It may surprise some people, but there’s far more to the town of Intercourse than just a suggestive name.
The town, set in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, is full of stores with every kind of homemade good you could imagine—furniture, décor, quilts and food. The main street alone features a yarn store, book store, flower shop and quilt store.
The Amish and Mennonites are all around town whether in their buggies or on a scooter or simply walking the sidewalks.
I began my trip at Intercourse Canning Company (13 Center Street), a store that sells freshly-made canned goods. It was a big open store with a section for demonstrations in the back and it sold jarred eggs (pickled and red beet, among others), salsas, dips, spaghetti sauces, jams and so much more. The best part was it also had various samples to try throughout the store.
I sampled some delicious salsa and continued my tour. Across the street is Stoltzfus Meats & Deli (14 Center Street), a small store that features meat from the local Stoltzfus Farm. It also has baked goods, jams and more, most notably dry mixes for soups, cappuccinos and dips. There is also a rack of dried vegetables, such as green bean chips, which is something I have never seen before.
I finally journeyed across the street to the infamous Kitchen Kettle Village (3529 Old Philadelphia Pike). I’ve heard a lot about this village and was anxious to see what the hype was about.
Turns out it’s an outlet-style shopping center full of small shops in a cute old-fashioned community. There’s a jeweler, a leather store, a Christmas store, a candle place and so much more.
One store that stood out was the one that started it all—The Jam and Relish Kitchen. I spoke with the cashier and she told me it was in this very store that began the village when its founders sold just eight types of jelly. Now it sells countless jams, relish, butters, pickles and baked goods.
The cashier said everything but the butters are made onsite. You can actually see the kitchen where some of the Amish are working to create the delicious goods.
Like the canning company, this store was full of free samples. I tried some jams (I particularly liked the raspberry) and more salsa before continuing on my day.
One other store of note is Insect Creations, a store full of bugs and butterflies in glass cases for decoration. I (foolishly) went in since it was unique, but promptly left (meaning “ran”) after seeing I was surrounded by giant tarantulas and other spiders interspersed with all the pretty butterflies. (Yes they were dead, but still terrifying.)
I note the insect store because I realized there wasn’t that much in town that would interest boys—or kids in general if they don’t like shopping. There is a kids’ section to the village and various activities in some of the shops (such as decorating a cookie), but as far as the shopping goes, when I was young, I wouldn’t have been interested.
Kitchen Kettle Village also has some restaurants and cafés where families can enjoy a sit-down meal, as well as a fudge store. It is a very family-friendly place, so I don’t want to dissuade parents from bringing kids. I’m just recommending you go when the kids’ section is open (it was closed when I was there) and know where the kids’ activities are throughout the village. There is plenty to see and do for families with kids of all ages, but just shopping may bore some kids. (There is a toy store which kids would obviously enjoy)
Next to the village is Old Candle Barn (3551 Old Philadelphia Pike), which is literally an old barn full of candles and other homemade goods and decorations. Each place I visited had similar items (candles, wooden decorations, ironworks, old-fashioned signs) yet each had its unique spin on things. The barn had creaky wooden floors and was dimly lit, but it was fun to shop in and browse all the stuff in that type of environment.
My final stop was The Old Country Store (3510 Old Philadelphia Pike). I learned there is lots of parking in the back. In fact, everywhere I visited is definitely accessible from this lot on foot. Next time I would park here and just walk everywhere.
The actual store had the usual crafts, homemade goods, books about the Amish and lots of treats. I was excited to discover honey sticks—something I haven’t had since high school.
The unique thing about this store is it features quilts and handmade fabric. The products are expensive but worth it for this kind of quality.
As I rolled back west, I made mental notes of what I would do differently next time—mainly, bring an appetite and lots more money.
Kurt Bopp is assistant editor/web at Central Penn Parent. Intercourse was his favorite town since Lititz. Like many towns in Dutch Country, Intercourse virtually shuts down on Sundays.