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Annapolis, Maryland. Home to the U.S. Naval Academy, quaint waterfront shopping, Maryland crabs, sailing and water sports. . . did I mention Maryland crabs?

Once or twice a year, a few of my family members, who live far and wide, meet up in Annapolis for lunch and an afternoon romp through the shops. Ice cream at Kilwins included. This year, the temperature skirted 100 degrees, so we found ourselves lingering in one of our favorite restaurants, Boatyard Bar & Grill on the corner of 4th and Severn streets. It’s just a short jaunt from the shops over a small bridge. 

Boatyard Bar & Grill

The menu is huge and packed with local fare like freshly caught striped bass (rockfish) with Nantucket Sauce, a selection of oysters from Eastport, MD. Long Island Sound and Chincoteague Bay. Oyster shooters, too. Think soups like New Bedford lobster, scallops and roasted corn chowder or the ever-popular cream of crab or Maryland crab soups.

 A large selection of salads topped with either chicken breast or other seafood goodies is available. Yes, you can even top your salad with a crab cake. 

Did I Mention Maryland Crabs?

The menu items just keep coming. Friday’s chef’s specials included 14 items like “Tipsy Scallops” flamed in Bourbon, stuffed Maryland soft shell crabs, the “real Carolina” pork barbecue sandwich. If you have trouble making decisions, don’t go there.

To top it off, I tried the key lime pie, beautifully presented with raspberry sauce and whipped cream. The taste was mild and pleasant, not like some that are so strong they could walk me down the street. We left there sated and headed for the next part of our visit.

Most people from our area probably do similar things- eat in restaurants, shop the stores, maybe take in a boat ride. But, on closer inspection, I found that the area sponsored some nice activities year-round.

Naval Academy Concert and Theater Events

For all the times I’ve been in Annapolis, I’ve never walked the grounds of the Naval Academy. I did a little research and found that the Academy is known for its’ music and theater events. This looks interesting:  USNA Halloween/All Saints Concert on Friday, October 25 in the main chapel at 7pm and 10pm and Saturday, October 26 at 7pm.

It’s billed as a “spectacular event of music, light, drama and dance”, and it sounds like a great evening. General admission is $36. per person (children under 10 are $8.) Tickets will go on sale Tuesday, September 24 at 9am. If you’re interested, I would add this to your calendar. Something tells me they’ll sell out quickly. Also, seating is in pews and it’s first come, first served. The doors open a half-hour before the show, so get there early. Don’t forget to check their security rules at www.usna.edu/visit.

Another spectacular event is Handel’s Messiah in the main chapel on Saturday, December 7 at 7pm and Sunday, December 8 at 3pm. Seating is by pew and depending on location, ticket costs vary- $21/$26/$31/$36/$46.  This is another one to put in your calendar. Tickets go on sale on Tuesday, October 29 at 9am. View all events here at Navy Performs.

Annapolis By Candlelight Tour

If you like touring privately-owned historic houses, keep an eye out for the Annapolis By Candlelight Tour. It’s not up on the website yet, but I was assured the dates this year are November 8 and 9. They’re still in the process of choosing houses, and everything should be finalized and up on the site by the end of August. It sounds like this year’s selection will occur in the Murray Hill section of the town near the waterfront. Should be interesting.

Annapolis in the summer. Annapolis in the fall. Annapolis in the winter and spring. There always seems like something’s happening year-round. I intend to enjoy Annapolis offseason this year. There’s plenty to do!

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Just a few achy backs and creaky knees, but after five hours of almost constant work volunteers started for home feeling satisfied. They knew they were making a difference in the lives of kids staying at Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey, PA.

Today was the big push. Approximately 30 volunteers showed up to assemble the colorful, fun and cute pillowcases guaranteed to bring a smile to those afflicted. A core group of about twelve crafters living at Traditions of America (TOA) over-55 lifestyle community in Mechanicsburg, PA chose this project about five years ago and they’ve been sewing pillowcases ever since.

Serving Children Through Ryan’s Case For Smiles

The non-profit, called Ryan’s Case For Smiles, was founded by Cindy Kerr, a Wayne, PA mother whose son, Ryan, suffered from bone cancer. As with many childhood cancer victims, multiple hospital stays were a part of the routine, often causing trauma for the child and family.

During those long stays, Cindy would bring her sewing machine into the hospital and help the kids make bright and fun pillowcases for themselves, bringing a smile to their faces. The project grew into a non-profit, originally ConKerr Cancer, with volunteers creating fun pillowcases for cancer victims. Eventually, it grew into Ryan’s Cases for Smiles, assisting all children with serious illnesses and injuries.

The Hershey chapter, coordinated by Jeanette Henning, services the Penn State Children’s Hospital here in Central PA. A myriad of local volunteer groups sews pillowcases for the chapter, including the group from TOA.

It’s a large project. Every child who enters the hospital for treatment gets a pillowcase, and the doctors use them as a conversation-starter to make the child feel at home. Over 500 pillowcases are given out each month in this one hospital alone.

500+ Pillowcases- No Small Task!

The Traditions of America (TOA) group is on track to complete 500+ pillowcases for delivery this August, and it was no small task. Although the TOA crafters work on various projects during the year, like sewing for the children’s Christmas and Easter festivities, as well as for their famous October craft fair, a large chunk of time is spent on this one labor of love.

Most of the TOA pillowcase activities take place after the Christmas holiday. Fabric must be purchased and tasks must be organized. The assembly begins. 

Fabric comes from different sources. Some people donate the material. Twice a year, members attend a fabric swap at the Hummelstown Methodist church, exchanging material that doesn’t fit their pillowcase criteria for something more suitable.

Estimated Cost Per Pillowcase Approximately $5. to $10.

With donations and money they receive from the craft fair, the volunteers make their yearly pilgrimage to local fabric stores- always using coupons. The estimated cost of each pillow is between $5. to $10., not counting the time invested. Crafters meet every Tuesday and Thursday organizing, cutting and getting ready for the big push in July.

On a designated day in July, they invite local TOA residents to meet at the clubhouse for the big push. Volunteer sewers, sergers, pinners, folders, cutters, ironers all work feverishly to finish as many pillowcases as they can. This year, approximately 30 volunteers showed up to help on July 11. Someone even volunteered to bring lunch for everyone.

As hard as everyone worked last week, there’s still a large number of pillowcases that need to be assembled. TOA volunteers will be showing up every Tuesday and Thursday after 1 pm for the next month to complete the project.

October Craft Fair A Good Source of Revenue

What’s next for the group? Certainly, the October craft fair which features quilting, jewelry, Christmas ornaments and trinkets, and much more will grace the tables of the clubhouse- each item an expression of the crafter’s own, unique creativity. Everyone is welcome, although only crafters from TOA are eligible to rent space. Money collected from the rentals will be used to purchase fabric and supplies for the pillowcase project. 

The outpouring of help just from this community alone is heartwarming. Quite a few grandmoms brought their grandchildren to volunteer. Everyone pitched in. Unfortunately, because of HIPA laws, volunteers are not allowed to be present when the pillowcases are handed out, but you can bet everyone is there in spirit. Just imagine the big smiles on their faces! A job well done.

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You know what? The moon stinks! I’m not just having a childish snit. The moon literally stinks. This is one of the little known facts from the Apollo 11 landing 50 years ago on July 20, 1969.

The Moon Stinks!

According to the Smithsonian Magazine, the dark gray, fine-grained moon dust that wafted through the LM (Lunar Module) when they returned from the moonwalk had a peculiar smell. According to Buzz Aldrin, he thought it resembled “the smell in the air after a firecracker has gone off”. Neil Armstrong thought it smelled like “the scent of wet ashes”.

The extremely clingy moon dust was such a nuisance, it caused the moonwalkers to sleep with their helmets and gloves on. Neither one of them wanted to breathe in the dust that floated around the cabin.

Thomas Gold, a Cornell University astrophysicist, predicted that the moon’s surface would be covered in dust. He also warned that the dust might be highly chemically reactive in an oxygen-filled atmosphere.

Armstrong and Aldrin decided to experiment. Inside the LM they spread some of the dust over the ascent engine and watched to see if it smoldered. If it did, they would have tossed it out. Nothing happened, however. As a matter of fact, the dust lost its smell soon after being introduced to the air and moisture.

Where Were You on July 20, 1969?

This is just one of the little-known facts from the Apollo 11 moon landing. I remember that day 50 years ago when they landed on the moon’s surface. It was a warm and humid July night. We gathered at my future in-laws’ house to watch the landing on TV. No air conditioning. For a time, I stood on the back step, staring up into the night sky. I felt a sense of awe knowing that Armstrong and Aldrin were about to set foot on the moon- in real time. Then I scrambled into the house to watch them descend onto the surface.

How could we perform such a feat in eight short years after stating our goal to land on the moon? Back in 1961, no one knew how we were going to do this. This magnificent accomplishment took place just 66 years after the Wright brothers flew for the first time in North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Speaking of the Wright brothers, another little-known fact- Armstrong brought along remnants of the airplane from the first flight back in December 1903. These artifacts now sit in the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.

The Moon Landing Was Staged ?!

You may remember this one. The American flag planted on the lunar surface that day was a point of controversy. Conspiracy theorists claimed the moon landing was staged and didn’t actually happen. The flag that seemed to be “flying” on the moon could not possibly “flap” in an oxygen-deprived situation. There is no wind on the moon.

NASA later explained that the light, aluminum pole that held the flag had a horizontal extension on it which helped to display it. When Armstrong twisted the pole back and forth to dig into the lunar soil, it caused the flag to ripple. When he let go of the pole, the vibrations continued to ripple the flag for a time.

Sadly, that first flag does not stand today. Aldrin claims he saw the flag thrust to the ground due to the engine exhaust when they lifted off.

Good Shows To Watch

The Smithsonian channel is hosting a five-part series called Apollo’s Moon Shot. I watched the first four hour-long shows and it’s excellent. The last show is still waiting to air. CNN also has a good show called Apollo 11. It’s an hour and a half of little-seen footage from inside the ship, to the control room and even shots of spectators who watched from a distance. It all seems so long ago.

The 50-year anniversary of the first moon walk is coming up soon- July 20, 1969. Dig back into your mental archives and try to remember where you were and what you were doing. Then watch the shows on TV. Time flies, doesn’t it?

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It’s summer and Central PA is experiencing a restaurant deck explosion of sorts. More and more venues are opening decks, serving sips and casual dining. It’s a great time to enjoy friends and family in a relaxing outdoor setting.

New Greystone Brew House

One of the new kids on the block is the recently opened Greystone Brew House in Dillsburg.  Large and spacious, this newly renovated deck and restaurant overlooking the expansive countryside at the Range End Golf Club is to die for. The scenery is awesome and the food is delicious!

Just As Good As the Greystone Public House

And, yes, this is the second collaboration between a Chef Jason Viscount and John Frisch, owners of the Greystone Public House in the Harrisburg/Linglestown area. I wrote about the Public House this past December. See the article here at Greystone Public House. They brought their very own style of cuisine and expertise to Dillsburg and they don’t disappoint.

As with many of the best restaurants in the area, the menu is seasonal and locally sourced.

Casual Dining On the Deck

Although the food is a little more casual than the Public House, the Greystone stamp of quality is still strong. The menu boasts a nice selection of sandwiches, and a number of them contain smoked meats-a specialty at the Brew House.

The Sandwiches Are Smokin’

Of course, they always serve the delicious Greystone Burger, but they’ve added items like the Smoked Cuban with smoked pulled pork blended with Weaver’s Smoked Ham, local Swiss, mustard, pickles and a baguette. House smoked pastrami with cabbage slaw, local Swiss, horseradish mustard and marble rye is another unique hearty choice. 

Stout-Braised Short Ribs Still A Favorite

If smoked is not your thing, there are other items like the crab cake sandwich (little to no filler) or the Grilled Fish Taco with pineapple salsa. Their famous Stout Braised Short Ribs are available in Dillsburg, too. Now you can try their braised ribs as a sandwich with grilled cheddar cheese, pickled red onion, arugula and country bread. Yum!

Thumbs Up On Shrimp and Grits

We chose entrees, rather than sandwiches. Several of us tried the Shrimp and Grits, with seared shrimp, roasted tomatoes, paired with Weaver’s Smoked Ham, red onions and gluten-free cheddar grits. The sauce was outstanding. I never thought shrimp would blend so well with the smoked ham, and the shrimp had a little bit of pow! to it, too. 

I’m not a fan of grits, but it all tasted so good together. Thumbs up! Andy chose the Stout Braised Short Ribs over Yukon Gold whipped potatoes and asparagus. You can’t go wrong with their signature dish. It’s a winner! 

We decided against dessert, but their Skillet Carrot Cake with cream cheese sherbet, butterscotch and toasted coconut sounded interesting. They even offer a root beer float. How fun!

Crabs On the Deck, July 4, 5, 6

Some days at the Brew House are just special. Crabs on the deck! The feast begins on July 4 and continues through July 5 and 6. It’s all you can eat for $29.95. Make sure you let them know you want crabs when making reservations.

New Brewed IPAs

The bar is full service, showcasing a large selection of signature cocktails and beers. Happy hour is just plain fun. Aside from serving popular beers like Yuengling Lager and Miller Light, they dipped their toe into brewed beers like a Greystone A-Roundabout IPA and the Dillston IPA, brewed and canned by Boneshire Brew Works LLC In Harrisburg. And happy hour sangrias are always a surprise like the recent Strawberry Lemonade Sangria. How refreshing on a summer evening.

Food and drinks are not the only attraction. The Brew House, open since April, is already a hopping place. Live music livens the deck every Tuesday and Friday nights from 7pm on.  Check out their events here. 

Festival Jazz Party, July 12

They’re even hosting a Festival Jazz Party in the Ballroom on Friday, July 12 from 7:30pm to 11pm featuring Ali Ryerson and Marko Marcinko with the River City Big Band. Reservations are suggested. You can purchase tickets here at Instant Seats. General admission is $20. ($15. for CPFJ members and $10. for students)

Make sure you grab a little of this deck Renaissance here in Central PA. The Greystone Brew House is a great way to start. It’s worth the trip!

Greystone Brew House
303 Golf Club Ave.
Dillsburg, PA 17019
Phone:  717-502-2155
Hours:
Mon-Thurs.     Bar: 11am-11pm
                 Kitchen:  11am-9pm
Friday              Bar: 11am-12am
                 Kitchen:  11am-10pm
Saturday          Bar:  10am-12am
                 Kitchen:  10am-10pm
Sunday.           Bar:  10am-10pm
                 Kitchen:   10am-9pm
Happy Hour:  Mon-Sun  4-6pm
Brunch:          Sat & Sun 10am-2pm

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I live in a large, active lifestyle community for those over 55 years old. No, it’s not a nursing home, as some people think when they hear “over 55”. It’s a lovely community of single and double homes where residents are incredibly active socializing, swimming, golfing, bicycling, walking and much more. These people know how to move.

But, in spite of all this activity, we manage to keep a local orthopedic facility quite busy. An ailment that seems to top the list is osteoarthritis, resulting in more knee and hip surgeries than I care to mention.

“Wear and Tear” Disease

Osteoarthritis is often called the “wear and tear” disease and is most often found in a certain age group. In other words, us older folks managed to wear down the cartilage in our joints by the time we’re 60 or so, and it’s not reversible.

There is a way to slow the progression down, however. Exercise like swimming, walking, bicycling, strength endurance, losing weight, etc. is high on the list, but even active, thin people can suffer from arthritic pain.

Strong Muscles Are The Secret Sauce

Apparently, the secret sauce is strong muscles, specifically strong quadriceps (front of thigh) and strong hamstrings (back of thigh). Having sound quads and hamstrings takes some of the pressure off the knee and cartilage, but don’t stop there. Strong hip muscles control the knees, so it’s imperative to strengthen that area, also. Of course, we could recite that old song that states “ the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone” and so on. Our entire body is affected by the sum of its’ parts. But quads, hamstring and hip muscles are a good place to start.

Start Your Day With An Exercise Video

Here is a short YouTube videos to show you how to strengthen those areas. It wouldn’t hurt to pass these on to your adult children, too. Muscles start to break down after the age of 30, resulting in a loss of 3% to 5% of muscle strength each year thereafter. By the time you’re 60. . . well, you do the math.

Hip & Knee Warm-Up Stretches : Arthritis Pain Relief - YouTube

Start out slowly and build up over time. Building muscle is a gradual process. And don’t forget to do a little gentle stretching beforehand. It increases flexibility and prevents muscle tightening which can cause more pain. 

Check With Your Doctor or Physical Therapy Professional First

If you haven’t exercised in a while or if you have special physical considerations, it’s best to talk to your doctor or physical therapist before starting an exercise regimen. Get checked and get going. Let’s see if we can prevent pain from stopping us in our tracks. Happy exercising!

The post Secret Sauce to Stronger Knees and Hips appeared first on Boomerbeanandcream.com.

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Chernobyl. I started watching the HBO series by that name, and I was glued to my seat as the nuclear armageddon unfolded. What a gut-wrenching portrayal of the lives of the individuals who experienced that disaster.

I can remember the incident back in April of 1986, but life happens and the fact that I lived far and away from Ukraine left me clueless. This miniseries brought it all home and made it very real to me. I’m left with a feeling of helplessness. How could this have happened? I decided to do a little digging. 

Movies and TV With a Grain of Salt

Certainly, we can take movies and TV with a grain of salt. Fact and fiction tend to blend in when writing a script for effect. A certain amount of drama needs to be added so viewers don’t spend their evenings with their head in the fridge.

According to the American Nuclear Society (ANS) and the HBO show, two major problems existed-there was a design flaw in the system and there was no steel-reinforced cement containment structure in place. Structures like these are built in the US to mitigate the effects should a nuclear plant meltdown occur. These types of containment structures were not required in the Soviet Union. To note, a steel-reinforced dome was placed over reactor 4 just recently at the end of 2018, replacing the original “sarcophagus” from 1987.

Effects of Radiation at Chernobyl

Immediately after the disaster, first responders rushed to the site putting themselves in harm’s way. These individuals were estimated to be exposed to radiation levels the equivalent of 80,000 to 160,000 chest x-rays. A number of them died within days and long-range fatality figures over time vary wildly.

Over the next three years, around 530,000 recovery operations workers (“liquidators”) were tasked with cleaning up the toxic remains. All were exposed to varying levels of radiation, and no definitive studies were ever done on the effects of the radiation on the population.

Even as recent as 2011, caution abounded as people continued to work on the site. A 2011 article in ASME.org states, “To minimize the radiation exposure, they work two weeks on, two weeks off, and are paid triple the normal wages”.

Scandinavian Radiation Levels

Ukraine, Belarus and Russia were not the only areas affected by the radiation. Because of weather conditions (mostly rainfall), contamination “spread over much of Northern and Central Scandinavia”. Vegetation was affected causing radiation in livestock.

A process called nedforing was adopted, whereby animals with higher levels of radiation were fed non-contaminated feed until the levels dropped. To this day, there are still 37 municipalities that practice nedforing. 

Fungi, abundantly found in Scandinavian forests, is especially notorious for absorbing radiation. In 2017, Scandinavian wild boar, who root around the earth for food, were found to have 10 times the amount of safe radiation levels.

Chernobyl Open To Tourists: With Precautions

Chernobyl, for all its notoriety, is moving toward a more acceptable reputation after all its efforts to bring the area into a relative state of safety. Curiously, the exclusion zone (an 18.6-mile diameter around the reactor) was opened to tourists in 2010 for guided tours (with rules). Since HBO’s “Chernobyl” debuted, tour bookings for the summer increased by about 40%. 

Getting back to the HBO miniseries, we cannot accept all that we see as fact due to the nature of writing for TV and film. But whether we try or not, we will come away with an opinion. I recommend waiting for all the credits to cycle through at the end of each hour. The writer, Craig Mazin, offers his take on the material at the tail end of each segment.

Craig Mazin: The Writer Has His Say

He even cautions you about taking all the material at face value. Certain things were done a certain way to make a point. Vox interviewed him about the making of the series, and, from the horse’s mouth, he’ll explain the writing decisions he made. For those of you interested, I recommend reading his interview at Vox, HBO’s Chernobyl is a terrific miniseries. Its writer hopes you don’t think it’s the whole truth.

The caution tape is up when watching the show. Hold on to your seats!

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Sinnemahoning State Park Near The Dam

Pennsylvania is a nature lover’s delight hosting some of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the country. And PA takes good care of its precious state park resources providing scenic roads and views not often seen in these 50 states.

My husband and I are avid fly fishermen (and women), and we’re lucky to live in Central PA where travel to any part of the state is easy and accessible. PA is home to some of the best trout streams in the country.

Great Fly Fishing Streams

Fishing the First Fork at the Sinnemahoning

A few of our favorite haunts are Kettle Creek and the First Fork of the Sinnemahoning where we spend hours casting and hooking a variety of trout in stunning, mountain settings. Many streams in or near these great parks attract a wide variety of visitors searching for outdoor recreation.

One of our favorite parks, the Sinnemahoning State Park, is situated between Cameron and Potter counties, home to a beautiful new visitors center built in 2011. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with the natural habitat area and get acclimated to the rich variety of outdoor recreation available. 

Recreation at the Sinnemahoning State Park

Easy hiking and biking paths can be found near the center, along with more challenging paths for those of you looking to break a sweat. One of the easier hiking routes offers a gazebo overlooking an open field. In the morning, you might seek elk grazing nearby.

The Visitors Center at the Sinnemahoning State Park

Up the road sits a lake created by the George B. Stevenson dam showcasing the wide-open vista of the surrounding mountains and forests where it’s not unusual to view an eagle swooping down toward the open water. Pontoon boat trips are a recent addition. A “Birds and Brunch Tour” is available on Sunday, June 16 from 10am to 12pm.  Great idea for a close-up look at the area.

Best Stargazing on the Eastern Seaboard

Another fine park in the general area is the Cherry Springs State Park in Potter County. Sitting on top of a 2300-foot mountain in the Allegheny Plateau, it’s the only area on the eastern seaboard dark enough for excellent stargazing, attracting astronomers, campers and curiosity- seekers alike.

Stargazing at Cherry Springs State Park

For a park sitting in the middle of nowhere, it gets quite active. The field is curiously dotted with a few large, round mini-observatories. You can register to use one of the observatories or you can choose to sit out in the field to enjoy the celestial fireworks. Bring your own telescope. For those who like to camp, there are only 30 sites available, so register early. 

Observatories At Cherry Springs State Park

Star-gazing registration allows for a few hour sitting, but you can’t do this online. You have to visit onsite, look at the reservation schedule and choose an open time. A small fee is collected at that time of registration. 

It’s interesting to note that only red light can be used in the field, so as not to disturb the view. The area even hosts an amphitheater where park educators or guest speakers present their public stargazing programs. If you’re looking for something different and magical to do, this is the place to visit.

A Comfortable Hometown Place To Stay

For overnight stays, we recommend the Millstream Inn in Coudersport, PA. It’s a comfy, hometown hotel offering a very nice complimentary hot breakfast as well as homemade cookies in the afternoon and a popcorn machine for afternoon nibbles. Millstream Inn, 918 E 2nd St, Coudersport, PA. Phone: 814-274-9900. The Inn is 40 miles from Sinnemahoning State Park and 12 miles from Cherry Springs State Park.

Have at it! The Pennsylvania wilds are calling you.

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Friends at Garryowen Irish Pub

The fields around Gettysburg, known as the hot spot for battles during the Civil War, were not the only areas touched by the war. Fighting raged through the small, sleepy town of Gettysburg as well, impacting the lives of local residents and prompting stories passed down through generations. 

She Loves Her Town and It Shows

These stories live again with the loving care of Lori Korczyk, owner of the well-known Savor Gettysburg Food Tour (www.savorgettysburgfoodtours.com), blending local history with the bustling food scene of downtown Gettysburg. It’s not just about history, though. Since moving to Gettysburg back in 2004, Lori immersed herself in the town’s culture, making lifelong friends with the residents and entrepreneurs alike. She loves her town, and it shows.

A Road Map For Future Visits

In 2013, she created a food tour, introducing visitors from all over the world to an intimate, although brief, encounter with the town and its history. Billed as agritourism she sees her tour as a taste of what’s to come, encouraging tourists to circle back and take a closer look at the restaurants and historic buildings during their stay. For those of us living close to Gettysburg, it gives us a roadmap for future visits.

Agritourism in Gettysburg

The spirit of cooperation is apparent in this small town of over 7,600. “We celebrate agritourism here in Gettysburg”, she explains. “We have so many farms in the area, it makes sense to source from our neighborhood farmers. Everything is so fresh!” All the restaurants take pride in purchasing locally and helping each other.

Artisan Pizza at Food 101

Food 101: Artisan Pizza

This spirit of cooperation shows up in little ways in each establishment. Our first stop was Food 101, an Italian eatery known for its’ sandwiches, unique chef selections and delicious artisan pizza. Beautiful, old-fashioned Formica tables set with china and topped with a slice of their famous pizza greeted us as we entered. While noshing, I noticed a display of local wines from Knob Hall Winery prominently displayed. A note encouraged us to walk across the street to the winery’s store and purchase a bottle to have with dinner. Small towns are the best.

Acclaimed Irish Pub: Garryowen

Our tour consisted of a mile walk through Gettysburg, stopping at seven different food establishments. As Lori says, we’re eating our way through Gettysburg. Our next stop brought us to the town’s resident Irish Pub, the Garryowen, acclaimed as the second best Irish pub in the world outside of Ireland. Owners, Kevin and Joanne McCready hale from County Armagh, Ireland bringing with them their best Irish recipes and over 100 Irish whiskeys. Irish beers are on tap, as well as Guinness, served up in an Irish pint (20 oz.)

They recently purchased the building next door and converted a room into a dining area with local art adorning the walls. This additional room helps cut down the wait time for guests. For the tour, we enjoyed a small Shepherd’s Pie paired with Magners hard cider. Quite good!

Thai Delight

From there, we walked into a quaint eatery specializing in cuisine from Thailand, Tim Thai 2. The restaurant is fairly new to Gettysburg, but the owner has over 22 years of experience creating Thai delicacies. From the time he was 15, his uncle introduced him to the floating markets, teaching him how to select produce and meats for that evening’s dinner. The Thai craft of cooking is handed down from family to family as part of the culture.

Today, we sampled his top three specialties: spring roll with vegetables and peanut sauce, a Pad Thai noodle entree and a spicy, curry-infused Thom Kha Gai.

Traditional Dishes With a Positive “Wow” Factor

After enjoying our Asian cuisine, we walked uptown to One Lincoln Food and Spirits attached to the Gettysburg Hotel. Under the direction of award-winning Chef Joseph Holmes, Lincoln One continues to delight diners with familiar yet contemporary entrees.

“I strive to create a menu that features dishes that were recognizable and familiar to our customers so that they felt comfortable when ordering. But when the dish arrived, I want there to be a positive “wow” factor, in both presentation and taste.” To our delight, we were served a cup of their famous One Lincoln Crab Mac and Cheese in a creamy Bechamel sauce. Oh, so good! More, please.

During our walk downtown to Reid’s Winery, Lori became the town docent, imparting her knowledge of the historic sites we passed. No, I won’t tease you with historical tidbits. You’ll have to take the tour to learn more. (Emoji with winking eye.)

The Gang at Reid’s Winery

Reid’s Winery: You’ll Love It

Reid’s Winery is housed in an adorable old building on the main thoroughfare offering tastings of their specialty wines and ciders made from fruits grown in their 100-acre orchard in Orrtanna. They initially specialized in dry red wines but branched out to offer dry and sweet fare, along with hard ciders.

As we settled down in a lovely room upstairs (no facilities for the handicapped), Tracy walked us through her selection of five wines and hard ciders, including a dry red to sauvignon blanc,  two hard ciders and topped off with a delicious sweet red after-dinner wine made from blueberries and currants.

I was particularly attracted to the Traditional hard cider. I’m not much of a hard cider fan, but this choice was light with a hint of green apple. . . so refreshing for a summer afternoon or evening on the patio. Stop in any time. No reservations needed unless you have a large group.

Hoof, Fin & Fowl: New Kid On the Block

As our final restaurant, we were introduced to the new kid on the block, Hoof, Fin and Fowl. The owner hales from Baltimore and brought with him an abiding love of Maryland crabs. His totally fresh menu items change daily (depending on what he gets from the market) and often includes fresh crabmeat.

A recent day’s menu included crab-stuffed baked oysters, crab-stuffed rockfish with rice pilaf and broccolini and pan-seared duck breast with oven-roasted fingerling potatoes and broccolini. Yum! For the tour, we sampled an incredibly tender and tasty lamb lollipop and salmon topped with crab dill sauce. So good! The owner, who came out and greeted us, is waiting for his liquor license, so it’s BYOB for the time being.

Homemade Ice Cream at Mr. G’s

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a food tour without a trip to Mr. G’s Homemade Ice Cream. Here we had our choice of any flavor and savored a rather large portion of the icy delight. Thank you, Mr. G.

Lori was right. This tour was just an introduction to Gettysburg, enticing us to plan our next trip to the historic town, visit historic buildings and get a more in-depth feel for the lives of the residents from the Civil War era. Now that you have a taste of the local restaurants, it’s time to pick one and reserve time for lunch or dinner. What fun! Enjoy!

Savor Gettysburg Food Tours

Gettysburg PA
Book Your Tour:  www.savorgettysburgfoodtours.com
717-688-9584
Toll free:  888-252-5622
contact@savorgettysburgfoodtours.com

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Photo Courtesy Linda Hoover

The siren call of the Alaskan wilderness. . . So many travelers have answered with a fabulous cruise to points north. The chance to view glaciers calving into the ocean, wildlife not often seen in the lower 48 and the majestic peaks of Denali are high on their list.  Most people come back in awe of their experiences. But Dave and Linda Hoover were not impressed. They found themselves resisting.

Linda is a beach person and Dave just flat-out rejects all things touristy, yet they managed to carve out one of the best vacations ever. Captivated by the rugged Alaskan beauty, Dave said he would move there if Linda would let him. Hmmm. Dream on, Dave.

“It has to be my Alaska, my way”

It all started with a group of friends at a party. Alaska was the topic of conversation, and a trip quickly turned into a reality. Reluctantly, the couple ponied up the down payment, but not without Dave stating, “It has to be my Alaska, my way.”

Nearly a year before departure, he researched excursions that would transport them into the heart of Alaska and immerse them into the local culture. The Princess cruise package offered wonderful side trips, but Dave, a cowboy at heart, insisted on adding horses to the mix. This is a man who travels to Montana every year to rustle cows by horseback. Horses were a given.

Photo Courtesy Linda Hoover

Breathtaking Denali National Park By Horseback

The first day, Linda and Dave and two friends meandered by horseback through the breathtaking Denali National Park. The weather was awesome, with some residents saying it was the best in years. They even saw both peaks of Denali, a rare treat in the usually cloud-covered mountains.

The next day, Dave struck out on horseback with an experienced guide (Alaska Horsemen Trail Adventures) into the Kenai Valley, while the rest headed for a boat to whale watch. The weather is often fickle, as was the case that day. The whale watching tour turned into a nightmare with rough seas, rain and wind. But Dave and Alex soaked up the sunshine and serenity, totally oblivious to the group’s watery ordeal.   Sometimes a trip is just meant to be.

Introduction To Mushing

For Dave, the highlight of the trip rested on a visit to three dog sled camps. Dog sledding, or mushing, are deeply entwined in the Alaskan culture dating back millennia. But the transport method went into decline during the 1960s with the advent of the snowmobile. In the early 1900s, dog sleds were used exclusively to transport mail into and gold out of the now-defunct gold miner’s town of Iditarod. The path which stretches from Anchorage to Nome became known as the Iditarod Trail.

“Father of the Iditarod”

An intrepid former Seabee from Kintersville, PA, Joe Redington, Sr., who moved to Alaska with his wife back in 1948,  bemoaned the decline of mushing. With the help of Dorothy Page, he set out to immortalize the mushing culture with a 1000-mile race from Anchorage to Nome. In March 1973, the Iditarod was born. The race, which winds through the Alaskan wilderness, originally took three weeks to complete. Now, it can be done in 10 days with mushers stopping at designated checkpoints along the way for rest and replenishment.

Dave’s chosen excursions took him and Linda to three camps. The Fairbanks camp of Susan Butcher (4 time Iditarod winner), the Denali camp of Jeff King (Husky Homestead) and finally to Howling Ridge Kennel, a young musher’s camp on top of the Mendenhall glacier.

Photo Courtesy Linda Hoover

Granite: Improbable Runt To Lead Dog

Susan Butcher, the only woman to win four Iditarods, died in 2006 from Leukemia. Her camp, Trail Breaker Kennels, is still run today by her husband who honored her memory in his book, Granite. The story recounts the incredible life of Susan’s lead dog, Granite. The dog, raised from improbable runt to Susan’s most treasure lead dog, is credited with saving her life during a vicious Alaskan storm. Dave had the book signed and intends to give it to his grandson when he’s old enough to read it.

Mushers open their camps to tourists during the summer as a way to help fund their life’s work. Even though there’s no snow in July, camps often continue to exercise their dogs by using AVTs (all-terrain vehicles), as in Jeff King’s camp (Husky Homestead). Visitors can watch the sessions and listen to stories of their adventures on the trail.

All the camps encourage everyone to cuddle and handle the puppies to help socialize them. This comes in handy when the race is getting underway in Anchorage, where crowds of shouting spectators and loud music could easily rattle the animals.

Photo Courtesy Linda Hoover

The Ultimate Mushing Experience

The third camp was the charm. A helicopter flew Linda and Dave to the wilderness outpost of a young and relatively inexperienced musher, Shaynee Traska and her husband, Jeremy (Howling Ridge Kennel). Shaynee came in 47th out of 50 teams in her first Iditarod in 2018. That, in itself, was an accomplishment, since many teams pulled out of the race for various reasons.

This is where Dave trained on the sled with the dogs, took the reins and got some real mushing experience. The day was gorgeous. No need for heavy jackets. Just pure, exhilarating mushing. Needless to say, he’s hooked and can’t wait to get back.

Photo Courtesy Linda Hoover

He’ll Be Back-This Time As a Musher

As I’m writing this piece, Dave is busy planning his next Alaskan adventure. This time, he’s flying to Two Rivers, AK in the middle of winter to meet up with Matt Hall, owner of Smokin’ Ace Kennels. Matt will train him and give him the reins of his own team, and they’ll both take off, racing through the wilderness, camping at night under the stars and experiencing the sheer joy of the majesty that is Alaska.

I say go for it, Dave!

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The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA, a treasure for history buffs just 50 minutes from Gettysburg National Park, continues to delight residents and visitors alike.

The beautiful museum sits just outside of Harrisburg on top of Allison Hill in Reservoir Park with a 360-degree view of the Susquehanna Valley and the surrounding Blue Mountains. The view itself is worth the trip.

Major Focus on Civil War Between 1861-1865

Built in 2001, this first-class gallery filled with Civil War history offers an unbiased account of the Civil War from 1850-1876, with a major focus on 1861-1865. With the help of videos, life-sized dioramas, light and sound shows, interactive exhibits and informational displays, the exhibits examine the root causes of the war (states rights and the expansion of slavery) through to the aftermath, unleashing an influx of opportunistic carpetbaggers into the South. The museum is set up to accommodate self-guided tours, encouraging visitors to set the pace. An average visit usually takes two hours or so.

Civil War Medicine

Most artifacts and items were collected by Steve Reed, Harrisburg’s former mayor. Reed spearheaded the museum project by incorporating and creating a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization.

Smithonian Affiliates Program Awarded in 2009

In 2009, the museum was awarded the coveted Smithsonian Institute Affiliates Program status, giving it access to Smithsonian artifacts and presentations, a collaboration granted to only eight other museums in Pennsylvania. Today there are a total of eleven PA museums participating in the program.

Approximately 1000 Items on Display

Among the 24,000 artifacts, photos, documents and manuscripts collected by Reed, other donated items, and the collaboration with the Smithsonian, The National Civil War Museum maintains an impressive collection. At any one time, approximately 1,000 items are on display, leaving much of the items in secure storage for future exhibits.

The first two exhibits recount the lead up to the war and explore the controversy of slavery at the heart of the Civil War- families torn apart, cruel devices used to keep slaves in line and more. But it also covers the kind way in which some slaves were treated.  The lives of black Americans are chronicled before, during and shortly after the war.

Explore Both Sides: Union and Confederate

Most exhibits address not so much the battles as about the life of the common soldiers, giving credit to both union and Confederate soldiers alike. Flush with weapons, clothes, personal effects and other artifacts, the exhibits present a sense of what life was like for both sides.

The weaponry of the Civil War is well represented- rifles, pistols, swords, daggers, etc. Even an early grenade is displayed. Winn Jones, one of the museum’s erudite docents stopped to talk and offer his insights and answer questions. He proved to be a treasure trove of information on the war, not only of facts but for also adding perspective to the exhibits. His specialty is ballistics.

Winn Jones-Museum Docent

Over 620,000 Soldiers Died in the Conflict

He talked about the human cost of the war, how shells were filled with shrapnel causing untold suffering and injuries and loss of life when they exploded. But he also tempered it with the fact that more deaths occurred from disease and infection. In all, over 620,000 soldiers died in the conflict.

Other exhibits offered information about Fort Sumter (first shots), how the armies were recruited, trained and equipped, Civil War music, the gruesome practices of Civil War medicine. One exhibit featured Harrisburg’s Camp Curtin, the largest Union Camp in the Civil War. Women in war are represented and artifacts from the Battle of Gettysburg and Lincoln remembrances round out the displays.

The National Civil War Museum, certainly a first-class establishment, offers a different and tempered perspective on the war than other museums. When finished with your tour, I recommend spending some time in the museum gift store. They have a wonderful selection of books and gifts. However, I was disappointed to find the website’s shop link was down due to updating the website. I guess you’ll just have to visit and see for yourself.

Museum Membership Well Worth the Price

Membership to the museum is worth the price. You’ll have free access to the museum, advanced notice and preferred seating to events and speakers during the year, two museum guest passes, 15% discount to the museum store, and more. Seniors can purchase a year-membership for $35., and the museum will even credit the cost of your visit and apply it to your membership. Certainly a great value.

A treasured addition to our area’s Civil War heritage here in Central Pennsylvania, It’s worthy of a morning or afternoon visit. You won’t be disappointed.

National Civil War Museum

1 Lincoln Circle At Reservoir Park
Harrisburg, PA
717-260-1861
www.nationalcivilwarmuseum.org
Seasonal Hours of Operation
April 1 – Sept. 30                                                           
Hours: Mon-Tues and Thurs-Sat: 9am-5pm
Wed. 9 am-8pm
Sun. 10am-5pm
Oct. 1 – Mar. 31
Hours: Mon-Sat: 10am-5pm
Sun: 12pm-5pm
Admission: Seniors (60+) $12.
Adults (18+) $13.
Students (6+) $11.
Children under 6 free

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