Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Latest trip to PA

My wife and I took a trip up to Lancaster County last month. It was a very short trip, way too short. We left around 5 pm on a dark and rainy night and spent the night at a brand new Hampton Inn & Suites in Woodstock, VA. It was a wonderful hotel, and I believe we were the first guests to ever stay in our enormous room. The next day we headed north for Lancaster and stopped in to chat a while with my friend at the PA Dutch CVB. She is so nice and she gave me a gift card to Isaac's Restaurant & Deli (which is a great place, by the way).

We then checked in to our room at the Hilton Garden Inn. I was not overly impressed. We stayed here because it was much cheaper than the Hampton Inn we normally stay in and we were only in for the weekend. We checked in and seemed to wander over the entire hotel before we finally arrived at our room. Our room was right across from a bank of smoking rooms and the entire hallway reeked. We went back to the desk and asked to be moved to another room. The next room had a terrible smell, akin to burnt hair and the traffic noise from highway 283 was daunting. We were then moved to another room (at least the staff were accommodating), a so-called Garden view room. This room was fine and very quiet. The bathroom however, was tiny; the smallest I've ever seen. There was less than an inch clearance between the opening door and the front of the commode! I made the mistake of fully shutting the door and couldn't get it open. Thankfully my wife was in the room and was able to get me out. If someone were traveling alone they would have been in trouble. The bathroom did feature the wonderful Neutrogena/HGI soaps and shampoos. The TV was a big, old school CRT that desperately needs replacing. The bed was OK, but I only slept at tops 4 hours each night. The breakfast was great, best part of the stay and was free thanks to being a HHonors Gold VIP. Still, the negatives outweighed the positives and I wouldn't recommend staying there.

Anyway, back to the business at hand. We had lunch at Ye Olde English Tea Shoppe. Evidently it was British day while we were there because nearly everyone there was a Brit. I'm an Anglophile, so fine with me. I had the wonderful cinnamon plum tea, and a terrific shrimp and crab quiche. On the suggestion of a Shakespearean actor from the Aquila Theatre sitting next to me, I had an amazing Bakewell Tart. Awesome! I thanked him for his suggestion and chatted with he and his fellow actress about Shakespeare and plugged the American Shakespeare Center while I was at it. We then tooled around Intercourse and Bird-in-Hand saying hi to some friends at Kitchen Kettle and buying stuff to bring back to the poor, imprisoned wretches in North Carolina.

We next visited my Amish friends Ruth and Jake. They sadly lost a child in an accident this past summer and this is the first time I had seen them since. They were in good spirits, considering. We spent a long time chatting and catching up and talking genealogy. After visiting with them for a few hours we hit the outlets and then had dinner at Bird-in-Hand. I had the great smoked pork chops-- can't beat them.

The next day, we got up and had breakfast at Bird-in-Hand. I had my usual scrapple. One observation, there were a surprising number of people in town- actually, I have never seen the outlets so full. There were times we could not get in them due to there being no parking! Anyway, we spent the day going to our favorite places such as Gordonville Book Shop, the outlets, Kitchen Kettle, Lapp Valley, and the bakeries. We visited with my friend Leroy at his farm and talked organics & whatnot, then visited with Ruth again before having a final meal at Bird-in-Hand.

Unfortunately, the next day we had to leave. We had a great breakfast at the hotel, then stopped in Staunton for lunch at Shenandoah Pizza. Great pizza and a great owner. I wanted to see Henry IV, Part I again, but we were pretty tired, so we headed home.

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