Howie and Larry’s Pastimes…..

You know by now that Marj and I enjoy shopping. Our particular favorite is nosing around antique shops…..to us, that is the same as touring museums! I can’t tell you how many times one of us has picked something up and said, “Remember…..we had one of these on the farm” – or “Wow! I had one just like this when I was a kid!”

Howie and Larry, not so prone to shopping, enjoy going to the real kind of museum. While we were in Wilmington, North Carolina, they were excited to go onboard the USS North Carolina battle ship. They reported that it took over 3,000 men to run this 700+ foot war time vessel which carried nine 16″ guns in three turrets, twenty 5” guns and a variety of machine or anti-aircraft guns for a total of 44 guns. It was considered the greatest sea weapon when it was commissioned in 1941. She only lost 10 men during the entire war. Senior admission was $10.

And below deck……

The next museum opportunity presented itself in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The guys were eager to view the Military Aviation Museum (aka MAM) which is privately owned. It houses WWI and WWII aircraft. The planes are privately owned and on display – all the airplanes are flown at least once a month. There is a machine shop to make parts as needed. There are five hangers and a runway. Flights are offered in some of the planes for a fee but the guys passed on this option. Volunteers walk the grounds to answer any questions you may have while touring. The senior admission rate was $13.

Their third museum was the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. As it turns out, this was the favorite of the three for both Howie and Larry. The museum features Pennsylvania’s railroad history from the 1800’s and 1900’s. It has 100 locomotives and railroad cars on display and it also has a huge operating model railroad. They guys liked it because they could actually see the evolution of the locomotives and passenger coach. Additionally, there was a lot of railroad paraphernalia with explanation. Across the street was the Strasburg Railroad on which you can actually ride for an additional fee. Admission for seniors was $9.

And finally the ultimate museum….Gettysburg. The guys drove almost 2 hours to Gettysburg where they went through the museum, watched the film and did the car tour. They learned that Rbt. E. Lee made a big mistake that cost him the battle….that being he was advised by his commanding officers not to attach because they were outnumbered. He went ahead, attacked and lost! It was a big day for the guys but they both said it was a very educational, in-depth look at the battle of Gettysburg.

That’s all the museum’s for now….if I know Howie and Larry, I’ll be posting a “Part II” in the future. Until then…..HAPPY TRAILS!

Lancaster-New Holland KOA Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

This campground is proof that you don’t have to have a ton of amenities to earn a great score. This particular KOA is categorized as a “journey” which means that it has minimal amenities. We have full hook up with cable, the tiered sites are spacious on a level gravel pad. We have partial shade and our panoramic view is stupendous – we look over hillsides dotted with farmsteads and rolling hills and we frequently hear the clip clop of the horses hooves as they pull the buggies past our campground. There is a small playground and an even smaller store in the registration office.

The campground is small and is very well maintained. There is no pool. The best feature here is the quietness! It is peaceful and serene! Most of the campers are older – I suppose with few amenities, families with children are not really attracted to this type of campground……to us, it is a slice of shoofly pie!

AMENITIESCLEANLINESSHELPFUL & FRIENDLYSITEFEATURESPRIVACY WIFI, TV, PHONE
155545
TOTAL SCORE = 4.2FULL HOOK UP COST PER NIGHT = $60

4.2 is a very good score, but honestly, I would score it even higher. “Amenities” is the category that brought the score down, but I would trade amenities easily for the view and peacefulness here…..we are all sad to be leaving this wonderful place and we would DEFINITELY come back!

HAPPY TRAILS! (and may they all lead you to Lancaster County some day!)

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania – Part B The People and Their Faith

I’m sure most of you know that Lancaster is home to a large population of the Old Order Amish. What you may not realize is that there is also a very large population of Mennonites here as well. They are both of the Protestant faith and they share other commonalities as well. They share a love for our Lord, desire a simpler way of living and are some of the most friendly, kind and sincere people that you may ever meet.

Here are a few interesting facts about the Amish……

  1. Led by Jakob Ammann, the Amish broke from the Mennonite faith in 1693 and settled in Lancaster County in 1740. They were strictly farmers at that time, but due to the unavailability of land, many are now carpenters, shed builders, dairy, toy makers and factory workers. The women maintain the home and are quilters and gardeners, canning their produce. Their homesteads are meticulously groomed with beautiful flower beds.
  2. While known as the “Pennsylvania Dutch (Duesch), the Amish are actually of German descent.
  3. Their mode of transportation is horse and buggy. A typical rig may cost up to $18,000! $10-13 K for the buggy, $4-5 K for the horse and $1K for the harness. Many buggy horses may once have been harness racers. Belgian horses are used in the fields and have also been cross bred with donkeys, as mules are very strong and work until they lay down!
  4. The Amish pay taxes but do not pay into or receive Social Security benefits – they take care of their own.
  5. Because their education ends after 8th grade, they use “English” professionals, such as doctors and lawyers.
  6. The Amish do not use electricity or have public plumbing and sewer. They believe these “tie them” to the outside world so they have found other ways to enjoy modern conveniences through generators, propane, windmills, wells, septic systems, batteries and solar panels. Electricity specifically would enable outside influence which might bring ungodliness into their homes such as computers and telephones. They are allowed to use telephones only if they run a business. Sewing machines are run by battery and clothes are washed by a generator powered wringer washing machine.
  7. You can tell an Amish home from an “English” home by the green shades that hang in the windows.
  8. The children go to one room schools through 8th grade when their education comes to an end. Lack of education may in part be the reason why 85% of the Amish youth choose to remain in the Amish faith following Rumspringa – a time when teenagers are encouraged to experience “the world” to be sure they want to remain Amish.
  9. The Pennsylvania Amish do not ride bicycles. Instead they ride “scooters” (see pics) which is the main means that children get to school unless they prefer to walk.
  10. The men are clean shaven until they marry – then they grow beards which remain even if their wife passes. By the way, the straw hats are for work days and the black felt hats are reserved for Sundays and funerals.
  11. The men have beards, but no mustache – the reason is historically the Prussian soldiers, who ALL had mustaches, would persecute the Amish and they do not want to have any connection to that time.
  12. The women wear a white overgarment (apron) for their wedding. That garment is tucked away in a cedar chest until it is worn again – at their funeral.
  13. The typical age for marrying is late teens to mid twenties. On average, 7 children are born to a family.
  14. There are no church buildings. Services are held in homes in a “gathering room”. Rotation to host is about once a year. The services are 3 hours long and a light lunch is served afterward. A typical Amish hymn can last 20 minutes and have 30+ verses.
  15. The Amish grow tobacco and smoke cigars.
  16. There are 350,000 Amish in 31 states, 40,000 in Lancaster County and 39,000 in Ohio. Their population DOUBLES every 20 years.

When it is determined that elderly parents should no longer live alone, one of the children takes them in to live with them. The parents generally sell the homestead to that child, then an addition is built for the parents. It is typical to see this addition, generally smaller than the original building, on many of the Amish homes. Usually, the addition is wood whereas the original home is brick or stone. Sometimes, the parents addition is built as a separate home. The first photo is a good example – you see the smaller home to the left. (Hope my kids are reading this!)

Here are a few other really cute homes we saw….

In particular, I love the Amish children! They are adorable in their straw hats and colorful dresses. They are both shy and outgoing all at the same time! Along with the children, you will see a couple of pictures of their one room school houses – written on the door of the last picture, “Have a Blessed Summer!

The Amish people are very talented – they respect the land and grow marvelous flowers, vegetables, grain and farm crops, mainly corn, soy beans, alfalfa and tobacco. The women make delicious food including many canned and baked goods. Another talent of the women is quilting. I’m a quilter and this area is a dream come true. I did a shop hop today, getting through 9-10 quilt shops in about 5 hours time! I only got to a portion of the shops available. Many are just a mile or two from the next and are located out on the farms. I found some fabrics that I haven’t seen in any other stores – it was quite the treasure hunt!

Gardening is another passion shared by the Amish. The large vegetable gardens are surrounded by beautiful flower beds. It is so fun to see the colors and they are always weed free and so well manicured.

You never know what you may find around the next bend in the road. It is so fun to see all the little sheds with their wares for sell! I saw signs selling produce, flowers, goats, kittens, fire wood, crafts, root beer, puppies and honey, to name a few. One thing they all had in common was ‘no sales on Sunday” written along the bottom of the sign. I bought a beautiful bouquet of fresh cut flowers for $3.50! Paying is on the honor system – you leave your money in a box. By the way….shoefly pie is a sticky concoction of brown sugar, molasses, and a little flour. It is topped with a crumble. Howie tried the pie and I tried the homemade root beer – neither one made our top 10 list! Oh, well!

Needless to say, we’ve all enjoyed some good Amish cooking while here. By far, Dienners Restaurant is our favorite. This is a buffet style restaurant and they have the best food at a reasonable cost – $14/adult plus drink. You can enjoy selections from soup, salad bar, entrees and sides as well as dessert. I LOVE browned buttered noodles and Dienners is the BEST! Make sure to make this a stop when in Lancaster County.

The countryside is dotted with Amish cemeteries – since they have no churches, a cemetery is randomly placed. You can tell an Amish cemetery from a Mennonite one because there is no church and the headstones are generally small and similar in shape and size. An interesting note is the persons name is on the stone along with their age in years, months, and days. There are no “family plots” as they bury in the back and methodically make their way forward. Families are in the same cemetery, just not in the same plot. As you can see, the further from the fence line, the more recent the graves.

Once again, Marj and I enjoyed time in multiple antique and gift shops. We went to The Green Dragon, a giant antique, produce, and flea market held every Friday. Check out this beautiful produce – Magazine worthy! Another day was spent in Adamstown, known as the “Antique Capital of the World” with more than 5,000 antique dealers. We found some “treasures” to take home – (when’s the last time you played “Cootie”??) The biggest problem is finding space in our RV’s to store our treasures!

Hopefully, you can see the beauty of this part of our country. Lancaster County is one of my all time favorite areas to visit. Being among these humble and kind people regenerates your hope for mankind. Here we are leaving Lancaster County….I love this photo!

Even though we have departed from Lancaster County, I take comfort in knowing that I have my own Amish guy to take along with me!!!

Next stop? Delaware! HAPPY TRAILS!

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania – Part A Philadelphia, PA

This is one of the stops we have all anticipated! It’s such a contrast to some of the other places we’ve been. It’s very serene with beautiful farm scenery (I may be a bit prejudiced, having been raised on a farm!) and it is the ultimate in a simpler life! There’s so much to share, that I decided to do the Lancaster post in segments – I hope you enjoy seeing this beautiful countryside as much as I have!

After leaving Harpers Ferry in West Virginia, we once again crossed the Potomac and 3 states in about 10 minutes time – West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland. We entered into Pennsylvania and arrived at our new site at the Lancaster/New Holland KOA at about 12 noon. As soon as we entered Lancaster County, we knew it was Monday – “wash day”. I grew up with Monday’s being the day to do laundry – without exception! So I got a real giggle when I started noticing all the laundry hanging on the lines!!

On arrival we took the rest of the day to just settle in….but the next morning, we were back in the car heading for Philadelphia, about an hour away. Seeing the Liberty Bell was on the “must do’s” for all of us – plus it was Marj’s birthday, so we wanted to do something special. It was a record hot day in Philly, but we still really enjoyed seeing the Bell, Congress Hall, and Independence Hall.

This is the very room where George Washington was sworn in to his 2nd term as president in 1793. George wasn’t really interested in being president again but James Madison talked him into it, telling George that he was the “glue that held them all together”.

This is the tomb of the unknown soldier from the Revolutionary War. It is located in a beautiful area of Washington Square where there are actually 1000’s of soldiers buried.

From Philly, we drove back to Lancaster County and ate at Olive Garden, one of Marj’s favorite restaurants. After dinner, we drove through the countryside seeing the sights, then we enjoyed an ice cream at Lapp Family Farm. Their ice cream is made with milk from the cows raised right there on the farm and it is positively delicious!

We experienced a beautiful ending to a wonderful day. I guess it’s true that you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl, as this is one of my favorite photos (Taken on the Lapp Farm.)

Wishing you many more happy birthdays, Marj!!

HAPPY TRAILS!!

Harpers Ferry/Civil War Battlefield KOA – Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

It was only about an hour from Cherry Hill, but due to traffic, it took us about two hours to arrive at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Check in was an easy process and they had a very nice camp store – not too much in the way of actual camping supplies, but a nice variety of clothing, food and souvenirs.

Here’s something I haven’t seen at a campground before….their own movie theater!!

The sites were fairly spacious with gravel foundation. We had full hook up with no shade. There was a picnic table and fire pit. Each site had a tight entry and exit – a wee bit difficult for a fairly big rig. WiFi and phone were present but very very sketchy – there were so many people in the campground that it was difficult to connect. The campground offered mini golf, a swimming pool, laundry, a coffee house, a game room, playground, and they had a pancake breakfast every morning for $1 (additional for meat and eggs) but Howie and I enjoyed a big breakfast with O.J. for a total of only $9!

They were celebrating Christmas in July but we were shocked to see the extent that some campers decorated their sites.

Cabins were also offered – there were several different models.

And then we saw a few strange things as well…….!? (The middle pic is a 1948 Westfield.)

And once again…..my personal favorite!!

AMENITIESCLEANLINESSHELPFUL & FRIENDLYSITEFEATURESPRIVACY WIFI, TV, PHONE
434321
TOTAL SCORE = 2.8FULL HOOK UP COST PER NIGHT = $77

All in all….we would go back! HAPPY TRAILS!

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Leaving D.C, we crossed the Potomac on our way into West Virginia, our next state and stop.

Harpers Ferry is a small town (pop. 286) with a big American history. This town is at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers and was the northern-most point of Confederate controlled territory. The most important historic event was John Brown’s raid on the Harpers Ferry Armory in 1859.

We were only here for two nights and one day – we agreed that we were able to see what was to be seen. Marj and I actually did a little antiquing while Howie and Larry set off to see a battlefield or two. We all hit the fruit stand for some ripe tomatoes, peaches and nectarines.

We decided the name of this shop was appropriate for the two of us!

The guys said there really wasn’t too much to see and that to get to the battlefields, there was quite a bit of hiking. They saw a couple of significant sites but didn’t hike to all of the battlefields because the weather was in the 90’s.

I probably should put this in the campground review section, but I was so completely excited that I decided to put it right here…….!

Here I am…..waiting. For what, you may wonder! Well, I was lucky enough to have my name drawn to……SHOOT THE CANNON!!!

I know…..you can’t hear the kaboom by looking at pictures! So, here you go….!

HAPPY TRAILS!

Changing of the Guards – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

This video is quite lengthy but if you have never witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, I believe you will enjoy watching this ceremony of precision. (Be sure your sound is turned on.)

For interesting reading and more information about the dedication and discipline of these soldiers, google “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier guards”.

HAPPY TRAILS!

Cherry Hill RV Park, – Washington D. C.

Without a doubt, this is the best ever campground!!! No exaggeration – Cherry Hill is the “Disney” of the camping world!! Exactly 100 years ago, these acres were bought by a couple who made it a poultry farm – as a courtesy, they offered informal campsites for passing tourists. Five generations later, it is still owned and run by the same family and it has grown into more than 400 campsites. It is a 30-45 minutes drive to downtown DC, depending on traffic.

Let me start by saying the campsites are meticulously maintained. The sites are spacious, level, most with shade, and they all have a wooden deck or brick patio. Additionally, there is a wrought iron and chair set provided along with a standard picnic table. They also offer rentals if you don’t have an RV. Rentals range from a park model RV, cabins and even full size homes.

There is a concierge in the store who can help you arrange tours to the DC sights. The campground has a bus and depot so all you need to do is hop on the bus and it will take and pick you up down by the Smithsonian so you don’t have to drive or more importantly find parking downtown.

There is every amenity that you could hope to find in a campground. Miniature golf is $1/person, and there are numerous beautiful playgrounds scattered throughout the park. There are two swimming pools and a “water park”. There are ponds and reflecting pools amongst the professional landscaping. When’s the last time you went on a hayrack ride??

There is a cafe on the premises. You can order breakfast, lunch or dinner to be delivered directly to you at your campsite or pool. The prices are very reasonable. There is also a TV Lounge, Game Room and every night they show a different movie under the stars!!

The camp store is a great combination of camping supplies, souvenirs, clothing and food. The staff here are so helpful and seem to have pride in working here. The registration, like everything else, was easy and very organized.

The bath houses are very nice, well cleaned and maintained. I will say that we have seen prettier bathrooms, but these are complete with numerous stalls and showers along with a laundry sink and drinking fountain. While they may not be the prettiest, they do rank as the cleanest. Also, the laundromats were immaculate!

AMENITIESCLEANLINESSHELPFUL & FRIENDLYSITE FEATURESPRIVACY WIFI, TV, PHONE
555555
TOTAL SCORE
= 5.0 (1st time ever)
FULL HOOK UP COST/NIGHT =
$ 90

Normally, this is where I end a campground review, however, I forgot to post the architectural pictures in my Washington DC posting. The homes and buildings close to the downtown area were too pretty and amazing not to include …… so here they are!

Hoping you all enjoyed this posting……wishing each one of you HAPPY TRAILS!

Our Nation’s Capital Washington DC

On the road once again….this year, unlike last year when we were out west, our driving time between destinations is not very long. This leg of our journey started from Virginia Beach to DC which was about a 4.5 hour drive, including a gas stop.

Here we are in our nation’s capital! We were surprised to find so many trees outside and in the center of DC. There is so much to do here with so many options on how to do it – tours are by bus, electric car, trolley, private, group, daytime, night time, etc., etc., etc! This is a LONG post, but can’t be helped as there was so much to see here!!

We decided to try out the “Spy Museum” which is full of espionage and artifacts used by secret agents throughout the world and ages. It took us about two hours to go through two stories but we unanimously decided it’s not on our top 10 things to do. Never-the-less, here are a few pics.

An unexpected event happened here in our campground. One of the things Howie and I enjoy is watching RV YouTube videos. One that we enjoy is called “Keep Your Daydream”. This is a family that lives in their RV full time, and they post a new video about every 2 weeks. They are quite entertaining and actually very educational as they give information on the perils and victories on the road – there’s a lot to learn from them as fellow RV’ers. Anyway….they are here in our campground! So, I decided to take them a gift of the bowl cozies that I make and they are just as bubbly and nice in person as they are in their posts. We visited for a bit and exchanged a sight seeing tip or two. Behind us is their latest “rig”, a 1984 Bluebird Wanderlodge. It was fun seeing them!

TRISH, CALEB, ME AND MARK

In the evening, we decided to go on an electric car tour through the National Mall and to all the major DC monuments and sights. This was a good choice but might have been a bit more enjoyable if the heat and humidity had been a little lower – but it was a great way to see what we came to see! Check it out!