01 January 2008

Bethlehem and an Amish Suzy

Right, I've been a lazy poster again. I have all these great things I want to write about, but I've just been enjoying frolicking in my PJ's and watching old TV sitcoms. Also, I went on a little trip!

So, Tim and I got out of town Saturday and Sunday for a mini vacation. We had so much fun. We drove to Bethlehem, PA (a.k.a. Christmas City) for the day, spent the night in Lancaster, then went on to Hershey the next day. All in all, we didn't drive far. Hershey is only about a two hour drive from here. I still managed to fall asleep, though. I swear, I am a car-narcoleptic.

Bethlehem was our first destination. What a beautiful little town! It's a Moravian settlement and it is immersed in Moravian culture, especially at Christmas time. (I wasn't really sure what this was meant before visiting, so if you don't know reader - don't feel silly. Here's a little Bethlehem history...)
A Moravian Christmas has all sorts of neat traditions, my favorites being the Moravian star, single candles in every window as a sign of welcome, and the Christmas Putz (basically, a nativity scene with a whole set of vignettes, using mosses and trees and other natural materials). We spent the whole day learning about the history of Bethlehem, doing a bit of Christmas decoration shopping, and seeing the sights. I bought some amazing Christmas decorations for next year at the Christkindlmarkt; there were some incredible buys! I got a small German Christmas Carousel (the little wooden pinwheel that spins with a candle under it) which I've always wanted, a cool set of sleigh bells on a leather strap, a neat crackled porcelain nativity set, a tiny ribbon Moravian star ornament, and a little clay gingerbread house. I can't wait till next year to use these!

And Bethlehem at night was simply GORGEOUS. There were white lights everywhere (because white light symbolizes purity) and a candle in every window. One of the coolest things about this town is the Bethlehem Star. This star is about 80 feet tall and is on the side of a mountain, overlooking the town. My pictures don't do it justice. But I definitely foresee another pilgrimage to Bethlehem in our future.

That night, we drove a bit farther and spent in a refurbished train caboose! We stayed at this awesome little place in Amish country called the Red Caboose Motel. I HIGHLY recommend! We only paid about $80 bucks and had a caboose with a jacuzzi spa in it. It was fabulous.

In the morning, we had blueberry pancakes in the dining car, complete with special effects. There is a button at the front of the car that the waitress pushed to make the dining car shake like it was moving. If that isn't adorable, I don't know what is.

After breakfast, we drove around the Lancashire area to see some other cool off-beat places. We visited Dutch Haven for a piece of the best shoo-fly pie in North America, the Outhouse (which was closed - bummer!), and the National Christmas Center (which was also amazing). This Christmas museum was CRAZY. I've never seen that much Christmas memorabilia in one spot in my life like that. It had everything from the desk that Clement Moore wrote "The Night Before Christmas" on to a life-sized walk through nativity scene to a replica room of a Woolworth 5 & dime store. It was AWESOME.

Then we drove up to Hershey, PA. I've not been to Hershey since my childhood. I remember that visit and being so impressed with the fact that we could smell the chocolate factory from miles away. I also remember being completely enthralled, getting sick on so much chocolate, having lunch in the cafe area and being mad at my parents for buying me chocolate milk on top of all the chocolate I'd already had that day. Ahh the memories. Let's just say that memories can sometimes be better than the reality of a place... How sad I was when all those things I hyped Tim up about were no longer true of the Hershey factory! The smell was no longer there and the huge samples of chocolate that I remember getting sick on because there was SO MUCH were reduced to tiny bite-sized unmemorable things. And it was so expensive! What a bummer. I think I'm also a bit jaded to Hershey now that I've been to the Cadbury Chocolate Factory in England, too. Hershey just PALES in comparison. And I know that Hershey has been bought out by Nestle. That may have been a factor as well. What ever the case, it was a bit of a disappointment. But we made the most of it anyway.

All in all, it was a fun little trip. I have pictures of it here if you'd like to see. There are some pretty good ones, if I do say so myself!


Flip Flop Floozie said...

Cool Suzy!! That sounds like a fun fun trip!! you are so fortunate to be able to take off like that!! I also seem to have a problem of sleeping in the car too!! I am very good at it!!
I loved reading about everything!! Sorry that you were so disappointed by the Hershey city!! Too Bad!!

Happy new Year!!

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