Sunday, March 22, 2015

RoadAbode RoadTrip ~ Snowy Travels to Lancaster County PA

Amy Packing for the Trip
Packing for the Trip

Friday: Snowy Travel Adventure

There is a first time for everything, and this time it was the first time the RoadAbode Crew left for a weekend in a full fledged snowstorm! What the forecasters were saying to expect - a dusting to an inch of snow - ended up being around three to five inches in our Philadelphia neighborhood. Our destination, Lancaster County PA, was also expecting snow from the same storm system, and from their local forecasts it was either going to be a dusting, to about the same as our hometown.
I Guess this was one of the "Adventures" of RoadAbode.
Since we store RoadAbode outside the city, we are limited to what we can cram into our Honda Fit - our current toad. The girls did their best to fill it's small trunk area to the top, and I added a snow shovel to the mix.
Thankfully because of the timing of the snow the roads were mostly just a slushy mess, but the trees did look pretty!  For those not familiar with Philadelphia, one of the things we love about the city are the parks. Philadelphia has one of the largest city parks, and our neighborhood connects to one of the largest sections of parkland. We need to drive past farmland and woods before we even LEAVE the city! Fairmont Park is listed in our top hikes in Pennsylvania for a reason.
Driving through Philadelphia's Fairmont Park in the Snow
The snow continued to fall, but we took our time, and were thankfully ahead of rush hour traffic. RoadAbode is in a storage facility roughly 30 minutes from our home. The storage yard is on a main route. this was purposeful for us so that we could connect easily to major highways and byways. By the time we made it to RoadAbode's spot, snow had become about three inches deep. One of use had to enter RoadAbode from the Passenger truck door as the deadbolt on the "house" door was frozen! Once inside the lock and house door could be gently opened from the inside. While the girls finished stowing our gear, I started shoveling some snow, taking off RoadAbode's tire covers and checking tire air pressure. Fortunately all RoadAbode's bay door locks were unfrozen, so I could use one of our patio pads to knee snow-free while I took care of the tire covers.
RoadAbode in the Snow!
RoadAbode next to our big blue bus "neighbor" in storage.
Hooking up the Honda Fit to the towbar was not problematic, but the towbar components sure were cold! Everything connected and worked first try, so all packed up off we went for our slushy, snowy drive to Lancaster Pennsylvania.
Our drive was slightly longer than usual, but that was due more to road construction delays on Route 202 than the weather. Once we checked in at Country Acres Campground, we found out we were the only campers in their upper section. All by ourselves next to the showerhouse!
RoadAbode in the Snow!
Country Acres Upper Section ~ all to ourselves
Saturday morning was blue skies and rising temperatures. We could see the snow melting fairly quickly off RoadAbode's roof, which left a bit of an icy, slippery mess on the outside step. Molly is always first up when in Lancaster, excited to take in the new smells and sights of the campground. Views for us over Amish farmland were beautiful and serene!
The wintry morning view from "Camp RoadAbode"

Saturday: Tasty Stop at McClure's Bakery

We let our girls sleep in a bit and Amy and I headed out to pickup some breakfast treats. A short drive and we ended up at McClure's Bakery. Industrial looking on the outside, the welcome was warm and friendly inside. We perused the tempting goods and decided on walnut encrusted Cinnamon buns and a traditional wet-bottom shoo-fly pie. (Don't know shoo-fly pie? You need a Pennsylvania Food Primer)
A cinnamon bun breakfast
While waiting to complete our sale we were able to chat with another customer who was picking up a huge frosted cake for her own 50th birthday celebration. Looked like it would be a big hit for her party!
We wanted to stop at McClure's not just because of the glowing reviews we had read, but also because of their online webstore presence ~ ~ which was formed with the intent of making an impact on kids in need. A portion of the profits from every on-line sale would be earmarked towards the greater cause of helping in need kids. Currently Faith Hope and Shoo Fly supports The Kids Camp at Old Mill and Block Club Federation. We wanted to chat with Doug Kauffman the owner of McClure's to learn more, but unfortunately he was out during our morning visit.  We left the bakery, stopped for a coffee down the road, and then brought our delicious finds back to RoadAbode. We all agreed that the shoo-fly pie is the best we have ever had! flaky but not overly crumbly crust, with dark and sweet, delicious filling. Warmed up for a few seconds in the microwave, and our cinnamon bun and pie where truly delicious gooey treats. We'll be back to McClure's!

Saturday: Two Unique Shopping  Experiences

The girls wanted to do some outlet shopping, while Amy and I felt like having a more local shopping experience for this trip. Now that the girls are older, we could split and do both! We dropped the girls at Rockvale Outlets, and we continued on to Lancaster City, specifically to check out Central Market.
Rockvale covers many of our girls favorite stores. Make sure to stop by and get the coupon book from the Roackvale office for even more savings! If the girls wanted, they can stop for a break from shopping for lunch, nine eateries are conveniently located right in the complex. This is an outlet shoppers paradise.
Central Market: Fresh Produce
Sampling Organic Cheeses
Central Market: A View from the Balcony
Central Market, located in Lancaster City, is the oldest continually running farmer's market in the United States. For Amy and I, the Central Market reminded us of a more open, less congested and better maintained version of Philadelphia's Reading Terminal. Perhaps slightly smaller, with less on-site eating establishments, there are still plenty of fresh and ethnically diverse items to taste, buy and enjoy. The place was hopping on a Saturday morning in March, I can just imagine how popular it is in the Spring and Summer months! Parking is available for patrons in garages and lots, but we had no problem finding a metered spot on Queen Street, just a block from Central Market. Two hours of parking cost three dollars, a bargain compared to the surrounding parking lots or garage.
Central Market is the centerpiece of a beautiful downtown shopping and arts district. Window shopping along the surrounding streets, we could see plenty to interest us, and a good bit of revitalization going on as storefronts were being recreated and updated. We discovered beautiful glass art pieces at Lancaster Art and Glassworks on Queen Street, and plenty of options to eat from upscale cafes like Commonwealth on Queen, to the funky doughnut shop Fractured Prune right across the street! Next time we travel to Lancaster City, we need to go hungry!
Lancaster City is worth another visit. There are so many ways to shop, RV and experience Lancaster County we enjoy.

Saturday: Relaxing at Country Acres and Evening Meal

Japanese Pan Noodles with Shrimp
For our afternoon, we relaxed, strolled, read and napped at Country Acres. It felt wonderful to just watch geese fly overhead, and walk the perimeter of the Amish farmland the campground is neighbor to. The girls took care of some homework, and I enjoyed a camp chair in the warmth of the sun. It can be revitalizing to your soul, and not often are we able to take a few moments and do - absolutely nothing. When's the last time you were able to?
For our evening meal we opted for one of the offbeat chain selections in the area, Noodles & Company. It's a special eatery to us because we do not have one in our hometown. Each person could enjoy something a little different for our meal, and feel we chowed down on something better than from some bland and tasteless (and bad for you) fast food chain.

Sunday: Breakfast, a Hike and Pack Up

As quickly as it came, it went. The snow is gone! Not really a trace at all that we had traveled up to Lancaster in a snowstorm. We were pretty lazy on Sunday morning, so we raided our on board food staples and Amy created a delicious breakfast stir fry. After a great morning walk with Molly, I decided to explore one of the Lancaster County Parks close by. So we grabbed her leash, some water and doggie treats, and pointed the Honda Fit to Money Rocks Park on Narvon Road. On the way we enjoyed beautiful panoramas of the surrounding farms, on relatively quiet back roads twisting through the Amish farmland.
Money Rocks Park Overlook
The oddly named park, according to the Parks and Recreation department:
"was so-named because farmers in the Pequea Valley allegedly hid cash among the rocks. The ridge offers beautiful views of farmland, towns, and distant wooded hills. Cockscomb is another appropriately named outcropping of rocks a bit farther along the ridge. In the winter, the view from this precipice is equal to that of Money Rocks".
 The hike from the parking lot to the rocks is easy, with a slight incline. once at the rocks the trail follows the ridge along the rocks, and you must be careful with your footing. For a short hike with an overview of the beautiful country in Lancaster, Money Rocks was perfect. Did not find any hidden farmer money though.

After Molly and I returned from our hike, it was time to slowly packup and go. A great start to our RVing season, and another beautiful,relaxing weekend in Lancaster County.

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