Diverted by Chance… Will return as the Destination

On our drive home after leaving the not so exciting Route 6 and finding no place to get more than just a snack,  I turned to Untapped to see what local places I could find.   It led me to a gem – North Slope Brewing Company.  The owner has hired a talented crew and we got to meet one of the brewers.  His passion AND knowledge of beer making combines to brew well crafted beer. We have visited a lot of different small breweries and all were good but this one tops the list.   Beer was on par with our favorite places like Ommegang and Weyerbacher.  This is amazing well crafted beer that you can tell a lot of thought is going into.   He is following old school recipes Mountaineer Beer (German Alt) and his brewer partner is creating the most unusual beer – Booyakasha made with cucumber essence that really tastes like cucumbers unlike other cucumber beers I have tried.  We even tasted a Cider and by far was the best I have ever had – perfectly tart.  And paired with this is amazing fresh food (best bread) coming from the local area.  Delicious!

Although it is a drive from my home, we will return without question! I highly recommend if passing through, or within a sixty mile radius, that you divert your route past North Slope.

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Breaking it in

New hiking shoes that is. And getting ourselves in shape, too. We are just about 3 months out from our trip and have decided we needed to do something a little more challenging then our easy hikes so we hit the Appalachian Trail in Port Clinton.

Its a bit of a drive for us but well worth it.Port Clinton Hike

Perhaps slightly over ambitious on our first hike – straight up climb of an elevation gain from less then 600 feet to 1400 feet – very rocky and steep until you hit the ridge – then flattens out.  I’ve got some serious work to do before we head to the Grand Tetons!

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In Hibernation?

.. someone asked me recently.  For someone who writes a travel blog it certainly seems that way. My extra layer of fat encapsulating me and keeping me warm makes me feel that way. We have been blessed with only minimal amounts of snow in Pennsylvania, dodging each one.  Just to make life messy and difficult but not impossible. In past years there was usually a weekend trip into the city planned but not this year with temps hovering in the teens.   How I miss those blue bird days out in Utah where after a long night of snow the warm sun beckoned you out onto the mountain.

Alas, as I sound like a shrew let me instead view the winter as a shrew who burrows underground.  Just look at my baking pans -well used 2015-01-20 18.52.51after making delicious treats, my crockpot – stained from thick stews,  my drawers all neat and tidy (well better then usual), my untapped profile –  all the good beer (love the stouts), my volunteer work at church – how organized and ready I am for Soup Suppers!  And yes, we did venture out on several occasions, visiting the Winter Fest in New Hope, the Sands Casino followed by a great dinner at The Bayou, and of course evenings at Pags with friends and family.  And winter is not complete without a trip to Ikea to get reorganized…

…. looking back I’d say then No.  I am not in Hibernation.  Just travelling in my own backyard.

Ironton Rail-Trail

What a great ride!  A trail that loops!   Historical sights to see along the way! Beautiful scenery!  This trail has it all!  Once again Traillink  (and the bikers who contribute reviews) guided us to an amazing trail – The Ironton Rail Trail.

We began our journey at Hokendauqua Park – easy to find and provides easy access to the trail.   You wind through the playground and then connect with the trail.  The trail is paved at this point and is for the most part flat with just a slight incline.

The highlight to the first part of this loop (in addition to the great scenery and the Lehigh river!) are the large cement kilns at Saylor Park.  This is a great place to stop and take a break and explore the history of these kilns.   These are the only vertical Portland cement Kilns in existence! They were only used for this purpose for a short period of time – 1893-1904 – but during that time Lehigh Valley produced 3/4 of the cement in the United States! (Apparently at one time there was a museum interconnecting the kilns but that is no longer accessible. There is a large fence around the nine kilns).    Really neat!  And the trail continues with historical markers, remains of the old railroad, and even a caboose that once road on this railroad!Kilns

We decided to take the spur – adding on another 6 miles roundtrip – another beautiful ride past cement historical buildings.  Highlight for me was one of the old structures that was turned into a beautiful bird blind (picture up top).

We joined back up with the loop and continued on the loop to our starting point.  This is a beautiful ride to take right now as the leaves are changing.    The entire trail is well maintained and combined with the amazing scenery and historical sights,  one does not even realize they have already completed a 12 mile journey.

Back in my own Backyard

The apples are ripening and the pumpkins are growing.  The weather begins to get cooler and the humidity at last will disappear.  The leaves have already begun  to change and the mums are starting to open again.  Oh….we are just a few days away  from the official start to my most favorite season in Pennsylvania – Autumn!  Over the next few months I will journey across my countryside and visit the festivals, apple orchards, and pumpkin patches.  I will ride the rail trails, kayak the lakes, and hike the trails all over Easter Pennsylvania.  Menus will change to roasted butternut squash, apple crisps, and of course our favorite pumpkin beers.  A visit to our favorite brewery, Weyerbacher, will most certainly be on the list of things to do to pick up some of our favorite Imperial Pumpkin Ale… This in my opinion is the best season in Pennsylvania and a great time to visit if you are thinking of taking a weekend trip to visit the countryside surrounding Philadelphia!