A Travellerspoint blog

Day 3 - Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Farm markets, Amish, Mennonite, Pretzels, Beer, lush farmland, absolutely no roadside debris

sunny

Distance traveled 106 miles (210 k) Total distance 972 miles (1615 k)

With only a single day to visit this place we were out on the road early, first destination the City of Lancaster and its iconic farm market, established well over 200 years ago., It is May, and the asparagus is front and center of the market produce, but they have fresh local early beets, lettuce of every imaginable type, green beans and so on. The meat counters are full of local beef, pork and chicken. The deli counters; locally made sausage, both raw and smoked! Bakery items to die for. We bought a coffee and did an hour long wander before buying anything else other than a donut.

We were told that people from Philadelphia come to this market every Saturday and sure enough, by the time we were done, the parking lots were full and the market thronged with people...we can' imagine what it is like in the summer, with tourist season in full swing as well.

IMGP3560__1024x680_.jpg

We purchased our upcoming supper; beef tenderloin, a pound of asparagus, and green beans. We carry a cooler with us when we travel and with supper safely stowed, we headed off towards Marietta, at the west side of the valley. We are following National Geographic's Giide to Scenic Highways and Byways and this one goes from Marietta, along Highway 772 for 35 miles through the north edge of Amish country to Gap, which is near our rental cabin.

The drive is lovely, through farmland and small towns dating back to the early 1700's. We stop in Lititz, at the Sturgis Pretzel House, claiming to be the oldest pretzel bakery in the USA. We take the tour ($3.50 per person) and all is well until late arrivals to our tour come into the room, taking a smallish tour of 12 up to an unwieldy 19. Three of the newcomers are young, under 3 years of age, with indulgent parents who don't know how to get their children to be quiet long enough for the young lady conducting the tour to tell us about the process. The tour was not long, but we were both glad when it was over. The soft pretzels were delicious.

IMGP3564__1024x568_.jpg

Lititz is a lovely town, home to Linden Hall, founded in 1746 and the oldest boarding school for girls in the country. We toured the grounds and headed along Main Street. We found a great pub, with a sign on the front saying it was rated the best beer pub in the state. So, we gave it a try. Jenny had a brown ale and I tried the bourbon barrel aged porter. Both delicious. the beer stop set us back on our feet and ready to continue our tour. We arrived at Gap around 2:00pm and then searched for and found the September Cheese Store. All locally produced. We bought a Sharp Cheddar to add to our cooler.

The roads in the area are completely free of garbage and the yards around the farmhouses are meticulously maintained...really nice to see such care taken.

On our way back towards the cabin we passed through the town of Intercourse, which is the subject of many local tales of how it came to get its name. It is at the intersection of two road and that seems to be the reason the town got its name. There is however, a t-shirt available, that states the town is between Blue Balls and Paradise...really both of those town exist close by...I am not making this up.

We returned to our cabin, both of us ready for a nap and were out like a light for an hour. We got back up and did a backroads tour of the area, looking for which houses did not have electrical connections, for these were surely Amish houses. Lots of buggies out along the road. This is their country and people with cars give them the right of way. Even late in the day the Amish were hard at work, with teams of horses mowing hay, and plowing fields.

Lots of covered bridges as well:

DSCF2579__1024x1024_.jpg

We stopped at the local Quilt co-operative. An amazing display or quilts for sale. The most expensive we saw was $2,865. and most quilts were in the $750 to $1,500 range. Amazing stuff.

Our steak and asparagus supper was delicious and our day in Amish paradise was almost complete.

Behind our cabin is a fenced filed with three goats. One of the goats had stuck his head through a section of the fence, on the assumption that the grass is actually greener and had gotten stuck. She could not get her horns back through the hole. We had seen her earlier in the day, so she had been in there for some time. Finally, at dusk we called the owner and she came up to snip the wire and set the little goat free. By the way she walked back up the hill towards her pen you could tell she was embarrassed by her inability to get free from her trap.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 03:15 Comments (1)

Days 1 & 2 - Home to Strasburg, Pennsylvania

Bay Ferries, LL Bean, Stuff in our supper that shouldn't be there, long, long delays on the Interstate

Distance traveled: Today 345 miles (575 k)

We caught the Fundy Rose ferry from Digby to Saint John New Brunswick on Thursday, May 12. The ferry was amazingly good, as far as ferries go. The one way cost for our car and two adults was $169. We got off the ferry at 1:15pm Atlantic time and were in Freeport Maine at 5:30pm Eastern Daylight Time.

We stayed at the Comfort Suites in an excellent room, cost $103 US for the night. I would rate the hotel as about an 8 on a 1-10 scale. Good location, nice room, breakfast included. We headed down to LL Bean for a look around. It is always an experience to go into what must be one of the largest outdoor retail stores in the Northeast. I bought a pair of hiking shorts, Jenny nothing.

We headed to a brew pub for supper. We each had a pint of beer, a stout for Jenny and a Brown ale for me. Half way through the beer we switched so we could both try the local brew. Both were good to very good. We ordered a 1/2 plate of nachos and they were fine, until right up to the end when we found a piece of plastic in the middle of everything. The restaurant was very good about it and we got our entire meal for free.

Day Two: Distance traveled: Today 518 miles (830 k), total so far 863 miles (1405 k)

The new Honda CR-V is doing very well on gas mileage, about 7.8 litres per 100 kilometers, or about 30 miles per US gallon.

Our day two drive was planned to be very long as we wanted to take in Amish Country in Pennsylvania on Saturday, as almost everything in the Lancaster area is closed on Sunday. Initially, all went well. We were expecting a drive of about 9 hours to make the distance. We left early in the morning with the plan to be in our rental cabin by 5:00pm. All doable on the surface.

Three massive traffic jams over the course of the day extended our arrival time in Strasburg, Pennsylvania to almost 7:30pm. The first traffic slowdown happened in the early afternoon as we moved through the corridor around New York City and New Jersey. A full hour sitting in the midst of thousands of cars and trucks...we covered 4 miles in 50 minutes, then suddenly right back up to 70 miles an hour, like nothing had happened.

As soon as we got clear of the traffic jam it started to rain, and rained hard for about two hours, further slowing our progress. Just as we got to the Pennsylvania border there was an accident in the toll plaza right at the border...again, another 50 minutes crawling forward an inch at a time. Once through that jam we were making good progress. Jenny called ahead to our cabin booking and let them know were expected to be in about 6:30pm.

On our final approach, just 30 miles from completing our trip, another accident near Lancaster stranded us for another 40 minutes. We finally did a U-turn and found an alternative approach to our Strasburg destination.

We are paying $120 per night for this cabin, at Beaver Creek Farm Cabins, in the heart of Amish country. The cabin is advertised as a getaway from the rush of life...no TV, limited internet. It is comfortable, although pretty basic.

DSCF2565__1024x1024_.jpg

We will spend Saturday touring and exploring the Amish/Mennonite community of Pennsylvania. We saw this buggy on the way in to our rental

IMGP3585__1024x644_.jpg

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 16:56 Comments (1)

Planning

Booking rental cabins & motels along the way. Creating a route. Setting a budget.

We were very dissatisfied with the way our 125 days with a boler came to an end and after a few weeks at home, with no travel plans we decided we could not waste a full year of travel over something as simple as a failed vehicle.

If you recall at the end of our last adventure, our boler was sitting at a service garage in Chester NY and we were forced to fly home when our tow vehicle came to the end of its useful life about 600 miles from getting us back home. so we found a purchaser for the boler who was willing to buy it sight unseen as well as to go pick it up in New York and bring it back to Nova Scotia. That was square one of a new plan...we no longer had to put a tow hitch on our new vehicle and go south to get our trailer back home to sell it.

That allowed us to buy a vehicle not necessarily for towing, which opened up vehicle options. We bought a brand new 2016 Honda CRV, which is very fuel efficient and comfortable to drive. Although it can tow a boler, it is not the kind of vehicle you would want to use on massive long adventures similar to our last couple of trips.

DSCF2556.jpg

So, boler sold, new car purchased. What form will our new travel take:

We budgeted $100 a night for accommodation and began an on-line search to see what that could get us. You can almost always get a motel for less than $100 a night. Rental condos and cabins, with full kitchens and decent amenities can also be had for right around $100 a night. Food, gas and other expenses are budgeted at $100 a day as well. We will cook most meals in our rental units to keep the cost of food down to a reasonable level.

So, we have booked a cabin in Amish country, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for two nights, a resort on the Blue Ridge Parkway, in Virginia for one night, a cabin near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina for 7 nights and a condo in New Orleans for 4 nights. We will also stay at road-side motels as we travel south, probably 5 of them. We already have one booked in Freeport, Maine for our first night on the road.

So far New Orleans is our goal destination, and we have not yet determined the final path home from there. We hope to take in Mammoth Caves National Park, in Kentucky, and may head as far west as Hot Springs, Arkansas, and maybe 4-5 days in Nashville...we seems uncertain of our return route north. Our health insurance for the United States runs out on June 8, so we can be certain that we will be back in Canada, at Sarnia, Ontario to visit family before returning to Nova Scotia through Canada. We will book cabins and condos while on the road for our continued travels.

In all we should travel about 6,600 miles (11,000 kilometers), returning to Nova Scotia right around June 15 or so. We head out on Thursday, May 12 and our first blog from the road will be a few days later, once we have a chance to get settled into our new travel routine.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 02:26 Comments (1)

(Entries 16 - 18 of 18) « Page 1 2 3 [4]