Friday, July 10, 2009

Alissa does PA

Day 1
Started out by getting up at 4am to catch a 6:15 am flight to Philadelphia. Since Melanie only had Cliff bars to eat for breakfast, Alissa decided on arrival that she needed some actual food. Melanie's Dad suggested a Lower Pottsgrove favorite called the Sunflower Cafe. There she ate eggs "Shirley Style" (scrambled with toasted homemade zucchini bread and grilled veg), although she probably stole some of the bacon off Dad's plate.

On the way to Dad's house, they decided to stop at Melanie's step-sister's (Amy) new salon Belle Ami. Melanie joked about getting a manicure and pedicure at the last minute, but Amy took it seriously and fit them in for a short but sweet pampering session.

After a long nap and a few phone calls, it was time for dinner with friends (Heather and Mark) at a newly opened Japanese restaurant (it's a big deal for that part of the world anyway). Alissa ate lots of sushi and ate Melanie's portion of the green tea ice cream.

Mark and Heather had befriended the bar tender and manager on an earlier visit, and since Melanie noticed they were quite handsome, asked if she and Alissa could be introduced as well. Alissa asked Melanie if she had a thing for Asian guys and the subject was quickly changed.

Day 2
Alissa, Melanie, and Dad decided that this would be a great day to drive to Jim Thorpe, PA at the base of the Poconos. First up was a ride on an old steam train through the Lehigh Valley Gorge, and all the touristy things that went with it.

Afterward there was a trip to the Asa Packer mansion, as Dad likes old houses.

Then it was time to eat lunch, wander around and look at the beautiful architecture, and taste some local wine. Alissa and Dad were taken (dragged?) to a local organic/Buddhist cafe where Dad tasted hummus for the first time. Alissa thought the Chardonnay was the best at the winery.

Day 3
Alissa was wanting to check out two LYSs in Reading, PA, but a quick check of the websites indicated they were closed. Dad thought they could go out to Lancaster county to the big craft warehouse (because he loves driving out there) and see what turns up. Low and behold, a new (to Melanie) LYS appeared on one of the main roads out ("Go back! Go back!"). The store had lots of shiny things to look at, and Alissa needed her picture taken with the afghan with purple in it. Melanie walked away with a skein of lace alpaca and 3 skeins of fingering weight (because Alissa is an enabler). Alissa also got quite the giggles over the store attendant thinking that Melanie's dad was her husband, which Melanie explained was a hazard of having a dad with no grey hair at age 64.

The craft warehouse was a disappointment, but Dad had a much better idea. We were not far from a town called "Intercourse" so Alissa had to have her picture taken next to the sign. She was also informed that the driving route goes from "Blue Ball" to "Intercourse" to "Paradise." (Alissa insisted Melanie was making it up, but she is not. Check the map.)

Melanie decided Alissa needed to have a hand-rolled soft pretzel from one of the Mennonite run businesses before stopping at the next LYS. Warm out of the oven cinnamon sugar pretzels take precedence over yarn when one is hungry.

At the Lancaster Yarn Shop Melanie picked up a skein of Alpaca from a local farm (Was the fact that Alissa is an enabler mentioned?) and Alissa also got to knit a few rows on the charity scarf. More about that here.

Dad made sure there was also time to stop and take pictures of the beautiful farmland.

Monday night it was time to move in with Heather and Mark for the remainder of the stay. And for Alissa to meet Faschnacht.

Day 4
Alissa was hoping to do part of the Brandywine wine tour with Melanie and her mom, but since Mom wasn't feeling well they went to see "Up!" in 3-D instead. ("Squirrel!"). Since it was 20 degrees cooler in PA than TX it was a nice day to sit on the deck that Mom's husband had built.

Day 5
Most of the day was spent at Melanie's friends' Bill/Grace's log cabin in Lower Pottsgrove. Alissa needed to have her picture taken on the porch and by the purple flowers flanking the coi pond. Do you think Melanie and Alissa share an affinity for a certain color?

Day 6
Thursday was another trip with Dad to Longwood Gardens, the world's premier horticultural showplace (according to the website) and one of Melanie's favorite PA stops. Alissa was able to take in the Japanese garden, the bell tower and waterfall, the fountain gardens, the conservatory, the idea gardens, and Melanie's favorite, the lily pad display.

Thursday was also Heather's Dad's 81rst birthday, and Alissa and Melanie were invited to join them for a lovely meal at the William Penn Inn, complete with snapper soup.

Day 7
Alissa joined Melanie and sister for a 12 mile hike along the Perkiomen trail. They also encountered the cousin of the snapper from the soup the night before.

Day 8
Alissa and Melanie were supposed to attend a wedding. Ask Melanie about the drama involving the "supposed to" part. Instead, the day was spent knitting, reading, and napping on Mark and Heather's beautiful shaded porch.

Last Day
Up early, although not so early, for a breakfast with Heather and Mark, and then off to the airport. Here is where Melanie learned that sunflower butter is a deadly weapon so it can't be taken in the carry on. Fortunately, the alpaca lace, Lancaster alpaca, and 3 skeins of Nature Spun made it back to TX safely.


  1. I love that sunflower butter is considered a deadly weapon!!! I will have to remember that!

  2. You know she TOTALLY stole bacon off your dad's plate!! What a fun trip!!

  3. Looks like a great time. Sounds like that Alissa did a lot of enabling. ahem.

  4. Whew, I am plum tuckered out by all that! What a great trip. My son (19yrs old) is totally grossed out that my picture was taken by a roadsign to "Intercourse".

    Thanks for such a great time, I hope we can do it again!