Monday, November 18, 2019

Road Trip Day 2 - The Office, Chocolate, and Battlefields

     My second day on the road saw me wake up in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  I had a few more sites to see including the 'Welcome to Scranton' sign from The Office located in the Marketplace at Steamtown.  Unfortunately being a Sunday the mall did not open until 11, meaning I had to get a later start than I'd have preferred.  I visited the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour at McDade Park.  The tour wasn't open yet so I walked the grounds for a bit, it is a nice wide open area with underrated views of the Moosic Mountains.  Before visiting the mall I stopped at the Steamtown National Historic Site only a stone's throw from the mall.  It is a railroad museum with many old locomotives outside and actual live trains running as well located at the site of the former Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad .  At the other end of the parking lot is the Electric City Trolley Museum, kind of a cousin to the railroad museum.  

     Technically there is a sky walk to get to the mall but it was locked so I had to drive the few yards to park underneath the mall which is neat.  I was going to take the elevator up but a screaming child changed my mind, high-pitched voices echo quite loudly in a parking garage.  The Marketplace at Steamtown is pretty big but it has a lot of empty storefronts.  It has a Crunch Fitness near the Scranton sign and a few big stores I've never heard of in New England like Boscov's which is a department store.  After getting a photo taken of me at the sign it was time to leave Scranton behind.

     Next up was a visit to the sweetest place on Earth, Hershey, Pennsylvania.  It definitely feels like something created in a dream.  The street lights are topped with Hershey Kisses, the buildings even look like thy're made of chocolate.  The Hershey Park amusement park was pretty busy for mid-November, the screams of people on the rides could be heard even on Chocolate Avenue (their Main Street).  I made sure to pay a visit to the Hershey Story Museum and the store inside because of course I would.  The friendly lady that rang me up wished me a 'sweet day' which was fitting.

     Time began to be an issue as I flew from Hershey to the state capital of Harrisburg.  Luckily I wanted to visit the State Capitol building first and since it was Sunday there was nobody working.  I was able to park and take a walk around the few blocks surrounding the capitol.  I crashed wedding photography on the steps of the capitol, but they were almost done so I just stayed to the side, although they might be in part of a video I shot.  The view from the steps of the Capitol Building gives a great view of State Street out to the Susquehanna River.  I had wished I could have stayed longer but I had one more important site I wanted to visit before it got dark.

The Pennsylvania State Capitol 
     It was about 45 minutes to get from Harrisburg to Gettysburg, specifically the National Military Park Museum which I'd wanted to visit for years.  I love history as you can tell if you've read my blogs before, and the Civil War is fascinating to me.  There are several sites related to the battle located near the museum and you can actually do a driving tour to the sites, or you can walk like I did.  It was a fine walk out to the battlefield and soldier's cemetery.  What I thought were squirrels foraging for food in the brush ended up being close to 10 deer, yes I finally saw live deer in Pennsylvania compared to the 2 dozen or so I'd seen as roadkill.

     The battlefield at Cemetery Ridge is dotted with memorials of the units who lost their lives.  It is considered the most important battle of the Civil War, and the bloodiest with 23,000 Union soldiers, and 28,000 Confederate soldiers (more than 1/3 of Robert E. Lee's army) losing their lives in July 1863.  It was exciting for me to be there but definitely tempered with sadness looking over the rolling fields knowing how many people had died there fighting for what they thought was right.  I visited the Gettysburg National Cemetery a few yards from Cemetery Ridge, it is the final resting place of more than 3,500 Union soldiers, many of whom are known simply as a number on small stones.  It is also on these grounds where Abraham Lincoln gave the legendary Gettysburg Address.

Gettysburg National Cemetery

     After staying on the cemetery grounds well past sunset, trying to get my camera to work right, I had to walk nearly a mile back to the museum parking lot which made me wish I had driven.  Originally I had wanted to drive well into Virginia to find a place to stay for the night, however I really wanted to visit Harpers Ferry, West Virginia so I compromised.  

     I stayed in Hagerstown, Maryland, only about 1/2 hour from Harpers Ferry.  I got to watch a raccoon stealing trash from the hotel dumpster which was fun, but overall it was a relaxing night.  I had dinner at the nearby Hagerstown Family Diner, it was very quiet there on a Sunday evening but the staff was friendly.  The food was great, Country Fried Steak, and I was lucky to get to watch the Patriots playing, of course I had to keep quiet about that since everyone else in there kept talking about how much they hated them.  Sorry they beat your Eagles everyone.  I also stopped into a Weis supermarket which I'd never heard of until tonight. It was good too but I noticed they don't have marshmallow Fluff down here, not that I wanted any, just a curiosity. 

     It was a slightly shorter day, less than 250 miles total but just as many great places to see.  Day 3 starts with Harpers Ferry and we'll go from there!

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