This past weekend was epic, filled with adventure and great food. Here begins Part II of the weekend trip. After leaving Gettysburg National Military Park late Friday afternoon, my friend and I set off toward central Pennsylvania and the town of Selinsgrove for a very special reunion. The rest of the weekend would be spent in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where we toured a chocolate factory, played with trains, walked around a very cool city, and created lots of new memories.
The drive from Gettysburg to Selinsgrove took us northward, along the Susquehanna River. We arrived at our hotel Friday evening, grabbed a quick dinner, and then got to bed early in preparation of a long day on Saturday.
Saturday morning we left our hotel and went to Susquehanna University, where my friend had attended for a semester while an undergraduate. She had not been back to visit in several years, so we toured the campus, and then met up with one of her favorite professors for lunch at a small restaurant in downtown Selinsgrove. Emma’s Food For Life is a cafe whose menu is comprised entirely of local, farm-fresh ingredients. I had the cajun grilled salmon sandwich, which was amazing. It was a bit of a whirlwind tour, but it was very fun.
We departed Selinsgrove after lunch, and headed down to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1729, Lancaster is the second-largest city in southeastern Pennsylvania. It was even the capital of the United States for one day, after the British captured Philadelphia during the American Revolution in 1777. Lancaster is also the county seat for Lancaster County, which is a county best known for the Amish community that resides there, as well as farming, beautiful landscapes, and several famous tourist attractions (via Wikipedia).
We stayed at a local bed and breakfast in nearby Marietta, Pennsylvania: Susquehanna Manor. Built in 1840, the mansion is a stunningly gorgeous house that sits on a very peaceful, tree-lined property. The owners, Shane and Rachel, provide a lot of individual attention to their guests and make you feel quite at home. Breakfast is served every morning, and the meals are absolutely terrific. The backyard is large and open, with a koi pond, a large open lawn, and a scenic view of the surrounding landscapes.
After unpacking, we drove to Lancaster to walk around the downtown area before grabbing a great dinner at Rice and Noodle, a Vietnamese restaurant. Originally located in New Orleans, the proprietors moved to Lancaster after Hurricane Katrina. Our meals were terrific, and my friend’s dinner of Banh Hoi Bo Xao was stir-fried beef and vegetables on a bed of rice noodle patties. I originally thought the dish was served on bread, but upon closer inspection, the “bread” turned out to be rice noodles that had been steamed into cracker-sized slices that you could eat by hand. I am rarely jealous of someone else’s meal, but in this case, I sorely wished I had ordered this dish as well.
Sunday morning we awoke and after a delightful breakfast at Susquehanna Manor, set off for Hershey’s Chocolate World, part of the Hersheypark complex of the Hershey Chocolate Company. Hershey’s Chocolate World is a unique attraction- part museum, part interactive attractions, part food court, and part candy store. The place was mobbed with people, but we fought through the crowds and took the Hershey Chocolate Tour ride which takes passengers through a simulated chocolate factory (complete with lots of wonderful chocolate smells). We then spent a small fortune in the gift shop, purchasing easily 10 pounds of chocolate.
After leaving Hershey, we drove across Lancaster County and I returned to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (which I detailed in a previous post). My friend had enjoyed my write-up of the museum, and had asked to see it, if we had time. There is always time for trains, I assured her.
We stayed at the museum until almost closing, and then headed out, as we had dinner reservations in a few hours.
Monday morning, after breakfast and saying our goodbyes to Shane and Rachel, we departed Marietta for the two hour ride home. Before I knew it, we were pulling into my parking spot at my apartment complex, the weekend passing in what felt like only a few minutes.
This past weekend was an amazing adventure, from a national historic battlefield, to a fun reunion, to chocolate heaven, to more trains than you can count, to amazing meals, I can not ever remember filling so much into so few days. Here’s to new adventures and new roads traveled!
‘Til next time.