On the road again

well I’d say the trip started out like any other but that wouldn’t be true. With my wife’s current health issues, nothing is the same anymore. Aside from the check list which includes a lot of med’s, pumps, hoses and such things started out just fine. A bit on the cold side, but we are headed out on vacation down south to see the grandkids. Our trip will take us to Dover, DE for the first night, then onto  Colony Williamsburg for 3 days, then to Jacksonville, NC for 4 days to see our daughter, grandkids and son-in-law.  From there to Fredericksburg, va, Gettysburg, pa, intercourse, pa, then NY, VT then home.

Tomorrow’s first stop is going to be Fifer’s country Store and orchard, who knows what we might find here.

The trip in general should find us completing our Christmas shopping, some stops at wineries, bakeries,  candy stores, yarn shops, Baskin-Robbins  and NO Franchise eateries. This always proofs to be hard when we are on the road for 2 weeks.

Tonights meal was at China House in Dover, pretty damn good for a local Chinese restaurant. My wife has shrimp lomen which she said was a 7 out of 10. She did say she feels that way-le’s in auburn , me is she favorite. I had sweet & sour chicken beef fried rice no onions, and I can say,  8 of 10, the beef pieces were very large and even more tender.

Oh, lunch was at chillers in NJ.  I had breakfast, French toast, with flaming banana’s. Would have been awesome, if they cleaned the grill or just not cook them on the same spot they also were cocking the home fries with onions and green peppers.

Our first night we stayed at home2go in Dover, very nice, pretty clean, nice area, just a short drive to the historic downtown. We went downtown last night and checked it out. Very nice walkway with bike and walking paths, water,  black cranes and other wildlife. Downtown was empty, not a sole in sight, very strange, but we guessed they don’t work sundays . . . Lucky them.

To be so beautiful …

To be so beautiful, but out of my reach. 

So close and yet so far away.

The other side of the room, might as well been across the universe. How could I do something so wrong as approach her, in all her beauty, her slender, but curvy body was screaming out to me, but I was frozen and couldn’t move.

I know it was wrong but I just had to hold her in my hands, if only for a short time. I decided to give it a try. What was the worst thing that could happen

As I approach, my hands started to sweat, and my body started to shaking, but there was no turning back. As I reached out to grab her, out the corner of my eye, there tattoo on her slender body were the words I long to see, “This pen is sold by DBS”, and it was at that moment, I knew how to get my very own special pen.

designsbyskip.com

dbspromotionalproducts.com

Manchester Hot Glass … so much fun

Hi. We finally got all our days to line-up so we could sneak away for a few days of fun in Manchester, VT. Part of this was going to Manchester Hot Glass to create some pieces of history. … Ok, so just a bowl, carafe, and candy dish but it was a ton of fun and history of ours,  Andrew is a riot, but helpful and all around nice guy, and his support staff is top notch.

We left Friday afternoon with friends, Norma and Leo and headed to Manchester, VT for 3 days of fun and relaxation. The weather was supposed to be wonderful – sunny and in the low 70’s and now I can report, it was wonderful. The drive was pleasant and a great chance to see things “Off the beaten path”, that you (others) might not see, if they didn’t go places with me, as it’s the only way I drive (when possible)

Even if you don’t do your own Blown Glass piece, stop by just to look over the many pieces done and for sale.

Manchester, VT is a wonderful little town with great shops, eateries, homes and places to see and tour.  This includes the estate of Abe Lincoln’s son

http://www.hildene.org

Here is a short list of several other great places to go.

The Equinox Preservation – https://www.equinoxpreservationtrust.org

Southern Vermont Arts Center – http://www.svac.org

The American Fly Fishing Museum – http://www.amff.org

We stayed at the Lodge at Bromley – http://lodgeatbromley.com  located in Peru, VT, which is about 10-15 miles outside of Center Manchester, VT and located at the base of Bromley Mountain Ski area. The gentleman who worked nights, was pleasant, helpful and a bit of a car buff, which turned out to be fun for Leo, as Leo owns a 1966 Chevelle and the 2 went back and forth about cars most of the night, while the rest of us were playing pool. The lodge has rooms with great views of the Green Mountain Range and likely parts of NY.

There are dozens of places to eat in the area so don’t worry about eating. The first night we ate at The Perfect Wife Restaurant. The service there was HORRIBLE.  We stood at the main desk waiting to be seated or acknowledged and nether happened for several minutes. I went over to the area where it looked like the staff was, only to be ignored. I looked at them as they walk past, and asked if we could get seated or if we seat ourselves, no response. I then said if they couldn’t answer me, we would just sit at the table next to me, as it sat 4 people … We sat down there and watched them continue to ignore us, all while looking at us, pointing at us and saying “I don’t want them” and things like that. No, wrong, Leo did wash before we got there so he wasn’t him that stopped us from being help and the ladies looked wonderful, crap  that leaves just me that might have been the issue.

We did finally get someone to come over to help us. She was friendly and helpful. The food was ok. I had a Prime Rib Roast Beef Sandwich, (good) my wife had  buffalo chicken mac & cheese (ok), Leo had Nacho’s, (ok) and Norma had (I can’t remember, but I do remember she didn’t eat it all).

The bill for Leo / Norma was wrong, but she did fix it quickly.

For what it is worth, it get’s high grades from most (local) folks, so it might be good, but with dozens of places to eat in the area, we would try another place before going back.

The next day started out with breakfast at the hotel (go in town to eat a lot more options) After breakfast we headed down to Manchester Hot Glass for our class.  All I can say is we had a Blast!

After this we dropped the girls off so they could shop and we went to play frisbee golf. We did this for about 2 hours then headed back to pick up the girls for lunch. We went to a pizza / pasta house right near where they were shopping – https://christospizzaandpasta.com. The menu is deep and very tasty (what we had was tasty)

A Ham Pizza a Tomato and chicken Pizza and a Mediterranean wrap. Everything was eaten with thumbs-up appeal. After lunch the girls went back shopping and we went to hit little white balls and play a few more rounds of frisbee golf. The course at Hunter Park is nice. the front 9 holes are an easier play then the back 9, but that is for a few reasons. The signage on the back 9 isn’t as good, and the fields weren’t mowed so finding our frisbees wasn’t also easy.

After about 2 hours we left to go pick up the girls and headed back to the hotel to freshen up before heading into town for a nice meal. Andrew suggested Yea Olde Tavern, and glad we listen to him. https://www.yeoldetavern.net Let it be known, Leo didn’t enjoy his meal as much as he’d hope. This was because he was considering 2 different dishes, and thought he was getting dish #2,(Pot Roast) but ended up with dish #1, (Chicken Pot Pie) while good, he was looking forward to dish #2. He and the waitress got things a bit confused, but Leo has to take some of the blame as he ordered dish #1, but he thought he was getting #2, and she thought he ordered #1. Leo said he was fine with the chicken pot pie, but after eating it, said he should have said he wanted the Pot Roast … his wife and my wife both had Mac & Cheese with Applewood smoked bacon and lobster and one hell of a smile on there faces. I had Filet Mignon with Bearnaise sauce which was outstanding!

There are dozens of fine $$$$ restaurants in town, and many very nice $$$ restaurants in the area as well, and yes, plenty of $$ eateries too, so do some research, ask around, you’ll be glad you did. For what it is worth, last time here we eat at the http://reluctantpanther.com/dining, and that was a great meal!

The day was coming to a close and a long day it had been. We went back to our hotel and played a few games of pool then called it a night.

The next morning was set aside for breakfast in town, (at Up for Breakfast, which is up-stairs on Main Street, Downtown)  picking up our glassware then heading over to Quechee Gorge https://vermonttourismnetwork.com/quechee-gorge-vermonts-little-grand-canyon and then King Arthur Flour. Our time at Quechee Gorge was longer then planned so the gorge, and ice cream was all we did, and we decided it was time to head home.

 

Been to and headed back – Manchester glass

I have been here 4 times now, and we’ll be heading back again this weekend with some dear friends.

The first time, it was my wife and I and we purchased a nice vase and asked about doing it ourselves. We like the answer and we went back a few months later to try our hand at making something. I then went back with our youngest daughter, then months later with our oldest daughter, now back again with friends, and if I’m lucky, back again with our son and his girlfriend.

Here are a few photos of some of what we’ve done so far

The fine folks here, are just that “Fine”. Andrew is a hoot, but also kind and caring. He has stayed in touch via email and a phone call or 2 to check up and see how my wife is doing. his assistant is a young lady who is growing as a glass blower. She is kind and inquisitive and hard working.

Manchester, VT is a wonderful area with all kinds of great shops, restaurants, things to do, very cool book store, and as my family will tell you, I didn’t just write that last line. I only do books with lots of pictures, but this book store is really neat. 3, 4, floors of books, magazines, clothing and so much more. It’s located in the top half area of the downtown. There are 2 areas that can be and are, the downtown in Manchester. One appears to be the older part of town, with great shops and easy walking. the other part, seems like an extension of the downtown with newer shops and models looks and brand names.

I hope to post something maybe over the weekend while we are there or once we get home.

Recent trip to Northhampton, MA., Yarn Store

My wife said she was feeling up to it, and really wanted to get out of the house and asked if I would take her to a yarn shop she’d read about, I said sure, where is it? She said “I’m not sure where, but it’s in Northhampton, MA?” I did the old google maps and found out it is about a 4 hour drive south of here. I told her this so she could decide if it was something she could do 4 hours down a few hours there, and 4 hours back, and she said YES, so we went. Well worth the trip for her, so, well worth the trip for me. It might be the largest one we have been to, and we have been to well over 40 shops on the east cost.

https://www.yarn.com

After a few hours here we headed back home, and along the way decided to stop and get a bite to eat. We came across The Chateau Italian Family Restaurant, and real glad we did, as it was easily one of the finest Italian Restaurants we have been in, and yes, like yarn shops, we have been in many Italian Restaurants

http://www.chateaurestaurant.com

YES, go out of your way to eat here, you will be glad you did.

 

For those wondering why it’s called …

“Offthebeatenpath …” it’s because to get to most of the places I go, I take back roads so I / we can see more of this great country.

I would put some of the routes in the posts, and I have, but not knowing where you are coming from makes it hard to give you driving directions. And sometimes, they are just – Back roads.

Back roads = less traffic, less gas stations, less places to stop to eat or pee, but much more relaxing.

Remember, like I tell my kids and wife occasionally, “no, we’re / I’m not lost, we’re taking a little adventure”.

How about candy shops we’ve been to:) ME., NH., NC., NY., PA., OH

So this might not be a long post, but it will be fun. Turns out, it is going to be a long post:)

Candy stores are often at the forefront of places I watch and look-out for when planning our trips, and here are a few of my favorites.

We’ll start close to home, and then get in a few from away. I’ll likely add on as I remember those place we have been to.

Maine, not many places here that I have found and enjoy. There are some and here they are.

Maine Candy Shops (Chocolate shops below this)

  • http://unclewillyscandyshoppe.com, Camden: medium size with a nice selection. Like most candy stores, everything is best during the season, and everything means a lot of cool candy
  • https://yummies.com,  Kittery , might be the largest in New England, and the fact that it’s pretty damn busy all the time, means the candy is about as fresh as it gets
  • https://oldportcandyco.com, Portland: Small / Medium size with a pretty good selection, including Candy, Fudge, Chocolates and giftsMaine Chocolate Shops (Chocolate isn’t candy, no really:)
  • Maine Gourmet Chocolates, Auburn  – right next to my office, NOT a good thing: http://mainegourmetcoastalcookies.com
  • Wilbur’s of Maine, Freeport and Brunswick, http://wilburs.com a large selection of some of Maine’s favorite chocolates
  • http://www.havenscandies.com Westbrook a great assortment including Personalized chocolates.
  • http://www.lenlibby.com, Scarborough, if it’s chocolate (or candy), it’s here, including one big ass moose made from chocolate, no REAL big, as in FULL size moose big. I’ve been in here with kids as young as 2 and as old as 60, and they all leave with big smiles on their face, My friend goes freakin crazy over their non-pareils.

There are dozens of Chocolate shops in Maine (Which is a big ass state), so while I haven’t been to all of them, these I have been to and they are worth the stop. Let me know what you think of the others, and I’ll put them on my bucket list

karl@designsbyskip.com

Now New Hampshire

  • ZEPS, Conway, Everyones favorite stop. Not just candy. A ton of candy, but jams, jellies, hot sauces, pop-corn, soaps, hell the list goes on and on. Somedays they offer a bunch of samples in their “Toothpick Buffet®”
  • http://www.chutters.com, Littleton. Once had the claim to the longest candy counter in America, I’m not sure anymore, but I will say, they have a ton of candy here, with a nice mixture of other sweets and treats
  • http://www.lifeissweetcandystore.com, Keene – Not just candy here. Ice Cream, Flavored Popcorn, chocolates and more

Like Maine, there are dozen more shops, some are in Country Stores while others are shops all by themselves, we just haven’t been to them so I can’t tell you anything about them. The ones above I have been to, and most 3, 4 or more times. If you’ve been to any that I should stop by, let me know, I’ll be happy to put it on my list of places to go this year.

New York.

Yes, this is another BIG state and I’ve only been to a few places. If you have a favorite, let me know. On out of state shops, I’ll have chocolates listed as well

  • https://www.adirondackchocolates.com, Wilmington area, and a small shop in downtown Lake Placid. The one downtown has much more candy, while the factory is pretty much just chocolates, and gift items, coffees, jams, jellies, jewelry and more
  • http://www.krausescandy.com, Albany area. Made here and enjoy the world over (oh come on, that’s a great tagline:) Nice clean, comfortable candy / chocolate shop with more then enough for just about any size sweet tooth
  • http://www.saratogasweets.com, Saratoga, right in the heart of downtown (which is a great downtown folks). Small enough to be comfortable yet big enough to make you smile. Home made fudge some 18 flavors, and oh course, their famous “Peppermint Pigs”.

Pennsylvania

There likely won’t be many here ether, not because there aren’t any, but I can only hit so many candy stores in my trips, while still doing what I’m suppose to be doing during these trips.

There have been a few, let me think about this for awhile.

Ohio

The worlds Largest candy store is located in Ohio, Cleveland to be exact

  • https://www.sweetiescandy.com, been here a few times. Once on my 35th wedding anniversary when I spend $100’s on candy:) and a few years later with our Grandson, and we spend a lot less, but still had a cart full. If it’s sweet – it’s here, Individual boxes, to box of boxes, to case of boxes to pallets of cases. How much do you want / need they can fill any size order. Floor to ceiling, racks and racks of candy, hard candy, soft candy, gummy candies, chocolates. Folks if you love candy, and you’re looking for a nice weekend get-away, put this down as one of the stops.

North Carolina

So far only 1 here but that might change with time, should there be any along our paths / travels down to see the grandkids / daughter / son-in-law in the Jacksonville NC area.

  • https://candyedventure.com, in Swanboro. Swansboro is a quaint little town on the waterfront, with just enough shops to make it worth the stop to get out and stretch your legs a bit. A cute little store with a great selection of candies, some chocolates and Ice Cream round out the mix. Generally pleasant folks and reasonably priced – what ever that means. You can’t go into any candy store with 3 grandkids and think it’s expensive … you just can’t.

Michigan – Coming soon (The freakin fudge capital of the world, it just has to be)!

California – Coming soon

South Carolina – Coming soon

 

Where to next? Places we’ll go to

In the coming weeks I’ll be posting about places like Saratoga NY, Lake Placid area, NY, Adirondack region, Amsterdam, NY, Salem MA, Northern VT, along the Canadian border, Camden, Rockport, ME as well as Arcadia Maine area, the Great North Woods, Bennington VT, Maybe a small piece on Old Quebec, Canada, Several great areas in PA., NC, SC, OH, TN, MI, KY, GA, FL and so much more. So sit back relax and enjoy the ride.

Is there someplace on the east coast you have questions on, maybe I can help, maybe not, but if I’ve been there I’ll tell you what I know.

Botanical Gardens, Car Museums, Zoos, Walks, Parks, Shops, places to eat: Food, Candy, Chocolates, Pastries, funkie shops and more –   if we’ve been there we’ll tell you about it.

Polar Caves, Rumney, NH

http://www.polarcaves.com

While this can make for a long day, you can get Lost River and Polar Caves in, in 1 day. YES, everyone will be good and tried after this, but sleeping kids in the car isn’t a bad thing, sleepy adults, now that’s another thing.

So Polar Caves is much like Lost River, without the water. You get to climb in, on, through and around large rock formations, ok, so NOT through, but some really tight squeezes for fun and excitement. Heck there is one, you may not be able to get through, it’s called the lemon squeeze, and let’s just say, small is better here.  And for those who won’t or can’t par-take in the crawling the scenery all around you is pretty nice. Again, beware, the steps are plenty, so if walking is hard or tiring for you, you may want to stay on the main grounds and wait for folks to come back and tell you all about it.

There is a nice albeit small petting / feeding zoo on site as well as rock hunting and nice walking grounds going to and heading back from the caves.

Yes you’ll want those who will be crawling to have on jeans, and maybe a sweatshirt and heck gloves if they don’t like getting their hands dirty.

While in the area there is a cool diner and a few other places to eat, so no one should be hungry.