Saturday, June 14, 2014


It’s another road trip as Laurie and I head for Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County to spend 4 days (and three nights).  For those who have never traveled to the area, you have heard that it’s all connected with the Amish and Mennonites.   Although there is a large population, you can find much more activities that are totally non-sect or even religious.  I personally feel that the area has become a more tourist attraction to do “Amish” stuff and for me it is a “been there, done that”.    Follow us on DAY1 as the GPS takes us to Bube’s Brewery in Mount Joy.  

The building is an intact historic 19th century brewery and museum.  Enter one door (if the ghost hasn’t opened it for you) and you have a bar and restaurant on the right.  You can eat inside where the bar is located or sit outside at the Biergarten Restaurant.

A huge original boiler and smokestack rests in the middle and is used to create the steam power to run the brewery.   That is where we had lunch beginning with my lime honey glazed chicken wings along with a plate of fried pickles.   Being somewhat near Philadelphia, I decided on a Philly Cheesesteak with a side of cole slaw and flies…I mean fries.    Hey, we’re outdoors and the weather just turned warmer.  

The building has many areas to check out including going next door to their non-transient Victorian Hotel.   My tour led me to anything that was on a main floor as Laurie took a more informative one for her blog.  

I managed to taste a few beers from the bar and hear about the ghost that lurks. 
Bube’s Brewery has some great special events including ghost tours and murder mystery dinners located at their Alois restaurant located at the hotel.  For further information go to

Full of food and some brewsky, we set off to one of two Covered Bridge tours set up by our friend Joel Cliff from the PA Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau.  

Rather than having to set the GPS, I was in charge of reading the directions. Laurie took photos while I sat in the car.  Laurie will tell you about the tour. 

The last direction pointed us toward the Lancaster Arts Hotel, which was already set on the GPS.   I’ll admit that we stayed at this hotel prior and wanted to return after 7 years.  Brick walls, heavy wooden beams and a very comfortable bed set the mood for a stay at Lancaster Arts Hotel, located in the city of Lancaster.

This former tobacco warehouse features the works of local artists and sculptures all about the hotel, including a separate gallery. 

I stayed in one of their suites, which had one room equipped with a refrigerator and microwave, a couch and desk as well as having robes and slippers awaiting me in the closet.  Two bottles of water were placed next to my bed.  A Jacuzzi is in the bedroom area and huge bathroom with a very roomy walk-in shower.

Not only does this hotel provide free indoor parking, there is a complimentary taxi service that will take you within a 5-mile radius. This not only covers the downtown area of Lancaster, but a whole bunch of boutique places and outlet stores to shop. No meters or parking lots to contend with and they will arrange for your return.

Talk about romance, they place a long stem rose on your pillow along with the usual chocolate. Local phone calls are gratis, but if you just can’t wait to tell a more distant someone about this gorgeous place, you have free use of the internet in their business center as well as free wifi.

A “Continental Plus” breakfast is included.  There is a separate designated room set up with everything you would get in a continental breakfast and so much more.  Hard boiled eggs and pre-cooked omelets were available along with a microwave to heat it up.

Since we’re here we might as well eat at John J. Jeffries, the restaurant that is on sight, although not owned by the hotel. 

Not up for any alcoholic beverage, I requested some of their fresh lemonade.  Bread basket had small carrot muffins and some focaccia bread.  

I love when the chef sends out an amuse bouche.   Chef Michael Carson was doing the preparations this evening and sent out a spoon of black bean soup.    

Sean Cavanaugh is the Executive Chef, who was there when I wrote about the restaurant in 2007.  

Rather than requesting an entrée, Laurie and I went for a number of “small plates”.   It gives me the opportunity for a better menu tasting.   What I love about the food is the use of farm fresh products as well as the talent to cause my taste buds to dance the horah.   We began with the Poached Beet, Carrot and Bacon Salad that had micro greens and a tarragon vinaigrette.  

Next up was the Lil' Ponderosa Farms Grass-Fed Dry-Aged Steak Tartare with Crostini.   

Wild caught shrimp and heirloom grits: Tasso ham, Andouille sausage, seasonal vegetables, white wine butter sauce and organic heirloom stone milled grits was followed by Sherry shrimp bisque of butter poached shrimp and creme fraiche;

a Surf and Turf of salt cured Bering sea scallops, shaved raw dry-aged beef sirloin, and herb relish.

Grilled asparagus with Linden Dale farm goat chevre and bacon-herb beurre blanc. Got to have my vegetables. 

One more….Razor Clams with white wine, chorizo sausage (made on the premises), fresh herbs, spring onions, and butter. 

There is always room for dessert when the chef makes his own ice cream. A sampling appeared with Singing Dog vanilla, organic coconut, local blueberry, and a butter cookie.  I only had half of the cookie as I was on a diet. 

I can’t even begin to boast about their food. It was so good that Laurie and I canceled the plans we had for afterward so that we could savor the meal. We visited the kitchen to see Chef Michael Carson.


A Micro Center opened up in Queens.  Being on their mailing list I was sent an incentive of being able to buy a 7” Azpen tablet for about $20.  I hate having to read directions so Laurie and I tried to figure how it works.  Seems like I can do much with it.  I think I’ll go to Micro Center and get the free lessons. It’s the first time I’m using a device that you work by touching the screen.   

Photos by Merle Exit and Laurie Katz

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