Folk Art and More at the Fenimore Art Museum {Cooperstown, NY}

(Thank you to Go Cooperstown and the Fenimore Art Museum for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

Driving by the Fenimore Art Museum, located on Route 80 in Cooperstown, you might assume it’s a giant mansion.  And you’d be right.  Avid art collector Stephen Carlton Clark donated Fenimore House to the New York State Historical Association for its new headquarters and museum in 1939. The museum’s origins date back to 1899. The country estate of Clark’s late brother was built on land that was once owned by James Fenimore Cooper.  Today, it houses a large collection of American Folk Art and Native American Art.

The first floor of the museum includes the Main Gallery, which has one of the largest folk art collections in the country.  The art includes Indian Maiden (pictured above) a Cigar Store Figure, paintings, weather vanes, carvings and more.

The Cooper Gallery is also located on the main floor.  For more than seven generations, the Cooper family has had ties to the Lake Otsego area.  The most well known Cooper is probably American writer, James Fenimore Cooper.  His book, The Leatherstocking Tales, features the iconic story The Last of the Mohicans.  This gallery displays many of James Fenimore Cooper’s personal effects and possessions.

The lower level of the museum houses the Thaw Gallery of American Indian Art.  Eugene and Clare Thaw, residents of Cherry Valley in Otsego County, were avid art collectors and dealers.  In the late 1990’s the couple moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and and began collecting Native American Art.  They amassed a large collection over the years and donated their entire collection to the Fenimore Art Museum.  New objects have been added to the collection, which now numbers over 850 pieces. Also on the lower level are several galleries that host the various temporary exhibitions.

My husband and I both agreed that our favorite exhibit at the museum was the temporary exhibit Seen & Unseen: Photographs by Imogen Cunningham.  Photography was not allowed in this exhibit.  However, Cunningham (1883-1976) was considered an experimental photographer and one of the pioneers of the art.  Her photographs on display reflected this, covering a depth and breadth that was truly amazing.

We found the Education Room, up on the second floor near the end of our visit.  With comfortable chairs, my husband and I sat and relaxed, perusing some of the library of art books.  The kids enjoyed sitting at the tables drawing and had even more fun using the photo station to create still lifes and practice their photography skills (my son’s picture is above).

Also on the second floor were additional temporary exhibitions including Hamilton’s Final Act: Enemies and Allies, The Barber Surreal: Eugene Berman’s Reimagined Barber of Seville and Thomas Cole and the Garden of Eden.  As you can tell from just the names of the exhibits, the Fenimore showcases a wide variety of art.

Along with the Education Room, the kids really enjoyed the family scavenger hunts.  The Fenimore Art Museum has two different scavenger hunts.  One’s in the Main Gallery and one is in the Thaw Gallery of American Indian Art.  These scavenger hunts make the kids take a closer look at the different works in the gallery to gather their clues.  There is a fun prize at the end of the scavenger hunt.

The back of the museum overlooks Otsego Lake and has beautiful views.  We were prevented from accessing the rear areas on the day of our visit, as there was a wedding ceremony taking place.  But, on a normal day, you can walk around the outside grounds.  We were able to walk the property in front of the museum and see the giant Haida Totem Pole.  The museum acquired this totem pole in 2010, after Eugene Thaw commissioned the work from Haida artist and carver Reg Davidson.  The pole, standing 3o-feet tall, sits on the front lawn of the museum.

The Fenimore Art Museum is a community museum.  Not only does it house the exhibitions described above, but it offers lecture series, community exhibitions, painting and photography workshops and more. Although the museum is small, the changing exhibits and special program offerings, give visitors many reasons to return.

The Details:
Fenimore Art Museum
5798 Route 80
Cooperstown, NY 13326
FenimoreArt.org

Hours:  May 8 – October 8, daily 10 AM – 5 PM October 9 – December 30, Tues. – Sun. 10 AM – 4 PM, Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Admission:  $12/ Adults and Juniors (13-64), $10.50/Seniors (65+), Free/Children 12 and under

Parking:  Free parking along driveway in front of the museum and and side lot

Tips:

*Plan to spend approximately 1 1/2 hours or less on a visit with kids.

*You can purchase food at the Fenimore Cafe, which is open seasonally.

*Docent tours are available daily May 26 through September 3 and Saturdays and Sundays March 31 through May 25 and September 24 through December 30.  They last approximately 4o minutes.  Check the website or admission desk for times.

National Baseball Hall of Fame {Cooperstown}

Most people automatically associate Cooperstown, NY with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and rightly so.  The little town attracts big crowds of baseball fans from all over the country.  Since 1939, the Hall of Fame has been showcasing its extensive collection baseball memorabilia and housing stories of baseball’s greatest legends.  But, as you will see, you don’t have to be a die-hard baseball fan to get caught up in the excitement!

Full disclosure: I’m not a mega baseball fan but I’ve been to my fair share of games.  I was raised as a Yankees fan and it was fun to see so much historic Yankee memorabilia on display.  My parents and in-laws are on opposing sides for a Subway Series (Yankees vs. Mets fans) and my kids aren’t really loyal to either team.

But what do you do when you visit the museum with two tweens who also aren’t big baseball fans, but you have a husband who is?  You split up.

We arrived right before the 11 AM guided tour of the Plaque Gallery, which my husband joined, and met up with him in the gallery at the end of the tour so we could walk around.  This is really a sight to see, where plaques featuring the greatest baseball players of all time, hang on the walls.

While my husband was taking the tour, the kids and I were working on completing the scavenger hunt.  I love it when museums have these for kids to do.  It helps them focus on some of the major exhibits and forces them to stop and read some information.  It also helped that there’s a prize offered once it’s completed.

Beginning with the exhibit Taking the Field:  The 19th Century, visitors are led through a timeline of baseball’s history.  Other major exhibits in the timeline include: Babe Ruth: His Life and Legacy, Diamond Dreams: Women in Baseball, Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience, Viva Baseball! (focused on baseball in the Caribbean Basin countries) and ending with Whole New Ballgame, which details baseball from the 1970’s to present day.

It was fun to walk through The Locker Room and see all the Major League Baseball teams’ recent uniforms and equipment.

Fans of all ages will enjoy testing their baseball knowledge with the baseball quiz kiosks located on the third floor.

Families with young kids will enjoy making a stop at the The Sandlot Kids’ Clubhouse.  This room has books, television shows playing (including a Dora the Explorer baseball-themed episode) and other fun activities for little ones.  Even my older kids loved the baseball mitt seats!

You must be sure to watch the film Generations of the Game.  Located on the second floor of the museum, the film plays every hour, on the hour.  Did I mention that I’m not really a baseball fan?  This film had me tearing up!  You get to see some of the highlight moments of some of the Hall of Famers.  Their love and passion for baseball is truly inspiring.

Every July, during Hall of Fame Weekend, new members are inducted into the Hall in a special ceremony.  The special weekend also includes an awards ceremony and a Parade of Legends, among other festivities.  This past July, new inductees included Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, Trevor Hoffman, Jack Morris and Alan Trammell.  It was interesting to learn that there’s not a set number of inductees each year.  From a ballot of recently retired players, four different voting panels choose the inductees.

I’m glad that our family was finally able to make a visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  As a New Yorker, it seems only fitting to visit this iconic museum that’s really not too far from home.

The Details:

National Baseball Hall of Fame
25 Main Street
Cooperstown, NY 13326
1-888-HALL-OF-FAME

Hours:  Open 7 days a week (except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day)
Labor Day – Memorial Day:  9 AM – 5 PM  Extended Hours Memorial Day – Labor Day

Admission: $23/adults, $15/seniors, $12/children (7-12) & veterans, Free/children (6 and under) & active/career retired military

Parking:
  Paid parking in nearby lot.  Free parking available in three lots throughout Cooperstown with Trolley service ($2/per rider per day).

Tips:

*Food is not served at the museum.  There are plenty of restaurants and cafes along Main Street, where you can go for lunch or dinner. When you leave you can get your hand stamped so you can return during the day.

*Expect to spend a minimum of 3 hours at the museum. Baseball fans will probably spend a lot more time!

 

 

1

A Weekend in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster County Pennsylvania, a.k.a. “Pennsylvania Dutch Country” is a fun, family destination.  With a large Amish community, visiting here is both an educational and fun experience.  Only 3 hours from most of Westchester County, Lancaster makes a perfect weekend getaway.  Read on to see all the fun that can be had in two days.  You can check out the links to read more detailed posts about each attraction. When planning your visit, it is important to note that many attractions in Lancaster are closed on Sundays. Two days didn’t give us enough time to see and do everything, but that’s only the more reason for us to return soon!

Stay: at the Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn.  This Inn is a great lodging choice for families, with several different types of sleeping accommodations.  This is not a chain hotel and is situated on 23 acres that includes a pool, two playgrounds and even some farm animals.  The property is spacious with walking paths and a pond.  There is also a restaurant, garden shop and large gift shop onsite as well.

Eat: The Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn has a restaurant on the property that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Breakfast at the Smorgasbord is complimentary with an overnight stay and the front desk offers discount coupons if you choose to dine at the restaurant for lunch or dinner.  We had a dinner and breakfast here and were highly satisfied with both.  The buffet offers a plentiful variety of delicious options including fresh baked goods and desserts.

We also had a delicious meal at Federal Taphouse in Lancaster.  This is a great restaurant for beer lovers, as they have 100 beers on tap.  The menu is very family-friendly with wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches tacos and more.  We tried the Sweet Corn Pizza with creamed spinach, sweet corn, bacon, house tomato jam and ricotta salata.  Yes, it was as delicious as it looks and sounds. We then rounded out our meal with a variety of appetizers with a house made soft pretzel with beer cheese fondue, stuffed meatballs and poutine.  It was a carb-filled feast!

Visit:  The Amish Farm and House for an educational and fun experience.  On the guided house tour you will learn about the Amish history and heritage.  You can take a bus tour that will drive you through the Amish countryside. Make sure to leave time to enjoy the 15-acre farm.  My kids could have spent all day here feeding the goats and visiting the different farm animals.  They also had a great time riding the scooters and enjoying the newest attraction, Tractor Trails, where they pedaled cars around a track.  The gift shop sells a variety of handmade Amish goods and on the weekends.  (located approximately five minutes from the Hershey Farm Inn).

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

Kitchen Kettle Village – Kitchen Kettle Village is made for foodies! We had such a delicious time visiting all the different shops and eating our way through the village.  There’s a reason why nearly a million people visit each year.  There is something for everyone here, with 40 different shops selling everything from jams and fudge to quilts and Christmas ornaments.  (located approximately 12 minutes from the Hershey Farm Inn).

Lancaster Science Factory – If you need a place for the kids to burn off some energy, this is the place.  With over 60 different hands-on exhibits, kids will (and adults!) will have a great time at the Lancaster Science Factory.  While smaller than many other children’s science museums that we have visited, the exhibits held the interest of my two tweens for quite some time. (approximately 15 minutes from the Hershey Farm Inn).

Turkey Hill Experience – Although not in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the Turkey Hill Experience is not to be missed.  As fans of Turkey Hill ice cream, this attraction was a family favorite.  We got to create our own ice cream flavor in the Taste Lab and learn about tea in the Tea Discovery.  In the actual Experience, we had endless samples of teas and ice cream (approximately 25 minutes away from the Hershey Farm Inn).

(Thank you to Discover Lancaster and the above attractions for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

You may also enjoy:

2 Day Philadelphia Itinerary with Kids


A Weekend in Cooperstown

Summer Fun at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom

(Thank you Dorney Park for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

Every summer NY Foodie Family tries to visit at least one amusement park.  Living in Westchester County, we have many choices within a couple of hours drive.  It had been several years since we last visited Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pennsylvania and decided to make a stop on our way home from Lancaster.

Dorney Park is both an amusement and water park.  We visited on a summer day at the end of June.  It was a sunny, but not hot day so we opted not to visit the water park.  When we visit an amusement park, we all get to choose a ride that we “must-do.”  As we walk through the park to one of the rides on our list, we will stop at other rides if the lines are short.

Well, we lucked out on our weekday visit.  The park was not crowded and there were very few lines for the rides.

We love visiting amusement parks now that the kids are older.  Having a 10 and 12-year-old means that they can go on all the spinny rides together, like The Kaleidoscope, while my husband and I watch.

Our family loves roller coasters and Dorney Park has seven of them.  This includes the mild Wild Mouse, which was my son’s ride of choice, and the Woodstock Express, the kiddie coaster in Planet Snoopy.  My ride of choice during our visit was the roller coaster Talon.  This is the tallest and longest inverted coaster in the Northeast and riders turn upside down four times.  This was our son’s first time riding an inverted coaster.  Although he was a bit nervous before riding this, he did enjoy it.

Another favorite ride was Steel Force, which was my husband’s must-ride list. This coaster has a 205-foot drop with speeds reaching 75 miles per hour.  I am not a fan of coasters with huge drops and sat this one out, while my husband and kids rode it.  Unfortunately, the day of our visit, Hydra, one of the other coasters we would have enjoyed was closed.  However, there were plenty of other rides to keep us busy.

For those with young children, Planet Snoopy has a collection of fifteen Peanuts themed rides that are perfect for them.

For thrill seekers, there are many “aggressive” thrill rides that will sure to please.  The kids weren’t quite up to riding The Meteor, pictured above.

During the summer, Dorney Park offers a variety of entertainment, including meet and greets, music and dance parties and more.  They have a separate entertainment guide with all of the show listings, locations and times.  Since we visited so early in the summer, the only show was Cirque Imagine.  Many compare this show to Cirque du Soleil, as it’s a 30-minute live show of acrobatics and artistry.

The park has a variety of food options where you can get burgers, pizza, chicken, hotdogs and more.  New this year is Burrito Cantina and the Tidal Wave Cafe in the Wildwater Kingdom.  Although there are plenty of food options, we didn’t find any really unique or interesting choices.  We had a late, big breakfast before we arrived at the park and weren’t super hungry during our visit.  At our daughter’s request, we ended up stopping at Chicke’s & Pete’s for some Crabfries.  There are plenty of amusement park treats including cotton candy, fried dough and ice cream.  For those that plan on spending a full day at the park, the park offers dining plans that may be worth considering.

Visitors can see life-sized animatronic dinosaurs in the park’s Dinosaurs Alive attraction. This walk-through experience costs an additional $5 and visitors can travel back in time to learn more about these prehistoric creatures.  The park also has lots of games and an arcade as well, for those looking for some non-ride fun.

Dorney Park is a fun amusement park that kids of all ages can enjoy.  The park is large enough that you can make a full day of it.  You can even spend a couple of days if you want to enjoy the water park as well.

The Details:

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
4000 Dorney Park Road
Allentown, Pennsylvania 18104

Hours:  Hours vary by day and month.  Check the website for specific dates.

Admission:  Ticket prices vary but are cheaper when purchased online in advance.  Daily tickets start at $42.  Check the website for additional info.

Parking:  $20 (credit card accepted)

Tips:

*Buy a refillable souvenir bottle when you enter the park (or purchase online for an additional $2 off).  You get to enjoy free refills on your first visit.

*The park may be crowded the day of your visit and you may not be able to enjoy all the rides and attractions that you want.  Have everyone choose a “must-do” ride to ensure the whole family has fun.

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

4

A Visit to The Amish Farm and House (Lancaster, PA)

(Thank you to the Amish Farm and House for hosting NY Foodie Family.  As always, all opinions are our own.)

Lancaster County in Pennsylvania  is hard not to associate with the Amish.  And rightly so.  The Amish have had a presence in Lancaster since the 1720’s.  The Amish Farm and House offers great ways to give kids an up close look at Amish culture in a relaxed and fun setting. In fact, this unique attraction was the first to offer an inside look at Amish life and essentially created the Lancaster tour industry in 1955.

The Amish Farm and House in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, commercialization has infringed on the farm since that time, which now sits feet away from a Target store.  You enter the Amish Farm through the main entrance at the House.  Tours of the house are given every hour.  Although the tour guides are not Amish, many are Lancaster natives and are very knowledgeable on Amish culture. Our tour guide Susan was fantastic. She was so informative and I learned so much in the 40-minute tour.  The Amish live a very simple life, focused on family and community.  These values are reflected in the sights on the house tour as you visit the kitchen, bedrooms and a room set up to show what an Amish funeral might look like.

Both men and women wear solid-colored simple garments. Typically, the older you get, the less vibrant your clothes are.

When we finished the House tour, we exited onto the farm. The farm is 15-acres and tours are self-guided.  A numbered map identifies all of the attractions on the farm.  There is so much to see and do, including milking a “cow” (see photo).  I have to be honest, the kids were not as interested in the House tour as me and my husband.  However, they loved the farm!  During the summer months, there are several resident artists including a blacksmith, woodcarver and farrier onsite who practice their craft and answer any questions visitors may have.

There are several goats, two of which are pregnant as of this writing. The farm recently welcomed two sets of goat triplets (somewhat unusual) and one set of quadruplets (very unusual). And, yes, goat kids are adorable. I’m still trying to figure out how to keep pet goats inside our house! You can buy a handful of goat food from the dispenser for 25 cents. However Chris, the resident wood carver, shared that the goats really like the dried leaves on the ground. We spent a good amount of time feeding the goats dried leaves galore.

The kids loved Scooter Run where they got to ride scooters similar to the ones that the Amish ride.  Since Amish cannot own or drive cars, they use a horse and buggy, scooters, or even roller blades to get around. Surprisingly, they are allowed to hire cars to drive them around!

The farm has many different animals located throughout the farm including goats, chickens, horses, pigs, donkeys, mules, a steer and peafowl (peacocks and peahens). Unfortunately, we didn’t see the sheep or alpacas, which also live on the farm.  This steer was one of our favorites to watch.

There are a couple of play areas for younger kids to climb and slide with benches for adults to sit and supervise.

It started to rain quite a bit toward the end of our visit.  This didn’t stop my kids from riding the Farm’s newest attraction, Tractor Trails.  They pedaled around the track so many times I lost count. There are two tracks, one for children ages 2-7 and the other for children ages 8+, with appropriately sized pedal tractors.

We visited the Willow Lane One-Room School House, Lancaster’s only school house designed for public viewing.  Most Amish one-room school houses have 25+ students in grades 1 through 8. It was interesting to see the inside of the school and discover that it looks very similar to my own kids’ classrooms, minus all the technology.

We already had lunch plans elsewhere the day of our visit, but Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the Farm has a chicken BBQ. They also have a food stand that sells ribs, chicken, pulled pork sandwiches and more during normal operating hours.

Before you leave, you’ll want to stop by the gift shop.  They have a large selection of Amish-made items for sale including soaps, baskets, wooden toys and more.  My kids purchases almost every flavor of stick candy that was avaialble!

Goat Yoga is the newest addition to the farm.  I wish that I lived closer because I would be at every session!  Imagine doing yoga with baby goats running and jumping around:  cuteness overload!

We spent three hours at the farm, but we would have stayed longer if we had more time.  There’s lots to see and do and you really do get an idea of what Amish life is like.  If you have the time, The Amish Farm and House also offers bus tours into the neighboring areas.

The Details:
The Amish Farm and House
2395 Covered Bridge Drive
Lancaster, PA 17602
(717) 394-6185

Hours:  Open seven days a week 9 AM – 6 PM

Tips:
*The Amish Farm and House offers many different tour options. Check out the different tour packages that they offer.

*The house tour is approximately 40 minutes.

*Many attractions in Lancaster are closed on Sundays.  The Amish Farm and House is open seven days a week and  makes a great attraction to visit on a Sunday.

*Make sure your kids wear sneakers or close-toed shoes, especially if you think they will want to scooter or pedal on the tractor bikes.

 

2

Visiting the Pagoda at Reading

 

During a recent visit to Reading, Pennsylvania our family visited the iconic pagoda.  Situated on Mt. Penn, the 110-year-old pagoda looks down upon the city and is, “Berk County’s most famous cultural and historical icon and landmark.”

As you drive up Dureya Drive, it is a surprising sight to see the majestic pagoda appear.  The walk from the parking area to the pagoda is a photo-worthy view of Reading, even on a cloudy day.   It sits 620 feet above the city of Reading and is anchored to the mountainside.

The pagoda was commissioned in 1906 by William A. Witman, Sr. and was intended to be a luxury resort.  Completed in 1908, the resort never opened due to the denial of a liquor license and a bank foreclosure.  Witman eventually deeded the pagoda to local business owner Jonathan Mould and his wife.  They in turn “sold” the pagoda for $1 to the City of Reading in 1911, who has since owned and cared for it.

The pagoda is seven stories high.  You enter on the second floor, through the Pagoda-Skyline Gift Shop and Happy Cat Cafe.  The cafe sells a variety of snacks and drinks, with plenty of seating to sit and enjoy them.  Although there is no admission, donations are requested to visit the top floor of the pagoda.

There are several staircases, totaling 87 steps in total, to climb to reach the top observation level.  Decorating the walls of each level are framed postcards and photos of the pagoda through the years. The sixth level of the pagoda houses a small exhibit that details the history of the pagoda and includes a small number of artifacts.

The observation floor is a small space.  There are two coin-operated binoculars that give a close-up view of the city of Reading.  Hanging from the ceiling is an antique Japanese bell.  This bell was cast in Japan in 1739 and shipped to the pagoda in 1907.

During your visit, be sure to walk down the outside steps and walk around the base of the pagoda.  There are several benches where you can sit and enjoy the view.

A visit to the Reading Pagoda will probably take about an hour.  This is a unique attraction that should be added to your to-see list when visiting or traveling though Berks County.

The Details:
Reading Pagoda
98 Duryea Drive
Reading, PA

Current Hours: (please check with the pagoda or the website for up-to-date information)
Thursday –  2 PM to 6 PM
Friday – Sunday 12 PM to 6 PM

Admission:  Free – $1.00 donation requested (50 cents for children 6-12 years) to visit the top floor observation area

Parking: Free parking

Tips:
*Wear comfortable shoes.  If it’s a nice day there are hiking trails adjacent to the pagoda.

*Food is available for purchase at the Happy Cat Cafe.  Snacks are reasonably priced with bottles of water for $1 and hotdogs for $2 each.  Only cash or checks are accepted at the cafe.

*There are bathrooms at the base of the pagoda.

*For geocache fans, there are two geocaches nearby (although we could only find one).