Day 31 – New Jersey, via Delaware, to Pennsylvania
We wakened just after 7:00 am, showered, ate cereal we bought yesterday and had coffee in our room. By 8:30 am we were packed and ready. We checked out using the facility on the television in our room, walked to the garage, found the car and were on the road by 9:00 am.
Our destination for today was the Amish country near Lancaster in Pennsylvania but we wanted to make sure that we crossed Delaware in the process of getting there. We have been ‘collecting’ states since we first came to the USA in 1998 and, until today, Delaware was the only state east of the Mississippi that we had not visited. We still have several west of that line to ‘collect’ but that will be another trip or more.
The first option on our GPS is typically the interstate because that is the quickest way to make distance but we prefer to travel on more minor roads when we have time because we get to see more of the real country that way. When I pointed the GPS to a location in northern Delaware and requested a route without tolls it added more than an hour to the time estimate by plotting a route to north of Philadelphia and back south. Evidently the bridges over the Delaware River must have tolls so I routed us to Woodstown NJ, close to the southernmost crossing. We would pay the toll to cross the river with the interstate and then get off and track north west to Lancaster county.
The drive through New Jersey was pleasant, though Majella did ask at one point why it was called the ‘garden state’ because there were few or no gardens of note along our path. As we went north west from Atlantic City we did pass some attractive lakeside houses and gradually got into what appeared to be good farming land.
At Woodstown we looked for somewhere with coffee and WiFi. The best we saw was McDonalds but the McCafe coffee was OK and the WiFi allowed us to catch up on some things we had missed yesterday. It had been overcast all morning and began to rain as we left Woodstown. It continued to rain for the next few hours and occasionally became quite heavy.
When I took over driving from Woodstown were were routed to Newport in Delaware. That got us across the bridge and ensured that we passed through Delaware. Once at Newport I set the GPS for our intended destination at Intercourse PA (named they say because it is at the intersection of two roads). We had visited there on our 1998 trip. Majella bought a quilt then but we had little time to spare on a day that started in Washington DC, included a visit to the Gettysburg museum as well as Amish country and finished near Clarion in north west Pennsylvania. She has wanted to get back to see more of the Amish and quilts.
We arrived at our motel in Intercourse by about 1:00 pm. We did not expect to check in then but Majella thought they might have information about where to go and what to see. They did but were also able to give us our room so we dropped our bags and ate a simple picnic lunch from the remnants of the food we had bought yesterday before heading out to explore.
The rain had eased off by that time but still picked up occasionally. The young woman at the motel had mentioned a bus tour that would be available tomorrow but gave us a map with the route and the various quilting and other Amish establishments marked on it. Majella read later on a some other material that the bus trip was complementary so there was no reason not to hand out the route. We went first to the local village where Majella inspected 3 stores, buying a piece of fabric or something else at each. Then we drove around the tour track, and on the side trips, to check out another 8 or 10 places. She did not buy at every one but a few got lucky. At the bakery we tried Shoofly pie (me) and red velvet Whoopie pie (Majella). We found some root beer at the next stop to wash that down.
It was after 5:00 pm by the time we got back to the village. We decided to check out a local restaurant where the materials we got at the motel indicated there was a performance of musical theatre based on an Amish story. We signed up for the last two seats, in the far back corner, at a cut rate and the buffet dinner as a package. We had a bit more than an hour until the performance so we managed a 4 course dinner – soup, salad, mains and dessert. It was simple home style cooking in what passed for Amish style (some were eating in the restaurant). The performance, as Majella noted, was corny but what musical isn’t. Some of the songs were catchy and we did learn something more about the Amish. We passed several buggies along the road on the way back to the hotel and they were still clip-clopping by at 11:00 pm.
Distance today was just less than 220 km and a chunk of that was in the local area. I think Majella is all Amished out. I know I am for now.