Category Archives: Multi-State Trips

Day 6

Today is low key day with roaming around Shipshewana, I’ll (quaint Amish village we stayed in last night).


A nice hotel with class acts playing here throughout the year. None while we were there but next month they have Billy Joel, Bos Scaggs and others. The town is quaint much like several we visit in PA.

our first stop was the Red Barn with dozens of great shops from candy, clothing, soaps, ( lotions and potions cool shop, you can create your own perfume here) a cafe (with soft pretzels the size of a small house) teas, coffees, meats cheeses and some outstanding handmade furniture to die for. After helping a few of the shops meet this weeks payroll we headed downtown to see what else we might find fun and interesting to do.

We found a bakery that had my head spinning. I am so glad this village isn’t within a 3 hour drive from Auburn. Pastries, cakes, cookies, donuts, pies (delicious pies, cookies cinnamon buns so far) and so much more, and what they have, they have tons of. Did I mention it’s almost like they want to see just how silly folks are. By this I mean the cinnamon buns are about 8 to 11” square and covered with crime cheese frosting, or maple glaze or regular old white frosting glaze and yes we got one and had to wait for a dozen or so folks ahead of us first.

here is 1/4 of one

The picture doesn’t do it justice

this area would be so bad for my, wallet, gut, health, and those who I would drag here with me.

I got soft molasses cookies I’ll tell you later how those are. I got a slice of dark tart cherry pie, oh yeah, can you say awesome!

these areas also have foods and things that you just don’t find in our area, yes I’m sure they say the same thing when they travel to Maine. (speaking of which, we have been stopped or just asked no less than a dozen times what part of maine we are from and is that anywhere near “Bar Harbor”.) We have red hot dogs and a few other things, they have soft brittle (peanut, pretzels, and other varieties) they have fudge everywhere and yes some flavors we don’t have, but they also don’t have some we have, like sherbet, apple, maple and others.

A lot of handmade goods and at very reasonable prices. Very crafty folks.

Well after a few hours here we headed for our next stop Beliot, IL for the night.

We stopped for lunch at Gator Bites in some small town out in the middle of nowhere. The service was very good and the food not so much. While it was good it was just good not great, but hell, what do we expect, great food everywhere.

I tried to avoid driving anywhere near Chicago but wasn’t as successful as I’d hope. A long traffic jam from what appeared to be an accident. A whole 1 mile stretch of Highway was close and rerouted for what looked like the accident area where it looked like a worker had fallen from scaffolding on bridge work – onto the highway. A small price to pay for us but not for the worker🙁

After we got through this mess we headed full steam ahead to Beloit. We got in unpacked and were about to call it a night, when we both said “what’s for dinner”? I went down and asked the manager at the front desk what’s good in town that is NOT a franchise, we like to eat at local places when we travel. He said we were in luck as a new (7 months or so old) pub opened up next door and hey have heard great things from guests who have gone there. Yes great spot. A cross between gippers and gridiron. Great pub food, good service and fine prices

We had a Swiss burger, cheese curds, a salad and homemade chips (homemade chips have been on the menus of the last 5 or 6 places since we left Binghamton NY).

Tomorrow we’re off to Mars Cheese Castle and Hollers apple orchards, but hats tomorrow- now it’s time to call it a night.

tonight’s sunset

Start of day 5

I’m starting this early, well cause I can and because it’s starting out great. Finally found a stop that is open and worth the stop. Mighty fine donuts, whole cow is this place awesome. Case after case of fresh donuts (hell they are making them right now). For those who have been to Italian bakery in Lewiston- this place makes them look like a corner store.

my best guess is 80 varieties of donuts and 30 to 50 styles pastries 🙂. I should point out, it is in what looks like the rough part of town. Hell, most of areas of Erie that we have been to so far looks rough around the edges.

Next was showering and then heading to the mariner museum and at some point in time heading more downtown to see about a fun place to eat. Oops the museum is closed on Sunday:(

well no mariner museum so our first stop was a cool auto sculpture garden. Looks like they made things from car parts as well as a cement mixer barrel and more. The legs on most of these creations are drive shafts.

Spark plugs for teeth, oil pans for the head and jaw, rockers and rods for the spine, leaf springs for the ribs

after this we took a nice walk in one of the 5 or so parks in the downtown area. After that we went to lunch at the local yacht club –
My wife had crab cakes which were awesome – my meal not so much. Simple chicken fingers and home made chips.

After lunch we went back to hotel to make med’s for the week. I then went to clean the car. Weird, on the way here from Amsterdam, we stopped after about an hour to get gas and notice something weird was buzzing around the front of the car, a bunch of bees. We quickly got in the car and drove off towards Erie. This was the long drive I mentioned earlier in this piece. Ok, so a few hours later we stop to get some meats, bread and chips, and noticed “the bees” were still buzzing around the front of the car? So we quickly hit the road and the bees are now buzzing around even while driving, so I decided to find a hardware store and pick up some bug spray and spray the front end of the car and see what that would do, not as much as I’d hope. So another can and another spray job and a self service car wash (because of the roof box) so I got out, (with the bees all around) sprayed it again and pressure washed the front end and hit the road.

When we got here no bees😄. In any case over the past few days the car got REAL dirty again so I went and washed it again and found a bunch of bees in the wheel well. My guess is one must have been a queen bee which was why they followed us for over 200 miles! But I washed them away (again) hope.

oh, tonight’s sunset

And now we rest for our long drive tomorrow- about 6 hours to our next stop – Shipswhenna, il

Day 4

so today’s was a bit of a lazy day. We got to the Erie zoo and then we stopped at a flea market / bbq / entertainment event. Several of the bbq folks came and setup trailers that took up an area about 60’ x 30’. They had 2 trailer trucks that simply raised the whole side panels of the trailers and had 6, 8 or 10 burners going full out and barely able to keep up with folks. Entertainment was several local singers, karate demos and more. I’d say some 45 to 60 tents setup between 2 parks and 4 closed off streets.

we had lunch then went and checked out the area, including some shopping malls and grocery stores (weird but I like cool grocery stores) picked up some fresh squeezed orange juice, strawberry / apple juice and 20 cans of chili started for our daughter (and tonight she called and asked us to pick up 10 more).

Sunset from our room

Tomorrow should bring us a trip to the marine museum and a local donut shop that is suppose to be the only place to get donuts in pa.

Day / night 3

view from room.

Let me start by saying damn route 86 from Binghamton to Erie is a long boring drive. While I was going to take back roads my wife asked if we could take the Highway more today, of course I said yes, that’s the kind of guy I am.

so aside from boring and long, hell what else can I say. . . ‘We made it?”

Dinner here at one of the 3 or so restaurants on site.

http://dinner last night here at the hotel.

My wife had a salad and bowl of seafood chowder which she enjoy very much albeit real hot (temperature wise) and spicy too, I had tomato caprese flatbread, and fish and chips which was good as well. And for dessert we went with the old standby crepe brûlée which had a hint of orange flavor to it. We then headed out for a walk on the “river walk?” The question mark is because the walk is along the shore of Lake Erie.

Day / Night 2

so, where did I leave off? Ok so my wife doesn’t like it, blah, blah, that is until I surprised her with a stay here, and now it’s ok, the hotel, not the neighborhood were I grow up. Heck she thinks the parks right down the street from the hotel are awesome too and hell I would love to have parks this nice in auburn. Ok so the hotel is nice, the parks are nice, let’s get back to the restaurant issue. I grow up with and went to school with some of the Lanzi boys, who own lorenzo’s and 4 other restaurants now.

so left Amsterdam and are now heading to gloversville to a few coffee roasters and bakeries and a bit of walking the areas downtowns. Well surprise to us, google isn’t up to date and there is only 1 coffee roaster not 3 and only 0 bakeries and a downtown, well only marginally bigger then the one in auburn. The coffee roaster is part of a co-op which seem a bit more common outside of Maine. These co-ops are somewhat of a store with share spaces. Folks basically rent space and sell their wares. General a cross between a farmer’s market and a flea market. And you can be a member and get a discount off your purchases.

as for how good the coffee is – she won’t know until we get back. She got a cup but a different one then what she bought, but what she got was real good she said.

A link to where we stayed. Nice clean large room with a very comfortable bed and large couch and large tv

where we eat. Very good meal and great service. She had a burger? That’s what she was hungry for, she said it was cooked right and very tasty. I had chicken Milanese, which was some of the most tender chicken I’ve had in a long time- very good. After dinner we went for a walk at one of the many parks in the area. This is a big college town with plenty of stuff to do and see. It’s on the banks of the Susquehanna River with plenty of walks and things to do.

Ok getting ready for day 3. First stop M & D R. nuts house of nuts:

maybe a meat market after this for picnic food and then headed to Erie, Pa. Yes we will be stopping along he way and who knows what we’ll find or do. We have a lot more planned for the Erie area has we will be there a few days. Little italy and botanical garden, museums and more are planned. We will be staying at a nice hotel right on the water and hope to relax and enjoy the views.

Day 1

Well we had a great record as far as traveling, yes had. For 20 plus years we traveled with warm sunny days, ok one day we had BAD fog, but other than that we have had incredible weather, until yesterday. It rained so freakin hard at times that folks were pulled over and those that didn’t pull over had their 4 way flashers on (made for an interesting drive at times). This happened 3 times which did add some time to the trip, but nothing we can’t handle, remember- no time table and no agenda- so no hurry.

First stop was the kennebunk rest stop – sometimes you just got to pee. From there we headed to Krause Chocolates for some awesome chocolate covered salted pretzels, fudge, and nonpareils – well you get the picture Oh did I mention they have 4 locations and that we had reservations at a restaurant and that it looked like we wouldn’t make it to the restaurant on time if we stopped? And this was because I screwed up and entered the wrong address- a good address just not the one to the candy store:( so after all that driving we didn’t make it to the candy store (yet), but did make it to the restaurant on time. This was important because I had a surprise for my wife. She wasn’t able to make her class reunion and I found a friend or two who lived near where we were staying the first night, and I invited them to “just show up” and surprise her . . .it worked, she was surprised.

so after a long day / night we called it quits and went to our hotel for the night.

ok I think it’s time I back the train up a bit (or in this case Toyota Highlander). How or why this hotel and restaurant, glad you asked. The relatively short version coming up. So I drive around/ travel for business and pleasure a fair amount over the years. And on one such trip I stopped in Amsterdam, ny., (where I was born and raised for the first 14 years or so. Now no big deal, but here is more information on my home town. Ok, so let’s just say it was in rough shape when we lived here and WAY worst after we left. 100 to 200 homes (apartments many of them) have since been abandoned, burnt, or torn down, and All should be. These are places that are condemned or should be. So anyways, I come back whenever I am within an hour or so drive of the area, mostly to show our kids where I grew up, some family members who don’t drive around and friends who care to see the area, well my wife HATES THE AREA and does not like it one bit when I do this, ok I’m getting there, just a few more minutes.&

Ok, so the restaurant is owned by some guys I grew up with. This Is their 5th or 6th new restaurant- they are doing well. In any case I haven’t seen them in 20 years or so it was a surprise for them, if they would remember me and a chance to catch up. Well I shock one of brothers hand and started to introduce myself, but he stopped me and said “you look familiar “are you Skippy Lalemand from the old neighborhood?” We chatted and caught up a bit, it was real nice. All the while my wife was catching up with folks she went to school with, so this part of the evening went well for all parties involved.

Up-coming Trip

We are in the final planning stages of a few weeks away. The trip will take us to Amsterdam NY, Binghamton NY, Erie PA, Shipshewana ID, Sturgeon Bay WI, Upper PI, Midland MI., Cleveland OH, Rochester NY, Saratoga NY and places in-between. No agenda but plenty of sights we hope to get in. Botanical Gardens, Museums, Bakeries, Candy Shops, Coffee Roasters, Loose Leaf Tea Shops, wineries and Cheese Shops, Apple Picking, Downtowns in the areas we will be staying. These walks will have us visiting “Little Italys” “Germany Towns” and any other interesting ethic towns we come across.

Riverwalks, paths, boardwalks and other quiet relaxing ways to see the inner beauty of the many areas we will be visiting.

I hope to up-date the blog each night, but I haven’t been real good about it in past trips, but this one is longer with more folks wanting to know how we are doing during the trip. Much of this concern is my wife’s (of 45 years) health during the trip. As long as we are being extra safe and careful not to be around to many crowds all while still trying to see new places and things, and having fun then this will be a great time. This is one of the reasons we choose to go during the middle of each month (mid September to Mid October) hoping most folks won’t be traveling and we can do this with greater ease and comfort. We did find ourselves having to book most of the hotels in advance, as Fall Foliage is still looking like a time of year some folks will be traveling, and rooms are hard to get in the Northeast this time of year.

One of my favorite rest areas, hopefully we find more as exciting and with views like this

So check back regularly (starting around the 15th) watch and enjoy the trip with us.

Quick trip south

All kinds of things are happening right now. Some are good, and some are not so good. Not bad, just not good and this is what lead to this quick trip.

Our daughter and family may be moving to Japan for 4 years. Her husband is a marine and for his last tour he requested Japan. While this could be a fun and exciting time for all, it’s also a time of many uncertainties. My wife’s health, my wife’s mothers age / health, not to mention all the milestones we will miss with them being so far away. 2 will have their 16th and 16, and 18th birthdays with no family members to congratulate them. Oh, well I realize there are many much worst things to deal with.

So the trip to the Bushlkill Falls, PA area was to meet our daughter so she could pick up the misses for a 3 week stay down there with them. I’ll go all the way to Quantico, VA the first part of April to pick her up, but not until I have spend a few days there with them.

I plan on spending the morning with one of the grandkids and going to have an ice cream or 2, maybe a candy store or bakery stop mixed in there as well.

So this last trip was nice albeit a bit wet, but that’s way better than snow. Especially since I had my snow tires removed the day before.

The ride is a pleasant one and generally traffic free except for a few areas. The Boston and Hartford areas can be a nightmare if you hit them the wrong time of the day. COVID has changed this some but we didn’t take any chances and left early enough to hopefully miss mush of the traffic.

So we met at the Country Kettle Candy and other cool stuff store. Other cool stuff includes but is not limited to: Jewelry, Candles, Hand Bags, Signs, Drinks, Jams, Jellies, BBQ Sauces, Mixes, t-shirts, and very nice selection of high-end Disney ceramics and such. Our daughter was running behind, so my wife and I spent 30 minutes or so on the inside shopping before our daughter got there. Once she did, we went to lunch before we did anything else. I asked the young lady at the counter if this place was a good choice, she said “I’ve never heard of it”, but if you want a nice place with a great mix of foods, I’d say you must try “Alaska Pete’s”. Now I did check with someone else and online and my first choice was closed for the day, so in the end Alaska Pete’s was a fine choice. So what did we have and was I t any good you ask. Before I tell you, and should say, they were very pleasant, helpful, friendly and following ALL the guidelines set forth by the Governor / US for COVID pre-cautions.

I will say, asking for water and getting a bottle of spring water was a bit of a surprise (at $2.50 per bottle), but somewhat understanding. I had a delicious cup of Hot Coco.

I went with an appetizer for my meal. Philly Cheese Steak Spring Rolls and Mozzarella Sticks, both of which were awesome. My wife went with a cup of French Onion Soup, which she said was very good (needed a bit more salt was all), and our daughter had (ok so the ladies split they’re meals) the Rubin Sandwich. they both agreed it was a great choice and I’ll say one thing, it was a BIG sandwich. We opted for no desserts, mostly because of the time. My day was going to be between 12 and 14+ hours long (depending on the weather and traffic heading back and I had plenty of candy if I got hungry for a sweet, not to mention, I planned on stopping at a Baskin-Robbins or 2 on the way home. I LOVE there Ice Cream. It was going to be 1 stop if they had quarts of what I wanted, and 2 stops if not. It turned out to be a 2 stop trip, but I now have 3 quarts of the Ice Cream.

Oh, Rainbow Sherbet, World Class Chocolate and Gold medal Ribbon were what I got.

So to wrap this up. The weather going back was rainy and foggy, the driving was fine except for most folks were driving like the weather was much worst? I got home at 9pm, had some more ice cream, wen to bed.

Yes, another trip to Manchester, vt

This time it was with my brother and his lovely lady friend Joanna. We were going to do blown glass and visit Abe Lincoln’s sons home ( and a fine estate it is.

The grounds are well maintained with a home that i’d Be happy to call mine even as it is right now, and grounds that are wonderful to walk. We didn’t get it all in, as folks got pretty tried (it was 90 plus degrees out), after some 2 hours touring the home and garden area. There is a Pullman car museum , which is where he made his mark and money, and a few other parts to the grounds. Oh well maybe another trip back.

we went to lunch after this at a quaint little place just down the street called pounce bistro, It was more of a place for them and granola folks. the 3 of them enjoyed enjoyed their sandwiches very much. Mine was fine, but not what I would have like. Well that’s not true in a sense. If they would have had iceberg lettuce and tomato’s I would have enjoyed my sandwich as well.

from here it was onto glass blowing. It was nice seeing Andrew and his staff. I choose not to make anything this trip leaving plenty of time for my brother and his lady to make what they wanted to make. Turns out my brother made both pieces as his date wasn’t in to it much.

after this we walked around a bit in the area, which included stops at a number of quaint shops,

Catching up on trips

Wow not sure what to write about but I’ll have plenty of time to think. Let’s start with a recent trip to Quantico to drop off my wife and mother in-law at our daughter and her family for a short visit. It turned out shorter than planned as you now know there it a healthcare issue gripping the country. They were suppose to be there for 3 weeks but as the days went by, it became clear that they were going to be lucky to. Get a week or more out of the trip. Between more folks getting sick, states closing or closing things down, including highway rest areas along the route, which for my wife is a big deal. She is very sick and some of her med’s cause her to need to stop frequently to use restrooms. This seemed like it was going to be an issue the more time went by, so I decided to let her know I was heading down 2 weeks early. The trip down the first time was uneventful but the return trip down was interesting at best. With rest areas closed and many restaurants along the route also closed, making stops along the way home needed to be planned, and it wasn’t to big a deal in the end as many fast food places were opened just for folks like us,just to use their rest rooms. It was still interesting as we had to watch for signs along the route.