Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Few Days at the Beach - Assateague State Park

On Sunday we had a beautiful drive from Beacon Hill Camping in Lancaster County PA down the Eastern Shore to Assateague State Park.
We avoided major highways and had excellent country roads.  It was great!

We arrived about 11:30 AM and had to wait until 1 PM to check in.  So we parked and went for a hike down to the campground to check out our site which was about 1.6 mi away.

Wow - this is a big campground! In fact it has loops A through J with 20-30? camp sites on each.  Most were a mix of tent camping, trailer, and motorhomes.  We made reservations about 3 months ago.

The biggest attractions to the park are the wild horses (and deer), the beach and the Assateague Seashore NPS which is almost co-located. By car it is about 3 miles to the Visitor's Center.

After check-in we got set up and walked on the beach.
The horses are not everywhere but are frequent visitors to campsites.  They walk around like they own the place, which they do.
They are beautiful creatures but ones that bear watching.  One has to remember they are wild and though somewhat used to people, they could be still dangerous.  Plenty of signs and warnings are around but you know people...

Gladly we did not see any problems with people getting too close.  On the other hand, we saw ponies nudging their noses through picnic tables and coolers.  But to no avail-- nothing handy to eat that we saw.
We liked our campground a lot.
It had plenty of space between neighbors, was close to the beach access and the restroom/showers and came with a fire ring.
The camp hosts drive around selling firewood and plenty of people took them up on it.  We had a good one blazing.  There is just something wonderful about a campfire!

There are no hookups for campers at this campground.  It was really no problem, we love to boon dock and chalked up another one.  We ran the generator in the morning and evening and had all the power we needed.  We monitored our black and grey tanks and had to fill up our clear tank when we arrived.  I took showers in the campground facilities and we will be dumping our tanks when we leave later on today.

The beach is a great one.  It is long and has plenty of wave action to mesmerize one for hours....We went to the beach everyday with a book, chairs and our shade umbrella.  We also went for a couple of long walks and really enjoyed it.
Back at the campsite a couple of days it was a bit breezy, if not windy, so we didn't ever pull out our big awnings.  We only pulled out the over-the-window awnings.

There was no shade unless you brought your own.  We are looking for a good end-of-season deal on a folding canopy that is on the smaller size.  We will see how that goes.

We liked it here because of all the campers.  Most folks are friendly and stop to talk and are here getting in one more vacation before school starts.  We had a couple next to us from Michigan three nights that were on their honeymoon.  Across the way, a couple were here for a two weeks that had been doing this for 16 years.  Yesterday morning a guy with three small boys came by and asked if they could tour the Roadrunner.  I said sure! and learned a little about them.  Wished I had taken their photo.

Time to move on down the Eastern Shore.  Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Until next time...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Some More Things Before We Left Lancaster...

We will have to come again to Lancaster County.  We were only there for five days and there is more to see.  Some more things we got to see while there included:
  • Flower and Home Marketplace  
  • Factory Tour at New Holland Haytools Plant
  • New Holland Summerfest Pennsylvania State Championship BBQ Cook-Off

Flower and Home Marketplace
We stopped by here to see a relative of Mike's who works there and to see the huge inventory.  This is like a Micheal's or Hobby Lobby on steroids!  It has a lot of inventory and is a very big store.  Tour buses park in the back and people could get lost in here!

New Holland Haytools Plant
This was a real treat!  I love factory tours.  This was in some ways similar to a tour at Red Bay to see Tiffin motorhomes being made.  Here, we saw some world class manufacturing going on with some hug metal bending machines and welding.  

The plant is on the outskirts of town and the New Holland Campus covers over 340 acres.  The plant itself is over 700,000 sq ft.  Inside they process over 47 million pounds of steel.  The 600 person workforce is non-union most work there a long time:  Average length is 17.6 years.

This particular plant is where they make the Roll-Belt Round Balers and Square Balers.  Most balers are now round but the square ones account for about 20% of their sales.

No pictures were allowed inside but it was a great tour!

New Holland Summerfest Finale - Pennsylvania State Championship BBQ Cook-Off
We got there mid-afternoon on Sunday to walk around the booths.  Some were still creating their dishes for the judges.  It was really a sight to see.  And it smelled really good!
Hundreds gathered for the awards in the late afternoon.  They had about 10 categories and awarded lots of trophies, cash, and ribbons.  
The above photo is not the grand champion (who was from Fairfax, VA this year) but he was happy with his large trophy!

We ended the week where we started - at the City Park.  Today instead of the band playing, hundreds of people came to see the awards for all the different varieties and tastes of Kansas City BBQ.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

10 More Things We Did in Lancaster County

We love going to Lancaster County and spending a few days there.  I remember hearing about it from friends Mike and Sue
back in the early 1990's when we first met them after moving to Fairfax, VA.   We learned they had recently retired back to their home town of New Holland, PA and we planned a trip to go see them.  It was a great week!

In fact, we saw so many things I could write a blog about each one.  Instead, I thought I'd post a picture or two of some the things we saw:

1.  Produce Auction (New Holland, PA) Old order Amish and Mennonite's selling vegetables, fruit, flowers, etc

(which also included pallets of flowers)

2. Martin's Furniture (New Holland, PA) local factory and showroom

3. Wilbur Chocolate Factory (Lititz, PA)

4. Sturgis Pretzel House (Lititz, PA)

5. Mennonite Information Center (Lancaster, PA)

6. Amish Farming Tobacco

7.  Mowing the Fields (Amish Farm)

8. Covered Bridges (Lancaster County, PA) We only saw a few - there are over 25 in the area. Click here to see where else they are located.

9. Gourds at an Amish Farm

10.  New Holland Museum

Our week was a full one during our time at New Holland and there is more to share.  See you next time on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Some things to see near Lancaster PA

We saw some interesting sights around Lancaster with our friends Mike and Sue.  We met at their place about 10:00 AM and went over to the horse auction.  Next we went to a tour of Wheatland, home of our 15th president - James Buchanan.

First over to the horse auction.
There are a lot of auctions in this part of the country.  Estate auctions, houses and farm auctions, quilt auctions, produce auctions and this - a horse auction.
 When we arrived in the parking lot, it took a bit to find a good place to park among the trucks and horse trailers.  And the Amish buggies.

I've never been to a horse auction.  It was a busy place.
On our way out we could see some energetic games of checkers going on
I wanted to get some more photos of the animals outside before we left

Our next stop was a few miles away over at Wheatland - the home of our 15th President - James Buchanan. The property and Visitor's Center is on outskirts of Lancaster PA.
We walked down to the back entrance to the home and were greeted by our docent who proceeded to give us a room by room history of the home and its occupants.
Wheatland was on 22 acres when James Buchanan bought the place in 1848.  He lived there many years before his distinguished service in Washington.  After his presidency he returned to Wheatland where he lived until he died in 1868.

Buchanan was one of our most experienced statesman, having served 10 years in both the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as being the US ambassador to England and to Russia.  He was also the Secretary of State under president James K. Polk.
He allowed his name to be entered for nomination in the presidential race of 1856 under one condition, that the campaign be run entirely from Wheatland.  Other did his bidding and committees throughout the country were organized to campaign for him.  He was easily elected and oversaw one of the most contentious and divided periods of history in our country - immediately before the U.S. Civil War.

James Buchanan was a lifelong bachelor.  His niece, Harriet Lane was orphaned and he became her guardian. When he was ambassador to England, Harriet joined him and when he was elected to the White House, Harriet served as the First Lady.  In fact, she was the first one to be labeled the "First Lady".  She also lived with him at Wheatland until she married at 36.

One thing I noticed about the house downstairs was the use of mirrors with candles near them to reflect the light in many rooms.
The whole house was interesting.  Each room had a story and uniqueness about it was noteworthy.  It was filled with furniture that had been returned over the years and was either from Wheatland originally or from the time-period.
The tour lasted about an hour. It helped fill in a lot of questions and misconceptions I had about President Buchanan.  We find that we learn a lot about our country by visiting presidential museums and libraries and their homes.  This was no exception.

Thanks for joining us today on two memorable events for us -- the auction and Wheatland.  Until next time...