Matamoras - Bernville, Pennsylvania
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When we first ventured into northwestern Vermont, the leaves were just starting to turn yellow, with a few bright reds showing up occasionally. We were blessed to enjoy the full spectrum of color change throughout our New England travels, so when a significant number of trees were completely naked we knew it was time to get south :-)))
Along with arboreal nudity, the forecast included some of that white stuff so foreign to us. I had planned two nights in Matamoras, Pennsylvania, so we could visit the Storm King Art Center (a Jo Ann recommendation), but that would make our next travel day in snow and rain so we opted for one night only.
The drive from Connecticut on I-84 is beautiful. Not far into New York the trees are still holding onto their leaves, but the colors are very different. The yellows are more mustard than lemon, Chinese red is replaced with deep brick red, we see rich pumpkin oranges instead of bright tangerine, and the evergreens have a sage tint. You know those colors in the Crayola box - Raw Sienna and Burnt Umber? This is where they got those - the browns adding wonderful color to this new palette. At the top of the many hills we can see for miles in every direction, and all are full of color. No photos, you just need to come see it!
Our overnight in Matamoras is chilly, dropping to 24 degrees in the morning and freezing our water hose. Fortunately nothing is damaged and it soon thaws in the sunshine. We're on the road by 10:30, turning away from the Interstate.
We enjoy the drive through Delaware Gap National Forest, along the Delaware River. It's a narrow road with beautiful steep cliffs along the north side, and I'm glad we decided not to wait and do it during the coming storm. We miss the waterfalls, but the creeks running from their location are barely trickling so I'm not sure there are falls to see this time.
There are several RV parks to choose from in the Hershey/Lancaster area, and all of them are expensive. Since our next stop is at Cherry Hill near Washington DC, which is the most expensive place we've ever stayed, I opt for a more reasonably priced park in Shartlesville, just off I-78.
Pennsylvania Dutch Campground is a small park with mostly seasonals under the trees, and with ten overnight sites in the open area. Our site is mostly level with gravel and grass. FHUs with 50 amp, cable which we don't need because our satellite connects, 2 bars of LTE, and no park WiFi. Although we're not far from the highway, there is no noise. Showers, laundry, seasonal swimming pool, recreation hall, playground, and small general store.
Our Jeep battery is dead again. We get a quick jump, set up at our site, and head for the Walmart auto center. Although they say it will be 90 minutes, we're back on the road in less than an hour. Glad we don't have to worry about that anymore!
As expected it rains all day Thursday. Steady but not heavy, and very cold. Checking the weather app, Bill notes that all of New England is getting snow. As is Matamoras. I love having a home with wheels :-)
We get out in the afternoon, making a trip to Cabela's just to browse, and then to Cracker Barrel for late lunch.
|Un-named sculpture in front of Cabela's|
|Arctic wolves and muskox display|
|This guy is eight feet tall!|
Friday morning we make the 30 minute drive to the candy-themed town with the hint of chocolate in the air. I'm amazed at how many tourist attractions fill this mid-size town. The Hersheytown amusement park coasters tower over the museum and store and Chocolatetown, and the large hotel sits atop a small hill. Like the Roswell alien street lights, the Hershey Kiss street lights are unique and very cute. The size of the parking lots, and the special bus lanes, indicate that this place is packed during the summer. Contradicting the tourist trap feel is how immaculate the whole place is. It's like they vacuum the sidewalks and the streets.
|Only in Hershey|
We make it out of the giant store full of everything candy with a couple grand-baby gifts, and maybe a few pieces of said candy.
It's only one o'clock so we continue to Harrisburg to visit the capital city. The Susquehana River is beautiful, and very wide - but large, visible rocks indicate it is extremely shallow in places.
There are several museums here, but with limited time I want to visit a historic place instead. The Fort Hunter Mansion looks just right.
Located on the bank of the river, the mansion is not only completely restored, but all of the furnishings, clothes and artifacts are original to the last residents. Rugs, curtains and wallpaper are reproductions, the hardware is original. It is the most complete historic home I've visited thus far. And Bill joins me for the tour!
|The mansion was built in 1814 by Archibald McAllister, the ornate porch added in 1900 by the final residents, Helen and John Boas.|
|At the rear of the mansion, and sharing a wall, the original McAllister home was built in 1786. To the right, and also attached, is the final addition built by the Boas family - the wooden summer kitchen.|
|A classic beauty|
|with wonderful views of the Susquehana River. The master bedroom upstairs looks over the water with the best view of the old stone bridge.|
|Margaret's four children donated the museum and property to the citizens of Dauphin County in 1980.|
|The formal parlor. The settee is stuffed with horsehair and upholstered with mane and tail hair - it feels like a seat belt. They found a roll of the wallpaper in the attic so this room is papered in the exact replica. Pretty, but very busy!|
|This original Regina Victrola plays reproduction tin discs. What a treat to hear something nearly 200 years old sounding so sweet.|
|The stairway was built to impress|
|with no visible signs of support, three stories high|
|The cradle was built as a gift by a local tribe for one of John and Helen's children.|
|Molly explains the use of bathing basins, usually once a month. Feet in the hole, bottom on the "seat", hot and cold water in the containers. Amazing.|
|Even the dollhouse in the small playroom is fully furnished.|
|Note that at the time shoes were not made for left and right - both shoes were the same and switched back and forth to extend wear (except for possibly the side-button boots!). I never knew this.|
|The kitchen is my favorite room - especially this wonderful fireplace. The piece to the left is a rotisserie that was placed facing the heat and turned by hand.|
|Apple butter was made in the large copper kettle, and is still made in it each year at the museum. John's rifles lean against the wall next to the wooden bread warmer which is built into the wall beside the fireplace.|
|My son Brian must have been here and added the second one in the middle......|
It's after 3 o'clock and we're hungry! A very good lunch at The Millworks, and we head back home.
|Bill's yummy pesto spiral pizza|
|Ezra Michael, 14 months|