day.
Throughout the year, the Inn offers special deals and promotions to bring people to its doors. The Happy Hour Package, for instance, tempts daters with a meat and cheese tray for two plus two complimentary wine tasting at Waltz Vineyards. A bottle of the winery’s award-winning wine also comes with this deal.
Kitchen Kettle Village is all about the simpler things in life. The rustic and friendly atmosphere is great for couples hoping to take a load off their minds for a day, a weekend, or longer. And it has excellent dining options.
The village’s eight food venues, including two restaurants, use its specialty sauces and jams in their signature dishes, so you can tempt your taste buds with a treat you can’t find just anywhere.
The go-to restaurant for many village visitors is the Kling House Restaurant, a sit-down place that serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday. The pulled pork BBQ uses Kitchen Kettle’s Hickory Smoked Grilling Sauce to take the flavor up a notch. Even the fish and chips comes with a specialty relish tartar sauce. Everything on this menu uses fresh ingredients and unique flavor combinations to create an unforgettable dining experience. Make sure you save room for the famous coconut cream pie, too.
Bill commented on Kling House’s Facebook page that he proposed to his now-wife four years ago in the quaint dining room. “We got engaged right in front of the fireplace,” he wrote. “We come back at least twice a year to enjoy the great food and say thank you.”
The Kettle Café is a quick-bite eatery open during lunch hours Monday through Saturday. You can enjoy a chicken salad sandwich or a hot soup (made fresh every day). Many diners take advantage of the 25-cent coffee served all day. The cafeteria-style dining makes it easy to have a fast meal and then go back to sightseeing.
And, of course, you can’t help but wander into the Bake Shop, which tempts visitors with indulgent baked goods. The cookie case has everything from crisp snickerdoodles to chewy peanut butter cookies. You can split an ooey-gooey shoofly pie (a Lancaster County favorite featuring a special blend of syrup, brown sugar, and cinnamon) with your loved one or dig in to a red velvet whoopie pie by yourself. If you’re feeling too full for dessert, you can always buy these homemade treats online.
The Pepper Lane Fudge Shop is another popular dessert location, known for its fudgy treats. These fudge makers whip up every batch by hand and use Vermont marble slabs to give the fudge its signature tender crust and creamy texture.
Whether you’re hankering for a juicy burger or a decadent chocolate chip cookie, you can satisfy your cravings at the local dining options at Kitchen Kettle Village. “We consider our village an experience,” Lisa said. “When people leave happy, we’ve done our job.”
For over 60 years, Kitchen Kettle Village has been entertaining couples on dates, anniversaries, and other special occasions. This third-generation family business has kept to its roots throughout all the time, and they still make their jam, jellies, and relishes by hand. You can savor these treats with your significant other and create special memories in this quaint location in Pennsylvania.
The tranquility of Kitchen Kettle Village makes it perfect for couples going on a trip together. Whether you’re stopping by for a day at the festival or staying awhile to tour the shops, you’ll find plenty of activities and attractions to engage your senses and stimulate conversation in a romantic setting.
“We’re a couple-oriented destination for those who want to unplug,” Lisa said. “You can relax without having so much to do all the time.”