Back in November I partook on a trip with my mother and brother. After a few exchanges of ideas, we decided to take a trip to Pennsylvania. The early morning came as I grumbled out of bed; moaning for the coffee that would wake me up. As the drive began and went on, there were no coffee shops to be found. However, there were some pleasant stops on the way down that curbed my sour mood. Taking the longer route and avoiding Connecticut/New York City, we found ourselves up on Hogback Mountain in Vermont. There we were greeted by a warm fire and a quaint country store. Here we found a soda that even a non-soda drinker like my brother enjoyed. Ironically, it was called Totally Gross Sodas and this particular flavor was called Alien Snot. This somewhat quenched my need for caffeine as we looked over the sight of the valley on top of the mountain. But the journey had to continue. About halfway down, our stomachs made the familiar sound of rumbling as we made our way to an apparently popular restaurant. People were lining up at the door for this delicious food that was indeed worth the wait. Satisfied we went back into the car and found our way to our next stop; a candy, fudge, cone, and ice cream shop. There we were told that everything was made from scratch, including their cones. It was hard to pry ourselves away from all these sweet treats and colorful decorations, but the end destination was calling for us. After what seemed like ages, we finally arrived at the hotel. My, what a sight it was to behold. We decided to stay in a themed hotel this time; a steamboat that glowed on its man-made pool that reflected its old fashion gleam. Inside one seemed to step back in time with classic red carpets, black and white photos, polished timber, and nautical themes that brought out the charm of this hotel. After settling into our comfy room, my mother and I decided to visit Huckleberry’s Tavern found inside the boat. Such a relaxed atmosphere greeted us as we enjoyed our talk with the bartender. He suggested their signature drink that had a pleasant blueberry taste and looked great. We soon ended the fun as we made our way back up to the room so I could change into a bathing suite. My brother and I soon finished the day by taking a dip in the Jacuzzi; something we would do every night for the rest of the vacation.
Solemn ground was what we stepped on as we entered Gettysburg the next day. One could feel the rumble of cannon fire, the primordial screams of fighting men, and the feeling of loss and devastation caused by the battle. A grande collection of artifacts were housed inside the museum; ranging from large cannons to the smallest of pins from both sides. As an added treat, we were able to see the cyclorama painting with sound effects and narration along with a bus tour further explaining how the fighting progressed. Interestingly enough, there was a hill that the Union controlled that allowed them to see the whole battlefield. Along with this key point and a communication problem within the Confederate forces, it lead to the victory for the Union. This truly reminds one of the importance of communication, maybe even in the smaller everyday interactions. With the day done, we decided to stop at a local buffet suggested by the staff. Surprising to the three of us, it was fresh made food that was a delight to eat. My belly full, I quickly retreated to the care when a creeping feeling hit my spine; probably from being on a battlefield where many lost their lives.
The next day came as we went to a restaurant called Loxley’s we had scoped out before coming down. Its outside was set up like a tree house that got the group psyched, but it was off season for that part of the restaurant. We were disappointed at first, until we were lead to their pub. It felt like we walked straight into medieval times where we could have run into Robin Hood, Little Jon, and Friar Tuck. The food had a great flavor and paired well with their Lady of Loxley drink; a sweet mango drink that makes one forget that it is alcohol. Even after a few, I somehow won darts against my mother and brother. This gaming streak continued as we made our way to the Laserdome; an arcade and laser lag place that looked interesting. My mom proved to be the pinball queen while my brother and I were racing legends. The three of us soon found our way inside the laser tag arena, facing each other. We were constantly battling for the high ground for the longest time until our mother disappeared. She only reemerged a few times to ambush us; a sneaky tactic to say the least. Many more games were played before my mother and I faced off in air hockey. It was an even match for a while; that was until the Joker’s maniacal laugh rumbled from the machine. All of a sudden, a barrage of mini pucks erupted and covered the field. My mother was quicker than I as she scored way too many points for me to catch up. Merry were we as we headed back to the hotel to rest for the coming day.
Our taste buds began to water as we pulled up into the parking lot of the Hershey’s factory. The fresh smell of chocolate welcomed us inside from the cold like a warm hug. First on our little journey was to take the tour. With singing cows and all, we were shown how the chocolate process was done on comfy moving carts. Rumbling erupted from our stomachs as our eyes laid ravenously upon the goodies found in the store. Released unto the unsuspecting public, we began grabbing souvenirs, treats, and Christmas gifts. Such interesting treats consumed on that day included mint Kit Kats, pumpkin Kit Kats, cinnamon Kit Kats, hot chocolate Hershey Kisses, peppermint stick Hershey Kisses, delicious cupcakes, and the best treats of all; a shake run of some favorite flavors that included strawberry Twizzler, mint Kit Kats, and s’mores. After checking out with our several carts full of items, we made our way to the zoo associated with the company called ZooAmerica. Animals found across North America were housed inside its borders. It was so cool to see all these different types of animals, but some stood out above the rest. The first was the very proud road runner who liked to show off. He sat pretty for photo after photo in the open enclosure found inside one of the buildings. At one point, he flew and perched on a railing that was close enough that we could have touched him. After taking a few photos for the paparazzi loving bird, we headed out the building and found a playful creature in the water. The otter flipped, swam, and scurried about as we were mesmerized by his movements. Eventually, we pried ourselves away to find a curious sight. A bobcat had emerged from their hiding spot and was stalking a fellow visitor to the zoo. She was so ready to pounce, if not for the fence that blocked its way. Such a humorous sight and a reminder that some of these animals were still predators. Our next fellow was a big brown bear that sat right next to me on the other side of the glass. I would like to think that him and I shared a moment together as we looked into each others eyes for a while; then again he could have just thought of me as lunch. Speaking of which, there was a moment where I though the bear was going to snack on a black vulture. The zoo has been struggling to keep them away from the animals and one decided to nip him. They did not get a pleasant response when he swatted back with a roar. With reluctance, I left the bear as we saw the rest of the zoo with its excitable wolves, majestic bald eagles, creepy barn owls, and other great creatures to meet, Again, the animals known as our stomachs reminded us we needed food. Asking one of the locals, we were directed to a wondrous place to eat; observing along the way that the light post tops were shaped like Hershey Kisses. Day soon turned to night as we made our way to something he had heard was occurring from the Hershey’s store. A Holiday Stroll of fantastic lights greeted us as we drove through field, road, and forest. Synchronized to music, it was dazzling and relaxing seeing old holiday favorites and fairy tales brought to life in light. What a great way to end the day.
Antique shopping has always been something my family enjoyed partaking in when we found them. Lucky for us, a huge emporium was located not too far from our hotel. Our shopping bugs infested our being as we went on shopping sprees for ourselves and others. (I think part of our logical minds were eaten away at the time but we had fun.) Personally, I bough myself some books and a pocket watch. Food was plentiful as we made our way a restaurant known as Good and Plenty. To those unfamiliar to the restaurant, it sits one down with strangers at a long table to enjoy a buffet meal together. Food was brought to the table like having a dinner at home, especially since the selection this time around was a Thanksgiving meal. We were sat with some interesting people who I believe were from New York. Kind exchanges were given as we made our way to watch a show at the Sight and Sound Theatres. Their show this time I did not enjoy nor did I click with, but my mother and brother seemed to enjoy it.
Our final full day of vacation came as we hopped from farmer’s market to farmer’ s market; enjoying fantastic tastes and smells that came from the stands. Fresh apple cider and home made sour cream and onion pretzels almost made me buy out their stocks. The last event of the vacation lay ahead as we went to Hershey Park. Mom was overly excited as she rushed ahead of us. Unfortunately, we found out that half the rides were closed due to the cold. This made sense and we ventured inside not knowing the benefit for coming at this time. They had lit up the park with so many lights that it looked like a rainbow version of the starry sky. A magic train ride in the sea of lights, a light show performed to music in a beautiful valley above the the river, and as much hot chocolate that one could drink. The few rides we went on were unique, so I will not give any spoilers. I will tell you that riding the the front was more terrifying than being in the back on most of the rides. Of course we ended up revealing we were from New Hampshire as we were the only ones that drank the King Size Shakes found only in the park. I enjoyed my Pumpkin Spice treat while getting weird looks from the majority of others. There was little time left before the park closed; so my brother and I went on the tallest ride as it slowly spun and rose us above the park. We was the city and park lit up in lights as we sat comfortably in our seats.
The way back home was less eventful, though I did try to have them stop in NYC for pizza. That was immediately shot down even though I was the one driving; instead vying to stop at a fancy place in Massachusetts. It was a great trip, but I missed my love and was glad to be back home. I definitely suggest putting Pennsylvania on one’s list of places to visit for good food and relaxing times.