We ended our day in a small town Front Royal where we had decent dinner in local Yamafuji Japanese Restaurant. We enjoyed their very fresh Deluxe Sashimi plate, Beef Bulgogi (place was ran by Korean family) and very creative Kamikaze Roll. All was good and fresh; however a bit less sophisticated that we used to see in better Bay Area sushi places.
We stayed in Hampton Inn Front Royal – nice clean room of a decent size.
Day 10, October 17, Wednesday – this was the very last full day of our trip. We were planning to spend it driving through the Amish part of Pennsylvania – the Lancaster County. However, while driving there we decided to visit Gettysburg.
The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War, the Union victory that ended General Robert E. Lee's second and most ambitious invasion of the North. Often referred to as the "High Water Mark of the Rebellion", Gettysburg was the war's bloodiest battle with 51,000 casualties. We were naively planning to spend an hour or so there and then continue our drive toward Lancaster County. Little did we know – this place was HUGE and required at least a full day for complete exploration. So again, we did very fast and limited drive through the town and through some of the battlefield areas. This was another place that we need to visit again.
By the time we got to Lancaster County it was getting late. In addition there was roadwork everywhere so we spent considerable amount of time just sitting in traffic. However, we took scenic route on roads 340 east, then 10 north and then 23 back to Lancaster. This is truly Amish area. We saw Amish people everywhere – riding their horse-drawn buggies, talking to each other, working their fields. It is easy to spot Amish farms by lack of electric cables going to the farms. The landscape was absolutely stunning – peaceful farms situated on rolling hills.
Arriving in Lancaster County in the 1720s, the Amish of Lancaster, Pennsylvania is the oldest and largest Amish community in the country. The story of the Pennsylvania Amish community dates back to the 16th century Reformation in Europe, when the Anabaptist movement spurred the creation of three "plain" communities: the Amish, Mennonites and Brethren. Although these spiritual groups have similarities, the Amish are the most conservative, emphasizing humility, family, community and separation from the non-Amish world, which includes a reluctance to adopt modern conveniences such as electricity.
Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit any of small towns along our route since it was getting late. Some of the names of those towns were pretty interesting - Bird-in-Hand, Intercourse, Blue Ball, Paradise. The friendly tiny town of Intercourse (population: roughly 1,558) is a popular site for tourists because of its location in "Amish country" and its sexually suggestive name. Because of the town's unusual name, the sign posts for the town are frequently stolen. For years people have come to this town to send letters home with the name stamped boldly on the envelope... Intercourse, PA. It also made to the list of The 10 Funniest Small Town Names in America together with Accident, Maryland; Boring, Oregon; Carefree, Arizona; Cool, California; Hell, Michigan; Normal, Illinois; Truth or Consequences, New Mexico; Uncertain, Texas and Last Chance, Idaho.
After driving through the Amish area we had dinner at the Lancaster Brewing Company. Their beer was great; their food was fine but there service could be improved. We had two beers (Strawberry Wheat and Lancaster Lager) and two appetizers -Prince Edward Island Drunken Mussels and Yellowfin Tuna Ceviche. Mussels were great, Ceviche just OK. For main I had crab Cake sandwich and Alex ordered Lamb Burger. Unfortunately, he received beef burger instead of lamb. It was good but not what he ordered. When we mentioned this to our waitress she checked with a kitchen and then told that “mix-up is always possible” (?!). However, to compensate for the mix-up they did not charge us for one beer.
We stayed in BEST WESTERN PLUS Revere Inn & Suites in Paradise near Lancaster. Our room was huge and very clean.
Day 11, October 18, Thursday – very uneventful day; just driving to JFK, New York. Roadwork was everywhere in a scale that is hard to imagine. However, we arrived to the airport much earlier than planned and even managed to get on a plane to San Francisco that departed two hours earlier.
Home, sweet home. As much as we love traveling it was great to return home after over 3 weeks of traveling.