Weekend Roundup

Standing beside a waterfall. Driving past a milestone. Visiting a market that dates back to 1893. And celebrating a birthday with shopping and great food at a historic village. While I have not been able to take an in-depth tour of any roadside attractions lately, I have still certainly been out and about. Over the past month, work and settling into my new home have consumed much of my time. However, rather than waiting for the next big road trip, I thought I would post a short update of my most recent travels and experiences.

A Waterfall (Again)

View of Minnesota landscape, covered in frost.
My wife and I recently flew to visit family in Wisconsin and Minnesota. It was my preview of winter: temperatures struggled to get above freezing, and within an hour of being on the ground in Minneapolis, I saw snowflakes for the first time this year.
View of St. Paul skyline.
We were in town for only a few days to spend time with family and friends.
Minnehaha Falls, during fall.
We did, however, make time for one quick tourist stop: a return to Minnehaha Falls, a 53-foot waterfall in Minneapolis. You might remember this from my first visit to Minnesota.

To give you a sense of the scale and power of this waterfall, I made a short video:

 

Another Milestone

Car odometer that reads 142192 TRIP A 123.1
In May of 2015, I rolled off the lot in my certified pre-owned 2012 Honda Accord. At that time, its odometer read 42,192 miles. I recently marked a new occasion: driving exactly 100,000 miles in that car!
Interior of 2012 Honda Accord coupe.
For the last 4.5 years and 100,000 miles, this has been my view – and it’s certainly not a bad place to spend time behind the wheel! Aside from some wear on the driver’s seat and the steering wheel, the interior has held up really well. It may not have all the latest bells and whistles, but my Accord is still a luxurious and comfortable place to pass the miles.
Exterior of 2012 Honda Accord coupe in a parking garage.
Later that night, I grabbed this photo at a nearby shopping mall. Given how hard I use the car, I’m thrilled with the way it has held up. It is certainly the best car I have ever owned.

As with any machine, my Accord requires maintenance and occasional repairs to keep it running. However, it has required the least amount of upkeep of any car I have driven past 100,000 miles. In the time that I have owned it, it has needed:

Maintenance:

  • 12 oil changes and tire rotations
  • 3 transmission fluid changes
  • 1 set of front brake pads
  • 2 sets of rear brake pads and 1 set of rear rotors
  • 1 brake fluid change
  • 1 timing belt/water pump/spark plug replacement
  • 1 battery (original was still working – replaced preventatively)
  • 1 brake caliper (right rear)
  • 2 sets of tires

Repairs:

  • 2 ignition coil packs (#5 and #6 cylinders)
  • Left and right lower ball joints
  • Sway bar bushings and end links
  • 1 new wheel (thank you, Pennsylvania Turnpike)
  • 1 new windshield (thank you, New Jersey Turnpike)
  • And the removal of a rather disgusting spider nest from the evaporative system

Almost all of the repairs required I would classify as normal wear and tear. The suspension components wore out, exacerbated by the salt and brine put on the roads during winter. The wheel and windshield were both damaged by road conditions. The only repair that surprised me were the two ignition coil packs that went bad. Overall, though, the car has exceeded my expectations for reliability (and no, we’re not going to discuss the spider nest again… yuck!).

I intend to post a longer review of the car (including a video walkthrough) when I roll 150,000 miles. Until then? Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning!

A New Hope:

Bridge across Delaware River in New Hope, PA.
I recently spent a gorgeous autumn afternoon wandering around the shops of New Hope, Pennsylvania. You might remember my visit to this historic town in a previous post.
Small red door, with a number 2 on it, beside river. A pot of plants sits beside it.
This small art installation of a series of doors along the Delaware River caught my eye. Behind each door is a small work of art.
Exterior of Bucks County Playhouse, with a small pond in the foreground.
I also stopped by the Bucks County Playhouse. Built in 1790 as the New Hope Mills, this former grist mill has been home to the Bucks County Playhouse since 1939.
Full moon in blue sky.
On the way home, I spotted a full moon looming in the sky. I jumped out of my car, threw the telephoto zoom lens on my camera, and snapped away.

Reading Terminal Market

Map of Philadelphia with a red pin in the location of Reading Terminal Market.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, my wife and I headed to Philadelphia for lunch and some shopping at Reading Terminal Market.
View of support structure of Ben Franklin Bridge.
We crossed the Delaware River over the Ben Franklin Bridge. Built in 1922, this bridge connects Camden, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Stainless steel sculpture of a lightning bolt striking a key.
At the base of the Ben Franklin Bridge on the Philadelphia side is “Bolt of Lightning,” a sculpture of a stainless steel lightning bolt striking a key, in honor of Ben Franklin flying a kite in an electrical storm, for which he is popularly credited with discovering electricity.
View of Philadelphia's City Hall beyond a line of traffic.
Our destination is in the Center City section of Philadelphia, and the heart of that area is City Hall. From its completion in 1894, it was the tallest building in the world until 1908.
Exterior of Reading Terminal Market with neon sign that says READING TERMINAL MARKET on stone wall.
Our destination: Reading Terminal Market. An institution in Philadelphia since 1893, the market has butchers, bakers, ice cream shops, vegetable stalls, clothing stores, food stands, and more.
Interior of Reading Terminal Market.
With over 100 stores, Reading Terminal Market fills two levels of the former train terminal for the Reading Railroad Company.
Giunta's Prime Shop butcher market. Blue sign hanging from ceiling says C 3RD AVENUE.
Some of the shops have been in the market for a long, long time. Giunta’s Prime Shop, a butcher shop, has been here since the late 1980s. Also, look at the blue sign hanging from the ceiling – the market is so big, the aisles are given street names to help you find your way around.
Two corn dogs, one with mustard, on a paper plate.
We snacked on some corn dogs from Fox & Son Fancy Corn Dogs. Absolutely delicious! A bit unhealthy… but delicious!
Plates with pizza fries, fried cheese curds, and funnel cake.
Healthy? Probably not. But every item on Fox & Son’s menu is gluten free!
Fresh produce stand at market.
While a tourist destination and a fun lunch spot, for lots of people in Philadelphia, the market is also, essentially, their grocery store… think of it as a supermarket with more choices than you can imagine!
Plastic buckets of different flours and ground nuts.
The Head Nut is a candy and nut store. Ordering there is easy, but bring your biceps – once you find an item you want, you have to carry the entire bucket to the front, indicate the amount you want, and pay. I got a good workout!
Exterior of Kamal's Middle Eastern Specialties.
We got some more fun food at Kamal’s Middle Eastern Specialties. Since 1981, Kamal’s has been serving falafel, gyros, and shawarma in the market.
Pumpkin with MARKET BLOOMS READING TERMINAL MARKET carved into exterior.
Visiting Reading Terminal Market was a great way to spend an afternoon… we’ll definitely go back!

A Birthday Trip!

Map of New Jersey and Pennsylvania with a red pin in the location of Peddler's Village.
My wife recently celebrated her birthday! Her birthday was on a weekday, so on the following Saturday, we took a quick road trip to a cool spot in Lahaska, Pennsylvania, about one hour north of Philadelphia.
White Jeep Grand Cherokee at end spot in row in parking lot.
On a sunny, if cold, day in mid November, we decided to give the Jeep a run, and took it to Pennsylvania.
Shops in Peddler's Village.
Opened in 1962, Peddler’s Village was designed to recreate an 18th century town. Located on 42 acres of property in Bucks County, the village has 62 shops and restaurants for all your retail therapy needs.
Central plaza of Peddler's Village, with Cock and Bull Restaurant in background.
The night before we arrived, the village’s holiday lights were turned on for the season. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…
Red sleigh filled with presents in foreground, with shops in background.
It certainly got me in the holiday spirit!
Exterior of Buttonwood Grill restaurant.
Our first stop was lunch at Buttonwood Grill.
Cheeseburger, pickle, fries, and topping, served on a butcher block.
Buttonwood Grill won the award for Best Burger in 2018 from a regional competition. The restaurant extols their burger patties, made fresh every day, so my wife thought we’d give them a try. She had a “Southwest Border Burger” (a burger with salsa-style tomatoes, poblano peppers, guacamole, and chipotle lime ranch), while I went with the “Just A Cheeseburger.” Both were phenomenal. The burgers come to your table served on a butcher’s block, making your meal that much more memorable.
Wine glass and wine tasting card on bar top covered with wine labels.
After lunch, our next stop was a wine tasting at Chaddsford Winery’s retail location in the village. The wines we tried were delicious, and the bar top (pictured) was one of the most creative uses of recycling I’ve seen.
Wine bottles on shelves in four cubbyholes.
If you are looking for a recommendation, I would suggest you try Chaddsford’s Standard White and the Harbinger red. Both were excellent, and will pair well with many different foods.
Sign in front of Nina's Ice Cream Shop that says A BALANCED DIET IS AN ICE CREAM IN EACH HAND!
I definitely agree with the sentiment of the board in front of Nina’s Ice Cream Shop. The best joke I saw was on a sandwich board in front of another shop: Q: What’s a turkey’s favorite dessert? A: Peach gobbler! Get it? Get it? Ah, I crack myself up.
Selection of cuckoo clocks on a wall.
We stopped by Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks, a store specializing in German arts, crafts, and foods. They had cuckoo clocks on display ranging in price from fifty bucks to almost two thousand dollars. I had no idea these clocks could be so expensive! The workmanship was absolutely amazing, though.
Interior of Left Bank Parisian store.
From Germany, to Paris. Left Bank Home has all the items you’ll need to make your house feel like it is located on the banks of the Seine.
Christmas decorations on walls of Cock and Bull restaurant.
The village was definitely getting into the swing of the holidays!
Self-portrait of photographer in Christmas ornaments.
Self-portrait, holiday ornament version.
Windmill over village green.
It was a great trip to Peddler’s Village, and my wife enjoyed her birthday adventure. Add it to the list of places to where we will definitely return!
Two champagne glasses and menu at Salt restaurant.
Our final birthday trip destination was Salt, a seafood restaurant in New Brunswick, NJ.
Steel bowl filled with ice and five oysters.
We began our meal with fresh oysters – Kumamoto from California, Raspberry Point from Prince Edward Island, and Sex on the Bay from New Brunswick, Canada.
Charred octopus with garlic scale pesto on a white plate.
Our second appetizer was charred octopus with garlic scape pesto. Simply divine! For our entrees, my wife ordered charred sea bass while I had the seafood risotto. It was a fantastic meal, and made for a memorable birthday dinner!
Chocolate torte and a cheesecake.
Dessert too? Why not. My wife ordered the flourless chocolate torte and I had the cheesecake. So good! We left happy, and quite full. What a great end to a great day!

It has been a hectic month since I last posted, but even so, my wife and I continue to find adventures to take and new places to explore. With any luck, this post has given you a few more locations to check out! Reading Terminal Market is open every day from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm (although stores run by Pennsylvania Dutch are typically closed on Sunday). Peddler’s Village is open from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Monday through Thursday, 10:00 am – 8:00 pm Friday and Saturday, and 11:00 am – 6:00 pm on Sunday.

Thanks for coming along on this weekend roundup along the open road ahead!

‘Til next time.

 

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup

  1. Now I can’t stop thinking about those fried cheese curds at Fox & Son’s! All that grub looked amazing. Congratulations on your 100,000 mile achievement in the Accord – it feels kind of cool to be able to “claim” that many miles as your own – you’ve enjoyed that car twice as much as its original owner did. Nice summary of trips here. A few of these pics reminded me it’s time to start taking inventory of Christmas decor and getting a few items ready to deck the halls. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading! It’s been a great 100,000 mile adventure, and I’m looking forward to seeing where this car takes me in the future. And yeah, the holidays are just around the corner. Have a great week!

      Like

  2. What an excellent compilation of photos and descriptions! Who cares about unhealthy food now and then? I certainly am game to indulge in a corn dog on special occasions. The red door in the water really made a statement. And congrats on your mileage achievement! I am looking at 33,333 before too much longer, and you can bet there will be a photo. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

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