A Sweet Escape on the Wayne County Chocolate Trail
If you’re loco for cocoa and craving an adventure, plan a culinary journey along the Wayne County Chocolate Trail.
The free trail celebrates east-central Indiana’s most delectable treats, from the homespun to the elegant. With about a dozen stops in Richmond and surrounding areas, the self-guided trail leads you to historic candy factories, charming bistros and unique gift shops.
“For anybody who loves their chocolate, this is the place to come to indulge yourself,” says Nancy Sartain, leisure marketing manager for the Richmond/Wayne County Visitors Bureau.
Your first stop should be the Old National Road Welcome Center to pick up a Chocolate Trail Passport. Just flash this passport at each stop to receive a free chocolate sample or giveaway. You’ll also receive Chocolate Bucks that can be redeemed for exclusive discounts.
The trail is just a few years old, but chocolate has long been a part of Wayne County history. After all, Abbott’s Candy Shop in Hagerstown has been tempting taste buds for more than a century. There, you can watch candy being crafted while savoring a sample of Abbott’s buttery chocolate-dipped caramel made from original formulas.
“Abbott’s Candy has been making chocolate since the 1890s right here in Wayne County,” says Sartain, who is charmed by the quaint look of this factory. “It’s in the cutest little pink building – like one of their pink boxes of chocolates.”
More old-fashioned favorites can be found at Olympian Candies, a fixture in downtown Richmond since 1909. Your Chocolate Trail Passport will earn you a free taste of the store’s smooth specialty, Greek chocolate cream candy.
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While candy is king of the Chocolate Trail, visitors will also be treated to chocolate raspberry wine at J&J Winery. One of the stops on the trail – Square Donuts in Richmond – offers a chocolate doughnut in their trademark angular shape.
At Warm Glow Candle Company in Centerville, travelers along the Chocolate Trail can choose between two different chocolate-scented votives: Chocolate Bing Cherry or Grandma’s Brownie – mouthwatering scents that won’t add an ounce to your waistline.
“We offer a non-caloric chocolate option,” says owner Jackie Carberry.
However, you no longer have to settle for just the scent of chocolate at Warm Glow Candle Company. As part of a 9,000-square-foot expansion, the store recently added a chocolate counter offering an array of treats.
“We offer a good variety, from turtles to truffles. It should be very enticing,” says Carberry.
Exploring the Chocolate Trail can easily fill a day or a weekend – not to mention your tummy. To accommodate those who want to spend more time savoring the trail’s delights, the visitors bureau offers overnight packages featuring affordable lodging and even more free chocolate.
Unlike other trails, the Chocolate Trail is open year round. After all, chocolate is always in season.
“A lot of people come in the wintertime when they get cabin fever,” says Sartain. “It also makes for a nice romantic getaway.”
Or “bring a gaggle of girlfriends and just make a great, fun day of it,” as Carberry recommends.
On the off-chance that you’re not sweet on chocolate, other area attractions offer a feast for the eyes. On Richmond’s Mural Trail, you can explore more than 50 colorful paintings that bring local history to life. More dazzling attractions can be found along the Tiffany Windows Trail.
From unique museums to art, antiques and architecture, there’s something for everyone in Wayne County.
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“Wayne County is one of the oldest counties in Indiana – there is a lot of history and heritage here,” says Sartain. “It’s a fun place to come and spend a weekend – we have so much to offer.”
But for many, the chocolate is quite enough.
If You Go…
To obtain your free Chocolate Trail Passport and Chocolate Trail Bucks, visit the Old National Road Welcome Center (just off Interstate 70 at exit 156A) in Richmond, Ind. (Groups of 10 or more, please call the visitor’s center in advance.) To learn more, call (800) 828-8414 or go to visitrichmond.org.