First Steps and Local Sights

First Steps and Local Sights

As the last of the snow melted and the weather started to gradually warm again over the past couple of weeks, we finished clearing the final few things out of our apartment.  Before leaving Newark, we needed to pick up a couple of accessories the dealer ordered for us when we bought the RV.  (Which, incidentally, Ashley has decided to name “Cecil” – but I am open to other ideas.  Feel free to chime in with your thoughts in the comments!)  So on the way back from Milford, we decided to meet up with one of our friends at the Blue Earl Brewing Company (FYI: the brewery website will play music when you click that link) in Smyrna DE.  Blue Earl makes some pretty interesting beers, and I’ve wanted to visit the brewery but we never had nor made the time to get there.  We didn’t get any photos from this visit, however, I really like the brewery and recommend stopping there if possible.  It’s located in an industrial park and takes a bit of searching to find, but it’s worth this little bit of effort to sample what they have on tap.  The brewery also features live music on the weekends, occasional open blues and jazz jams, and food trucks.  No food is available from the brewery itself, but they have 12 beers on tap plus a variety of bottles.  Ashley and I shared a flight of the draft beers and casually worked our way through the list in the brewer’s recommended tasting order.  They offer an impressive variety, from a lighter pilsner and hefeweizen, to a hoppy pale ale and double IPA, to darker porters and stouts, with a variety of fruit and flavored beers in between.  All in all, not a bad way to spend our last Friday in Delaware.

Most readers already know this, but we’re currently parked in rural southern Pennsylvania and plan to spend the month of April in this area.  We’re gradually settling into the RV, spending much of our time organizing, ordering RV-related things on Amazon, buying supplies at area stores, organizing again, and generally acclimating to life centered around the RV.  Now that the overnight temperatures are above freezing (mostly), we’ve been spending nights in the RV.  Yes, we could run the generator to power the AC/heater combo unit, but we’re choosing not to do that quite yet.  We’ve also tackled a few minor upgrades and modifications, which we’ll write about in detail in a future post.  Since I grew up here, I am more or less familiar with the area but much of this is new to Ashley.  So we’ve been doing a little sight-seeing and accompanying my mom on various shopping trips to exotic locales such as the Markets at Shrewsbury, Sonnewald Natural Foods, Brown’s Orchards and Farm Market, and Root’s Country Market.  The farming community is still strong in and around southeastern Pennsylvania, and this is clearly reflected in the various markets scattered around the area.

Rolling fields in Cross Roads PA

Nestled between the local (when in season) produce, free-range eggs, fresh sausages, and raw milk, the hungry market-goer can easily find Amish delicacies such as shoo-fly pie, pickled cow’s tongue, hog maw, and whoopie pies.  Fun fact – did you know a whoopie pie in Ashley’s hometown in western PA is called a “gob”?  After learning this roughly ten years ago, I’m still shocked to know that the noble whoopie pie would go by any other name.  Also, a hefty slice of sticky sweet shoo-fly pie along with a hot cup of freshly ground French press coffee makes an excellent way to start your day (ok, maybe just once a week).  And for anyone unfamiliar with hog maw, it’s definitely way more delicious than a mere description would lead you to believe.  Basically it’s a cleaned pig’s stomach stuffed with sausage, potatoes, and occasionally various vegetables which is then roasted until cooked through and browned on the outside (or simply boiled, but then the outside obviously doesn’t brown).  Some people just eat the stuffing and discard the cooked stomach, but lots of other people happily eat slivers of the chewy, crunchy cooking vessel along with its contents.

Between outfitting the RV and visiting markets, we’ve managed to squeeze in a bit of outdoor adventuring as well.  On our way out of town a couple of weekends ago we drove over the Susquehanna River into Columbia PA.  I was interested in checking out the Columbia Kettle Works brewery (shocking, I know) and it was on our route, so I convinced Ashley it would be a good detour.  We parked at the Chickies Rock Breezyview Overlook and took the Susquehanna Heritage Trail to the Northwest River Trail into Columbia.  Granted, the end of the trail leading into Columbia isn’t the most picturesque section (you walk under Route 30 and emerge in an industrial section of town), but the trail itself stretches for 14 miles from Columbia north to Conoy Township.  The section we walked was paved, but I’m not sure if the entire length is the same.

Columbia Kettle Works is a small brewpub offering around 12 beers on tap, as well as PA wines and cocktails featuring liquor from Thistle Finch distillery in Lancaster PA.  They also have snacks and sandwiches available, so we ordered some selections from the meat and cheese board, as well as a side of popcorn from Crazy Corkey’s in Hallam PA, to accompany our beer samples.  We were there early on a Friday afternoon, so the crowd was fairly light, but it seems to get busy over the weekend judging from the amount of seating areas available.  The beer was fantastic, quite a few unique and interesting brews.  Not sure if we’ll make it back there before we hit the road for real, but it’s definitely worth a stop.  Plus you can enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride along the trail to compliment your visit to the brewery.

Beer flight at Columbia Kettle Works

Ashley and I recently celebrated our ninth anniversary, so we decided to pack a little picnic lunch and visit Rocky Ridge Park in east York.  We were already planning to be in the area buying yet more RV-related supplies, so it was an easy stop on the way.  Luckily the weather was cooperating for early April – the sun was shining, and it was pleasantly warm in the park.  After finishing our picnic, we ventured to the overlook area before taking a short hike along the marked trails.  

Now that we’re nearly settled and mostly organized, we plan to take the RV (ok, “Cecil”) out to a local campground sometime soon.  We can test as much stuff as we want while parked in a driveway, but we’d like to get some familiarity with all of the systems before we venture too far from a “home” base.  So we’ve been checking out Indian Rock Campground and Muddy Run Campground as a couple of nearby options, and we’re definitely planning a stop at Codorus State Park on our way out of town in late April/early May.  If anyone has any recommendations for RV spots in southern York county, feel free to share in the comments!

4 thoughts on “First Steps and Local Sights

  1. Cecil was my grandfathers name…he was a wonderful, creative, outdoorsman so I think it’s a perfect name! You need to set up a Paypal account so we can ‘sponsor’ your beer drinking – that way you can literally ‘drink a beer for me’!

  2. I am really enjoying your posts. Looking forward to reading about many more of your adventures. Be safe and enjoy! What a privilege you have to take such an adventure.

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