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By Fig Contributor Debbie Dawson
Frequently I stumble upon articles titled “Off the Beaten Path” — and while I enjoy exploring lesser known areas, I equally appreciate the businesses that are on my everyday paths. As I’ve discovered, people routinely hurry toward a destination often passing by wonderful local businesses and missing out on some great experiences. At times we are so busy going from point A to point B that we don’t take the time or opportunity to explore and experience the local businesses on the beaten path.
When I first moved to Lancaster a little over a year ago, I spent much of my time getting to know my new city by exploring the bustling downtown area. An obvious place to start the exploration was historic Central Market — and after quickly falling in love with the market, I wanted to explore more — and this lead to nearby Orange Street.
Located in the heart of the city, Orange Street is often overlooked as people hustle past it on their way to Market. Recently, as I was raving about my favorite summer tea (Marrakesh Mint) from The Spice & Tea Exchange, a friend commented “I walk by that place on my way to market, but I’ve never gone in there.” That revelation opened the door for me to share more about why I often shop at The Spice & Tea Exchange and to expound on the other wonderful Orange Street businesses.
I love local shopping, eating, and activities — and Orange Street has it all! Now’s the time to slow down, explore, and experience the first block of West Orange Street.
The Pottery Works (16 W. Orange St.)
Looking for a fun, creative activity with friends, with children, or with a date? Pottery Works is the place! An open studio where people of all ages drop in to paint pottery and have fun, the Pottery Works staff provides all the necessary supplies and friendly encouragement. With shelves brimming full of white pottery, the most difficult part of the process is selecting which blank canvas you want to transform into a colorful work of art. On a recent trip there, I met a high school student who was treating her mom to a creative experience for a Mother’s Day gift. Lucky mom! Also, lucky for adult customers, it’s BYOB!
Cafe One Eight (18 W. Orange St.)
Cafe One Eight’s modern rustic decor and fresh, healthy menu items make it a favorite coffee shop to meet up with good friends or casual business associates. In addition to serving quality specialty coffee and offering breakfast all day, they also offer a variety of healthy salads, homemade soups, and sandwiches. For a special treat any time of day, try the fruit and yogurt parfait, made with house baked oatmeal, fresh fruit, and locally-made yogurt!
The Spice and Tea Exchange (20 W. Orange St.)
In addition to an exceptional tea selection, shelves of glass apothecary-style jars filled with salts and spice blends line an entire wall. These are perfect for a summer barbeque or hostess gifts. Free recipes are always available, but what I love most is the personal recommendations from the knowledgeable staff, especially on food sample days!
Lancaster Cupcake (24 W. Orange St.)
YUM! Walking into Lancaster Cupcake, customers are greeted with a dozen daily choices of deliciously decorated cupcakes, but for an extra special treat try the cupcake split, created with soft-served ice cream layered in the middle of your favorite cupcake. Double YUM! With tables for two, a party room for a crowd, and a play-kitchen corner for children, this cute shop caters to all cupcake lovers. And if you would like to share the sweet goodness of Lancaster Cupcake with others, they offer delivery!
Pappagallo (28 W. Orange St.)
For contemporary women’s clothing and accessories, stop by Pappagallo, a boutique with friendly, personal service. The colors of the season are always highlighted in their beautiful window displays, which frequently lure me inside to browse the stylish selection of new arrivals.
Catalina’s on Orange (38 W. Orange St.)
Recently opened under new ownership, Catalina’s on Orange is the new face on the block. From the pizza shop in the front to the newly-remodeled restaurant in the back, Catalina’s is a welcome addition to Orange Street for lunch, dinner, or late-night drinks.