Fall Foliage Festival – Bedford, PA

This past weekend my husband and I ran away to the little town of Bedford, Pennsylvania for a few days.  Our destination was the Omni Bedford Springs Resort and Spa for a bit of seriously overdue rest and relaxation.  We happened to be ahead of schedule and looking for something to do until check-in when we drove right into the middle of the Fall Foliage Festival, a street fair held in the middle of the historic downtown area.  Instead of grumbling about the traffic jam caused by the party, we decided to park the car and join the fun.

With white tents filled with arts and cratfts lining the streets, dried corn husks decorating every light post, live music playing from the small bandstand in the square, and the smell of freshly pressed apple cider lingering in the air, this little town obviously knew how to celebrate the arrival of autumn.









Some of our favorite finds included: artisanal soaps, balms, and candles made from honey, mustard made with banana peppers, reprinted vintage black and white photographs, pottery with saturated matte turquoise glazes, and local maple syrup.  And the food – my, my, my!  Dipped-while-you-wait gooey caramel apples, funnel cakes dusted with powdered sugar, fruit cobblers and apple dumplings served warm with melting vanilla ice cream.  Big piles of homemade potato chips called crock fries.  Fresh fudge and candied nuts. And, of course, deep fried everything.

We indulged in perogies with fried onions from Pittsburgh, a pumpkin whoopie pie the size of a compact disc, pecan tartlets, and fresh kettle corn.  (For the record, we only ate the perogies at the festival – I’m munching on the sweet/salty goodness of the kettle corn as I type.)  Apple cider was on our short list, too, but when we finally got around to standing in line at the tent, they were already sold out.


[ Freshly pressed apple cider ]


[ Giant whoopie pies called Gobs ]






[ A tiny antiques shop with a beautiful collection of early 20th century pottery ]

The town of Bedford has been nestled in the Allegheny mountains of western Pennsylvania for a long time.  Bedford County was established in 1771 and the county seat boasts the oldest county courthouse still in use in the state.  The old commercial buildings and homes in the historic district create quite the charming vibe.  With its antique stores, specialty shops, and unique museums (think the National Museum of the American Coverlet and Old Bedford Village), Bedford would be a temptation even without a Fall Foliage Festival.






[ We ate our perogies on the steps of this Post Office building ]


[ The Bedford County Courthouse ]


[ An art museum ]




If you’d like to visit this little piece of America, Bedford is located 102 miles east of Pittsburgh and 102 miles west of Harrisburg just off the Pennsylvania Turnpike at the Bedford exit.

What have you done to celebrate the arrival of Fall?

The End of a Season: Sunday at Hershey Park and ZooAmerica

This past Sunday, my family and I spent a gorgeous fall day at Hershey Park in Hershey, Pa.  Also known as “The Sweetest Place on Earth”, the amusement park is only a short drive from my home and a summer tradition in my family.  Because of our ridiculous summer and fall schedules, the only date available for our annual adventure was Sunday, September 29 – the very last day of the Summer 2013 season. Even though the waterpark area (The Boardwalk) is closed, fall happens to be a wonderful time to enjoy the pleasures of roller coasters and bumper cars.  The crowds are lighter and the temperature is perfect for a day spent outdoors.

We had fun.  I took photos.  I thought I’d share a few.


[ Milton S. Hershey, mastermind behind The Hershey Chocolate Co. and philanthropist extraordinaire ]


[ The Kissing Tower ]


[ Views from the Tower ]


ZooAmerica is an 11 acre park that showcases animals from different areas of the United States and is included in the admission price for Hershey Park.  Jay and I decided to wander over and take a peek.  Most of animals were napping when we visited but a few were happy to pose for pictures.



[ Beautiful landscaping and gardening everywhere! ]


[ The Road Runner ]


[ A snack for Mr. Slowski ]


[ Mr. Elk ]


[ One of many industrious prairie dogs ]


[ The porcupine was out cold ]


[ This was his bed.  Unbelievable! ]


[ An injured bald eagle ]


[ Old cocoa bean silos seen from the black bear habitat ]

We spent the rest of the day in the park proper, riding rides, eating junk food, and feeling sick to our stomachs.  Good times!




[ The Great Bear ]




[ Love the Kiss lights – the street lamps in Hershey are kisses, too ]


[ An adorable icon ]




[ Storm Runner ]




We left the park exhausted but happy, feeling like we could finally let summer go and embrace the cider-laced, spice-infused loveliness of autumn.

Hershey Park happy!

Hershey Park glad!

So many things to see and do;

Good times to be had!

Lancaster’s Central Market: A World Class Ranking


I love where I live.  It is so rich in history and quiet beauty. For instance, the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania is the oldest inland city in the United States.  It should come as no surprise, then, that its best known farmers’ market is also the oldest of its kind in the country.  Central Market has been around since the 1730’s – a very long time in the short life of America – and was actually granted permanent status by none other than King George II in 1742.  Today, the market is housed in a beautiful old building that was designed by James Warner and built in 1889.  On Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, locals and visitors alike wander the aisles filled with fresh produce and flowers, baked goods, meats, seafood, ethnic foods, and souvenirs.  It is nothing short of a festival for the senses.  Whenever I visit, I end up with a basketful of gorgeous fruits and veggies, a bouquet of flowers, and a goodie (or two).  Perhaps part of the draw for visitors is the fact that many of the stands are operated by Amish, pronounced Ah-mish (like a contented sigh), or Mennonite families.

I don’t really need reinforcement to support my belief that Lancaster County is the bomb.  Even so, it’s always a pleasant surprise when the powers that be take notice of my home town.  That’s why I was delighted to read this link my sister-in-law posted on her Facebook wall which listed Lancaster’s Central Market in the top ten fresh markets of the world.  Allow me to repeat: Top ten of the world!  Among cities like Tokyo, Barcelona, New York City, and Hong Kong, humble little Lancaster holds its own.  I am so proud! – not that I have anything at all to do with it.  I do live here, though, and I do visit the market, so I’m happy to bask in this recognition simply by association.

As a grown-up Fun Friday just for me, I made a visit to the market today.  Instead of shopping, I took my camera, thinking I would have some fun capturing the hustle and bustle.  It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  I felt self-conscious, the lighting was difficult, and I didn’t want to offend anyone who might not want to be photographed.  Even with these limitations, I hope I was able to capture at least a bit of the vibe that makes our little Central Market unique and world-class.

Central Market is truly a festival for the senses.