Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Posts Tagged ‘Amish

Reading Stretches From Peanuts to Pagoda

leave a comment »

READING, PA – Like prime real estate, Reading’s major attractions are location, location, location.

As an industrial center, it forged its place in history as a major player in the formation of this nation and a source of Conestoga wagons that played a vital role in the drive to develop the West.

Its geographic position in the shoulder of Mount Penn on the banks of the Schuylkill River is an hour’s drive or less from the fecund and food‑filled Lancaster County, capital of Amish country; the glitter and gourmet seafood of Atlantic City and the New Jersey shore, the historic sites of Valley Forge and Gettysburg, and Independence Hall, the cradle of our constitution in Philadelphia.

This manufacturing city designed in 1748 by William Penn’s sons, Thomas and Richard, is to outlet shopping what Bethlehem is to Christendom. It brags that it’s the Outlet Capital of the World, citing the opening of its first manufacturer’s outlet surplus sales shop more than half a century ago.

“America’s Oldest Brewery” is just up the road in Pottsville, the boyhood home of author John O’Hara, where the Yuengling family has been fermenting barley and hops at the foot of the Appalachian Trail since 1829.

This cozy complex that opened in the early 1700s as a food stop for muleskinners hauling barges along the Schuylkill River Canal System is still home to the ghosts of at least one of the owners, an owner’s mistress, a Revolutionary War soldier and a young girl who died of a respiratory ailment.

“We’ve had waitresses who’ve seen these ghosts and think they’re customers,” we were told.

A network of riverside walking and bicycle trails links the heart of this city of 80,000 with the countryside and much of its history. Donald Linderman, a nearby resident pedaling with a local group through a covered bridge leading to a former wagon works transformed into a museum, informed the group why there are no windows on covered bridges.

“They were built to get horse‑drawn wagons across the river and horses get skittish when they see anything moving under them. There are no windows so horses wouldn’t see the water rushing under them.”

After that lesson, it was time for a stop at downtown’s best‑known watering hole and power‑lunch stop ‑‑ Jimmie Kramer’s Peanut Bar. First‑timers tend to shuck peanut shells back into the bowl on their table. “Throw ’em on the floor,” sang out our server.

Before leaving this seat of Berks County, we headed up Mount Penn to the Pagoda on Skyline Drive for a semi-bird’s-eye view of this food- and fun-filled historic corner of our world.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 23, 2021 at 5:00 am

Time for a change…

with one comment

???????????????????????????????

…not only for this blog but for us, too.

 

 

 

We’ve taken the luggage down to get ready for an about-a-month-long visit Back East.

We have our house sitters lined up and calls made to credit-card companies to let them know we’ll be on the road and alerted the alarm company, cops, relatives and neighbors so all we have to do now is decide what color slacks and tops we want to take. And how many.

We’re traveling in middle of summer — ugh — the unpredictable-weather and busiest-travel time of year to attend brother Lou’s 75th birthday. We agreed several months ago we’d attend his and he’s to attend my 80th later this year. We’ll be in Toronto for a few days for the festivities, drive to visit Bev’s folks in the Reading, Pa., area for a week, and back to Toronto to hang around with Lou and Jean, play some cards, sip some scotch, drink some wine, and snag a table in some of Toronto’s fine restaurants. In Pa., we’ll do our usual shopping at the Bethlehem of outlets —  at the Vanity Fair complex in West Reading — and get our Amish-food fix at one of the several such eateries peppered over the rolling countryside.

We don’t worry about gaining weight during these sessions because we do a lot of walking. As those of you who are familiar with the cities back there, they’re more conducive to walking around than the stretched-out metros of the Southwest, like Phoenix and San Diego and Los Angeles, where it’s normally long-haul to walk anywhere from where you are.

As always, we anticipate a fine R & R (relatives and reminiscing) time but do not look forward to the airport and airplane crunching and scrunching both going and coming. But the excitement of being there and enjoying the folks is beginning to build. And we’ll take a few photos to accompany the travel pieces we write when we return home.

— Cecil Scaglione

 

Written by Cecil Scaglione

July 6, 2014 at 10:03 am

Lewd Lightens Up

leave a comment »

Snickers and snorts have always greeted our mentions of Intercourse, Pennsylvania, a comfortable and well manicured community nestled in the arms of Pennsylvania-Dutch/Amish Mennonite country that we re-visited today. (We started off with a scoop of home-made raspberry ice cream.) It takes its name from the intercourse — intersection — of two main roads where neighbors would meet and greet — have intercourse — during the early years of the settlement. A magnet for craft and food lovers, its no-nonsense air is visible on the main-street sign of the Village Harness Shop that suggests flatly “No Tourist,” unless you have some horse needs. Several of its tourist-welcoming shops do take advantage of the smirking by offering such items as T-shirts proclaiming “I Love Intercourse … Pa.”

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 4, 2012 at 5:45 pm