There's a stretch of PA 422 that we've kind of fallen in love with - it starts in Hershey and goes west through all these homey little towns like Palmyra, Annville, Cleona, and Lebanon. You can find any number of mom and pop restaurants, ice cream shops, antique stores, and old churches on this road, and it's become a central part of our time here since Rich plays Hockey in Annville, and the Foley's live along there as well (and were gracious enough to let us stay the weekend so we could hang out and do everything).
After the parade, we ate lunch at Kugo's Japanese - excellent sushi (I'm told) and really, really good Hibachi Chicken. Then, off to Mount Home Estate for the fourth annual Pennsylvania Flavor Fest. We didn't pig out at lunch because we wanted to save room for all the free food and wine samples. There were dozens of wine vendors, but alas, the food samples were mostly of the dip and jam variety. We bought a few excellent tasting dip mixes and marinades, and I sampled mead for the first time. Very strong, very heady, and very thick. Not really my thing, but now I can say I've tried it.
The kids ran around looking at stuff, tasting dips and sauces, and really enjoyed one booth where for $1, you can smash a perfectly good vase or trinket into a giant bullseye. Why don't I ever think of these things? Like Mark said: "Free Wine = Drunk People = I Should Break Something = Money In The Bank." (I'm paraphrasing, but it makes sense) Actually, the crowd was very well behaved and I didn't see a single drunk person (keeping in mind that for years my band played at places like Gator's and Vino's in Little Rock - you've got to be running down the street in your underwear singing Van Halen at 4am to qualify as drunk in my book).
Since we'd not done enough damage to Asian food at lunch, we decided to give it another shot - Golden Garden in Annville. The best Crab Rangoon, Eggrolls, and Sesame Chicken we'd had since arriving here. We were told the place has the "atmosphere of a bus station" before we tried it , and it doesn't disappoint on that count. You even eat with plastic forks. But the food - Oh. My. God. The portions are ridiculous, so there was plenty for leftovers the next day. Then we went down the street to Kettering Corner for ice cream.
|These are Dutch Babies: Eggs, Sugar, Fairy Magic...|
Then the crazy part: the adults stayed up until almost 4 am, talking, laughing, playing Friends Trivia (I won - cue the Chandler victory dance), watching an old Frazier episode, and generally goofing around. Most fun we've had in a while! The kids gave out around 3 am after considerable amounts of chess, checkers, and Yu-Gi-Oh, and of course, Rich was the last man standing around 3:30. Insane. Breakfast was Dutch Babies and the best sausage I've ever eaten (fresh!). The Foley's are a blast and we can't wait to do it again. I'm sure they had great fun too, but for some reason they won't return our phone calls now...
We headed home that afternoon (after realizing Rich's hockey was cancelled - but not before we drove to the arena and went "Well, durrrrr....Memorial Day..."). Next morning we headed down the road from our house to the Mountor County Nature Preserve.
I really enjoy going to museums and such places with the boys. Inspired by Lori's post at Camp Creek blog, we've learned to let (and actually encourage) the boys to run ahead, skipping the things they don't care about and discovering the things they do. This means we don't stop and read every single plaque or look at every single display. In fact, Christie and I try not to call their attention to anything because they are far more excited about sharing their own discoveries with us. They seem to absorb so much more this way, and it really makes these little trips fun for them, rather than feeling duped into an "educational opportunity."
The Preserve had an awesome nature trail that was handicap conscious, a small museum with Native American artifacts, coal mining tools, native birds and wildlife displays. We caught a performance from a local songwriter who related a ton of stories and songs passed down from the coal-miners in the surrounding counties. He played several instruments and "flat-footed" on a few songs, and even did an impressive instrumental of The Beatles, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."
We ate lunch overlooking a small lake where people were fishing and para-sailing, then headed up the road to the fossil pit. This is a huge pit and hill where you can dig for plant and pre-historic fossils and is reputed to have a plentiful supply of trilobite fossils. Alas, we didn't bring anything to dig with and it had gotten so hot by that time that we decided to call it a day.
Since we missed it in the theaters, we ended the day snuggled up on the bed, drinking milkshakes and watching Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Pt. 1. What a great weekend!