Saturday, July 31, 2010

5 Days, 3000 KMs, a Thousand Memories, and a Million Laughs!

Plans to go to Halifax were nixed, and the boys voted that Hubby and I should go away on our own for a few days.  We left without any distinct idea about where we would end up...I was thinking a romantic (huh?) 2nd honeymoon in the Poconos, since our 10th anniversary is coming up soon.

So here's the trip diary.

Tuesday: Day One

I finished writing my final exam and got home at 5 p.m.  It took me longer than I thought to write the exam, because it was easier to come up with some bullshit answers than I expected I actually knew some answers!  I figured we'd leave bright and early the next morning, but NO!  The car was packed, and we drove until I couldn't take the anxiety of keeping nightblind Hubby between the lines we were too tired to go on.  So we spent the first night in Batavia, NY.

Wednesday: Day Two

I'm sure Batavia is a lovely place, though I couldn't tell in the dark, and as soon as we scarfed down our complimentary continental breakfast, we were on the road to Letchworth State Park.  We spent about 3 hours or so leisurely driving through; getting out from time to time to take photos, enjoy the scenery, and visit the museum on site.  I think I'd like to go back there again, and spend a few days in one of the cabins.

(That's me in the photo)

When we left the state park, we headed for Corning, NY to visit the glass museum.  I don't know what I was expecting....displays of Pyrex??  I was certainly surprised by the stunning modern art, and artefacts dating back 3500 years. I was amazed by the breadth of multiculturalism among the visitors as well - I heard Cantonese, German, Italian, and many other languages. 

A portrait of me, through glass! 

I trod carefully over the glass bridge to see the glass blowing demonstration.
Somehow, the idea of walking on glass freaked me out a little.

Next stop: The Poconos! some of us didn't know there was a big race this weekend? In fact, we were treated rather shabbily when we had the nerve to inquire regarding accomodations on Wednesday evening at certain hoteliers (didn't we know they were all full up for the race this weekend???!!!)!  By the time we got settled in a dump a fine chain motel, had our supper at 9 p.m., and returned to our room - - romance in the Poconos was out of the question. I can't even remember the name of the town we stayed in.

Thursday: Day Three

Burned rubber getting the hell out of wherever we were We were off bright and early to our next destination: Nazareth, PA. Our intention was to make a tour of the C.F.Martin factory to see the guitars made there.  Okay...if you are ever in the neighbourhood - - just GO!  The town is the prettiest place, everyone we met there was so friendly, breakfast at the Nazareth Diner was soooooo good, Barbara at the Naz. Visitor Centre was a doll, Gail and Liz at the old Martin factory (where they construct kits for hobbyists to build their own guitars from Martin 2nds pieces).

The museum has only been open since 2004, and is incredibly well done. 

Funny, we were listening to "Unplugged" in the car at the beginning of our trip Tuesday evening!

Just outside of the museum, there is an area where you can take a Martin off the wall and try it out. 

There is a long, long wall of album covers with a Martin in the art/photo. 
This is just part of the wall! (Also outside the museum)

Hubby and I agreed that we were running a ragged pace, and that THIS night, we would be stopping early, and treating ourselves to a very nice place to spend the night.  So, it was off to Lancaster County, PA!

The visitor centre in Lancaster is incredible, and the staff so helpful.  We were assisted in finding a lovely room in Bird-in-Hand, PA at the historic Ressler House, one of four properties that makes up the Bird-in-Hand Village Inn and Suites.  The Ressler House was built in 1858, and recently restored and updated.  It is drop-dead gorgeous.  We had a stunning room, with a King sized bed, a gas fireplace, and a jacuzzi. 

After checking in, and taking a wee rest, we went to dinner and then took a drive to nearby Intercourse, PA.  The village had practically rolled up the streets (it was nearly 8 o'clock for heaven's sake!) so we had a bit of a walk around, took some photos of horse poop and decided where we would like to visit in the morning. 

Back at the inn, we were served a bedtime snack in the main house -- all kinds of baked goodies, plus! -- but we only had room for a decaf coffee, and a chin wag with a couple from Virginia and friendly Lisa who was our hostess for the evening. (I stuck a peanut butter cookie in my pocket, in case I needed a nibble later!)

Friday: Day Four

After a lovely breakfast in the dining room at the inn, we left early to do a little shopping in Intercourse, and to visit the quilt museum there.  First stop, was a quilt store of course: The Old Country Store.  Upstairs in this 1880s structure is where the The People's Place Quilt Museum is located.  Go to the museum website to see photos, ours didn't turn out so great.

Then we were off to historic Gettysburg, PA. First, our bellies had to be taken care of, and a stop at the Farnsworth House Inn (1810) fit the bill nicely.

The house itself played a role in the battle of Gettysburg, as attested by 150 bullet holes in the brick:

We drove around the battlefields, stopped in at the museum, and then a moment of clarity struck us....who's idea was this anyway???  Hubby thought we were in Gettysburg because I wanted to see it, and I just went along for the ride because I thought he was itching to see it.... what the...???

While we respect the historical and social significance of the site, we're not American, so it's not a part of our heritage.  But before we made our exit, we did take a walk around cemetary hill, and then to Soldiers National Cemetery, the site of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

It's difficult to name precisely the emotional experience of visiting this cemetery, seeing the rows upon rows of grave markers, some not much bigger than a common brick with just a number etched into it, marking the resting place of a man.  It was one of those peak experiences of unspeakable, indescribable, indefineable je ne sais quoi, and I think I can safely say that we are both glad to have not missed it.

We took a long evening drive, following mountain roads back and forth across the Susquehanna River, finally coming to a stop in Clearfield, PA.

Saturday: Day Five

A lovely drive through the Allegheny Mountains, a stop at the Duty Free, and home by mid afternoon!


  1. Of course everything was closed by 8pm in INTERCOURSE,PA. What with a name like that did you expect would be going on?!?

  2. Sounds like you had a lovely get-away! Just what every marriage needs once in a while! (for most of us, probably more often than we actually do get away!) Your kids were right.

  3. were only a few hours away from me! We love the Gettysburg, Lancaster area too.
    Sorry about the Pocono thing....we are big Nascar fans, but have never gone to Pocono for the race. I doubt if you missed much there, honestly. You still got to see some lovely scenery!

  4. We've been to the Corning Museum of Glass a few times - the displays are different every time. Did you find the quilt shop in downtown Corning?
    Downtown Shipshewana closes up at 6:00 in the summer too - maybe it's an Amish / Mennonite thing?

  5. Sounds like a lovely trip. I loved Lancaster County when I was there in April, and I would gladly go back and spend MUCH more time. (And I couldn't resist - I had to buy an "I (heart) Intercourse" mug to give to my husband when I got home.)

    I've never had much interest in visiting battlefields, but the Gettysburg Address, wow, what a speech. I love how powerful Lincoln's words were, yet he used so few of them. And how wrong he was - we will ALWAYS remember what he said there!