Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Home at last!

37 hour marathon trip home!! We left the Philadelphia hotel at 8.30am on Sunday morning and headed to the airport. Lunchtime flight to Chicago where we had 5 hours or so to kill before the connection to LAX. Had a mother's day lunch in the food court at the airport then sat and people watched for a while. Flight then was delayed by 10 minutes and then out to 1 hour, given that we only had an hour to spare once arriving in LAX this was cutting it fine. A visit to customer service proved to no avail and the flight finally left after 8 pm instead of 6.40pm. As we approached LAX we were advised that they were holding our connection flight. So 4.5 hours from Philly to Chicago and then straight on a plane from LAX to Sydney!! Arrived in Sydney 25 minutes early but there were no available gates so we sat on the tarmac for 30 minutes or so!!! Cleared customs etc and Border Security were taping but we won't be featured!!! Picked up a quick coffee and then hopped in the Limo for the return trip home! A wonderful, fun filled adventure was had by all, but we are definately glad to be home and we all admit we are "shopped" out!!

Just wanted to share something strange - at Chicago airport I spied a boy around 14/15 wearing a tshirt with Bin Laden's photo on the front with a "DEAD" stamp printed in red over the top. We all felt that this was not appropriate attire for anywhere, let alone the airport and were surprised that a, his mother allowed him to purchase and wear it and b, that someone has even had the gaul to manufacture them!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Philadelphia - Sat May 7th, 2011

Headed out after breakfast and walked to the Old City are where the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and Constitution Hall are located. Did a tour of Independence Hall, very interesting. Saw the original chair that George Washington sat in. Went to the Liberty Bell centre - much smaller than i had expected and today i felt like I was in Japan with all of the tourists - minus their manners!! We had to go through security bag checks at each of these places and we thought it was because of recent events, but it turns out the Liberty bell used to be in the park surrounded by glass until about 6 months before 9/11 some idiot took to the glass with a hammer. Hence the bell was moved to a new building and security checks introduced!
Went to Betsy Ross house and Elpreth Alley. Both very interesting and very old considering they go back to the 1700's. The history here is everywhere! Back on the bus and Chris and I got off for lunch near the hotel whilst the others continued around the bus route again. After a quick bite to eat Chris and I headed for a look around Macy's - Really elegant building with pipe organ upstairs. Very pretty building compared to Macy's in New York. I'm now heading up to the room for a rest as my throat is quite sore and I don't particularly want to travel home feeling like sh*t.
We head off home tomorrow via Chicago and LA, so I guess there will be no breakfast in bed for mother's day. To my mum Kate, Happy mother's day and I will see you next week. xxxx

Saturday, May 7, 2011


A couple of photos - that has taken 30 minutes to upload on this PC dinosaur!

Just to prove that this place does exist and I was there!!

Mill Creek Vacation home - Bird In Hand, home built in the 1700's and where we stayed

Covered Bridge in Lancaster County

Goodbye Lancaster County - May 6th, 2011

Up early, left over fruit, cheese, muffins and fudge for breakfast, car packed! and on the road by 8.30 am this morning. Dropped keys off, and headed back to fabric shop for a second look... and purchase!! yes,we did need more fabric to pad out our cases!!!
On the road for a look at the cute little town of Strasburg and the hope of a coffee! Not here, not one shop could we find, let alone a coffee shop. Onto the town of Christiana where Zercher's hotel stands. This was a "station" on the Underground Railway and also the home of the Christiana Riots. A historic event in US history. On to the small town of Atglen to find coffee. Found a pokey little cafe that only served regular coffee, so this had to do along with a toasted sandwich.
Decided to head early to Philly to drop the car off and then head to the hotel with the insane amount of luggage that we seem to have accumulated. Filled a mini van taxi!!! Negotiated the freeway, again with a limit of 55mph, but even at 60mph I was being passed. The car was definately sluggish now that it was full!
Arrived in Philly at the hotel, checked in, and headed out to take the hop on, hop off bus around the sites. $25 for a 24 hour pass, so it is good for all of tomorrow.
Picked out half a dozen sites that we want to revisit tomorrow. ie: Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross house (Lady who made the first American Flag), Elpreths Alley (the oldest continually inhabited street) and a few other points of interest. Saw Rocky's statue and the steps Sylvester Stallone ran up in the movie.
Lovely dinner at an Italian place called Maggiani's and back to the hotel for the night. One more full day in Philly before we head home on Sunday.
No photos today as this fossil of a PC is taking ages to load anything.

Friday, May 6, 2011

May 5th, 2011

Breakfast at Miller's, very nice omelets and waffles. Off to Intercourse again for one last visit to a quilt store, then followed some back roads to a couple of farm shops. More quilts were purchased, this time some made by Amish women. Lunch was at a place called Two cousins, where we enjoyed garlic bread, salad and soup all for $4.99. Very nice indeed, A visit to another fabric shop and antique shop then on to a place for a buggy ride. Kate the horse did not seem too impressed at going out again for the 30 min drive. The guide was a very knowledgeable Mennonite man who took us through an Amish farm. When ever a car, bus or buggy arrives at a farm, the children come out to sell their wares. Cookies, pretzels, muffins and the like. We all enjoyed the buggy ride although it was a bit squishy in the back! Stopped at Kaufman's Deli and bought some cheese and fruit to have with wine. Came back to the house, took some photos and went for a walk then settled on the porch sipping wine and eating cheese and fruit. Very enjoyable as it was a lovely sunny day.
Packed our cases tonight as we head for Philadelphia tomorrow!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lancaster County - May 4, 2011

Cold and wet today, only about 48F. Up bright and early today so we could be at Ephrata by 8.45 am to attend the Mennonite Relief Centre, wo watch some Mennonite women quilting. Fantastic time here, a huge relief centre that helps aid groups all around the world. Jenny W even stitched a few stitches into a quilt top.
Lunch at Intercourse and a walk around the shops! Even found that there was a place called Virginville, not far from Paradise! Lord knows who invented some of these names!
Off home for a cuppa, show and tell and a little rest. It's tough work shopping and if we don't see another fabric store for a while, it wil be too soon.
Headed off for the tour around the farm where Witness was filmed. I think the driver has seen better days, but off we went on a tour of the countryside and 3 covered bridges. The farm was just like in the film, but 25 years on it is a little worse for wear. We were met by Shannah the golden retriever and 4 Amish children who sold us some rhubarb muffins that mum had made.
Went to plain and fancy farm for dinner for a yum cha style meal. Left there with a full belly and headed home for the night.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Amish country-Tuesday 3/5/11

Off to breakfast at Dienner's - $5.95 for breakfast buffet, then off to the Lancaster quilt museum which is currently displaying 15 of 82 Amish quilts from the Esprit collection. Awesome to see and a wonderful guide to explain the quilts and their history. Off to information center and a small Amish exhibition. Quick visit here and over to the farmer's market for coffee and a light lunch. Onto the Mennonite info centre to watch a short movie on the Amish and get some further info.
Jenny W found that part of the underground railroad system had been discovered underneath the Marriott hotel and 2 weeks ago it was confirmed as such. We went to visit this and also the houses that were a part of this system during years gone by. The Marriott also housed an old famous house, but rather than knocking it down to build the hotel, they built the hotel around the house and preserved the house and history.
Over to the DFO outlets for some retail therapy! Some bargains were had here and they weren't fabric! Stopped at the Olive garden for dinner - a lovely Italian restaurant, food was good and I had my daily corona!
Home for show and tell of the days purchases and we are now watching the movie Witness as we have a tour of the farm where it was filmed tomorrow. Up early tomorrow as we are heading to the Mennonite Relief centre at Ephrata to view Mennonite women sewing etc. Should be interesting.
We have quickly realized that we will not have enough time here to see everything.
No photos at the minute as I can't work out how to upload them from my camera to the IPad!
PS - I am getting the hang of this backward driving thing, can't go wrong with Ros navigating and Jenny W telling me to stay right!
Freeway driving yesterday was 55mph, but we were being passed all the time, so clearly that is a suggested speed and they just do what they like!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Philadelphia/Bird in Hand - May 2nd 2011

Ros and I Picked up the car this morning - a Chrysler Town and Country (mini van x Suv) and headed back to the hotel to collect the girls and luggage. It's just not right driving on the wrong side of the car and road! Luggage and passengers on board, we headed off to Longwood Gardens (once owned by Pierre Du Pont). He bought 1077 acres just because he wanted to save the trees. he and his wife had no children, so when they passed they left the property and his estate to the public. Today, there is around 300 acres of beautiful gardens, water features, conservatory and the old home open to the public. There is a wall of plants that contains over 45000 plants and is just spectacular. The conservatory is full of beautiful plants and flowers. Some spectacular Orchids on display. There are also 3 adult size tree houses that you can climb! There was a pipe organ on display and being played that had over 10,000 pipes - just a few pipes less than the one at the Sydney Opera House. We spent a few hours wandering here, amongst a beautiful tulip display before we headed on t Bird in Hand. A nice drive to Bird in hand, we came across a buggy being pulled by 4 Clydesdales. I thought he indicated to pass, but after we had passed him, he turned left! He was in fact indicating! I will be looking out for more hand indicators from now on.
We had a lovely dinner at Dienner's - a Mennonite restaurant where it was all you can eat for $9.95. We had clam chowder, meatloaf and chicken and veggies, followed by dessert! Given that it was so cheap, we are going back for breakfast. ($5.95)
Quick trip to the 24 hour Walmart for tea and coffee supplies and then back home to sew and relax.
Heading to the quilt museum tomorrow in Downtown Lancaster.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Philadelphia - Monday May 2nd, 2011

Yesterday, was our last day in Paducah. Up bright and early and on the bus at 8am! We drove back to Nashville and our bus driver Pat (aka SweetCheeks) gave us a guided tour of Nashville. Off to Opryworld resort for lunch. This was 400 room hotel, that has been extended 3 times and now has a total of 2989 rooms!!! It is huge and very extravagant, but tasteful. A quick, yummy lunch here and a run around the complex before we were back on the bus and heading for Nashville airport. 2 hour flight to Philly on a little plane that only too 50 passengers, but it was a smooth ride. Arrived at hotel and then popped over the road to Ruby Tuesday's restaurant. Creole Talipia is what I chose for dinner. (Flake type fish with Creole seasoning).
6am Philly time and we have woken to the news that Osama Bin Laden has been killed. Not sure of the footage seen at home, but here in the US, they are celebrating like they won the world cup. I know it means a lot to them, but it is a little unsettling to an Aussie traveler. Que Sera Sera! What will be will be.

Off to pick up the car this morning and head out to Lancaster County.

Rotunda at Paducah with Jazz band.

The Aussie group on the steps of one of the Opryworld hotel Lobbys.

Di from Melton is on the front right.

One of the views inside Opryworld. A skywalk meanders through the rainforest. There are millions of dollars worth of plants here and the floods last year caused $250 million damage!!!

The old glass jars that our drinks were served in at dinner at Mr. bills the night before (Waiter didn't get it when Jenny Mc asked where the tadpoles were!!)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Good bye Paducah

This is one of the dresses on display in the "Haunted" Belle Louise home. I might add that I do believe there is spirit activity as I actually felt a presence before the guide told us that there had been ghost sightings!! Believe it or not!!

This house was called the Mary Jane, absolutely beautiful - on the outside. Now owned by an artist who had painted all of the walls Bright Hot Pink etc.. An injustice to this piece of beauty.

The token photo of me - with Ricky Timms. A very talented and funny man.

Well, we are pulling out at 8.00 am today and our bags have to be packed and outside our room door by 7am. Mission achieved, but I'm telling you - that case of mine has definately put on weight!!!!

Last night in Paducah - 30/4/11

Well what a day today! Everyones legs are just about to give up!! Last minute shopping this morning, lunch at Kirchoff's deli - great Rueben sandwiches (Corn Beef, Cheese and Sauerkraut on dark rye) I loved these sandwiches last time and they are still good this time.
At 2pm we went on a walking tour of the historic homes in downtown Paducah. Some great apartment type blocks, some beautiful old homes. The favourite was the Belle Louise, which is now just a show home but is full of history. The library has all the old civil war memorabilia, medals, flags, pictures etc. I literally could not breathe in this home. There was 2 guides in this home that were dressed in civil war uniforms. Turns out this house was once a funeral home and there is a spirit of an 8 yo girl who died of Scarlet Fever. I think maybe the spirits made a connection with me. It was the only house that I could not breathe in, but it was the most beautiful home. All in all we took in about 9 houses and you could actually go in each of them, and meet the owners etc who showed you around, told you history of the home etc.
On the way back to the hotel I saw a sign that said 2005 home for $89,950. I would rather one of the old ones with character. (That reverse mortgage is getting bigger!)
Picked up by the bus and back to the hotel for a quick rest, then off to dinner. A place called Mr Bills where we had BBQ pork for dinner and I had Pecan Pie with cream and bananas. Very rich. This place was right out of the 1800's - old log cabins with shops in them as well as the restaurants. Very different. The waiter recited 17 different desserts to us and told us that they have 9 days of training and if they can't recite the whole menu after 9 days they are not allowed to serve tables and can only work in the kitchen.
Back home to the hotel but first a tour via the dam, where they are letting water out to try and alleviate some of the problems. Raining again tonight for the next few days and they are expecting peak flooding by mid next week.
We are off to Nashville tomorrow and fly out to Philadelphia and drive on to Lancaster County!