Laurie and I took a four-day weekend and made a whirlwind tour around the state of Pennsylvania, logging just over 1,000 miles on the trip.
We started out by heading to the Lancaster area, where the Green Dragon Market has been on Laurie's list of places to visit for a couple of years now. Because she'd found a Groupon deal, we booked the night at a Bed & Breakfast in Bird in Hand, rather than staying in a hotel or motel.
We have never stayed in a B&B before, so we were not quite sure what to expect. The owner seemed friendly enough when he checked us in, but he was not very clear in his instructions on where we were supposed to go to get our "free hay ride." As a result, we drove about four miles to the address on the card he gave us and found the place closed for the day. When we returned to see what could be done, he told us we were supposed to go to a spot in front of one of the stores nearby.
That someone was providing said rides was only evident when the horse and carriage were actually there, which was not the case when we arrived. Said conveyance did eventually return and we got a ride on a road that circled a farm.
After dinner at a nearby restaurant, we returned to the B&B. The wi-fi only worked on the main level of the building, so we sat in the parlor checking our email and chatting with a woman who was a frequent guest. Not that we needed anything from them, but the owners of the B&B did not make an appearance at any point during the evening.
Breakfast the next morning was between 8:00 and 9:00, so we set the alarm. Not that we needed it, since we both went to sleep quite early and were up before it went off. The breakfast fare was not unexpected: pancakes and ham, with a variety of breads, cakes and fresh strawberries to choose from, along with coffee, tea and juice. The owners were as much concerned with getting their three kids out the door for the school bus as they were with feeding the dozen or so guests.
We left shortly thereafter, agreeing that we'd felt that asking for anything would have been putting these people out.
The Green Dragon market was disappointing, though Laurie did buy the largest head of cauliflower we'd ever seen. Thankfully, she passed on the cabbage that was the size of a basketball.
From there we set off across the state to Meadville, where my mother and my brother both live. When we were planning the trip, I spoke to my brother about motels in the area and he suggested we stay at the B&B right next door to his house. Laurie called to make the reservation and the owner found it quite amusing when he found out who we were.
We were greeted warmly by the owners and, after an amusing conversation about their next door neighbors, walked over to my brother's house. My mother, brother and sister-in-law were there to greet us and we had a pleasant dinner, but not long after, their cat was wreaking havoc with Laurie's allergies and we headed back to the B&B. After some TV, we called it a night.
When we checked in, we were asked what time we wanted breakfast -- a big switch from the first B&B -- and we chose 8:30. Once again, we were up before the alarm went off. Breakfast was french toast and grilled pineapple. Unlike the first B&B where everyone pretty much kept to themselves and ate in silence, there was a lively conversation that included the owners (when they weren't scurrying back to the kitchen to cook up more food).
Laurie went out for a walk while I continued to chat with the owners and a couple of guests. At 10:00, my brother came over to say that he was going to pick up Mom, so we loaded our stuff into the car, bid our hosts goodbye, and went next door. From there, Laurie and our sister-in-law went on a tour and shopping trip around town, while my brother, mother and I sat talked.
We all met up for lunch at a nearby restaurant and then Laurie and I started the first half of our journey home.
Our third night was spent in a Fairfield Inn, which we were quite happy about. Laurie and I agreed that we are hotel / motel folks, preferring the relative anonymity of staying in them, along with the flexibility to change our schedule if we want, and avoiding the feeling of imposing if we want an extra couple of towels or a wake-up call.
Our Sunday plan had been to stop at the Yogi Berra Museum on the way home. Despite their slogan "We're open 'til we close," they seem to have shortened their hours since I last checked. Rather than sit in their parking lot for 90 minutes, we headed straight to to visit Chuck, Rebecca, and Alex. And after lunch with them, we completed our journey.
And spent Sunday night in our own bed in our own house... which is the best place of all.