Showing posts with label pennsylvania dutch country. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pennsylvania dutch country. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Previously on Roadtrippin': Close encounters of the bovine kind.

Day 5: Lancaster, PA to Pittsburgh, PA

I had spent the night at a Quality Inn that looked like it was an old roadside motel in a previous incarnation (outdoor entrances to both ends of the room, long parking lot, etc). Various stages of renovation were evident, though my bathroom was definitely from another era.

Pink Shower Tile
If my bathroom tile was pink, would there have been matching flamingos by the back courtyard? Anyone want to guess the age?

Country Table Restaurant
Tiring of continental breakfasts, I grabbed my morning meal in Mount Joy, just west of Lancaster. One menu item at the Country Table caught my eye: scrapple. While I had heard of this mush-like dish, I had never seen it on a menu until now.

It was the first and last time I'll order scrapple.

My plate came with three large pieces, of which I got through most of one before deciding the taste and texture weren't to my liking. This wasn't going to be an item that improved with each bite, which was too bad, since the accompanying pancake was fluffy and didn't sit like a lump in my stomach, while the scrambled eggs were the way I like them, slightly creamy.

I Suppose It Was Inevitable Horse Garage
Left: A patriotic gas station near Mount Joy. I didn't checked how blessed the 89 octane was.

Right: A common site around Lancaster, this roadside horse shelter near Elizabethtown was one of the last I saw on the trip. Most carry the "safety" pennant shown here.

Lincoln Highway We Warned You
From Harrisburg, I headed west along the Pennsylvania Turnpike until I tired of alternately being boxed in by speeding trucks and driving through downpours. After an hour, I hopped off and drove onto the route I should have taken all along, the Lincoln Highway (aka US 30). This was the first marked trans-continental highway, running from New York to San Francisco. Most of its eastern sections were absorbed into US 30 - before this trip, the only stretch I had travelled on was on the outskirts of Chicago at the start of my Route 66 trip.

Around Jennersville, warning signs for trucks were plastered along the side of the road, thanks a steep, winding drive. There were special ramps in case any driver lost control of their vehicle.

Lincoln Highway Barn
The historic nature of the route is marked by a number of barn paintings, such as this one.

It was a smooth ride into Pittsburgh. I stayed at a Comfort Inn atop a steep, winding road, which proved a cinematic drive at night. I explored the area, getting the lay of the land of the city's eastern suburbs. I cooled my heels at a Barnes and Noble at Monroeville Mall, discovering later that this was the same mall that George Romero used as the setting for Dawn of the Dead. Had I known, I would have taken my camera into the JCPenney or mindlessly rode the escalator.

It was an appropriate end to the day, since I felt like a zombie.

Full photo set on Flickr

Next: One fine day in Pittsburgh - JB

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Previously on Roadtrippin': Taking a bite out of the Big Apple.

Day 4: Newark, NJ to Lancaster, PA

Getting out of Newark did not prove a problem, except for filling up the car. Since 1949, self-serve gas stations have been illegal in the Garden State, with proposals to relieve pump jockeys of their duties never having gone very far. I pulled into a Hess not far from downtown and failed to convey to the attendant that I wanted the car to be filled, not just a strict dollar amount. My guess is that with current prices, a few drivers have raced away without paying.

I drove west on I-78, which quickly turned into a tree-surrounded route. Once I hit Pennsylvania, construction reduced traffic to lanes so narrow, my knuckles barely stayed within my skin. Needless to say, I was happy to hop off at Reading and head into Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Goodbye tailgaters, hello winding roads and oddball town names.

Oregon Dairy Restaurant Pinetown Covered Bridge
I stopped for lunch outside of Lititz at Oregon Dairy, a combination grocery store/family attraction/sit-down restaurant. I had the lunch buffet, which featured a better-than-average spread of items like baked chicken and fish , stewed tomatoes and various forms of potato. Definitely the kind of place Mom would be very happy at had she been on the trip. The oddest item, apart from more flavours of pudding than I ever knew existed, was sweet and sour ham balls - ground ham covered in a light, sweet sauce. They also offered a free scoop of ice cream, but not the el cheapo type usually found on buffet spreads - from a long-list of handscooped flavours, I picked Tastykake Chocolate Cupcake. Heavenly stuff.

After lunch, I glanced at my map of Lancaster County and wandered onto the backroads. It wasn't long before I crossed my first covered bridge of the day, pictured above. Built in 1867, the Pinetown Bridge was repositioned on higher ground in 1973 after a flood washed it away from its base. The county's official tourist site has a detailed guide of the area's bridges.

I'll shut up for a few moments to let you enjoy the scenery on the drive southeast to Old Philadelphia Pike...

Pennsylvania Dutch Country Backroads (1)

Pennsylvania Dutch Country Backroads (3)
I could have spent a few days wandering the winding, hilly countryside. All roads appeared to be paved. I was surprised to see many professionally-outfitted cyclists out for a ride on a weekday - no organized ride or race was happening.

Welcome to Intercourse Cow Guards the Door
OK, giggle a little bit. Others have. Shockingly, most of my stops in Intercourse had to do with food, once I got past the cow guarding the Intercouse Canning Company. Security did not moo when I walked out with a bag full of pickles, preserves and odd peanut-based spreads (PB schmier or cream, anyone?).

A Half Century of Cannin' and Jammin' Banjo Jimmy
A cow at the door was sedate compared to the main cannery in town, Kitchen Kettle Village, where a tourist complex grew around preserves. There's lots of cannin' and some jammin', when Banjo Jimmy played in the "town square".

Wall O' Relishes The Mustard Jerry Likes
Inside the main store, with samples galore. Jerry likes the mustard.

Covered Bridge Ahead Cows By The Roadside
Driving south towards the Lincoln Highway, I stopped at the side of the ride to snap a covered bridge indicator sign. I pulled the car next to a herd of cows. One in particular took an interest in me...

Guard Cow
Had there not been a fence, I would have felt the tender caress of cow hooves. This was the guardian of the herd, determined that I not come any closer or potentially corrupt the morals of the locals. We played stare eyes for awhile, then I drove off.

I suspect I'm on the bovine equivalent of a no-fly list.

I drifted into Lancaster, eventually finding a hotel back near Lititz. Dinner was at a family restaurant near Bird-In-Hand, The Family Cupboard. Had another Amish-style buffet spread, this time with hamloaf instead of ham balls, thus fulfilling my yearly quota of ground ham products. The surprise item was a slice of pie I thought was coconut cream until I detected a thin layer of peanut butter cream on the bottom. Inspiration for how to use some of the spreads I picked up earlier?

Full photo set on Flickr.

Next: A taste of Scrapple - JB