Friday, May 27, 2011

Endicott, New York

We arrived at Pine Valley Campground  in Endicott, NY Tuesday afternoon and got settled into space C87. IMGP2703 Notice the tire ruts in this picture-just from backing in. Endicott is just to the west of Binghamton. This is a nice campground that has suffered from excessive rainfall all spring making everything wet, muddy, muggy and buggy.  Wednesday, the day after we arrived, was the first day in 6 weeks that it didn’t rain. Of course, that only lasted until after dark. Then, it rained most of the night. The owners were trying very hard to have this place ready for the holiday weekend but in some cases, just had to close off sections because it’s too wet to even get in. They said they turned away many reservations because of this. With most of their sites wooded, even when the sun shines, there’s no drying between rains. They do have several sites in the open around a little lake but they are grass sites so I imagine they, too, will be mud after the weekend and all the traffic on them. IMGP2709 IMGP2697 IMGP2699 IMGP2704 IMGP2705 IMGP2707 IMGP2708

This is a small community with a very nice Rails to Trails trail about 4 miles from Pine Valley. We discovered this trail on Wednesday while we were out looking for the post office. A little research showed that it was a 2.1 mile paved trail so we thought we’d check it out on Thursday. It seems so long since we’ve gotten any decent exercise-no ones fault but our own :) We walked the trail on Thursday making it a total of 4.2 miles round trip. It was paved, straight and flat. Not entirely exciting, but a nice walking surface for me. Since I broke my leg last year, I’ve found that flat surfaces are much easier for me to maneuver. Uneven ground still gives me a problem but nothing I won’t tackle. I’ve recently invested in a couple of good walking poles for those types of hikes but haven’t used them yet. So here’s the flat, straight trail  complete with some wild flowers  and the old train depot :)IMGP2721

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That was so much fun we did it again today. Actually, I walked it and Rick did it on his Trikke…twice. He did 8.4 miles to my 4.2 and in less time. Oh well, I think it’s best I keep both feet on the ground for awhile :)

So, after a nice afternoon nap, we had a light dinner and are watching the rain and the radar for our evening entertainment :) More storms, more watches and warnings :(

Until next time, thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Saying Good Bye to Pennsylvania and New Friends

Before I start this post I want to say “Welcome home, honey” to our youngest daughter, Nicole. She arrived back in the states yesterday after spending the last several months studying in Florence, Italy. She will be here for the summer before returning for another year of studies. Although we’ve been in touch, it will be a few weeks before we connect and see each other. Just knowing she’s on this side of the pond makes it feel like she’s close by :)


We pulled out of Beacon Hill in Intercourse, PA at 9:50 this morning. Our next stop will be Pine Valley Campground in Endicott, NY. While Rick is driving through construction areas, I’m working on this post to keep my mind occupied so I’m not paying attention to how much lane we don’t have next to these concrete barriers :)


Sunday morning, we met new friends Nancy and Neil for a breakfast brunch at Hershey Farms Restaurant in Ronks, PA. Nancy and Neil live in Lancaster County and had attended the RV-Dreams rally back in April. Unfortunately, we never met during the rally! It was because Nancy follows this blog that she got in touch with us and we got together. We had a wonderful time visiting. Nancy and Neil are future full timers. They have a house to sell first but they’ll be there before they know it. They are long time campers and have always loved the lifestyle. We took pictures outside the restaurant next to the Amish wagon.

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Monday, we took a drive up to Manheim for lunch. Nancy works at a really neat restaurant housed in a very old building. It was reminiscent of an old speakeasy. The restaurant was the Cat’s Meow. I took pictures of the building but forgot pictures of our food which was excellent and the service was second to none :)  Rick had a burger and fries. I had the chicken quesadillas. Yum! In the pictures below, note the bathtub in the bar. It’s an original claw foot tub that they use to hold the liquor bottles and beer taps.

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After hugs and a “see you down the road” we headed home to finish up the laundry. Our next site at Pine Valley Campground only has water and electric so I wanted to be sure we arrived with clean clothes. No clothes washing without a sewer hookup. We’d fill our gray tank in no time. I believe this campground does have sewer hookup sites, but we got their last available site and this one doesn’t have it. We are just grateful to have a place to stay this week. Memorial weekend is a VERY popular holiday with campers.

On our last evening in PA, our across the road neighbors, Joe and Linda, invited us over for some good wine and some good conversation. It was a very nice way to end our week at Beacon Hill and we had a very nice time. Thank you Joe and Linda! We hope to meet you down the road again one day.

As I’ve worked on this post, Rick has brought us all the way into NY and we are very close to the campground. That is my cue to pay attention and start navigating :) Until next time, thanks for stopping  by.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rhubarb Festival, Fresh Bread and Finally the Sun

It rained throughout the night Thursday and all morning Friday, so when it stopped around noon we took advantage of the lull and walked over to the Rhubarb Festival at Kitchen Kettle Village. We braved the busy road this time and walked on the edge of the road single file to get into town. The whole walk is maybe 1/2 mile, but there is no shoulder and people drive on it like maniacs! The speed limit is 35 but the only time you see anything close to 35 is when an Amish buggy passes you! Several times, we stepped onto someone's property to get out of the way. It’s such a nice pretty walk, it’s a shame that it’s so dangerous.

When we arrived at Kitchen Kettle, the whoopie pie filling contest was in progress. IMGP2654Whoopie  pies are famous in the area and consist of 2 round cake pieces with frosting filling between them. I guess they’d be similar to a moon pie but not chocolate covered and thicker. They taste pretty good but they sure are sweet! The object of this contest was the first person to put together 6 whoopie pies and get them packaged wins. There was a lot of frosting flying around that table! The guy in the pink shirt with his back to us above won.

We even had live entertainment! This is the David Wilson German Band. IMGP2656

I kept waiting for them to break out into the Beer Barrel Polka but there is no alcohol here so that probably wasn’t going to happen Smile

We wandered around looking at some to the things for sale. It’s a good thing we live in an RV and can’t drag around all that stuff or some of it would have ended up going home with me.

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Finally, I found what I had been looking for…IMGP2668and I make it into this. We had it warm with vanilla ice cream that evening. IMGP2670

Once I found the fresh rhubarb, we braved the road again and headed home so I could start baking. I don’t do it often and when I get the urge, I want to do it right now or the urge will go away Smile

While the rhubarb crisp was in the oven, there was a knock at our door. Two young Amish boys were pulling around a wagon selling fresh baked bread. Well, it still smelled fresh out of the oven so how could I resist? I bought 2 loaves Smile We enjoyed a nice warm slice with dinner.

The baked goods in this area are excellent. Saturday morning we each had a cinnamon roll made by the Bird-in-Hand bakery and I have to rate it right up there with the cinnamon rolls my mom used to make. I always thought she made the best but these even rival hers (sorry, Mom). Of course, there is probably 1000 calories in each one! Good thing we are leaving next week. These things are just too tempting.

Saturday was the first day since we arrived where it didn’t rain, the sun was out all day and it was beautiful. Because we had done so many things in the rain this week, we stayed home today and just enjoyed the weather. Here is my latest picture of Rick sitting in his chair. He was loving being out there again.IMGP2671

Tomorrow morning we are meeting new friends for a breakfast buffet. Yup, more eating!

Until next time, thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Jam, Mustard, Wine, Pretzels and Chocolate!

We hit the road Wednesday morning thinking we’d get some sightseeing done before the rain came back and we did pretty well on that front. Our first stop was Kitchen Kettle Village almost around the corner from our park. We could have easily walked it, but there’s no shoulder on this road and too many fast vehicles so we felt it was safer to drive.  We also planned to do some other exploring when we finished here.

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Kitchen Kettle Village is a cute little tourist shopping center where you can purchase many things Amish and many things made in China. You just have to be aware. Many thanks to all of you that recommended this place. We enjoyed fresh ice cream

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and we spent at least an hour in the Jam and Relish store sampling a wide array of products. They are made and canned right in the store in small batches. We tasted  some very hot things and some very sweet things. We ended up purchasing a jar of horseradish mustard and a jar of jalapeno jam.

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We tried the horseradish mustard on some Johnsonville brats for dinner that night and the flavor was outstanding! They also make several different types of salsa that we enjoyed sampling and I might have to go back there and get a jar or 2 before we leave. This weekend is their annual rhubarb festival, so I know we’ll be back there to check that out :) I love rhubarb anything.

When we left Kitchen Kettle we just drove and enjoyed the scenery. Everything is so green, thanks to all the rain.

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We eventually made a large circle and came back through Bird-in-Hand to Intercourse where we stopped at the Mount Hope Wine Gallery for a tasting.

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They offer free tastings, which is becoming a rare thing. We eventually chose a Chardonnay that was made especially for the Pennsylvania Renaissance Festival. It was my favorite of all we tasted which really surprised me because I usually don’t like Chardonnay. Maybe my taste is changing :)

Thursday dawned much brighter than the previous 2 days, although there was still no sun to be seen. There was no rain, though, either…yet. After lounging around all morning, drinking my coffee, reading blogs and answering emails, I finally got myself in gear and we headed out to Lititz, PA. No sooner had we gotten on the road than the sky opened up. It rained so hard we had to pull into a parking lot to wait it out. Once the rain let up a bit we continued on to Lititz which is northwest of here. Lititz is another old Pennsylvania Dutch community that was founded in 1756. There is a little park in the middle of town with open parking so we pulled in there as it appeared to be a central location. As soon as we parked, the sky opened up! I think it was the system that hit us when we first started out. It was traveling NW and we apparently just stayed ahead of it until it caught us :)  We waited until it slowed, grabbed the umbrella and took off.

These little ducks were the only ones at home in this weather :)

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First stop: Sturgis Pretzel Factory

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Sturgis Pretzels was the first commercial pretzel bakery in the country. We took the tour, learned to twist a pretzel and got a certificate proclaiming each of us an “Official Pretzel Twister”.  It was fun. The pretzels were very good so, of course, we had to buy some before we left.

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Next stop: Wilbur Chocolate!

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Above photo compliments of PADutchCountry.com

I wasn’t about to let a few (ok, many) raindrops keep me from visiting Wilbur Chocolate, but it did keep me from getting a picture of the outside of the building, so I borrowed the one above ;) It was a highly recommended stop and it was definitely worth it. Thanks Laura ;) We visited the museum before browsing through the store.

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Wilbur Chocolate has been in business since 1865 and are  famous for their chocolate coatings. They also make other great chocolate products including their Wilbur Buds which seem to be very popular. I had never heard of them before, but I can say that they were very good and found their way into my  shopping basket along with some other yummy chocolate goodies. Rick finally hauled me out of there for my own good :)

Now this is my kind of diet pill! :)

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Once we got back home, I made a pot of Italian Stew for dinner. It just seemed to fit the weather and it hit the spot too.

The weather is supposed to improve for the weekend which will be nice. We have 4 more days to fill while we’re here. I don’t think that will be hard :)

Until next time, thanks for stopping by.

BTW, for those of you curious about the town names in this area, the links above will take you to Wikipedia pages giving some background and history of the communities and their names.