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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pennslyvania State Capitol ~ Harrisburg

It was a rainy day when we went to visit Pennsylvania's State Capitol and Historic District but we didn't let that slow us down one bit.  Of course we couldn't get out and walk around like we love to do but we still managed to have fun seeing all the Gothic, Renaissance and Italian style buildings and churches.  We love visiting State Capitals and Historic Districts and this did not let us down.

Churches of Harrisburg
Harrisburg has been an important transportation center since the days of riverboat traffic.  It's western boundary is formed by the Susquehanna River.  This location played an important part in it's selection as the capital of Pennsylvania in 1812.  Because of its location Harrisburg played a large part in the early development of the Pennsylvania canal system and the subsequent development of the railroads, highways and airlines.  Today Harrisburg is one of the most important commercial centers and distribution points in the East.
Harrisburg Capitol ~ Front ~ Dome ~ Side ~ Back
In colonial days, John Harris operated a ferry at Harrisburg.  His son, John Jr., laid out the town of Harrisburg in 1785, and gave land to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that was later used for the Capitol grounds.  The capitol building is an Italian Renaissance-style statehouse.  It is an example of outstanding architecture, with collections of art and sculpture, including large murals.  On the floor of the main hallway, tiles show Pennsylvania's history, symbols, insects and animals.


At the dedication of the Capitol Building in 1906, President Teddy Roosevelt described this structure as "the hamsomest building I have ever seen".  The capitol dome rises 272 feet.  The vaulted dome weighs 52 million pounds, and was modeled after St Peter's Basilica in Rome.  It's beautiful staircase looks like one from Paris Opera.

Harrisburg Historic District
The capitol is often referred to as a "palace of art" because of its many sculptures, murals and stained-glass windows, most of which use Pennsylvania themes or were made by Pennsylvanians. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006. Starting in 1982, the restoration of the capitol has been ongoing.

Bridges of Harrisburg
Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Chocolate ~ Chocolate Everywhere♥

Hershey Chocolate World is the place to be and we had a GREAT time....

We arrived early in the morning so we could beat the crowds but since the amusement park was not opened yet we didn't really have to worry about it too much.  I figured that people would be rushing the place just to get to the chocolate.  Anyways when we arrived the first thing we did was purchase our tickets for the events that they had... there were several to choose from and we decided on the 3-D show, Create your own Candy bar, The Great American Chocolate tour and the Trolley Ride.



The first thing we saw was the Hershey's Really BIG 3-D Show ~ Joining the resident chocolate historian, Professor D.P. Quigley on a magical journey through HERSHEY'S entertaining history. This stunning, digitally enhanced 3D animated musical adventure was so much fun as HERSHEY'S Product Characters virtually jump off the big screen and come to life with surprising in-theater special effects. Danny Divito was the voice of the main character and was this ever a cute movie.  The special effects were GREAT!
 
 
Next we moved onto the Trolley Ride

The trolley tour is a historical overview about Milton S. Hershey, the town of Hershey and the Hershey company. The tour was led by 2 conductors dressed in period clothing who put on a number of funny skits about Mr. Hershey’s life.
On the tour we learned about Milton S. Hershey. We learned about how he had a number of failures before he eventually succeeded. We learned that he didn’t just build a company, he built a town. We also visited and learned about the Milton Hershey School, which offers housing and schooling for underprivileged children. We were also given quite a few more samples of Hershey’s candies. The tour was approximately 60 minutes long.

The First trolley car rolled out October 15th, 1904 ` rolling through landscape which would grow to become Hershey. It started out being used to transport milk from local dairy farms to the Chocolate Factory,  later included passenger cars transporting workers to the factory, students of the Hershey school to their classes, and families to Hershey Park. By the time World War II ended Americans had shifted from railway to highway travel and the trolleys had past their prime and stopped running on Dec 21, 1946 ~ in 1988 they were restored and put to use once again as a guided tour through Hershey.

This was the Create your own Candy Bar ~ We had to put on aprons and hair nets ~ then we went into a room with computers and selected what kind of Chocolate bar we wanted and what we wanted inside of it ~ next we moved onto designing our box ~ After designing our box we went in and watched our candy bar be made.  This was really fun and I am looking forward to eating my designer bar. It is Dark Chocolate with toffee and nuts inside.


We had a GREAT day at Hershey and we ate way too much Chocolate ~ YUM!


Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

More Fun & More Food ~ What can I say!

I made a BIG boo boo ~ forgot there was a holiday weekend approaching and had no reservations anywhere.  We leave the Hershey Thousand Trails on the Friday before the weekend and my original plan was to move on up the highway towards New Haven Connecticut.  Soon I realized that the Memorial Day Weekend was coming up and started calling for ressies but to no avail.  Everywhere we had wanted to stay was booked solid and we couldn't extend here because we used our 14 days and they were full on all other plans like Passport, Encore and any others they may have accepted.  So on the phone trying to find a place ~ we decided to stay in the general area since we were really enjoying it here.  Finally we found a nice campground in New Holland and got the last spot!  Thank goodness~~~ So we were saved this time.

Campbelltown Cafe ~ PA
Bob at the RV park he asked if we had been to Campbelltown Cafe' and if not we should go.  Well it doesn't take much to convince us to go out for food and soon we were on our way out for breakfast. If you ever come here this is a wonderful place to eat plus the staff is delightful!

Eggs Benedict ~ Our Waitress Mira ~ Sausage & Gravy with Eggs

The rest of the day was a do nothing day ~ We did take Tiffy to the groomers and had all her hair cut off... she is a much cooler now and seems to be doing a lot better.  However over the next few days we continued to drive through the countryside and enjoyed looking at all the Amish farms.


Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!

 

Friday, May 25, 2012

What Did We Find On Our Ride through Amish Country?

We took off for the day with plans of riding through the country and seeing what fun it brings to us ~ In the small town of Intercourse we came across the Intercourse Canning Company and also the Intercourse Pretzel Factory.  Both were interesting but we really liked quite a lot of the goods at the canning company.  The pretzel company was OK but we did have fun going in and making a pretzel by hand.


The Intercourse Canning Company offers over 300 products that freshly packed by local Amish and Mennonite folk, who work daily to produce various brand jarred goods.

 Not only are their products the best in the field, they're right great tasting. You can order products directly from their list of pickled vegetables, relishes, salsas, jams, jellies, pancake mixes, pretzel mixes and much more. They had many sample of the relishes and sauces which were delicious. We bought a Spicy Pepper relish, Corn Relish and Pickled Beets. I might even go back before we leave to buy a few other products.


On our visit to the pretzel factory today it surely convinced us that there are still somethings handmade in today’s world. Only a handful of companies still hand twist a hard pretzel. It is a lot of work to bake pretzels the old-fashioned way. The taste & texture is unique.

They have a free 10-15 minute tour, where they explain how they make hard pretzels and then give you a piece of dough so you can learn to twist a pretzel. When you are finished, the dough is discarded as there is no sanitary way to bake your pretzel. You are awarded with an official pretzel twister sticker for your efforts which we put into our passport book under misc stamps.

We went to eat at another PA Dutch Restaurant called Dienner's Country Restaurant but it in no way compare to Shady Maple.  It was still good and the service was excellent but was the same price with only a about 1/6 of the food choices.  It was located on the Lincoln Hwy, or Highway 30 East. Souderburg, Pa.  Do you know about the Lincoln Highway? ~  It is a Historic Highway which ran from New York City to San Fransisco before the US routes were designated.  This is a route that Ralph & I have been talking about trying to follow one day kinda like Route 66.  So I was surprised to be on a part of it today and get to see one of the many Historic Landmarks that we have heard so much about ~ The Dutch Windmill aka Dutch Haven (Home of the Shoofly Pie). 


Visitors have been coming to Lancaster County by traveling Route 30 for literally hundreds of years. But for over 50 years, a very special building has signaled their arrival in Amish Country. It’s been around long enough that folks tell their grandchildren about it. It has a claim on being the area’s oldest visitor landmark. Most importantly, it’s the “place that made shoo-fly pie famous.” That building is the landmark Dutch Haven windmill, with its revolving arms still beckoning travelers to stop and come inside.


We are really enjoying are time here♥
Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I Smell Chocolate ~ YUM!

We arrived at Lebanon, Pennsylvania (Hershey) and checked into Hershey Thousand Trails Park on Saturday and was pleasantly surprised to find what I consider to be one of the nicest Thousand Trail Parks around.  We have been to a lot of them across the USA and by far this one rates very high... see my review on the park by clicking the park name above.  Saturday & Sunday was pretty nice weather ~ however Sunday night it started to rain and did so for a little over 2 days.  That was OK since we've been busy sightseeing and the rest was very much appreciated ~ plus Ralph had caught a cold and needed the rest which helped!  Sunday we were surprised by a visit from one of my Facebook friends Nancy Savage ~ Nancy & her husband Neil are just beginning their Full Time Adventures and you can go visit their new blog at  Rock & Roll With Us ~ please go over and welcome them to our community. We will be getting together to go to lunch hopefully one day while we are here.
Fried Chicken, Ribs, Lima Beans, Creamed Onions,
Cheese poppers, Some twice fried fries and Pepper rolls.
Our first day out had us riding through PA Dutch Country ~ seeing all the Amish Farms and Horse & buggies were a thrill for us.  It is definitely a whole different world.  We also wanted to go eat at Shady Maple Smorgasbord.  Our friends in Gettysburg, Linda & Roger, had told us how wonderful it was.  Well it more then exceeded our expectations... for around $20 dollars we had one of the biggest buffet we have ever seen and not to mention the drink was included.  It was packed and you could surely see why.  Over 200 items on the buffet including 4 specialty grill areas where they had beef, ham, burgers, stir fry, spaetzle, sauerkraut & sausage and so much more.

I didn't even get a photo of them.
I can not even begin to tell you about the dessert bar ~ it was loaded with everything including Whoopie Pies and a make your own Sundae bar... I mean really they even had one of my favorites Apple Dumplings... If you love food and are in this area make sure you come to Shady Maple ~ it is outstanding...
There is a huge crowd there but it goes very smoothly and we didn't wait for anything after we got seated ~ which took about 15 minutes.
This is just a small sampling of the buffet
 PA Dutch Country♥ What a beautiful place to be ~ with all the uhmmmm strange name towns...which are all very real names and we went to many of them today.  One of my very favorite things was seeing the horse & buggy's driving down the road.  Of course I had to take photos of all the firehouses with the names on it for my son-in-law.  The Amish really live a simple & different life from the rest of us and as I observed them I wondered how it would be to live and work without electric and many of the modern conveniences we take for granted today.  Children who have no TV or video games look incredibly happy as they play outside and enjoy old fashion toys... somehow I think that may be a good thing. They are not subjected to the violence, swearing and just lousy programing on today's TV. They are just Innocent children.




Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ike and 200 Year Old Food

Bus to Eisenhower Home Site
While here in Gettysburg we wanted to go out to visit Dwight D. Eisenhower's (34th President of the United States) Home and Farm. We got up early and headed to the Gettysburg National Military Park. That is where you buy the tickets for visiting the home. You are not allowed to drive your car out there so we bought our tickets and went to jump onto the bus that takes you there.

Front of house
Eisenhower National Historic Site is the home and farm of General & President Dwight D. and Mamie Eisenhower. Located adjacent to the Gettysburg Battlefield, the farm served the President as a weekend retreat and a meeting place for world leaders.

With its peaceful setting and view of South Mountain, it was a much needed respite from Washington and a backdrop for efforts to reduce Cold War tensions. General and Mrs. Eisenhower donated their home and farm to the National Park Service in 1967, with the condition that they would live their life out there

After living in approximately 32 places that they never owned this house was to become their very first home.

Living Room

Two years later, General Eisenhower died at the age of 78. Mrs. Eisenhower rejected the idea of moving to Washington to be closer to family and friends and continued to live on the farm until her death in 1979. The National Park Service opened the site in 1980.

The farm to this day is a working farm and you can also visit it and walk around the entire estate and farm,

The tour started out as a guided tour but once they told you a lot of information about the Eisenhowers you were pretty much allowed to roam throughout the house and farm.  We had a very enjoyable and fact filled day while visiting President Eisenhowers and Mamie's Home & Farm.

Historic 1776
Dobbin House Tavern

Four Score and Seven years before the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg, (1776), Reverend Alexander Dobbin built a house to begin a new life in America for himself and his family. Today his home, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a colonial restaurant where candlelit elegance, superior food in abundance, and gracious service bring back the sights, sounds and tastes of two centuries ago. Reverend Dobbin had 10 children with his first wife and when she died he remarried a woman with 9 children. A total of 19 children were raised within this historic home.

 In the mid-1800's, a secret crawl space, featured in "National Geographic", served as a "station" for hiding runaway slaves on their perilous journey to freedom on the "Underground Railroad." After the battle of Gettysburg ceased, and the armies had departed, it served as a hospital for wounded soldiers of both the North and the South.

We met friends here for lunch and they reccomended the Onion Soup and they were so right ~ it was the best I have ever had...YUM!

Today the historic house appears virtually the same as it did over 200 years ago. Its native stone walls, seven fireplaces, and hand carved woodwork have been painstakingly restored to their original beauty and character, with interior decor in the traditional eighteenth century manner. The natural springs that ran through the house and was used as refrigeration/cooling now have been routed to only one which is located in the Sringhouse Tavern.  Many of the home's antique furnishings are identical to those listed in the inventory of Rev. Dobbin's estate. The china and flatware exactly match fragments which were unearthed during the re-excavation of the cellar. The servant's period-clothing is completely authentic right down to the tie on pockets!

As a truly authentic colonial tavern, patrons of the Dobbin House may "eat, drink and be merry".

We loved visiting Gettysburg and had a lot of fun.  It was great visiting the home of one of our Presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Now we move on to Hershey, Pa. where we will be going to of course Hershey Chocolate Factory.  We will also be visiting the PA Dutch Community and the Amish area.




Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

A day at Gettysburg Battlefield

We headed out for a day of exploration at Gettysburg Battlefield.  The RV Park we stayed at had the CD tour of the park for rent ($5) so we went into town and the first stop was at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center.  We got our map and headed off for stop 1 of the Auto Tour.  We took out time to listen to the CD and read all the information we picked up at the center ~ we also stopped and looked at all the monuments and read them... This was a HUGE battlefield and it took us about 4 hours to go through the whole park.

The Gettysburg Cyclorama.
The "High Water Mark of the Rebellion".

The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War, the Union victory that ended General Robert E. Lee's second and most ambitious invasion of the North. Often referred to as the "High Water Mark of the Rebellion", Gettysburg was the wars bloodiest battle with 51,000 casualties. Every house and every building in this quiet little town was used as a hospital or a recovery place for the wounded union & confederate soldiers.  It was also the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln's immortal "Gettysburg Address".

video
As we rode around the park and listened to the facts and accounts of the Civil Was Battle at Gettysburg we couldn't help but think how sad it all was and what a horrible time it must have been for the people in this town and the men fighting the battle.  I can only imagine how scared those poor young men had been and in my mind pictured the aftermath of such a violent battle.

Gettysburg National Cemetery
Gettysburg National Cemetery
Courtesy of the National Park Service.
Gettysburg National Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 3,500 Union soldiers killed in the Battle of Gettysburg, a Union victory often cited as a turning point in the Civil War. Numerous monuments stand in both the cemetery and battlefield to commemorate the Union and Confederate troops who fought there. At the cemetery’s dedication on November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln rose to deliver “a few appropriate remarks,” now known as the Gettysburg Address. His two-minute speech served as a reminder of the sacrifices of war and the necessity of holding the Union together. 

Did You Know?

Abraham Lincoln (Library of Congress)
Asked to provide "a few appropriate remarks", President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is recognized today as one of the greatest speeches of his presidency.

I am thankful everyday for the sacrifices young men & women have made for me to live a wonderful and free life... God Bless them all ♥

Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Ride Through Gettysburg, PA

We arrived in Gettysburg, Pa and checked into Artillery Ridge Campground Resort.  I don't want to go on about the Campground so just go on over to read my review ~ click the campground name.   I would not come back to this park!!  I will say that once we finally got set up and learned how to avoid the mud puddles at the door of Tassie and avoided the nasty attitude woman in the front office we had a great time here.

Battle of Gettysburg, by Currier and Ives.pngOK enough with all that ~ after we set up Tassie we got into the car and headed for the cute historic town of Gettysburg which is just chocked full of Civil War history.  On our ride around town we saw many of the homes that were here during the battle.  Here are a few statistics on the Battle.  For a complete rundown of the battle click here.


During the entire battle there was only one civilian casualty, Jennie Wade. Jennie was 20 years old at the time of the battle. She had gone to her sister's home on Baltimore street to assist her because her sister had just had a baby. During the battle Jennie was baking bread to feed the soldiers when a stray bullet came through two doors and killed her instantly. The bullet struck Jennie in the back beneath her left shoulder blade embedding itself in her corset, killing her instantly. To see a complete story about Jennie Wade click here. You can tour the house and hear the story of Jennie Wade. Bullet holes and all!
Some folks say the house is haunted





We also stopped at the Gettysburg History Center to see the diorama. The Battle of Gettysburg in a truly unique and original light and sound show that is fully narrated. The three days of the epic battle are presented across a three dimensional landscape that is the largest military diorama in the United States. At first I thought it was going to be very cheesy but soon I was deep into it as they explained the entire 3 day battle.


While walking around town we also found the cutest old restaurant called Dobbin House Restaurant & Tavern.  Built in 1776 ~ they built houses back in the day to last a long time.  We decided to come back for lunner (you know lunch & dinner) for what they called there famous Onion Soup.  I love onion soup and have had it many places so I just have to come back and have some at this place.







We also went by the Farnsworth Inn ~ Built in 1810, Gettysburg's Farnsworth House Inn has been called "one of the most haunted inns in America. During the Civil War, Farnsworth House Inn was taken over by Confederate soldiers. Sharpshooters were up in the attic and one shot Jennie Wade, the only civilian to die during the three-day battle of Gettysburg. The hundred-plus bullet holes on Farnsworth House Inn's south side wall attest to the fighting during the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

Riding & walking through the town gave us the opportunity to see a lot of the homes that were there during the Civil War.  It is hard to believe that so many of them survived the biggest and bloodiest battle during the war.

Enjoy my slide show of some of the Historic Homes in Gettysburg
video

Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!

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