Pennsylvania: Hershey’s Chocolate World

Since we were around the ‘hood, we included a trip to Hershey … Hershey, Pennsylvania. Hershey is the home of Hershey. It is also known as “The Sweetest Place on Earth”.


Hershey, Pennsylvania was not always known as Hershey. It has another name (can’t remember) but was renamed as Hershey when the town became well known for the chocolate it makes.


Everywhere you go, you see the name Hershey. There is always something named after Hershey, ad nauseum. There are stadiums, library, homes, schools, parks, and what nots all named after Hershey. Even the street lamps are in the form of Hershey Kisses! Some of the street lamps are wrapped Kisses, while some are unwrapped like the one you see above.


Tourism is as big as chocolates here in Hershey. There were unbelievable number of people who visits Hershey everyday. I am quite surprised. The infrastructure (road, car parks, etc) they have around the Hershey’s Chocolate World rivals that of Disneyland (but of course not as many visitors).


Our first stop is at the Heyshey’s Chocolate World. (more…)

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Lancaster: Plain and Fancy Farm Feast and Amish Experience

Part of our itinerary is to make a stop at the an Amish area on the way to Philadelphia. Ever since I watched the movie Witness, the one that Harrison Ford starred in, I was quite amazed with the Amish way of life. It just so happen that somewhere in between Washington DC and Philadelphia lies the largest Amish community in North America. That place is called Lancaster and this is the place where the movie Witness was shot.


Our stop is primarily at a famous farm called the Plain and Fancy Farm. There is another farm called “Good and Plenty” but we choose this one. This place is located somewhere between two little towns called … believe it or not … Intercourse and Bird-In-Hand. Weird name for towns, I know. Can anyone guess why the town is called Intercourse? No dirty ideas please!

There are two things we wanted to do here … have a good old Amish feast and take a tour of the area and learn more about the Amish way of life.


The Plain and Fancy Farm is a small complex of everything Amish. Besides the restaurant, this is where you can book a bus tour which brings you to various areas in the nearby Amish community. One thing I learned here … despite the simple lifestyle, there are a lot of Amish millionaires here! So, don’t think that these people are simpletons.

We opted for their Rolls Royce meal … the all you can eat Family Feast.


If there is anything that the Amish does extremely well, it is their food. Not only are they very very good, they sure serve lots and lots of it. We got seated on a long table which we thought was a bit odd since there were only the two of us. The table setting is unique where they have a little bench thingy right in the middle. You know what it is for? Well, they serve so much food on the table that this is their way to stack the plate high.

Service was exceptional and so downright genuine. I already like the Amish because they were so polite and so patient with us with our questions.


The drinks we ordered was just lemonade and sweetened ice tea.

The feast was delivered in three separate courses … the appetizer, the entree and dessert. Make sure that when you start off with the appetizer that this is just the appetizer … the main meal is yet to come!


First appetizer was the iced raisin bread. We love the icing and the freshness of the bread.


Then there is the rolls with apple butter. We just discovered apple butter the day prior. The bread smell like its just been taken out of the oven. Warm to the touch, this is perfect. For me, this itself could make a meal.


Ever heard of chow-chow? No, not the dog. Called chow-chow, the above is a common relish in this part if the world and is made of a few vegetables. I love cauliflower but Suanne rarely makes it at home as she claims that it has no nutritional value.

Oh … here is a childhood joke about cauliflower I still remember from my teen days. It goes like this … Boy to girl … “Hey, you look very good”. Girl, blushing, asked “Oh really? Why did you say so?”. Boy replied, “It is because you are pretty … pretty like a flower”. Girl shyly asked, “Really? What type of flower?”. Boy answered … “cauliflower!”.

Was that funny or lame? LOL!


There is this thing above … am not sure what this is called. It’s cabbage with mayo … very much like coleslaw. Nice, we like it.

After this we loosened our belts one notch to tackle the entree.


Their fried chicken was awesome. The skin is crispy and the meat inside moist. Simply one of the best fried chicken we ever had.


The chicken pot pie is nothing short of amazing. I never quite cared for anything named pie but this one was like wow. It resembles nothing like a pie though.


The roast beef was almost perfect. Being a meat eater, I had two servings of the above.


At this point, I was just wondering if there will ever be just one dish that is just OK. Nope … the mash potato is not just OK, it was more than OK.


The sausage is large. It looked mean for sure but for some reason, we are not a huge fan of sausages.


The steamed baby carrots were tender and soft with a hint of sweetness. Nice.


I believe this is called the grind corn. Never tried it before but I love this. I bet this is easy to make at home … I started to suggest to Suanne to research this on the net … she gave me the evil stare … I immediately looked down on my food like I had never suggested it at all.


The bow tie pasta was darn simple — just butter and pasta. Now, that would have been easy to make at home too but I better shut up and eat. This reminded me that nice food need not be complicated.


And finally came the dessert. This is when we loosen another notch in our belts.

The famous Shoofly Pie … it made of molasses, brown sugar and cinnamon. Know why this is called Shoofly? Oh … whipped cream … this is not the real deal if you don’t have lots of it.


And the other dessert is the Apple Sour Cream with Caramel. My life would be complete if I have this at home everyday … but then to think of it, my life would end the instant I dare to express this to you-know-who. LOL!


Last but not least … homemade ice cream. That’s it and thank goodness. If there are more food, we would need to remove our belts because there are no more notches to loosen.


Damage was about $40 buck. We left happy and for a fleeting moment, I wished I am an Amish. Where do I sign up?

And now … ladies and gentlemen … Ben goes into his tirade of his travel series again … BUT … BUT … he is doing it hidden in the next page. If you care to read of it, click on read more below.


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Pennsylvania: Gettysburg National Military Park

The name Gettysburg is made famous because of the events of the American Civil War. It is here that the bloodiest battle occurred over 3 days which ended with the victory of the Union army over the Confederates. It was this decisive battle that was the turning point of the Civil War from which the Confederates army were so decimated that they never recovered.

At the end of the battle, that is when President Lincoln visited the grave of the soldiers and delivered the most powerful speech in American history — The Gettysburg Address.


We started the tour of the Gettysburg National Military Park from the Museum and Visitor Center which is located just off the main town of Gettysburg.


It is here that my trusted Canon 350D (a.k.a. the Canon Rebel XT) is finally showing signs of dying. I had this camera for three years now and every now and then, up pops the “Err 99” message. It’s not that the camera is unusable but there is no telling when the error will come up and the only way to fix this is to power it off and on — and that works only some of the time. Good thing we had a backup point-and-shoot camera which came in handy. From this point in the series, all shots were from the Panasonic Lumix DMC FX-55 which is not too bad except that sometimes the pictures came up bluish and I do not know how to effectively remove the color cast (see the first picture above … looked unnaturally bluish isn’t it?).


Anyway, it was here that we started the tour. This is the place where there is a museum, theater and starting point for the battlefield tour.


There are all sorts of activities … even organized ones for the kids where they dressed them up a Union soldiers and teach them drill. The kids seems to have lots of fun.


They have a handy brochure that suggests the tours available. We can do the battlefield tour either by bus or we can even have a licensed guide get into our car (for a fee) to lead us through the battlefield. The third option is to get a CD which you play in your car and use a map to navigate.


We opted for the Special which includes Battlefield Bus Tour and the “A New Birth of Freedom” movie for $29 each. I can’t stand having stuck with someone who I don’t know in the car for 2.5 hours — I mean, what if I don’t like his face or he don’t like my hair or something. (more…)

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Pennsylvania: Breakfast at Bob Evan’s

After five days in Washington DC, we said goodbye to US capital city. As we were heading out, we were stopped right at 15th and Constitution Ave. That is the intersection just right out of the White House. The police stopped traffic for 5 minutes in all directions and seeing the number of police officers around, we sort of knew a convoy is heading our way out of the White House.


We did not mind because of our luck, we had the front porch view of the whole thing — our car was the first one stopped and had a great view. Oh boy, the policemen sure were twitchy. A car somehow rolled through on our right and every policemen had one hand on the gun holster and another hand held up commanding the car to halt. It freaked us out so much, we put down our cameras instantly!

While waiting, we whipped out of cameras and waited, waited, waited for the moment.


Then a stream of police motorbikes, black SUVs and an ambulance which followed at the back sped through the intersections. It was sort of exciting for us simpletons from Canada. It was so cool … very much like in a movie. We tried to pick out the VIP car but they all looked the same. I bet it was President Bush going out for a bicycle ride because one SUV had some bicycles on a rack. LOL!!

That was a great way to say goodbye to Washington DC.

This day we headed out to Gettysburg to visit the famous battlefield. We drove through the state of Maryland.


We noticed that in this part of the United States, there was a restaurant sign all along the Interstate of Bob Evans. We had never seen this on the North West US before. We reckon that Bob Evans is like the equivalent of Shari’s in the Washington State. So, somewhere along the way to Gettysburg we stopped by a Bob Evans for breakfast.


Not knowing anything at all about Bob Evans, we went in and was quite delighted when their slogan says “Breakfast is served all day” and “The Home of Homestyle”. All the Bob Evans restaurants looked the same with the bright red facade which was really inviting for breakfast.

From the exterior, this looks like a small to mid sized restaurant but it was quite large and had several sections to it. The place were teeming with customers that morning. That sure gave us the assurance, we had picked a right restaurant. This is a very family oriented place too because we do see quite a number of customers with “three generation families” eating here.

Service was kind of awful, I must say. First I did not like the fact that they put us next to the entrance to the washrooms when we could see a number of tables that they could place us. And also, I swear the waitress looked at us kind of funny and spoke to us with curt mono-syllable “sentences”. Oh well, we refuse to let that ruin a great day for us and ignored that.


We had, as usual, coffee … with cream and sugar. BTW, I don’t find black coffee appealing and simply must have sugar in it. I guess this habit came from the days in Malaysia where in some extreme end, people actually drink coffee with 1/3 glass of sugar and condensed milk!


They gave us warm biscuits. I guess everyone gets one as we did not order this. Suanne digs this kind of biscuits (more…)

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