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Fondue Fun at The Melting Pot

I can’t believe that I haven’t written a review of The Melting Pot until now.  This restaurant has become a family favorite and is frequented annually for one, or sometimes even both, of our kids’ birthdays.  The restaurant is a chain, with locations throughout the United States.  While my husband and I aren’t huge fans of chain restaurants, we both enjoy the The Melting Pot as much as the kids do.

For those unfamiliar with The Melting Pot, it is a fondue restaurant.  Dining here is a fun, interactive experience for the entire family.  One of the best parts of The Melting Pot is that you can customize your menu.  If you only want to do appetizers and dessert, you can.  For our family of four, we usually order two 4-course experiences and share between the four of us.  They do have a children’s menu, but we have found that there is enough food for all of us, sharing the two adult entrees.  The kids do love the special kid cocktails they offer.  Be warned, they are very sweet!  We usually water them down.

The 4-course experience begins with your choice of cheese fondue.  Our go-to choice (and a signature item) is the Wisconsin Cheddar.  This fondue includes Aged Cheddar, Emmenthaler, Sam Adams Boston Lager, garlic and spices.  You get a board loaded with veggies, different types of bread (including our favorite, pretzel bread) and apples.

The second course is a choice of three different salads.  The kids usually share a Caesar salad and my husband and I share this California salad.  It’s super tasty with mixed greens topped with candied pecans, Gorgonzola and house-made raspberry vinaigrette.

The third course includes a choice of three different entrees.  I believe that different locations of the restaurant may offer different entree options.  We always opt for “The Classic” which includes Certified Angus Beef Sirloin, shrimp and Herb-Crusted chicken breast.

For our second entree our go-to is “The Pacific Rim” which includes dumplings,  duck, shrimp and Teriyaki marinated sirloin.

With the entrees you also get a bowl of veggies that includes potatoes, broccoli and mushroom caps. The fun of this restaurant is getting to cook the food yourself!  Every person gets two colored cooking forks.  The colors are different so it’s easy to keep track of whose fork is whose.  Your server will tell you cooking times, but it’s approximately one to two minutes for seafood and additional cooking time for other other proteins.

And we can’t forget about the sauces!  There are six different sauces that you can dip your cooked foodinto including a Green Goddess sauce (my fave), cocktail sauce, Gorgonzola sauce and a curry sauce.

The restaurant thinks of everything.  The plates have special compartments for you to scoop your sauce into.  As you can see, you will be eating your main entree in stages.  Since you only have two cooking utensils, you will be continuously cooking and eating the main entree.  You will also get a “Search and Rescue” slotted spoon, because inevitably, some food will fall off your cooking fork!

Of course, the kids’ favorite part of the meal is dessert! Since we most recently celebrated my son’s birthday, we let him choose the chocolate fondue, since there’s only one per table.  This time, he chose the Flaming Turtle which includes milk chocolate, caramel and and candied pecans.  There’s a splash of rum which is added and set on fire, thus the “flaming” part of the turtle.

When you arrive at the restaurant, they ask if you are celebrating a special occasion.  We mentioned to the hostess and our waiter that it was our son’s 10th birthday.  When our waiter brought us our dessert, he also brought this fun, colorful plate.

The Melting Pot is a fun restaurant that is great for celebrating special occasions, a date night or just a dinner out with friends.  When you dine here, you will have a memorable, interactive experience.

The Details:
(Please note that The Melting Pot has locations throughout the United States.  Check the website to see if there’s a location near you.)

The Melting Pot White Plains
30 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601
(914) 993-6358

Hours: Monday – Thursday 5 PM -10 PM Friday 5 PM -11 PM, Saturday 12 PM – 11 PM, Sunday 12 PM – 9 PM

Parking:  Street Parking

Price:  $$$ (Four-Course dinner for two plus cocktails approximately $100+)

 

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A Visit to Blue Collar Brewery {Dutchess Craft Beverage Trail}

(Thank you to Dutchess Tourism and Blue Collar Brewery for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

In November 2014, Blue Collar Brewery opened on Cottage Street in Poughkeepsie, NY. The brewery epitomizes the concept of a small family business, with a small operation including father-son partners, Kevin and Randall.

Brewing has been a part of the Marquis family, long before Brew Collar Brewery opened. Kevin Marquis is a former Physical Therapist and was brewing at home since the 80’s.  Having a father interested in brewing meant Randall grew up in the craft beer world.  Childhood vacations always included stops at different breweries. Randall went away to college in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  While at college, he even spent some time working at one of the pour houses at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, before returning back to Poughkeepsie.  He is now a professional brewer, with credentials from the University of California Davis.

The brewery is located in what was a former factory dating back to the late 1800’s.  Before housing Blue Collar Brewery, the building was previously a garment factory, a meat packing factory and, most recently, a storage facility for a paper company. With assistance from the city of Poughkeepsie, the Marquises located the building, which was not in the best condition.  The father-son team did a lot of the renovations themselves to get the building to its current state.

We visited Blue Collar Brewery on a sunny, summer Saturday afternoon.  During our visit, there was a family with children eating in the dining room.  However, the majority of the crowd was comprised of singles, friends and couples of all ages, both at the bar and sitting in the dining area.

Although we didn’t eat here, the menu has a variety of offerings.  Cleverly categorized into “shifts”, the brewery serves appetizers and a variety of burgers, sandwiches, wraps and other finger foods.  The offerings are reasonably priced and there are plenty of kid-friendly options.

But, of course, this is a brewery and you want to know about the beer!  As you walk from the entrance into the dining area and bar, you pass the brewery, located in the basement level below.  Blue Collar Brewery is always changing the brews that they offer.  Since opening the brewery in late 2014, they have offered 40 different brews.  They always have 5-7 brews on tap, direct from the cold room downstairs.  You will always find the Cream Ale and IPA #8 on tap, as these are the most “mainstream” people-pleasers. However, the Marquises are always creating new experimental batches and one-offs (beers that are only made once), so you’ll never know what you may find on tap on your visit.

On our visit, my husband had a flight that included the five beers on the brewery’s draft list and a bonus.  Pictured (from right to left) is the Cream Ale, IPA #8, Irish Red Ale, Dry Irish Stout and the Pilsner.  The last beer on the left is a Saison, not listed on the printed menu.  You can sample five (5oz.) beers as a flight for only $12.  Of the six that he tried, my husband’s favorite was the Irish Red Ale. This is in line with the best sellers, which are the Irish Red Ale and the IPA.  While Randall’s favorite draft is constantly changing, at the time of our visit he was favoring the pilsner.

For those that may not prefer beer, the brewery also serves cider and wine, most of which are also made locally in the Hudson Valley.

A visit to Blue Collar Brewery is highly recommended. The brewery got its name from the “Blue Collar” atmosphere that Kevin and Randall wanted to create.  They wanted “a gathering place free of pretension, where American craft products can be enjoyed.” And I think they did just that.  The brewery is very casual and has a laid-back vibe.  You can sit at the bar and watch your favorite sports team on one of the many large screens.  Or you can relax at a table in the dining room.  Regardless, Randall is a superb and gracious host and treats every guest like a friend.  He has such a warm vibe and converses easily with all the patrons.  During our visit, Kevin was mostly on the floor, making sure all the dining room guests were taken care of.  He was super-attentive and always on the move.  They make a great team.  You can tell that the two are rightfully proud of the business that they have created.  NY Foodie Family wishes them much continued success!

The Details:
Blue Collar Brewery
40 Cottage Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
(845) 454-BREW

Parking:  Street parking is available in front of the brewery.  There is also a small parking lot next to the brewery.

Hours:  Monday – Thursday 3- 10 PM, Friday & Saturday 12 PM – 11 PM, Sunday 12 PM – 10 PM

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Five on Friday {The Last Weekend in July}

(This post contains affiliate links.  Please read our disclosure policy for additional information.)

Happy Friday!  I cannot believe how quickly the days are going by.  It’s crazy to think that this is the last weekend in July.  The kids survived their second week of camp and are headed back up to Rhode Island with my parents for a week.  My husband and I have no set plans yet, but we are hoping to make the most of the kid-free time we have together.  Here are five from this week:

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1.Reading –  I am finishing up Killman Creek by Rachel Caine.  This is the second book in the Stillhouse Lake series.  I really enjoyed the first book, Stillhouse Lake and this second book is just as suspenseful.

2. Cooking – This past weekend we had our monthly supper club.  This month’s theme was vegetarian.  I made a Mushroom, Tofu and Cheese Tart from the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics cookbook.  This is a well-known vegetarian restaurant up in Ithaca, NY where I went to college.  This was a pretty tasty dish.  It would have been even better if I remembered to add the salt when cooking it (face smack here!).  My husband made a tasty Peach Crisp too.

Fit Womens Weekly Podcast        SEXYFIT PODCAST

3. Listening – I’ve been trying to get back into a fitness routine of sorts.  I’ve started back up with Yoga with Adriene and am hoping to set up a gym schedule this upcoming week.  I know I already did a post on health and fitness podcasts, but I recently added two new ones to my rotation – Fit Womens Weekly Podcast and Sexyfit Podcast.

4. Family Fun –  This past Sunday our family visited Boundless Adventures.  It’s an outdoor adventure/ropes course up in the trees.  I did a post on this week (see below) and it was a lot of fun!

5. MakingUrban Kangaroo kindly sent me a Soy Candle Making Kit.  At his request, my son and I spent some time this past weekend making the candles.  They were easy to make and the Coconut and English Rose scents smell good.  The containers are nice and the candles make great gifts (either the kit or the finished candle!).  Plus, I loved getting to spend quality time with my son.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I wrote about our visit to the Lancaster Science Factory.

Wednesday I introduced the Dutchess County Craft Beverage Trail.

Thursday I wrote about Boundless Adventures.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend! 

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Fun in the Trees at Boundless Adventures

(Thank you to Boundless Adventures for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

I’m always on the lookout for fun, new experiences for our family.  When I heard that Boundless Adventures recently opened in Purchase, this sounded like something we would enjoy. My kids, especially my daughter, love to try new things and are pretty adventurous.  Boundless Adventures was a perfect family day out!

So, what exactly is Boundless Adventures?

Boundless Adventures is a treetop adventure park.  It consists of 4 different types of courses that are all developed to  “test your boundaries.”  Local owners Brian and Lorrie Funtleyder’s mission is, “to empower and inspire people to challenge themselves both mentally and physically.  With challenge comes greater self-confidence and achievement.”

What should I expect when I visit Boundless Adventures?

When you arrive on the Purchase College campus, follow the signs to Boundless Adventures.  You will arrive at the parking lot and registration building.  Although reservations are not required, they are recommended.  The park can get busy and a reservation ensures that you have a harness ready for your arrival.  At the registration building you will check-in and sign waivers, if you haven’t already done so prior to your arrival.  I didn’t realize that you can pre-sign your waiver online.  All climbers also get a wrist band.  Since there are age requirements for the different courses, they write the age of each child on their wrist band.  There are bathrooms at the registration area, which I recommend using before you head to the courses as you’ll be harnessed for up to 3 1/2 hours.  They also sell snacks, beverages, and branded apparel here.  Once your wrist band is on, you’re ready to head to the course.

The park is located across the street from the parking lot.  When you arrive, you will first get harnessed up with the assistance of a staff member and get a pair of protective gloves to wear.  The harness is full-body with a special carabiner safety system.

You will then stop at the Briefing Station for a 15-20 minute tutorial on how to use the safety system. Then you use the Practice Lines to ensure you can use the system properly.  I highly recommend paying close attention to the briefing session.  We found that the two-carabiner system with the tweezle safety measure does have a bit of a learning curve.  Your instructor will also teach you how to properly use the zip line attachment and how to slow it down, if needed.  Although you may be anxious to get out on the course and climb, this is the time to ask all your questions and make sure that you can properly use a tweezle to unlock your carabiner.

Once you have completed your briefing session you are ready to climb.  You are given 3 hours, starting at the end of your briefing session, to enjoy the courses.  Although there are plenty of staff on the ground to assist you, you complete the courses on your own.  There are 9 courses in four levels of difficulty: 3 Exploration courses (Beginner-Yellow), 3 Motivation Courses (Intermediate-Green),  2 Strength Courses (Advanced-Blue) and 1 Conqueror Course (Expert-Black).  Each course is made up of multiple elements including bridges, beams and zip lines.  Only one person is allowed to be on an element at a time, while up to three people can stand on the waiting platforms between elements.  All courses begin at the main starting platform but end up in various places throughout the park.  You must follow walking trails back to the beginning to start a new course.

My husband and kids started out on a yellow course while I took some photos. The yellow courses are 10 feet above the ground and feature low-speed zip lines and easier bridges.  I have to admit I was a bit hesitant to try the courses.  I’m not afraid of heights, but psychologically, standing so many feet above the ground, trying to transverse moving logs is a bit scary.

My son and I completed all three yellow courses together and then moved on to complete two of the green courses.  The green courses are 15 feet above the ground and include longer zip lines and more challenging, rolling elements.

My daughter, the adventure-seeker, quickly moved from yellow to green to the blue courses with my husband.  These are 22-26 feet above the ground and really test your strength with harder elements.  My husband noted that she wasn’t afraid of any of the elements and was even excited to do the ending “leap of faith.”  Yes, on one of the blue courses, you need to literally  jump off a platform (while you are attached to a safety belay system) to get to the ground .

My son quickly learned how to properly use his zip line attachment (make sure both carabiners are resting in notches of the zip line attachment) after getting stuck in the middle of the first zip line.  What happens if you get stuck?  Well, you can either use your muscles and monkey pull yourself backwards to the platform like my son did.  Or, staff members can come assist you, like this girl I saw who needed rescuing.

What was the experience like? 

Our family had such a great time at Boundless Adventures.  Before my husband and daughter went off on their own, I saw the kids working together, helping each other with their carabiners.  I also found such a camaraderie among guests.  When a woman was having trouble with her carabiner, my daughter jumped right in to assist her.  When I was having difficulty with one of the elements, another guest stepped in to help.  And, of course, the staff members also came to the rescue, like when I got stuck on the zipline!

It was a great bonding experience as well for us.  My husband and daughter went off together and my son and I teamed up.  He enjoyed not being rushed by his sister.  I loved that, when I was having a bit of difficulty, my 10-year-old would yell words of encouragement.  Leaving the park, we were all commenting on how accomplished we felt and how proud we were of ourselves for completing the various courses.

Enjoy an adventurous day of family fun at Boundless Adventures! 

The Details:
Boundless Adventures
735 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
(914) 893-4550

Hours:  Dates and times vary by season.  Check the website for the most up-to-date information.

Parking: Free parking in lot E2.

Admission: Adults (ages 12+)/$59, Youth (7-11)/$54  (Ticket includes 30 minute orientation and 3 hours of climbing)

Tips:

*You must wear close-toed shoes on the course.  I recommend wearing comfortable clothing as you will be climbing and crawling.

*The courses are strenuous and will tire you out!  There are water dispensers and a supply of paper drinking cones in the park but you may want to bring your own water.

*Picnic tables are scattered throughout the park for family members who are not climbing and want to watch.  You can also bring snacks and food into the park and enjoy them at these tables.

*If you have a 10-11 year-old child who is adventurous and will likely want to try the blue courses, make sure you have an adult with them that is climbing.  Children this age cannot climb the blue courses without an adult with them.  Similarly, children ages 12-13 who may want to try the black course needs an adult as well.

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Dutchess Craft Beverage Trail

(Thank you to Dutchess Tourism and the below craft beverage sites for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

The craft beverage industry has seen expansive growth over the past several years.  The Hudson Valley is home to many breweries, wineries and distilleries, with more opening over time.  A large number of Hudson Valley’s craft beverages can be found in Dutchess County.  So many, in fact, that they’ve created their own craft beverage trail.  The Dutchess Craft Beverage Trail currently has 20 “stops” with more continuing to be added.  My husband and I have visited several of the breweries, wineries and distilleries that make up the Dutchess Craft Beverage Trail.  I could merely provide you with a list of all the places that we visited.  Below, you will find a list of those stops.  I have provided the important details like location, hours and website links.  However, during our stops, we chatted with owners, managers and employees.  Each of the places we visited has its own story that really should be told.  Over the next several weeks, I will be linking to the unique stories that NY Foodie Family is thrilled to share.  We haven’t yet been able to visit all the stops on the Dutchess Craft Beverage Trail.  But if we haven’t visited it yet, you can be sure it’s on our list to check out soon!

Blue Collar Brewery (Read about our visit here!)

40 Cottage Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
(845) 454-BREW

Website:  http://www.thebluecollarbrewery.com/
Hours:  Monday – Thursday 3 PM -10 PM, Friday & Saturday 12 PM – 11 PM, Sunday 12 PM – 10 PM

Denning’s Point Distillery
10 North Chestnut Street
Beacon, NY 12508
(845) 476-8413

Website: http://www.denningspointdistillery.com/
Tastings & Tours:  Friday 2 PM -8 PM (Tastings only), Saturday 2 PM – 8 PM (Tours at approximately 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30 PM, except for the second Saturday of each month when tours are at 2:30 and 3:30 only), Sunday 2 PM – 6 PM (Tastings only)
Price:  Tastings & Tour $5

Hudson Valley Brewery
7 East Main Street
Beacon, NY 12508
(323) 552-6563

Website: http://hudsonvalleybrewery.com
Hours: Thursday & Friday 5 PM – 10 PM, Saturday 2 PM – 10 PM, Sunday 2 PM – 8 PM

Millbrook Vineyards & Winery (Read about our visit here!)
26 Wing Road
Millbrook, NY 12545
(845) 677-8383

Website:  http://www.millbrookwine.com/
Hours: Open Daily 12 PM – 6 PM, Saturday 12 PM – 7 PM

Millhouse Brewing Company
(Read about our visit here!)
289 Mill Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
(845) 485-2739

Website: https://www.millhousebrewing.com
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11:30 AM – 9 PM, Friday 11:30 AM – 10:30 PM, Saturday 11 AM – 10:30 PM, Sunday Brunch 11 AM – 3 PM, Sunday Dinner 3 PM – 9 PM

Taconic Distillery (Read about our visit here!)
179 Bowen Road
Stanfordville, NY 12584
(845) 393-4583

Website: https://www.taconicdistillery.com
Tasting Room Hours: Saturday 12 PM – 6 PM, Sunday 12 PM – 5 PM, Closed in January

Hands-On Fun at the Lancaster Science Factory

 

 

(Thank you to Discover Lancaster for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As usual, all opinions are our own.)

If you are looking for some indoor family fun in Lancaster, make a visit to the Lancaster Science Factory.  This hands-on science museum is geared towards children in 3rd through 8th grade.  However, children of all ages will have fun interacting with the exhibits.

There are over 60 different exhibits that cover topics of electricity and magnetism, mechanics and motion, light and vision, fluid dynamics, puzzles and brain teasers, and more.  Kids are encouraged to build, touch and explore.

My husband and I even got in on the fun and made K’NEX Mini-Racers so we could race them against each other!

We tried our best to get the Giant Arch to stay but, even after several attempts, we were unsuccessful.  Only gravity and friction are preventing the foam arch pieces from falling on our heads. Which, of course, they all ended up doing in the end.

My ten and twelve-year-old kids enjoyed all of the exhibits.  We discovered that our daughter is an expert paper airplane maker at the Flight Deck exhibit.

I had fun playing around at the Minimal Surfaces exhibit!  You’re never too old for bubbles!

The museum is one level with an open floor plan.  I liked that each of us could be interacting with different exhibits, but we could see where everybody else was.

The museum isn’t large and can be visited in about an hour.  Since we had the afternoon free, we spent about 2 1/2 hours visiting.  During this time we saw many different families come and go.  Our kids were so involved interacting with the exhibits that we hated to disturb them.

This museum is perfect when visiting Lancaster, when you want to cool off,  warm up or stay dry (depending on the weather when you visit!).  Kids will have so much fun “playing” and learning at the Lancaster Science Factory.

The Details:
Lancaster Science Factory
454 New Holland Avenue
Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17602
(717) 509-6363

Hours:  Monday – Saturday:  10 AM – 5 PM, Sundays 12 PM – 5 PM

Admission: $9.50/ages 3+, Free/2 and under

Parking:  Free parking is available in the lot across the street from the museum

Tips:

*There is no food available for purchase at the Science Factory and no eating or drinking are allowed in the museum.

*There is a small gift shop – The Science to Go Store.

 

 

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Five on Friday {First Week of Camp}

(This post contains affiliate links.  Please read our disclosure policy for additional information.)

Happy Friday!  Summer is in full effect and it’s been a busy couple of weeks here.  I am loving summer hours at work, where I get to leave at 12 PM on Fridays. The kids were with my parents in Rhode Island for the last two weeks and came home this past Friday. It was a quiet couple of weeks here without them. Last Saturday my son turned 10!  The four of us celebrated his birthday Saturday and then Sunday we had a family party.  And finally, the kids started their first week of camp. They were excited that they both passed the deep water test.  However, my son isn’t loving camp.  We are only one week in so I hope he starts enjoying it more.  Here are five from this week:

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1. Reading – I just finished reading Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee.  This contemporary fiction book deals with mental illness and its impact on family.  It was a really good read.

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2. Watching – I’ve been watching a bunch of different shows.  My husband and I finally finished watching the last season of Orange Is the New Black.  I also watched the first episode of Glow on Netflix and we’re almost finished watching Wild Wild Country.

3. Eating – We did a lot of good eating this past weekend, but I barely took any pictures!  My son requested that we eat at The Melting Pot for his birthday.  This has been a family favorite restaurant for awhile and was delicious and fun as always.  I loved this decorated plate they brought out for him!

4. Dinner Date – Last night I had dinner with a friend.  Although our sons are friends, it’s rare for us to get to go out.  So, it was nice to get to catch up.

5. Playing – We love playing board games and have a bunch of them.  My son though has recently been on an UNO playing streak.  This past week we have played lots of rounds of the classic game.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I wrote about our visit to the Turkey Hill Experience.

Wednesday I posted about the Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn in Lancaster, PA.

Sharing with Friday Favorites! Have a great weekend!

Where to Stay in Lancaster: Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn

(Thank you to the Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

When visiting Lancaster, Pennsylvania there are many choices on where to stay.  From campgrounds to bed and breakfast inns, there are accommodations for every budget. On our recent visit to Lancaster, we enjoyed a stay at the the Hershey Farm Inn.  This is a great family-friendly lodging choice with lots of amenities.

The Hershey Farm Inn is not a chain hotel.  They have 60 rooms, located in three different sections of the property. The two-story Main Inn has the feel of a traditional hotel, with a central lobby and interior rooms.

The Carriage House is the Inn’s more budget-friendly lodging option.  These rooms are more motel-like with private outdoor entrances.

Our family stayed in the Amish Farm House.  This 2-story house has traditional standard rooms as well as couples suites and 2-room family suites, which we stayed in.

In our suite, the exterior door enters the master bedroom.  This room has a king size bed, a chair, dresser, television, refrigerator and coffee maker.

The kids shared the second bedroom, which has a double bed, desk and chair.  It was nice for them to have a separate space to themselves.  After putting the kids to bed, my  husband and I could stay up with the lights on and  not disturb them. 

There is one bathroom in this suite.  I really loved the decor of the bathroom.  However, I wish that the sink area was a little larger.  Due to lack of space, it was hard for everyone to keep their toiletries around the sink.

The Hershey Farm Inn & Restaurant offers more than just a place to sleep.  There is plenty to see and do on the 23 acres of property.  For kids, there are two different playground areas for them to climb and explore.

At the back of the property, there is a large fishing pond.  Many swans and geese were inhabiting the area when we visited.  If we had more time, I would have liked to sit in one of the Adirondack chairs with a book.  It was so quiet and peaceful here.

The Inn has farm animals including goats and a barn with chickens and a rooster that wander freely.  Feed is available for purchase in the main lobby.

My kids loved swimming in the pool the most.  My husband and I enjoyed sitting under the cabanas to keep out of the sun.  There is no lifeguard on duty, though, so parental supervision is a must.  The pool is open until 10 PM though so the kids even got in some night swimming!

The Inn is located right next to the Sight & Sound Theatre.  For guests that have tickets, there is a convenient walking path connecting the two properties.

The Hershey Farm Restaurant is located on the property and overnight guests receive complimentary breakfast at the Grand Smorgasbord.  The breakfast buffet has an omelet station and made-to-order eggs.  They also have french toast, pancakes, make-your-own waffles, bacon, sausage, cereal, baked goods and more.  You will leave stuffed!

There is also a large gift shop and outdoor market onsite.  The gift shop sells everything from souvenirs and toys to clothing and sports merchandise.  Before we left, I purchased several plants and flowers from the outdoor market.   Guests who would like to have lunch or dinner at the onsite restaurant can get discount coupons at the front desk in the main lobby.

When planning a trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn is a great lodging choice for your family!

The Details:
The Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn
240 Hartman Bridge Road
Ronks, PA 17572
(717) 687-8635

Rates:  Vary depending on dates – please check the website for availability and prices

Location:  The Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn is conveniently located near the Sight & Sound Theatre, American Music Theatre, Strasburg Railroad, Dutch Wonderland, the Rockvale and Tanger Outlets, and more.

A Tasty Good Time at the Turkey Hill Experience

(Thank you to the Turkey Hill Experience for hosting us.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

If you’ve perused my Instagram feed, you realize that my family loves ice cream.  Turkey Hill is one of our favorite brands and we especially love their Double Dunker and All Natural Mint Chocolate Chip.  But honestly, all the flavors are delicious!  So, on our recent trip to Lancaster County, I knew we had to make a stop at the Turkey Hill Experience.

Located in Columbia, Pennsylvania, the Turkey Hill Experience is about a twenty-five minute drive from the heart of Lancaster.  No ice cream or iced tea is actually made on premise.  Instead, as the name suggests, this attraction is a fun-filled, interactive “experience.”

The Experience is housed in a beautiful, large brick building that was a former silk mill. You know you are at the right place when you see the giant cow greeting you.  There are a couple of different admission tickets.  Our family enjoyed the Triple Scoop – which includes the Experience, the Taste Lab and the Tea Discovery.  It is important to note that the Taste Lab and Tea Discovery both require additional admission and a reservation time.

The Experience, located on the second floor, is self-guided.  Visitors get to learn how Turkey Hill ice cream is made; from quality assurance, to packaging and freezing.  In product development, guests can create their own virtual ice cream. Since the terminals can get backed up, we created our ice cream flavor as a family.  Further into the experience you will arrive at a different area to design the carton for your ice cream.

Finally, if you choose, you get to star in a commercial.  You stand in front of a green screen and read the provided script.  A commercial is then created, starring you (or, in our case, one of our children!). You can get it e-mailed to you so you have it as a keepsake of your visit.

Of course, you have to sample all of Turkey Hill’s iced teas and lemonades.  Unlimited samples are available, mostly of their different iced teas flavors.

There are lots of interactive exhibits throughout the Experience for visitors to engage with.  How well do you know Turkey Hill ice cream flavors?  You get to test your knowledge in this exhibit!  There are also great photo opportunities and even a small ball pit for children six and younger.

I highly recommend adding the Taste Lab to your Experience.  This was hands down our family’s favorite part of the visit!  During the 45 minute session you learn more about Turkey Hill ice cream.  You are then guided through the process of creating your own flavor.

Starting with a pint of vanilla ice cream, you get to add a flavor extract, inclusions and a variegate (what they call the syrups and sauces such as fudge, caramel, peanut butter, marshmallow, etc.).  There are some tough decisions to be made.  I mean, look at this wall of inclusions!

These were our delicious creations after we added our inclusions, but before we added the variegates and did the final mix.

After our delicious ice cream making adventure, we explored more of the Experience.  There are several exhibits about Turkey Hill’s other main product: Iced Tea.

We also got to learn more about tea in Tea Discovery.  During our thirty minute session we learned about and sampled six different teas.  Honestly, I don’t think you’re missing out if you don’t participate in a tea tasting.  Most of the teas we sampled were unsweetened and my kids didn’t enjoy them.  For tea connoisseurs, do not expect freshly brewed tea leaves.  However, you will get a short introduction to the history of tea and learn about different aromas and flavors of teas.

We were stuffed early on since we each devoured almost a pint of ice cream at the Taste Lab!  So we didn’t go to the ice cream sample room until the end of our visit.  The day’s flavors included vanilla, Dutch chocolate, chocolate mint chip, fruit rainbow, chocolate peanut butter, orange cream swirl, salted caramel and Graham Slam.  You get one sample at a time, but can go up as many times as you’d like.

You can’t miss the giant gift shop at the Turkey Hill Experience!  It literally takes up most of the main floor.  They sell everything from ice cream scoops and bowls to t-shirts and flavored lip balm.

If you have family of ice cream lovers, then the Turkey Hill Experience is for you!  This is such a tasty and fun attraction that the whole family will enjoy!

The Details:
Turkey Hill Experience
301 Linden Street
Columbia, PA 17512

Hours:  Please check the website for details.  Hours vary by month and day.

Admission:  Varies depending on what activities you’d like to participate in.  The Experience only starts at $9.95/adults, $9.50/kids 4-12 and senior citizens, Free/military and kids 3and under  Taste Lab; $5.45/person, Tea Discovery $3.45/person

Parking:  Free

Tips:

*Plan to spend around three hours at the Experience if participating in both the Taste Lab and Tea Discovery.  The recommended times are 60-90 minutes at the Experience, 45 minutes at the Taste Lab and 30 minutes at the Tea Discovery.

*Try to arrive closer to opening on weekends.  We arrived at opening and there was plenty of parking.  By the time we left around 12:30 the Experience was filled with a lot more people and the parking lot was full.

*If you know what day you will be visiting the Experience you can purchase your tickets online and reserve your time for the Taste Lab and/or Tea Discovery.

 

A Foodie Tour of Kitchen Kettle Village

 

A foodie tour of Kitchen Kettle Village in Lancaster County Pennsylvania.

(Thank you to Kitchen Kettle Village for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As usual, all opinions are our own.)

Kitchen Kettle Village in Lancaster, PA started as a backyard jelly business over 60 years ago. Today, it’s a bustling village with over 40 different shops.  It’s also a haven of deliciousness for food lovers!  NY Foodie Family experienced quite the foodie tour of Kitchen Kettle Village. There’s a reason why nearly a million people visit each year!

Our tour started with lunch at Kling House Restaurant.   Before being turned into a restaurant, this was the house of several generations of Klings and Burnleys, co-founders of Kitchen Kettle Village.  The restaurant consists of many small rooms and has a very homey feel. Breakfast and lunch is served here and, in nice weather, you can enjoy your meal outside on the Terrace.

Once seated, guests are served a dish of Pepper Jam and cream cheese spread with crackers (I had to find out what that bowl of deliciousness was!).

During our lunch, my daughter and I shared the soup of the day (a salmon and corn chowder) and the Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich.  I cannot gush enough about the cajun ranch dressing that came with this sandwich.  We were even dipping the kettle chips in it!

My son opted for the Nuts and Berry Salad and my husband had this Lancaster County Reuben.  Everything was delicious and I highly recommend dining here if you are looking for a sit-down restaurant for lunch.

After our delicious meal, we continued our foodie tour with a stop at Aged and Cured.  This shop sells locally smoked meats and cheese.  The store sells over 50 different types of cheese.  And these aren’t your run-of-the-mill cheeses; Aged and Cured sells cheeses like Smoked Swiss, Strawberry Chardonnay and Steakhouse Onion cheese, the majority of which are made locally.  Even better, you can sample almost every cheese they sell!

The only cheese made on-site is the fresh mozzarella, which is made every Friday and Saturday.  You can see the cheese stretching demonstration both days at 11 AM and 2 PM.  It was fun watching a bowl of cheese curds transform into a delicious ball of mozzarella!  I didn’t realize so many variables like the pH of the water used, the humidity and even the temperature of the room all affect how the mozzarella will turn out.

If cheese isn’t your thing, Aged and Cured sells plenty of cured meats.  There is a selection of jerky, beef sticks and more.  Once again, there are plenty of samples of each to try.

Our next stop on our food tour was Pepper Lane Fudge and Sweets.  This shop sells all different kinds of fudge, including chocolate, cookies and cream, chocolate marshmallow and peanut butter.  All of the fudge is made on site at the shop and sold in slices that weigh just under 1/2 pound each.  On our visit, we were able to sample the regular chocolate fudge.

We watched the beginning stages of a batch of fudge being made.  The chocolate first has to be heated to 234 degrees F.  Once the chocolate reaches temp, it is poured on a chilled marble slab to cool. Eventually, the fudge will be paddled to aerate it, which gives it its creamy texture. It’s then rolled into a five foot loaf, which they slice and sell.  Fudge tip:  Do not refrigerate your fudge!  It will keep in an airtight container for two to three weeks.

Next we enjoyed ice cream cones from Lapp Valley Farms Ice Cream. The ice cream is made at the Lapp Valley Farms dairy, located only a couple of miles down the street from Kitchen Kettle Village.  Jersey cows produce the milk that is used to make the sixteen flavors of ice cream served here.

We enjoyed the strawberry, butter brickle, chocolate chip cookie dough, and (not pictured) mint chocolate chip.  The ice cream was super creamy and delicious!

A visit to Kitchen Kettle Village is not complete without a stop at the Jam & Relish Kitchen.  This is how Kitchen Kettle originated and is the “heart” of the Village.  Over 90 different products are made onsite here and Monday through Saturday visitors can watch some of them being made in the open kitchen.  Unfortunately, we missed seeing the vidalia onion relish being made the day of our visit.

The Kitchen sells everything from jams and relishes to salsa, pasta sauce, dips and more.  The number of jams and jellies they make is astounding, taking up a whole wall of the store. And, of course, there are samples of all to try.  The only question is, what items won’t you want to take home with you?!

You must try some of the classic Chow Chow.  Consisting of sweet and sour garden vegetables, this is one of Kitchen Kettle’s top selling relishes.

The Bake Shop is connected to the Jam & Relish Kitchen and sells many different pies, cookies and other delicious baked goods.  You can even purchase a gingerbread cookie for 99 cents and then use the icings they have set out to decorate it.

We made a stop at The Olive Basin, to do some olive oil and balsamic vinegar sampling as well.  This is one of the newest shops to Kitchen Kettle Village.  The taproom  has over 40 different olive oils and balsamic vinegars that are bottled on-site.

While I highly recommend the Kling House Restaurant for lunch, if you are looking for a quick-service meal, the Harvest Cafe menu includes burgers, wraps, soups and salads.  Still hungry for more?! You can get all kinds of different popcorn from Pappy’s Kettle Korn.  If you need a caffeine boost, The Roasted Rooster sells a variety of coffee roasted in Lancaster County.  They also sell smoothies, iced coffees and other beverages.  If we weren’t already stuffed I would have tried a pretzel from The Pretzel Haus.  I can only imagine how good their hand-crafted soft pretzel rods but taste!

 

A buggy ride in Lancaster County.

After our foodie tour we were stuffed!  We stopped by AAA Buggy Rides for a horse and buggy tour before we left.  We enjoyed a 55-minute ride through the Amish Country and even passed through a covered bridge.  Our driver Susanna was a great tour guide.  She was very informative and even let the kids, who were sitting up front with her, each take a turn driving the horses!

If you need a place to stay, The Inn at Kitchen Kettle Village has 17 lodging rooms available including deluxe guestrooms and suites.  We didn’t stay overnight at the Village, but the Inn has received great reviews on both TripAdvisor and Yelp.

As you can see, Kitchen Kettle Village offers lots of tasty options for foodies.  It’s a very family-friendly attraction for kids of all ages.