Loading Up on Road Trip Treats at Sheetz

Casey Barber

by Casey Barber on March 17, 2010

When you’re on car trips, do you buy snacks at the gas station convenience store that you would otherwise never consider? I always treat myself to a bag of Corn Nuts (first choice BBQ, second choice Original) and candy bars to break up the monotony of a multiple-hour drive. And since we’ve been spending so much time driving from wilderness to wilderness on our recent vacation, it’s no surprise that I’ve been obsessing a bit over this. (Especially because Dan doesn’t let me drive—kidding! He has faith that I won’t total a third car on his watch.)

And as a candy bar gal, I say the best place to find them is the marvelous, brightly-lit oasis known as Sheetz. If you’re driving through Pennsylvania, which spans about 300 miles from its western to eastern borders, chances are you’ll see one of these miracle marts.

mallo cup, smoothies, whatchamacallit, gardners peanut butter meltaways

my typical haul from a mid-trip Sheetz stop

Apart from the excellent MTO (made-to-order) hot foods—I basically lived on Shmuffins, the Sheetz version of Egg McMuffins, throughout high school—the store shows its PA pride by stocking more than just Hershey and Nestle bars. Boyer, the Altoona candy company that makes Mallo Cups and Smoothies, is well-represented in the aisles.

Best of all, at Sheetz you’ll be lucky enough to find Gardner’s Peanut Butter Meltaways, the single greatest chocolate-peanut butter sensation ever. Forget anything from the Reese’s family, resist the Peanut Butter Twix, put the Take 5 back on the shelf. This is the stuff. It’s even more delicious than Tyrone, PA’s other semi-famous export, American Ballet Theatre dancer Ethan Stiefel (better known to legions of girls as Center Stage‘s bad boy Cooper Nielson).

gardners peanut butter meltaway, candyIntensely creamy whipped peanut filling—none of that granular peanut butter cup crap—surrounded by real, never waxy, milk chocolate, broken into four distinct squares that take only a few minutes to dissolve on your tongue… I have to buy at least two every time we stop. And since we’re only a few weeks away from Easter, the lucky kids of PA will soon be getting their 1-lb. Gardner’s peanut butter eggs and bunnies! Sigh! I am seething with jealousy!

So for anyone who’s driving through Pennsylvania on your way to visit me, please plan accordingly, as I only get to devour my meltaways two or three times a year. It’s not nearly often enough.

And now I must turn the tables on you, dear readers: what’s your favorite road trip snack?

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Fran March 17, 2010 at 9:29 am

I’m so very very different from most people — I think. I remember the couple of times we took the Auto Train to Florida when I was a kid. Well a teenager really. My mom is a great cook and she’d pack a cooler with her famous “Auntie June Chicken” (the one CNN put me on the news for woot!) and celery and carrots for lunch with home made chocolate chip cookies for dessert. And the snacks were things like nuts and cheese and olives. Yep, olives and I looked forward to those the most!

When I got married and we took our first drive to the in laws, I remember fussing over making the perfect subs for our road trip. Don’t remember what I packed to go with, but the subs were awesome and the left overs became grinders as they’re called in Connecticut — basically a sub that’s heated up so that the cheese melts.

Oh, and down here in the south it’s not Sheet’s it’s WaWa. I experienced my first one in the Fall and was amazed by all they had to offer. I need to go on another road trip and plan my menu accordingly.

Long response to a quick question.

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Casey March 19, 2010 at 9:52 am

Fran, we’ve got WaWa in New Jersey too! I do appreciate their impressive food selection, but Sheetz will always be my first and dearest love.

Any time you’re planning a road trip this way, you’re always welcome to bring some delicious subs (price of admission for our guest room).

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Sarah - A Beach Home Companion March 17, 2010 at 9:42 am

I haven’t seen a Watchamacallit in years, however I have probably referred to something as such in at least the last couple days.

As much as I love the peanut butter chocolate combo, if you told me I could only have one candy bar, it would be a Score or Heath bar. Toffee tops all.

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Sanura March 18, 2010 at 3:18 pm

My favorite snack food is chocolate. Since, I also enjoy peanut butter sweets, I would love to try the Gardner’s version. Is it sold somewhere in NY? If so, where?

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Casey March 19, 2010 at 9:39 am

Unfortunately, Gardner’s are only available in PA – they’re a very small company. But you can order online at gardnerscandies.com, and believe me, the shipping will be worth it.

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wino March 18, 2010 at 8:41 pm

You have got to love Sheetz!!!

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Dan March 22, 2010 at 12:38 pm

As a Montreal-er who doesn’t get back too often, I always look forward to the chance to stock up on Coffee Crisp.

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Joan March 25, 2010 at 7:27 am

Sorry, but I have to cheer for one favorite bring-from-home road trip snack: my favorite mixture of nuts, dried cranberries and/or sour cherries, and maybe a few semi-sweet morsels thrown in. Especially for a driver needing to keep blood sugar even, this works every time! Oh yes, one other guaranteed-to-keep-you alert snack, Tootsie Roll pops…If you resist biting through them, they will keep you going for more than 30 minutes (my own road-trip research!) and by working those jaw muscles, also keep you shart and alert! Drive on…

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Stephanie - Wasabimon January 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm

OMG, that huge Whatchamacallit is making my hungry! Want now…

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