Saturday, June 14, 2014


DAY 3 as it’s the following morning and American Music Theatre was the next attraction on our agenda, located at 2425 Lincoln Hwy. E. in Lancaster, where they feature both touring concerts and original shows since 1997.   The seating is 1600 and despite the amount of food that Laurie and I absorbed, we only needed to occupy two of them to see Music of the Night, the Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Music was from the Broadway shows: Sunset Boulevard, Starlight Express, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Song and Dance (which I never heard of), Aspects of Love (another one I’ve never heard of), Whistle Down the Wind (Did these shows run for one performance or only ran in London?), Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, Requiem, Evita, the Overture from The Beautiful Game (apparently this one didn’t get past the overture), and Phantom of the Opera.  Just an aside…the part of Christine was written for his wife, Sarah Brightman and I’ve often heard her singing “Pie Jesu” from Requiem.

It’s time for lunch…yahoo!  We went to DJ’s Taste of the 50s at 2410 Old Philadelphia Pike in Lancaster, a great throwback to a 50s diner.   

The price may not be that of the 50s but the food is.  Keep in mind that microwave ovens weren’t invented, burgers were freshly made and fries were hand cut.  Could not resist a good old hamburger and chose The Russian: burger topped with cole slaw, swiss cheese and thousand islands dressing…and fries.   Just had to have a chocolate malted with it.  Yummy! 

There was a table of women who each ordered a sundae.  By the look on their faces, they were a bit stunned to see how huge they were…like two large scoops with all the toppings.  It was so unexpected that one woman tried to hide her face with the hood on her sweatshirt.   

We did not get to meet the owners, Gerald and DJ Kling.  One thing I noticed on their website was “25 cents from each cup of coffee purchased at DJ’s Taste of the 50’s will be donated to venues where Christ is proclaimed as Savior and King”.  I guess that lets out Temple Beth El.

The whistle sound tooting from a locomotive  is always distinguishable.  That is what we heard pulling into the parking lot of the Strasburg Railroad.   Changing of direction involves unlinking the engine, chugging along a track alongside and passing the train until it is back on the same track. Back up and hook it up.  We boarded the locomotive  that consisted of different cars such as: a luxurious President’s Car, First Class Parlor, First Class Lounge Car, Dining Car, Open Air Car, and the one we rode in…the simple coach.   Comfortable seats that you can move to the direction that you are going in.  There seemed to be options for getting off the train at a few stations that would allow you to picnic.  At one point the conductor talked about a railroad “ghost”.   We stopped at one particular spot and as the whistle blew the “ghost” would echo the same sounds. 

 “Next stop, Paradise” is the end of the line as the engine does its thing for our return on this very relaxing 45-minute “tour” through the Amish farm country.  

There is much history about the railroad, which you will find on Laurie’s blog.  Check out the website for the schedule and various events including The Great Train Robbery.

There are some cute shops at the station worth exploring.   We skipped them and went across the street to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.   I am told that there are more than 100 locomotives and rail cars on display as well as an historical (vs. hysterical) collection.  After seeing a map of the layout I notice 5 platforms and a second floor with an exhibit gallery.  Too much for me to take in and difficult to board any of the cars which are open to do so.  I do, however, take the Steinman Station, a 1915 era train station along with an orientation video, the Stewart Junction Railway Education Center and a few exhibits placed on the outside of some of the cars.  History about railroad cars are not quite my thing and let Laurie take in much more for her blog. Discount tickets are available to combine both the Strasburg RR and RR Museum. 

Since we weren’t down by the station so early in the morning, check-in time at the Amish View Inn and Suites was in order.  Located at 3125 Old Philadelphia Pike in the town of Bird-in Hand (I wonder if there is a town called Two in a Bush?), the inn has expanded adding on an Adults Only wing.  Maybe they should have located in the town of Intercourse. There is actually a sign as you walk down the hall approaching it that says that you have to be 18 or older.   They seemed to be working on a separate entrance being erected.  

This Grand King suite had a kitchenette hidden in a cabinet…frig, microwave, coffee-maker.  A full breakfast is included so I didn’t those amenities.  The bathroom was a hoot.   Lights would go on when you walked in.   Claw foot tub was facing a HD tv.  Don’t worry. There is another tv in the bedroom area.  Huge walk-in shower and an abutting toilet room.   I’m glad that I happened to have kept the separate light on in the bathroom.  As I was taking a shower the lights went out.   I guess the mechanism didn’t detect movement in the shower stall.  Once I opened the stall door, the lights went back on.  

No problem with needing to have the curtains closed on the windows. The only one that might have been able to see my naked body was a cow in the distance with binoculars.

Dinner brought us into downtown Lancaster to The Pressroom on W. King St.  Motif is mahogany and newspapers in a building that dates back to the mid 1700s.  

Bill of fare is basic Americana with some fusions.   Beer menu had a Framboise Lambic – Belgian Raspberry.  Tall bottle as if ordering a bottle of wine.   Laurie and I shared it.  You can certainly see the head on the beer. 

Soup of the day sounded great.   Yellow squash or butternut, I don’t remember.  It tasted great at first until I realized that is was peppery.  A beet salad sounded good. It was mixed with watercress, some chopped smoked salmon, and chevre.  “8 big grilled wings”.  I’m up for it, since I don’t see the word “hot”. Just give me the blue cheese, celery and carrots to go along anyway.  

Wednesday and Saturday brings live music.  That evening there was a jazz band performing in an area at the front window.  Cool.  

On DAY 4  I find that not all Best Western hotels are the same or even owned by one company.  Each one has a different owner.  I found that out as we headed for the Best Western Plus Intercourse Inn.  The Makeover Committee dropped by and renovated the whole place to include the Serenity Day Spa.  Most hotels rent a spot to a spa.  This BW owns it and that is why we ventured here. 

I chose to have a facial chickening out on having a massage.   It felt as if layers of skin treatments were applied and removed.  I would say that my face felt as smooth as a baby’s bottom but I have actually never felt a baby’s bottom. 

Laurie, who did get a massage, went off on a tour to take in the renovations.   I, however, relaxed and hydrated with a bottle of water.

Lunch was scheduled at Osteria Avanti, a classical Italian country restaurant located at the Inn at Leola Village.   The restaurant is connected to the inn and we got a tour of practically the whole village.   I could not do all of the walking about, although it is quite a group of shops, spa and various accommodations.   

I chose a Tuscan soup and a “small plate” of poached salmon over risotto.   Both tasted quite good and enough food to send me home as we then head back to Queens.  Hmmm...I think I see a covered bridge on the way.

Photos by Merle Exit and Laurie Katz

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