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Archive for the ‘Pennsylvania travel’ Category

Over the past few weeks, several people have asked me for directions to the Williams Grove Flea Markets. So rather than answer every email, I thought I would post the directions here.

General Directions

Cross the river on Interstate 83 South and stay to the left so that when 83 South and route 581 West split, you can stay on 581. Once the two roads split, go about 2 miles and exit on Route 15 South. Make sure you slow down becuase there is lots of construction. Take 15 South for about 3 or 4 miles to the Lisburn Road Exit. Get off and make a right at the bottom of the ramp. You will come to a signal light almost right away. Make a left at that light. Go about 1/2 mile and you will come to a stop sign and a sign for Aschcombes. Make a right at that stop sign and follow the road around until you pass Aschcombes and come to a stop sign. Continue below depending on which flea market you want to go to.

For the Top Flea Market

Make a left at the stop sign and go about 1/4 mile. You will cross a brand new bridge. You’ll see a huge sign for the flea market on your right. Once you get onto the driveway there are signs telling you which way to go if you’re a customer or a vendor.

For the Bottom Flea Market

Make a right at the stop sign just past Aschcombes. Go about 1/4 mile and turn left at the sign for Williams Grove Speedway (I think the road is called Park Place). Go another 1/4 mile and the parking lot is on the right. I believe that vendors can drive their vehicles into the park to unload.

If you’re coming from the west, from Interstate 81, take the exit for route 581 East. Get off at route 15 South and follow the same directions.

If you’re coming from either direction on the turnpike, take exit 236 and follow route 15 South to the Lisburn Road Exit and follow the above directions from there.

If you’re coming from Gettysburg, take Route 15 North through Dillsburg and turn left on route 74. Go about a mile and turn right on Dogwood Run. The entrance to the upper flea market will be on your left in about half a mile. For the lower flea market go another 1/2 mile or so and turn left on Park Place. The parking lot will be on your right.

I hope these directions are helpful. Have fun at the flea market and happy hunting.

Please check out Picnic Baskets and More for wicker picnic baskets, barbecue tools, picnic backpacks and other picnic accessories.

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williams-grove-flea-market-3Are you one of the many people in Central Pennsylvania who misses the Silver Spring Flea Market? Were you as disappointed as I was when the racetrack and flea market were turned into Wegmans and Target stores? If you were, you’ll be happy to know that the flea market is back and better than ever at Williams Grove Speedway. Every Sunday at 6:00 am, hundreds of vendors open their booths and offer everything you could imagine in new and used merchandise.

Yes I Really Said Deep Fried Pickles

Yes I Really Said Deep Fried Pickles

The flea market is actually two flea markets in one. The Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association has been hosting a Sunday morning flea market since April, 2007. The flea market consists of four rows of vendors selling everything from musical instruments to deep fried pickles (yes, I said deep fried pickles). Today I bought a like new heating and massage cushion for $5.00, 50 disposable lighters for $7.00 and four fresh cucumbers for $2.00. I passed on the deep fried pickles but someday… Vendor spaces are available for as little as $12.00 for a 15 x 30 foot space and $15.00 for a corner space.

Musical Instruments at the Flea Market

Musical Instruments at the Flea Market

The Park Market, located in the old Williams Grove amusement park is the rebirth of the Silver Spring Flea Market. The flea market winds around and through the old amusement rides and many of the buildings that used to serve as concession stands are now being used by the larger vendors who used to be indoors at Silver Spring. I’ve purchased everything from baseball cards to antique glassware to leather belts to fresh produce at The Park Market. During the spring and summer, The Park Market also features plants and flowers for your gardening needs and It seems like every time we go, there is more to see and more to buy. You could easily go to The Park Market every Sunday and find something different to bring home.  15 x 25 foot vendor spaces in The Park Market are only $10.00.

Whether you’re buying or selling, the flea markets at Williams Grove Speedway are for you.  I may even bring some of my picnic baskets or barbecue tool sets and set up a booth there soon. In any event the flea markets are a great walk in the park and offer everyone the chance to find a treasure!

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Nissley Vineyards and Winery Estate

Nissley Vineyards and Winery Estate

Brenda and I spent a beautiful fall Saturday touring and tasting at Nissley Vineyards and Winery Estate in Bainbridge, PA. J. Richard Nissley first planted wine grapes on his 300 acre farm in 1974 and the winery opened for business in 1978. Today, 50 acres of the farm are dedicated to growing 14 varieties of wine grapes that range from vinifera to Native American Varieties. In total, Nissley produces 20,000 cases of wine per year.

The Limekiln

The Limekiln

My favorite part of a visit to Nissley is the self-guided tour. The winery will lend you a guidebook that shows you the root and explains everything you’ll see. Your first stop will be the 19th century limekiln that was used to create lime by burning native limestone. The lime was then used for cement, fertilizer and whitewash. The limekiln has stood idle since before 1920 but looks like it could still be used today. Next you’ll visit the vineyards. If you’re lucky enough to be there in June, you’ll enjoy the sweet aroma of grape blossoms. A short walk back toward the fermenting room will take you past the outdoor crushing area. Once inside the fermenting room you’ll be able to see the many fermenting tanks, the filtering equipment and the bottling line. Nissley uses only metal fermenting tanks for its 25+ wine varieties saying that the metal tanks are more sanitary and less expensive to use than wooden barrels and tanks. The bottling line can handle up to 1,800 bottles per hour and because of that high capacity, Nissley can bottle all its wine for the year in approximately 30 days.

Our New Friends

Our New Friends

After our tour, we headed to the tasting area which was outside the front of the winery since it was such a beautiful day. There we were joined by a bridal party for a very pleasant time.  I’ve tasted Nissley wines many times before and Nissley wasn’t our last stop of the day so I limited myself to a couple of dry whites that I hadn’t had before.  I really enjoyed the 2007 Seyval Blanc which had a clean crisp flavor with just a hint of citrus.  I always wonder where citrus undertones come from in a wine.  I also tasted the 2007 Vidal Blanc which had a somewhat fruitier flavor than the Seyval Blanc.  I think I’m starting to develop a taste for dry white wines.  Brenda decided not to taste today so her analysis of the sweet wines will have to wait for another day.

The reason I’ve been to Nissley so often is because of their Music in the Vineyards series held every Saturday in July and August.  They offer a variety of music that includes big band and swing, top 40, classic rock and Motown.  There’s a very nice bandstand and a roomy dance floor for your pleasure.  The best part of the concert series is that you can bring your own food, buy some wine and sit outside and relax.  I’ve seen some groups bring spreads that rival any tailgating party I’ve ever seen but I just pack up my wicker picnic basket and buy a bottle of Nissley’s 2006 Cabernet Franc.  I’d highly recommend that you pay a visit to Nissley Vineyards and Winery Estate for one of these concerts.  If you do, please tell them that The Pennsylvania Wanderer sent you.

Map of the area around Nissley Vineyards and Winery Estate

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Back in October, Brenda and I were driving through the Lehigh Valley on our way to an auto race in Connecticut and had the opportunity to visit the Vynecrest Vineyards and Winery in Breinigsville, PA. Unfortunately we didn’t have our camera with us so we don’t have any original pictures to share with you.

John and Jan Landis purchased a small farm in Breinigsville in 1972 and planted their first 50 grape vines in 1974. Since then the farm has grown to 80 acres and they now grow 17 acres of grapes that vary from vinifera varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Riesling to hybrids such as Seyval Blanc, Vidal and Vignoles to modern varieties such as Cayuga and Traminette. Winemaker Dr. John Landis is able to use this variety of grapes to blend some unique wines to go with some of the traditional ones he makes.

The winery itself opened in 1989. Prior to then, John and Jan sold their grapes to other Pennsylvania wineries. In 1998, the tasting room was moved to its current location on the main floor from the basement of the former barn that serves as home to the winery. The lower level was remodeled and opened as Tom’s Vyneskeller which is available for private wine tastings, wine appreciation classes and is also open on weekends as a wine bar.

In the tasting room, I especially enjoyed the Shiraz. You don’t see much of this dry Australian inspired dry red in Pennsylvania so it was a real treat. I also enjoyed the Lemberger (Vynecrest’s signature wine) which is a very dry, full bodied red with very strong tannins. Brenda really liked the Niagara (what else is new?) and the Late Harvest Vignoles. I wish we had been there a few weeks later so we could have tried the Nouveau Beaujolais which was released for the first time on November 17th. I’ve never had a Pennsylvania Beaujolais so I’m going to have to get back there for next year’s release.

I found a couple of videos about Vynecrest on You Tube so I’m going to share them with you here.  The first one was recorded by Sam Landis (John and Jan’s son) on November 2nd and talks about the history of the winery.

The second video celebrating Nouveau Beaujolais Weekend was recorded on the third weekend in November and narrated by John Landis.

Vynecrest Vineyards and Winery is a member of the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail.  In fact, Jan Landis served four years as president of the Wine Trail.  Vynecrest also hosts several special events during the course of the year.  The next one, Super Bowl Saturday, scheduled for January 31st will feature chili samplings, recipes, prizes and, of course, wine tasting.  The winery is open on Thursday through Sunday from 11:00 to 5:00.

When you visit Vynecrest, don’t forget your wine carrier so you can bring home several bottles of the delicious wine you’re going to taste.  If you need a wine carrier please visit Picnic Baskets and More where we have a great selection of wine carriers and wine totes at a variety of prices.

Vynecrest Vineyards and Winery is conveniently located just off exit 49A of Interstate Route 78.  For some reason I can’t get a Google Map to import into this post so I’ve taken the map off of Vynecrest’s web site.

vyncerest-map

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Did you know that a hawk car fly from Vermont to Tennessee without ever flapping its wings?  That’s what Hawk Mountain Sanctuary volunteer Lyle Russell told me last Saturday at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.  It seems that the hawk can catch an updraft in the Vermont mountains and ride it southwest and pick up other updrafts until he arrives in Tennessee.  One of the places that these hawks pick up the updraft is at the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton, PA.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary was established in 1934 by conservationist Rosalie Edge.  It was the world’s first refuge for birds of prey.  The sanctuary consists of 2,600 acres on Kittatinny Ridge, part of the Appalachian Mountains.  It’s part of a 13,000 acre tract that makes up one of the largest protected forest areas in southeastern Pennsylvania.  Why do over 60,000 people visit Hawk Mountain Sanctuary each year?  Perhaps the better question is why should you visit the sanctuary?  Why, to see the big birds of course.

Hawk Mountain Volunteer Lyle Russell at the Farm Show

Hawk Mountain Volunteer Lyle Russell at the Farm Show

Lyle Russell told me that in 2008, 12,193 hawks, 255 bald eagles and 4,289 broad winged hawks were spotted at the sanctuary.  In total, there are over 300 species of birds of prey that frequent the sanctuary.  South Lookout, one of the best vantage points is located a mere 300 yards from the Visitors Center.  It’s an easy walk and can also be handled by motorized wheelchairs or scooters.  There are an additional eight miles of backwoods trails on the sanctuary grounds that offer several outstanding points from where to spot the big birds during their migration.

The hawks’ migration season lasts from mid-August through the first week of December and most of the Bald Eagles are spotted in August and September.  If you visit in May, you’re likely to catch the sweet tunes of migrating warblers.  The June view features acres and acres of mountain laurel flowers.  With views that stretch for over seventy miles and over 1,400 species of plants and animals, you’re sure to see something exciting no matter what time of year you visit.  Don’t forget your binoculars and camera!

The sanctuary does have a couple of rules you’ll need to know about.  First, no pets are allowed.  This is for the safety of the raptors.  In addition, no fires of any kind are allowed.  Therefore you’ll have to fill you picnic backpack with sandwiches, snacks and other ready to eat food.  There are lots of picnic tables available for your use.  Admission to the trails from December – August is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children aged 6 – 12.  During the migration season (September – November) is $7 for adults & seniors and $3 for children.  Fees are collected at the Visitors Center which is open daily from 9:00 to 5:00 from December through August and 8:00 to 5:00 during the migration season.

I want to thank Lyle Russell for the great information about the sanctuary.  I hope you get the opportunity to visit Hawk Mountain Sanctuary soon.  Maybe you’ll even run into The Pennsylvania Wanderer there.

Map of the area around Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.  The map will zoom out for you.

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The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex

The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex

Well Pennsylvania, it’s that time of year again.  Saturday, January 10th will kick-off the 93rd Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg.  Held annually since 1918 with the exception of the World War II years, the Farm Show has something for everyone.  It’s 1,030,740 square feet of exhibition space and eight day attendance of over 500,000 people make it the largest indoor agricultural exposition in the Nation.

For me, the highlight of the Farm Show is the wine competition.  Last year, the the Best of Show winners were Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery’s non-vintage Concord and Antler Ridge Winery’s 2007 Raspberry Bramble.  In all, 34 Pennsylvania Wineries claimed a total of 157 medals including 20 gold medals.  I can’t wait to find out who will win this year.  The Wine Competition winners will be announced on Saturday, January 10th between 2:00 and 2:30 on Stage I of the Main Exhibition Hall.  Unfortunately, all judging times and locations are subject to change so I’d recommend you get there early.  In addition to the competition, there will be an ongoing wine display in the Main Exhibition Hall where two wineries each day will be displaying their products.

Another highlight of the Farm Show is the food court.  Here you can purchase a great selection of Pennsylvania cullinary delights presented by a variety of Pennsylvania Associations.  Among them are the PA Bee Keepers Association who will offer honey ice cream and honey waffles among other things; the PA Cooperative Potato Growers, Inc. who will offer baked potatoes, french fries and their world famous potato donuts (they’re the best); the PA Livestock Association who will be selling pork barbecue, roast beef and ham and cheese sandwiches and other treats and 10 other associations selling everything from deep fried mozzarella cubes to maple ice cream sundaes.  If you leave the food court hungry, it will be your own fault.

Of course, no agricultural show would be complete without animals and agricultural displays.  There will be horses, cattle, sheep, swine, goats, poultry and more for you to see.  Judging in the different livestock categories will take place throughout the week.  The new Exposition Hall will be home to the farm equipment and agricultural displays.  I plan to check this area out on Saturday so check back and I’ll fill you in on the details.

Admission to the Pennsylvania Farm Show is free although they will hit you for $8.00 to park your car.  On-site parking is available for those with handicapped placards and shuttle buses from the off-site parking is included in the $8.00 fee.

To be honest, in previous years I haven’t spent much time at the Farm Show.  It’s one of those things that we tend not to visit the attractions that are closest to us.  This year will be different as I plan to spend all day Saturday and Sunday there and may possibly go back during the week.  Stay tuned for my reports and if you want more, go to The Farm Show!  If you want more information, visit The Pennsylvania Farm Show’s website.

Map of the area around The Farm Show Complex


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Chaddsford Winery

Chaddsford Winery

Last Saturday Brenda and I visited Chaddsford Winery in Chadds Ford, PA.  The winery is conveniently located on US 1 near Longwood Gardens and the Brandywine  Battlefield from The Revolutionary War.  Owners Eric and Lee Miller purchased the winery which had formerly been a dairy barn in 1982 and produced 7,000 gallons of wine in the first year.  Production grew steadily through the 1980s and 1990s and peaked at 200,000 gallons in 2005.  This is the legal limit for a Pennsylvania Limited Winery and Chaddsford has remained at that production level ever since.  All this wine is bottled on a line capable of bottling 42 bottles per minute.

Approximately 25% of Chaddsford’s grapes are grown at the 30 acre Miller Estate Vineyard located nearby in Chester County.  Among the varieties grown there are Pinot Noir, Chambourcin, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Barbera, Syrah, Vidal Blanc and others.  They are getting ready to add Pinot Grigio to the selection of grapes grown in the vineyard.  The remainder of the grapes are purchased from other vineyards in south east Pennsylvania.

The Tasting Room

The Tasting Room

Wine tasting at Chaddsford is a pricey $8.00 per person which includes a glass with the winery’s logo.  As you can see from the picture, the price doesn’t scare many people away.  Brenda and I didn’t taste all the wines because of the long line but I did get a chance to sample the Cabernet Sauvignon.  It has a deep dry flavor with a smooth finish.  Brenda enjoyed the Holiday Blush, a sweet wine made for the Christmas season.  We took home some of each.

The winery also offers guided tours although they were cancelled the day we visited because they were short handed.  We were, however able to take a self-guided tour which allowed us to overlook the barrel aging room and many of the fermenting tanks.  Several of their wines including the Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chambourcin are aged in oak barrels.

Chaddsford hosts many special events during the year.  The next one is their Wine and Chocolate Reserve Tastings every weekend in February.  The $25.00 per person event will pair some of Chaddsford’s wines with premium gourmet chocolates from Eclat Chocolate in West Chester, PA.  They also have a very nice outdoor patio on which you can enjoy a picnic lunch and a glass of wine.  Every Friday during the summer months you can enjoy a picnic dinner and some great music as Chaddsford hosts its Friday night concert series.

Chaddsford Winery is open daily from noon to 6:00 pm except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.  When you visit Chaddsford Winery, you’ll need a wine carrier and picnic basket.  Visit Picnic Baskets and More to find a great selection of these and other picnic accessories.

Map of the area around Chaddsford Winery

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