Saturday, November 19, 2011

An early Nor’easter

The promised Nor’easter arrived in the area with a vengeance Sunday night, thankfully we were on the periphery but as you never know so we decided to move on and not visit Cape Cod. Carl had advised on which roads to travel driving south, however as we could not find an RV Park open we settled in to drive over 420 miles to our next stop outside Philadelphia – in Clarksboro, NJ to be precise. By far our longest journey yet using almost 2 tanks of gas (we get between 8 & 10mpg).  We stopped to get gas about three and a half hours into our journey to discover there was no electricity in the area as a result of the Nor’easter. As they believed that they would have power in about an hour we parked at the pump and proceeded to make and eat our lunch as potential customers came and went. It was Halloween so Adele donned her spider hat and went out to talk to the other stranded customers, one of whom was driving a 5th wheeler and could not move another mile without gas. After an hour and a half later we decided to drive to the next exit hope there would be electricity in that area, thankfully they had. As darkness fell we arrived at the RV Park in Clarksboro, NJ.  

Our friends Carole and Fred Desantis live outside Philly and hoping to see them we sent emails and called but got no reply. We had known they were going to China in October and hoped they would be home by the time we reached PA. Shortly after we’ve hooked everything up at the RV Park Carole called to let us know they had returned the previous day. What great timing?  We were immediately invited to dinner for the following evening after which, as Carole and Fred were finding it difficult to stay awake, we played cards. Graciously, they invited us to park our RV on their very large driveway and stay in their magnificent home. The following day we visited Old Town Philadelphia, Independence Hall, and the Liberty Bell; afterwards we took a walking tour with a guide called Bill who was dressed in 18th century garb, including a large woolen cloak that sailed out behind him as he strode down the road and, this was a hot day! There were just 3 of us on the tour, we walked around the old building and got a feel of the old town.  Bill was quite a character and we enjoyed his sense of humor very much.

Next day we drove “Rover” to Carole and Fred’s driveway and settled into a plush two bed-roomed luxury apartment in the semi basement (the house is on a hill). From there we could see out into their woods where one day their nephew, Chuck was in a blind (camouflage tent) hoping to shot a deer with his bow and arrow. He had no luck on that day but he did shoot a deer while Carole and Fred were in China. The following day we drove west to Lancaster to visit Amish country where our first stop was at a quilt shop that had us in awe of these very gifted people. Deciding to walk around the countryside we set off on a side road and bought produce from an Amish woman’s roadside shop. The roads are not made for walking; even side roads are too dangerous for pedestrians so we returned to using the car. One item on our “bucket list” was to take a trip in an Amish Buggy, which we did taking a one hour tour including with a farm visit.  Seven of us shared the buggy, 4 in the back 3 in the front, one on a tiny stool - it was sardine style seating, legs interlocking and Adele retorted “I hope we don’t go over too many big bumps”. We visited a dairy farm which had the friendliest cows we have met since an English cow tried to eat Adele’s skirt so she made sure to keep away from their friendly licks.

Carole and Fred joined us the next day to the Reading Terminal Market by train where we wanted to have a “Philly Cheese Steak” or a Hoagie to those in the know.  Reading Terminal Market is an indoor market in the center Philadelphia where about 50% of the stalls are run by Amish; we explored every isle.  After lunch we headed out to explore the center of the city and saw lots of protesting 99%ers camping on the pavement outside City Hall. The streets were not busy as it was a Saturday. Carole knew that the Comcast building had some sort of a display so nothing would satisfy us all but to find out; sure enough they had an interesting song and dance showing on the wall of the foyer, very much worth visiting.

On Sunday all four of us headed for “Longwood Garden” which had a Chrysanthemum festival.  Did you know that you can have over 100 blossoms on one stalk, amazing?  The Glass houses were laden with enormous chrysanthemums, decorating the columns, walkways, arches and ceilings. That weekend there was a Japanese theme with many Bonsai on display and an Ikebana competition.  We sat and watched a lady make 3 different floral displays.  It was a lovely day so we took a walk around the gardens which were beautifully laid out and had nice fall/autumn colors. 

Monday we headed out to Gettysburg and the beginnings of our education about the Civil War 1861-1865, the numerous battles and the awful death toll of that era. We saw a movie in the Visitors Center took a guided bus tour of the 4 day Gettysburg battles and visited the Museum - all were very informative. The tour included the various battle sites where the guide gave a talk and had us visualizing the battle and the carnage. Most States erected a memorial to their dead around the battle fields

That night we went to an Italian restaurant “Trattoria Giuseppe” which had a Frank Sinatra impressionist to entertain the patrons - he was terrific and had all singing, dancing and generally having a good time. Carole requested “I did it my way” and we sang along with “Frank”.  The food excellent and we all went home with doggie bags.

Before leaving the next day we walked around the large garden with its woods and river, once again a lovely sunny day. We were sorry to leave our friends and their luxurious accommodations.

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