Waking up in a strange bed is always an adventure. Some of us would know more than others, I suppose, (haha) but I think it's still an interesting experience. But as far as strange states go, Pennsylvania is as good as any to wake up to. The hills and country side are scenic and make for a great drive. Before heading out, we repacked the trunk, a routine of which we would become experts, and had a continental breakfast at the hotel. We also had some adventures trying to steal garbage bags to use in our awesome styrofoam cooler--thanks mom--but we won't talk about that. (We failed and ran away).
From there, we drove down US 30, the Lincoln Highway and got to see more of the beautiful country side. It was like a roller coaster ride all the way to Fallingwater, the home Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built for the Kaufmann family. We took a tour of the house, which was AMAZING. He completely integrated the waterfall and the boulders into the house itself. The tour was pretty funny and consisted of amusing Frank Lloyd Wright anecdotes. Apparently the Kaufmann family thought one of the cantilevers would not hold by itself, so they built--without telling Frank--a wall underneath it to support the weight. When they were out of town, Frank stopped by, saw the wall, and had the top four inches of the wall removed. A few months later, the Kaufmann's invited Frank over to the house, to tell him about the wall. When they did, he took them over there and proved that the cantilever had been unsupported the whole time without any problems. The Kaufmann's had the wall removed shortly after and never questioned his judgment again. Quite an ego on that man. He actually designed most of his buildings to be "client-proof" so that his designs would maintain his style and intention; often he built the furniture into the house so that they couldn't be moved around.
After a little more fawning over the house that Frank built, we continued east on US 30 and stopped at a bead shop somewhere before Gettysburg. Way too much money was spent on beads. I was just fascinated by the jewelry lingo of the girls and the workers: crimp beads, tiger tail, clasps, jump rings, etc. (Both Alaina and Jesse are art students and take classes in ceramics and metals).Ã¯Â¿Â½
We landed in Gettysburg in time for a little drive around town and a wine tasting at a local winery. Jesse realized the genius of Rachael Ray, who always asks the local people to recommend good restaurants when she is in a new town. Per the woman at the winery's recommendation, we ate at a local pub around the corner. The food was good, as was the beers. heh heh
Just after dark, we decided not to stay in Gettysburg and try to get to Harrisburg before falling asleep. Left with no other option, we headed over to Little Round Top to Took pictures of the different memorials and the Eternal Light Peace Memorial. We all felt a little funny standing there where so many people died and changed the history of our country. In one of the pictures, it looks like there are faces on the tower, which was very creepy. Just as I was telling the girls about this, I felt something hitting my back and heard a loud buzzing noise. It took me a second to realize what it was; I cried out, "Guys, pull over, we have a june bug!" Through laughter and screams--a completely girly thing to do, I know--we pulled over and threw the door open and released the bug back into the wild.
We drove through Harrisburg and decided to find a hotel in Hershey, PA. We went to three different hotels and they all told us they were either completely booked or only had ridiculously expensive rooms. The strange part was that there were hardly any cars in any of the parking lots. Maybe Pennsylvania hotel staffs are prejudice against poor white girls? We ended up having to drive back to Harrisburg to get a recommendation from a guy at a gas station for a hotel. It ended up being really creepy, but we found a bunch of other good hotels along the way, including the one we ended up staying at: La Quinta. This was actually a pretty good hotel with a very amusing staff. There were signs all over the hotel saying what La Quinta means in Spanish, and they all said different things.
After an epic battle with a cork and a wine bottle--check out the video--we drank some wine and hung out in the hotel room for the night. We got up early to go Hershey's Chocolate World. This was so much fun, mostly because we got excited like little kids and psyched ourselves up for it. We learned the Milton Hershey was actually one hell of a guy. He built the whole town because he wanted a nice place for his workers to live. Then he built an orphanage because he and his wife couldn't have children. He donated so much of his money and was pretty much awesome. Plus, we got to do go on the chocolate tour for free, which is complete with automated singing cows. haha So that's what is really important. (jk)
Our next stop was in Pottsville, PA: the Oldest Brewery in America, which is the Yeungling Brewery. We went on a tour of the entire brewery and even of the caves that they used to store the beer in. The woman who gave the tour--we decided to call her Betsy because we couldn't remember her name--was really funny and interesting. We also met an older couple that was super fun to talk to. At the end of the tour, we each got two free beers, which were great. We all decided that the dark beers were the best. Per the recommendation of Betsy, we all headed over to the Port Clinton hotel to eat dinner. We were totally surprised when we were served the hugest portions ever served. Check out the pictures if you don't believe me. It's ridiculous.
After that we headed into the fabulous and frustrating New York City. Details to come ...