Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall Getaway Part 1

Last night, SP and I returned from a wonderful Fall Getaway. Our four day mini vacation had perfect weather, beautiful fall foliage, friends, and food. So where did we go? Central PA. I know a lot of people might not find that especially exciting! It all started when I wanted to do something nice for SP. I think I've mentioned that he is a roller coaster enthusiast. That's putting it mildly! Prior to becoming a homeowner and husband, when he was a bachelor in an apartment, he spent a lot of time traveling to amusement parks both in the USA and outside the USA. Aside from Kennywood and Six Flags Georgia, it had been quite some time since he had visited a park. So I suggested that we go to Knoebel's annual Fall Event and turn it into a mini vacation with some other stops as well. Of course he said yes. I think his eyes may have lit up like a little kid's eyes on Christmas morning. Roller coasters!! Park event!! Seeing my coaster friends!! Whoo!!

Part of the plan was that we would visit my alma mater, Bucknell University, located in Lewisburg, PA, and just a bit west of the amusement park. I graduated quite some time ago and have not been back since graduation day. Since the amusement park is near Lewisburg, it wasn't a special trip, and SP got to see where I spent my college years. He was surprised by how small and rural the campus is (he was in the 'big city' at CMU!!) but thought it was a beautiful campus. And he especially enjoyed the engineering and science buildings.  After wandering around campus, feeling nostalgic and marveling at how much is the same and yet how much is different, we headed into town.

Lewisburg, PA is on the National Register of Historic Places. It's a quaint, small town, lots of interesting architecture, and distinctive three globe lamp posts. We walked around a bit, browsed through the Bucknell Bookstore (which is no longer on campus but in town), and then decided to head out for an early-ish dinner.

I had looked up all the restaurants I remembered from my days as an undergrad. Not just places in Lewisburg, but places in the surrounding towns of Danville, Sunbury, Milton, and Selinsgrove. But it was a 'new place' that we chose - one of SP's friends had suggested Selin's Grove Brewing, so we headed there.
It was a bit difficult to find it - you can see it from N. Market Street, but you actually have to head 'around back' to the small parking lot. The restaurant is in an historic building that was built in 1816 by Pennsylvania’s third and only three term governor (Simon Snyder).  It is on the National Historic Register. The Selin’s Grove Brewing Co. is housed on the ground floor in the governor’s kitchen, complete with two walk-in fireplaces. We were led through the bar area and seated in the dining room next to a stone wall.
It's very dark inside, the ceilings are low, and there is a rustic charm. I really liked the historic atmosphere, the stone walls, low lighting, and fireplaces. It was a little tough to read the menu in the low light, and I kept trying to angle our tiny lamp for better food photos, but the dimness is also cozy and comforting. It's a small place and can fill up quickly. It also can get quite loud inside! I should mention there are a few tables outside, but we decided to sit inside. We both ordered fresh brewed iced tea and SP got a 4 oz beer, but I forget which kind.
They have a teeny, weeny, tiny kitchen (their words!) so the menu is salads and sandwiches with a few appetizers and desserts. They serve Boars Head meats and cheeses, which we both really like, so we figured the sandwiches would be good. We started off with a Spinach & Artichoke Dip in a Bread Bowl:
We both sort of assumed it would be a brown bread, like pumpernickel, but it was a white bread bowl. The dip was different, but tasty. It's not my favorite version of this dip, but it was good. We ate all the dip and most of the bread. The spinach seemed like it was fresh, not frozen.

SP ordered the chicken salad salad, but he got a chicken salad sandwich. He didn't want to complain/wait, so he went ahead and ate the sandwich. On the plus side, it was a whole wheat pita. I think this chicken salad was a curried chicken salad and he really enjoyed it.
I ordered a sandwich with roast beef, turkey, bacon, Swiss, tomato, lettuce, and whole wheat bread:
It was big, but not too big since I ate the whole thing. OK, I took half back to the hotel and ate that half around 9 at night, but I did eat the entire sandwich! Generous amounts of each ingredient and quite tasty. My side was potato salad. The photo of the potato salad wasn't very good. It was an intriguing potato salad - it was very creamy, almost too creamy, the skins were left on, mustard taste but also a dill pickle taste. We both became strangely addicted to it and managed to polish it off, though we left a lot of the creamy sauce on the plate.

There was one server for our dining room. He was very friendly, had a bit of a hard time hearing my soft voice in the noisy room and I felt bad (I was trying to talk louder than normal!), and service was a bit slow, but as I said to SP, when we're on vacation and relaxing, we don't mind a leisurely, slow meal because after dinner, we don't have a bunch of chores/errands awaiting us! We arrived around 5:30 and left a bit before 8pm.
Selin's Grove Brewing Co on Urbanspoon

The next day we were off to Knoebles in Elysburg, PA for Phoenix Phall Phunfest. (Phoenix is a coaster at the park.)

In early afternoon, we entered the park. SP's pace quickened. I think he was so excited he couldn't figure out which way to go first!! The park was decorated for Halloween, and I had a great time spotting all the Halloween decor.
We met up with his coaster friends, I patiently hung out alone while they rode the rides. It was a little tough because the park recently flooded (in September when Central PA got a huge amount of rain from a hurricane) and as a consequence, the pavement was destroyed in many places, so the park put down lots of gravel, and it's very tough to maneuver the wheelchair in gravel. The park is prone to flooding and there is a 'measuring stick' in the park showing the high water levels from all the floods. The 2011 flood was the second worst, after the 1972 flood. I took SP's photo next to the sign and the 2011 mark was above his head - it was amazing to think that just a few weeks ago everything we saw was under 5+ feet of water. The park did an amazing job of cleaning up and quickly reopening.

At the park there also was a Covered Bridge & Arts Festival going on. We spent the morning browsing the crafts. There also were lots of food vendors. What did we eat on Saturday? Absolutely nothing healthy, though we did drink a lot of the bottled water we took in our cooler.
The fried cheese & vegetables were quite tasty, and not especially greasy. The pizza was pretty good for park pizza. I kept hearing about the frozen iced tea from SP & his friends, but I thought it was just OK. It tasted like that Schneider's Iced tea, just frozen. SP really like his pumpkin rice pudding, and I got a funnel cake and managed to promptly coat myself in powdered sugar.

We stayed at the park until 10:30 at night. SP was having loads of fun, riding Phoenix over & over & over for the last 2 hours we were there. I sat at a table, feeling a bit too chilly in the fall evening weather. Next time, I'd take some gloves to keep my hands warm at night!!

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