Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Trip to the Poconos!

I have been a bit remiss in keeping up with my blog. This post is from a trip we took to the Poconos for our 7th anniversary on September 30th:

To the Poconos . . . and beyond! Well –Maybe not beyond but the trip here to the Poconos is well needed and well deserved on our part!

The painting and repair work on our 200 year old house and barn is progressing very well, but we needed a break from the constant scraping and banging. And poor ol’ Dillon has pretty much given up with trying to keep up with his barking duties as the workers ferry their ladders around to different sides of the house. When we left Monday there was a large truck with a trailer full of wooden blocks for raising the barn up. Oooo – I don’t know if it would be good for me to watch that! What if they drop it?

So we packed up and dropped Mr. Dillon off at Puppy Camp (he never even looked back he likes it there so much) and headed for my sister-in-law’s vacation house just a short ways from the Delaware River and the Delaware Water Gap. The weather is great this time of year and in spite of a daunting weather forecast when we left of rain and gloom – we were optimistic that the days would be nice, cool and comfortable.

The little house rests in the middle of a preserved woodsy gated community but one would never know it. Some of the residents live here year round and some, such as ourselves, are occasional visitors.

The house has a screened-in porch and that is my favorite place to park. There’s no TV and no internet – only AM-FM and we brought our portable Sirius Radio to keep up with budget disaster (that seems to be working itself out). The area around the houses is very dense forest and the deer are daily visitors. They tolerate the people – or the people tolerate them – and I rarely see any that have succumbed to connecting with a moving vehicle. This year there is a doe that is a dark blackish-brown and she has two other smaller younger deer more reddish-brown than she is hanging with her. Then along came the man of the
house . . . errrr . . . woods. And what a character he has turned out to be!

“Crooked Horn” he has been dubbed due to a quirky left-side horn that points back inward at its tip. He saunters right up to the door, almost, to see if any apple slices might have accidently fallen out the door, but he won’t come all the way to my hand. He will stand there eyeing me patiently until I throw the delights his way. He will eat them up with glee and sachet around and then all of sudden bolt up the hill and run back around the house, slow down, and then start grazing up under the trees. He says – “I am in charge here!” He doesn’t bolt off when the apples are thrown, only when he feels the time is right to put on some show!

The wooded area around the house is ripe with nature and photo opportunities, and I have tried my hand at some unusual shots. They all look great to me – maybe I’ll make a calendar some day!

Among the trees several oaks grow and they are heavy with acorns this year. A walk up among this area is a precarious one and the acorns sting quite a bit when they connect with the top of ones head. A dark black squirrel with a long fluffy tail has not let up with his nut search and gathering since we pulled into the driveway. He is not the least bit shy and will pretty much ignore any advances or calling out to him – more focused on the winter’s meal stash. His antics are fun to watch as he plows his nose through the fallen leaves and ground litter like a rutting pig would do in search of the illusive acorns.

The forest would not be complete without the visiting bird – and he came in the form of a very loud crow who happened to perch on the roof right outside the bedroom window just as I was enjoying a long needed afternoon nap. He was so close I could hear his feet scratching on the roof and I could hear the little round pieces from shingles flitter down the side of the house. He kept up his loud raucous calling until I heard the rest of the crow band coming closer and then he took flight for the next unsuspecting napper further up the hill!

I am writing this today on day two – and so far it has been a wonderful rest. Tomorrow we are heading out for a pottery barn to watch a demonstration from picking the clay to finishing the pot. No doubt some shopping will be part of the tour. We have also planned a trip to a brewery and dinner at their elite restaurant, a trip to a farmer’s market in South Stroudsburg, and a trip the Candle Factory to see how the beautiful carved candles are made and to scope out some neat Christmas gifts for those back home. We probably won’t fit everything in for this time around – but we sure will try!

To be continued . . . .

Well, no sooner than I shut the PC down than did those old rain drops did begin to fall, working from a slow pitter-patter up to a downpour by bed time.

Now it’s day three and the sun tried to shine through very heavy fog and mist – and we were off to find the Holly Ross Pottery showcase. We were sorely disappointed finding a place quite different from the internet image. We were way too late for any pottery demonstration. There were a lot of things to look and we did buy a $10 pizza stone and a $40 bird bath – but we shied away from the four inch fancy blue cereal bowls that were $16 a piece. Imagine letting the little ones eat their cocoa puffs out of one of those!

Next we were onto the House of Candles – a family-owned business four miles up a winding mountain road and well worth the trip. The foliage is just starting to turn and it was a beautiful drive even on a gray fall day.

Once inside we were treated to the wonderful aromas of a candle store with every manner of holder and decoration surrounding us. We started wandering around and ended up going “downstairs” to the area where the carved candles are created. We were just in time for a demonstration of candle carving, beginning with the dipping of the eight-point star-shaped candle in different colored layers of hot wax and the subsequent carving that produces such a beautiful finished product. After the candle is dipped in all of the layers, but before it is carved, the artist cuts the very bottom off where all of the waxes dripped and then forms this piece into a mushroom shaped little candle holder – which we promptly begged to buy – and succeeded!

We picked out a light house carved candle and they drilled out the center of the top of the candle so we don’t have to actually burn the piece itself. We purchased a liquid paraffin insert, but discovered that the little battery operate flickering votives worked very well and look like a real candle (See our picture).

After the candle trip we decided that we needed some pizza to bolster up our energy level and we had the Garmin pick out a spot. Well – as we Reichardts have a tendency to do – everything is an adventure. We knew we were getting some real Italian pizza when the whole family that owned and worked the place barely spoke English. We wanted to sit and be waited on and almost left because they weren’t sure what we were asking. Apparently customers can order and then sit – or just sit first. At any rate – the antipasto salad was huge and we split that, the cokes were huge and we couldn’t finish them, and half of the pizza came back to the house. We will munch on that tomorrow night while we listen the vice-presidential debates!

So we are here again relaxing out on the screened porch and the rain is beginning to fall. Tomorrow it is on to the brewery!

To be continued, again . . . .

Here we are at day four – the last whole day we have to our vacation. We got up a little bit earlier and had some cereal at the house. Then it was off to the brewery for the 12:30 tour of the beer making facilities and a meal at the restaurant there. It was a very good thing that we did leave a little early as the I-80 traffic was traveling at a whopping 20 miles per hour.

We got to the Barley Creek Brewery at about noon and looked over the scrumptious (and expensive) menu. We planned to eat after the tour and were already having trouble making up our minds. We had looked previously at their menu on-line so we knew there weren’t going to be any surprises and had decided that today would be the one vacation day that we would not count our pennies – we planned on a big meal ticket!

We were the only two people for the little tour and a very friendly young man led us through the art of beer making from cracking the barley to choosing the hops to temperatures and yeast and gravity and straining and bottling and drinking the brewskies themselves! Their brewing style is based on British Ale brewing.

Next we parked ourselves at a comfortable booth by a window overlooking the woods on the other side of the road – and the waitress brought us a complimentary four-glass beer tasting sampler (But only 5 ounces each!). First we tried the Rescue IPA(India Pale Ale). It was a surprise for a beer as I am not a brewsky connoisseur – it was smooth and rich but had very little carbonation to it.

Next was a pale golden ale called Antler Brown Ale and it was very, very good. This was Charlie’s choice of the four and I passed the glass over to him to finish off. Third on the sampler was a darker gold Navigator Golden Ale that was good – but not as good as number two! But for me the fourth one, a much darker beer, was the clincher Oktoberfest! Mmmm-mmmm-mmmm! I managed to finish the glass off and a six pack of Oktoberfest followed us right out to the car and begged to come home with us to Unadilla!

The meal was absolutely worth every penny and the portions were big enough that we had leftovers to bring back for later.

Take a look at Charlie finishing off his meal!

Next we headed off the Callie’s Candy Kitchen by way of a many mile detour because Garmin had it located in Bangor, PA, as opposed to the Cresco-Mountainhome area. When we got to the store we asked if the business had ever been in Bangor – Yes – 30 years ago! Thank you Ms. Recalculating Garmin!

At any rate – I could not believe all of the homemade scrumptious candies at this place and we came out with $27 worth that included Pocono Bark candy, chocolate covered potato chips and Oreo cookies, dipped cream cheese (a very special taste needed for that one) and a host of others that we haven’t tried yet. We also ended up with a “sampler” pack of butter crunch candies. We will dole out our chocolate goodies very sparingly to make them last!

And the trip to Callie’s Candy Kitchen would not be complete without driving 3 miles down the road to Callie’s Pretzel Factory! I did not know that so many things could be done to pretzels and popcorn – but we came out of there with enough snacks to last quite a long while.

By this point in our day, and in our vacation, we were ready to call it quits. We headed back to the little house in the Pocono Ranch Lands to indulge in a few of goodies, eat last night’s leftover pizza, and to wait for the vice-presidential debate to come on – out entertainment for night!

Tomorrow – we pack it up early and head to Perkins for brunch. Then we head home to pick up Mr. Dillon and to see what has happened with the house and barn since we have been gone.

To the Poconos – Adieu! Adieu! Parting is such sweet sorrow!

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