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persimmondeb Jul 16th, 2020 05:27 AM

Mini Road Trip in the Time of Coronavirus
 
So far this year, we have had to cancel a UK trip, and then a Disney. We do have a longer trip to Cedar Point in Ohio scheduled for the end of August, and we'll see how that goes.

In the meantime, we have spontaneously (very) decided to hop off to Lancaster, PA. My husband took off work for tomorrow, since my son and I already had it off, and we are leaving when I get off work tonight (it's about an hour's drive). We are staying tonight and tomorrow night at the Fulton Steamboat Inn, which we have passed many times and never stayed at (we often do Lancaster as a day trip). I was extremely impressed with their Covid faq sheet, laying out exactly what was open and how they were handling it.

Among the open things is their indoor pool/hot tub, for which you schedule a time to visit, and is a big draw for us.

Some of the things we like are not open, and others we are not comfortable with visiting, but we're planning on Kitchen Kettlle Village, possibly a winery/brewery or two, and maybe a little shopping.

We do have to leave very early Saturday because I'm scheduled for a shift (I'd originally taken it off months ago, but we're having a staffing emergency and she needs me for a few hours).

schmerl Jul 16th, 2020 06:21 AM

Enjoy your time in Lancaster. I doubt Kitchen Kettle Village Shop will have all the samples of their food out.

persimmondeb Jul 18th, 2020 02:30 PM


Originally Posted by schmerl (Post 17130415)
Enjoy your time in Lancaster. I doubt Kitchen Kettle Village Shop will have all the samples of their food out.

Nope, no samples out, but we still had fun

So how it went...

Thursday night I got out of work at a quarter after nine, and DS and Dh picked me up in a packed car, since my job is a bit closer to Lancaster than our home is. An hour's fairly uneventful drive, mostly on 202 and 30 got us to the Fulton Steamboat Inn. Our GPS steered us slightly wrong in the last mile or so, making me very glad we had chosen such a distinctive hotel. "Drive towards that big lit up steamship!" worked well as a strategy for finding it after the GPS misdirection. The desk clerk seemed to be under the impression that mask wearing is part of some nefarious hoax, but he was wearing one, and I didn't get into it (nor did this seem to be a widely held opinion on the part of hotel staff). He did tell us that the pool was still open, but we were all quite tired, and we just turned in.

I was overall quite pleased with the hotel choice. They have really run with the whole "steamboat" theme, everything is quite attractive, and the beds were very comfortable.

We woke up around six, showered, and went to eat breakfast in the hotel restaurant. DH had pancakes (this is what DH always has), DS had French toast, eggs, and bacon, and I just had eggs and bacon. We also drank coffee, because while they had some specialty mimosas and other "grown-up vacation" beverages on the menu, it really did seem a little early. Food was all quite good, and we were the only people in the restaurant at that time.

Macross Jul 18th, 2020 02:45 PM

So so happy you gave up Disney. It is really not fun down here right now. I use to love going to the farmers market in maybe Bird in Hand. It has been so long. Just a very pretty area. I remember back in the day eating at Good and plenty. It was so good.

persimmondeb Jul 19th, 2020 02:35 AM


Originally Posted by Macross (Post 17131466)
So so happy you gave up Disney. It is really not fun down here right now. I use to love going to the farmers market in maybe Bird in Hand. It has been so long. Just a very pretty area. I remember back in the day eating at Good and plenty. It was so good.

Yes, it is just a lovely area, and so many fun low key things to do.

We were upset about the Disney, but in addition to the quarantine issue, it was starting to seem like a really bad idea. Stay safe!

persimmondeb Jul 19th, 2020 03:01 AM

After breakfast, we took a walk around the property. The steamship theme is fun, and they've really fully committed to it, with lots of detail. Also spotlessly clean and very nicely set up for guest comfort.

The playground was closed, and so I believe is their arcade, but we walked around their duck/koi pond and sat for a few minutes watching the creatures.

We though about swimming (and should have in retrospect) but it wasn't that hot yet and we wanted Kitchen Kettle, so we set off in that direction.

It was still very quiet when we got there. Our first stop was the goats. We need to visit them every trip. Their enclosure is spotlessly clean, and clearly set up to be goat heaven, and the animals themselves, in addition to being adorable, are also very clean and remarkably well behaved (for goats).They have little dispensers that you buy goat food from. There was one other family there, but we had no issues distancing. DS and DH fed and petted goats for a few minutes, and then we headed off to the shops.

We're trying to cut down a bit on the places we go inside of, so we didn't visit everything, but first we hit the leather store, where DS bought himself a belt. He'd forgotten his, and he's rough on belts, so we're hoping tha Amish made harness leather one will stand up a bit better than most of his belts. He's certainly hoping so, since he gets tired of breaking them.

Then we went into the meat and cheese store so DS could buy some meat sticks, which he loves. We looked around outside at a couple of other places, like the gallery, and went inside the jam store/bakery, but didn't actually buy anything. The canning ladies were not masked, but were behind plexi, and most other people were being pretty good about it (my sister stopped in to KKV early yesterday-Saturday-and her experience was somewhat different, and the place clearly started to crowd much earlier than it had on Friday).

Then even though it was only abot 10:30 am, we decided it was time for some ice cream. Butter Brickle for me, Raspberry for DS, and Vanilla for DH. After the ice cream, we wandered into the olive oil store and bought some mini bottles.

Olive oil in hand, we wandered over to Waltz Vineyards tasting room. They are not tasting, but will sell you a plastic cup of wine (or a whole bottle) to consume on their patio. We went for the plastic cup option, since it was still somewhat before noon. I had Sauvignon Blanc, and DS had apple. DH does not drink wine. I liked the SB, but DS like the apple so much he bought a bottle (and snuck inside and paid the bill while I was finishing my wine). He also had his meat sticks in his pocket, and pulled them out and ate them while he was drinking his apple wine. He said they went quite well together.

GinnyJo Jul 19th, 2020 03:20 PM

Thanks for the TR - following along!

persimmondeb Jul 20th, 2020 02:57 AM

After Waltz, we got back in the car and wandered back onto Old Philadelphia Pike. Our first destination was Rumspringa Brewery/Mount Hope Estate, where we didn't visit the brewery, but tasted some wine and bought six bottles (some for presents). Most of their wine is quite decent. There are a couple of exceptions. DS tried their Spiced Apple, and threw most of his sample out, claiming that it strongly resembled syrup and tasted of nothing but cinnamon. This was the first place we were where people weren't as great about distancing, and we briefly had to replace our masks while we were at the tasting bar.

Then back into the car to Plain n' Fancy. We didn't visit any of their attractions, although we spent a few minutes in the gift shop, but DS had discovered that they have a barbecue restaurant, Smokehouse. I had brisket, DS had pulled pork, and DH had a plain pulled chicken sandwich. It was good but not great, although we were happy with the way the dining room was set up.

After that, back up to the area where the hotel is, and some shopping at Rockvale outlets!

Our first stop was VF outlets, always good for things like men's pants, where DH and DS bought some clothes and I bought a pair of shorts for my nephew.

Then the Disney Outlet, where DS and I went in and DH shopped the hardware outlet next door. We love all things of Disney, and picked up a few items. Including Disney masks! I got princesses, DS got Baby Yoda. And score! I found a Cherry Tree Lane bolero with the castle logo for 50% off 15.99. Unfortunately the only dresses they had were a couple of the Pixar ball design in 3X (I'm creative, but I can't make it work bigger than about a single full size, and I'd probably buy a Missy XL for preference (1X would work with a little nip tuck, and I could probably manage a large, but...).

We checked out the Reading China store very briefly, discovered that the QVC outlet was still closed, and deided to go back to the hotel and see about swimming.

schmerl Jul 20th, 2020 05:09 AM

I haven't been to Kitchen Kettle Village for a couple years. We like to eat at the Kling House which I think is closed now due to the virus.

persimmondeb Jul 20th, 2020 10:41 AM


Originally Posted by schmerl (Post 17131983)
I haven't been to Kitchen Kettle Village for a couple years. We like to eat at the Kling House which I think is closed now due to the virus.

I couldn't tell if they were open or not, but we weren't really paying attention.

persimmondeb Jul 21st, 2020 05:48 PM

After we got back to the hotel, we were ready to swim. The pool however, was fully occupied. There were two women acompanied by a small tribe of slightly wild children, and they pretty much occupied the pool by themselves. They were also in and out of the pool area most of the afternoon. DH was a bit grumpy about it. We did get into the hot tub for a while, and that made DH a bit less grumpy.

As for the children, they really weren't that badly behaved, but they weren't that well behaved either, and there were a lot of them. We never got an exact count, since one or more of them seemed to perpetually in motion, but there were at least six and the effect was kind of overwhelming.

After we hot tubbed, we relaxed for a little bit, got dressed, and went in search of dinner.

We usually eat at Miller's. They are operational, but we're cautious with indoor dining. There's no way we're going through a buffet line at the moment, no matter how careful they are. They do have menu dining, but it's not the same, and assuming that other people are patronizing the buffet, it's a fair amount of movement around the dining room.

So instead of trying to find something else we were comfortable with, we just went for the hotel restaurant again.

They were able to seat us, but everyone after us without a reservation was turned away. Also when we arrived, the entire tribe of women and wild children were seated at a long table, not nearly as far away from us as DH would have wished. They really weren't that awful, and their adults did seem to be making some attempt to impose order, but...

There was a lot of movement and chattering. We stayed masked until they left. They are at this moment probably telling vacation stories about the family of grumpy old people they kept encountering in the hotel.

The menu was very limited. We hadn't realized quite how limited until we were seated. I don't think it's normally expansive, but the current crisis has been really hard on restaurant kitchens. We wound up with a chiken sandwich (DS), a cheesesteak (DH), and an order of chicken cordon blue bites (me). While not anyone's first choice, and I felt really sorry for the couple a few tables away who had made a reservation and driven from New Jersey in pursuit of the filet mignon they usually have, it was actually all very good. For dessert I had bread pudding and two "Steamboat Martinis". DS had an apple blossom. DH had another glass of soda and loudly announced that he doesn't really eat dessert.



schmerl Jul 22nd, 2020 05:58 AM

One of my favorite foods while in that area is chicken corn chowder.

starrs Jul 22nd, 2020 01:23 PM


Originally Posted by persimmondeb (Post 17132796)
chicken cordon blue bites (me).

Enjoying your trip report! But the above jumped out at me while I was "turning pages" and I had to read again! LOL

Thanks for taking us along. Sorry about Disney.



persimmondeb Jul 24th, 2020 05:42 AM


Originally Posted by starrs (Post 17133252)
Enjoying your trip report! But the above jumped out at me while I was "turning pages" and I had to read again! LOL

Thanks for taking us along. Sorry about Disney.

Thanks! We're really sad about Disney, but it was obviously the right decision.

persimmondeb Jul 24th, 2020 05:50 AM

After dinner, we sort of though about swimming, but one of the "wild children" had an accident (fortunately in the pool area, not the actual pool) and it was closed for cleaning. So, we hung out and watched TV and started to get a little snackish. We knew the bar was open until 9, and Governor Wolf had just decreed that you couldn't sit and drink in a bar without food, so we figured we'd get some mozzarella sticks and a beverage.

Unfortunately, while the bar was open, the kitchen had closed at eight, so while they were perfectly happy to sell us a drink "to go", there were no mozzarella sticks, but we were told the front desk had pizza menus. So we got to go, and found the menus and ordered a pizza. It was okay. Very thin crust, but not a lot of flavor. We ate most of it, decided that we were definitely too tired for late swimming, and went to bed because we had to be up early.

SusieQQ Jul 24th, 2020 02:55 PM

Did you borrow a fish for your room? They have them at the gift shop. Just need to ask for one.

persimmondeb Jul 24th, 2020 04:22 PM


Originally Posted by SusieQQ (Post 17134425)
Did you borrow a fish for your room? They have them at the gift shop. Just need to ask for one.

We did not, and did not know they had them. Which is a pity. DS loves to watch fish.

persimmondeb Jul 26th, 2020 04:50 AM

Early was 5 am. It's only an hour-ish to my job from there, but we all had to shower, and I have to get fairly dressed up. And I was in at 9 am. We were out of the hotel by six, and in pursuit of breakfast (hotel restaurant did not open until 7:30 am). We thogh Cracker Barrel, but the one near the hotel wasn't open yet either. So we just got going, and stopped at one near Coatesville, which had just opened.

I was at my job in plenty of time, and got out fairly early in the afternoon.

We had made a reservation at Benihana because DS was turning 25, and we all had a good time. We also had a very small (just us, beause most of the rest of the family is isolating) family backyard party on Sunday, invovling an imported Tesco birthday cake (DS strongly prefers English style cakes, and I have a source) and a few small presents.


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