Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Inn at Kitchen Kettle Village



On my most recent vacation to Lancaster County, I stayed four nights in room 904 of the Inn at Kitchen Kettle Village. I have been visiting KKV since I was three years old, but this was my first overnight stay. This room is on the backside of the Inn, above Village Quilts. This building used to house The People's Place, one of the earliest Amish/Mennonite interpretive tourism sites in Lancaster County, and a neat place for a Lancaster/Amishophile like myself. Anyway, the place is awesome. The only drawback is that the rooms in this particular building are upstairs (a lot of stairs), so you have to haul your luggage up the steps, so if you have physical limitations, you may be better served in the cottages or the Strawberry Street Guest Quarters. This room had a four poster massive heirloom quilt thrown king bed. There were awesome Kitchen Kettle goodies like fudge candies, KKV crackers, and KKV jellies (these were replinished after a couple of days), as well as two bottles of water each day in the fridge. The bathroom was very large and featured luxury amenities (oatmeal soaps and Egyptian cotton towels). The room also featured a nice Samsung TV (not flatscreen), a Sony Dream Machine, a microwave, a walk-in closet, quilt wall hangings, and an overstuffed red comfy chair. On top of it all, this room was quite inexpensive after discounts (less than $80 a night). We were also given vouchers for free breakfasts in the Kling House Restaurant (Fench toast with bacon or sausage, pancakes w/ bacon or sausage, or two eggs with homefries and toast) or $3 off any breakfast menu item. You were also given nice travel mugs for free coffee every day that you could take home when you checked out. You were also given a reserved parking spot right at the door. What an awesome hotel stay! I can't recommend this place enough!



While there I met much of the KKV braintrust. I would like to give a shout out to Lisa Horn, Joanne Ladley, and Mrs. Pat Burnley (co-founder of KKV) for making my wife and I feel like super VIPs. Mrs. Burnley, whom we had met a few months ago, even gave us a lemon whoopie pie which was awesome! I also wish to give major props to Lauren in the Kling House as well as the hostess (I'm sorry, I didn't get her name) for going the extra mile in getting me an awesome early 90s KKV poster called "Lancaster Preserved" (I kinda collect KKV memorabilia). Lauren was a great waitress and we really enjoyed talking with her. Charity at the Kling House was also a great waitress. The only bad thing was that Pappy's Kettle Korn wasn't open :( We even called them and asked and they said they would be there at 10 on Friday, but they hadn't shown up by 10:45 and we had to leave. Oh well, we'll get some next time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gettysburg









I am currently in Lancaster County, staying at the Inn at Kitchen Kettle Village. This place is amazing, but I'll get to that in another post. Before coming to Lancaster I spent two nights at the Hilton Garden Inn in Gettysburg. It is a nice hotel that tries a little too hard to be a full service Hilton while offering the quickness and convenience of a Hampton Inn. Overall, it was a nice place.

Before arriving in Gettysburg we had lunch at Hoss's Steak and Sea House in Chambersburg. Per usual, the food and service was wonderful. This is a well-managed restaurant and we always have great meals and service. The server that we always have always remembers my name (her son is also named Adrian). I think that's a nice touch and amazing considering how many people she sees (and she only sees me at most 4-5 times a year).

After arriving in Gettysburg we went to the National Park Visitor's Center for a lecture by Park Ranger Scott Hartwig on the July 1, 1863 fight for Herbst's Woods. It was fantastic. Hartwig is a great interpreter and he was so thorough. I consider myself somewhat of an expert on that portion of the battle and he really made it enjoyable for everyone from the novice to the pro. We then took a Civil War Traveler podcast of Devil's Den. It was very informative, but not for anyone in poor physical condition or the clumsy as you must traverse some very uneven ground, boulders, and streams. How those men fought over that ground under fire is beyond me. The more I walk parts of that field the more awe I hold those men in. We had dinner with our ranger friend at Montezuma Mexican Restaurant that night. I'm not a huge fan of Mexican food as there are ten on every block in NC. This one was just OK, and not up to par with most of those found in NC and more expensive. It sure isn't in the same league as Asheboro's Burrito Brothers. We then went shopping at the outlets in Gettysburg and picked up some Turkey Hill and TastyKake at Giant. Let me just say that those TastyKake Klair Pies are some of the best things ever!

The next morning we waited a long time to get a mediocre (free) breakfast at the hotel. It was free because we are Hilton Honors Gold VIPs. We then went to the Visitor's Center and finally saw the film "A New Birth of Freedom" and the Cyclorama. Both were very moving, the film was kinda Civil War for Dummies, but it was well done. The Cyclorama quite literally made me misty eyed thinking of what our ancestors went through. We then went to what we thought was the Gingerbread Man- well, turns out it has been remodeled and its name has been changed to Gettysburg Eddie's in honor of Gettysburg native and baseball Hall of Famer Eddie Plank. I must say, this is one of the worst names for a restaurant ever- it is cumbersome to say and kind of just vomits out of the mouth. On the plus side, the recipes and the owner are still the same. All the Civil War artwork has been replaced with Eddie Plank photos and they have new furniture. They still have the best chicken salad croissant, great twice fried waffle fries, an even better house salad (now with red beet eggs), and gingerbread to die for. Unfortunately, our old favorite Apple Blossom Tea Room has closed. After lunch we did a podcast tour of The Wheatfield- this was a very long, hard-to-follow, but still informative tour. If you do it, have some good walking shoes because it goes back and forth over the same ground several times and also you cover some good distances. That night we had dinner with two ranger friends at O'Rorke's Fine Food and Spirits. This was all of our first times at O'Rorke's. It was very good- I had a nice, meaty Reuben with bland fries, and apple fritters. I also had some excellent cream of crab soup. After chatting with our friends we took a walk down to Long Lane where there was a lot of skirmishing on July 1-3. I didn't see any ghosts. We went back to the hotel and had to move to another room because some jerk was smoking in a non-smoking room and it was wafting heavily into our room. We were given $20 off our rate for the trouble. The hotel is kinda dumb in that they only have one floor that is smoking, but it is only half smoking- the other half is non. We were unfortunately put on the smoking hall and when we arrived and stepped off the elevator it was awful but it was fine in our room on the first night. But then the idiot lights up in a non-smoking room-- the place was empty, why not get a smoking room? So, after that adventure and a decent night's sleep we had another somewhat slow, somewhat mediocre breakfast (I have to admit, HGI has the best bacon I've ever had). We then checked out and headed to Lancaster County.