Friday, May 11, 2007

The Long Road Home

The Harvest Moon Bed and Breakfast in New Holland, PA turned out to be a real find. Carl, the owner, is an accomplished chef. He prepared a breakfast sufficient for a houseful of guests even though we were the only ones. Just for starts, there was cereal and assorted fruits and nuts for toppings, the usual beverages, fruit salad, fresh grapefruit, and banana nut bread. Carl also made poached pears with a warm pecan sauce, an apricot crisp, bacon, and ham and cheese omelets. The coffee was great. Not only did he serve up this delicious spread, he sat and chatted with us while we ate and made suggestions about how we could spend our day in Lancaster County.

The Harvest Moon is a lovely old brick home, probably built around the 1940’s, and faithfully furnished and decorated in keeping with that period. Carl and his wife have collected all sorts of knickknacks, folk art, toys, and household items – like an old Singer sewing machine, a Victrola, a tricycle, a radio, and a typewriter – that would have been found in homes back then, and scattered them about as if the house’s original occupants still lived there. Not only that, he had some 40's big band music playing in the dining room while we ate. He said that part of successfully operating a B&B is appealing to all of the senses. He has certainly done a great job.

After lingering over breakfast and good conversation, we said goodbye to Carl and followed his advice to explore the back roads of the area. We drove by farm after farm and field after field, and saw Amish people outside working in their gardens and yards, hanging out the laundry, and driving down the roads in their horse drawn carriages. We did venture out to the main road once in order to visit the Lancaster County Visitor’s Center but it was so commercial and, we thought, exploitative, that it made us sad and a little angry, so we went right back to the countryside. We stopped at a picturesque folk art place that had a lot of items nicely displayed and later found a farm where they were selling quilts and other items they had made.

Now, our road trip over, we are creeping along in heavy traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike, not sure what is causing the slowdown. We hope the pace picks up soon because it is a long ride home even without any holdups.

We have enjoyed our little road trip in Bugle1 and learned some things: remember to bring binoculars, hats, walking sticks and a backpack for hiking; pack a data cable for places where there is broadband but no wi-fi; get a Mass. Turnpike FastLane transponder for the Jeep, since many states have reciprocal agreements; avoid planning trips that require extensive travel on major highways, and don’t plan a travel day through a metropolitan area on a Friday (duh!). This experience has reinforced our preferred practice of flying somewhere and then renting a car to tour the local sites. We have another trip in the Jeep tentatively planned for late summer or early fall to Acadia National Park in Maine, and we’re even debating about renting a pop-up trailer to see how we like camping out – although I think we may talk each other out of that pretty easily in favor of a nice hotel or B&B.

All of our photos have been uploaded to Flickr. That’s it for the PA-VA-PA road trip. Thanks for reading!

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