Candy AND history??!! Can’t beat that combo!
This area along Market Street, close to the docks, has long been an area of sugar refineries and cocoa importers. By the 18th century, chocolate makers began opening in the area. Today, Shane’s is the oldest continuously operating candy store in the US and totally looks the part. The owners have put a lot of effort into building on the history of the shop, both in the visuals (restoring the interior to its Edwardian-era heyday and sourcing era appropriate antiques to fill in for long gone items, like the gorgeous 1910’s cash register) and in the production:
They have brought the business into the modern age, with a line of ethically produced bean to bar chocolates produced in house. Make sure to try the free samples (along the wall in the back of the store). They also have a terrific collection of vintage cards:
The shop is open daily, but if you want a behind-the-scenes look (to see the amazing collection of molds and candy production areas), sign up for one of their tours (lots of yummy samples).
You can also visit their fun Chocolate Cafe for hot chocolate made the old fashioned way (try the one made using Thomas Jefferson’s recipe or the yummy (spicy) Mexican version) and cocoa bean tea (and delicious house-made marshmallows). It’s hidden in the back of the store. Double check opening times, since they are only open a few hours/day. Note: there are only 2 small tables inside, so you might have to take yours to go.
The same company owns the historic Franklin Fountain (on the same block), where you can indulge in historic and seasonal ice cream and sodas (all made in house). The milkshakes are definitely splurge worthy. Try the honeycomb if it’s on offer – it’s made from honeycomb candy made at Shane’s with beehives from the building’s rooftop apiary (they also have an herb garden up there, producing lavender, peppermint, and other herbs for their treats). Doesn’t get anymore local than that! They also make sodas and sundaes using historic recipes.
Next door is Franklin Ice Cream bar, where you can get their ice-cream in bar form (cute Pennsylvania “keystone” shaped), with your choice of toppings:
Tobey says: I love Franklin Fountain, but they did the Shane’s tour without me 😦
Kathy says: Because I’m such a thoughtful mom, I signed Tobey and I up for a gingerbread making class (in addition to the tours, they also offer occasional hands-on classes). 2 hours of using antique gingerbread boards (including a copy of the colonial Philadelphia board housed in the Museum of the American Revolution – the cookie with the lady in the skirt) to make very yummy cookies. We also got to see the HUGE antique Dutch wedding/fertility boards.