fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,
fauxklore
fauxklore

Plenty of Pennsylvania

I was going to combine this with my upcoming trip, but I’ve thought better of it.


My friend, Roger (who is one of the people I play games with over zoom most nights) was in a play at the Gettysburg Community Theatre, so I drove up to see it. The play consisted of several skits from the Carol Burnett show, the funniest of which were episodes of “Of the Stomach Turns.” Overall, the material is rather dated, but the point of this sort of thing is supporting friends. The drive up wasn’t too bad, by the way, except for the first couple of miles getting to the Beltway, which was slow due to an accident on I-66. I had time for lunch and a walk around town before the show. This sculpture, on the main square, is referred to as “Lincoln Meets Perry Como.”


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After the show, we went over to Mister G’s for some excellent ice cream. The black raspberry had intense fresh fruit flavor, which was perfect for a warm summer day.



I stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott, which was fine, though a bit out of the way. In the morning, I headed west, mostly following the Lincoln Highway over the next couple of days (which is a combination of Routes 30 and 31, and was one of the earliest transcontinental highways in the country). My first stop was Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum and Candy Museum in Ortanna, maybe 20 minutes or so from Gettysburg.


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I walked the outside trails first, which take you past statues of elephants and giraffes and a Bigfoot and Snow White’s dwarfs, as well as a teapot shaped building which has a collection of teapots. Then I went inside, where there are 12,000 or so elephants, including pictures, figurines, plashes, and even vodka bottles. There’s also a huge candy store, which didn’t really tempt me. But I felt obliged to buy something so got some peanut brittle, which seemed suitable. I also bought a refrigerator magnet that says “Forget princess … I want to be an astrophysicist.”


I continued west along a scenic twisty stretch of road to Bedford. I was reminded several times (e.g. by Trump signs) that a guy I used to work with used to refer to rural Pennsylvania as “Pennsyltucky.” Anyway, the most famous thing in Bedford is this giant coffee pot. Apparently, there used to be an actual coffee shop inside, but I peeked in and the building is empty now.


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While I was in Bedford, I also visited the National Museum of the American Coverlet, which exhibits historic (mostly 19th century) woven coverlets. These are double woven wool bed covers, made on a Jacquard loom, and have attractive, intricate patterns. (I prefer the geometric ones, but there are some more figurative designs.) I would have liked more informative signage, but it was still worth a stop.


I spent the night in Somerset, which was about another hour or so west. The Fairfield Inn there was surprisingly nice - quiet and comfortable and had an okay breakfast. In the morning, I drove up to the Flight 93 Memorial, about 20 minutes away. I started with the visitor center, which has extensive exhibits about 9/11 in general and United Flight 93 in particular. It was really hard listening to the recordings of voicemail messages a couple of the passengers and one of the flight attendants had left their families. It was also interesting hearing parents trying to explain things to their children.



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I walked the hiking trail around the site (a total of a little under three miles), which crosses a few lakes and streams and has lots of trees, some of which were changing color already, allegedly due to the dry weather they’ve been having. I got over to the Memorial Wall area about 20 minutes before a ranger program, so stopped to rest. That proved to be a good thing, as a thunderstorm blew through. The ranger talked mostly about three of the passengers who were activists in other areas of life (one involving disability, two involving environmentalism) and emphasized how the decision to overpower the hijackers was unanimous among the passengers. The rain let up enough to allow me to continue the walk, passing the boulder that marks the actual impact site and the memorial wall to the people who died in the crash.

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I finished the walk back at the visitor center. Then I got back in my car and drove up to the Tower of Voices, which has 40 chimes, representing the 40 people killed in the crash.

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Then I drove back to Somerset, where I had lunch at a diner before going to see Laurel Arts, where there was an exhibit of work by Jenny Wilson and Peggy Black. The latter’s fiber art (elaborate quilts) was quite striking. But the main reason for going there was the gallery upstairs, which exhibits work from the Guild of American Papercutters. While I did take some photos (with the permission of a staff member), I am not entirely comfortable including the photos publicly. (I did post some of them to Facebook, but I keep my page fairly locked down.) I will say that they’re pretty amazing - very elaborate, mostly black and white, but some with other colors, too. It was definitely worth checking out.


Then I drove south and east, including an annoying thunderstorm along the way, and spent the night in Charles Town, West Virginia. I did go to the casino there, where I lost some money on a Little Shop of Horrors themed slot machine. In the morning, I got breakfast at a diner before driving home. All in all, it was a nice trip and I think Twain (my car) enjoyed getting away from home too.

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Tags: museums, travel
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