We left our home in Washington DC on Saturday at about 10 in the morning; we were home by 8 that evening. We drove north through Frederick, into the Cataoctin Mountains, past Camp David and Thurmont, MD, into Emmitsburg, and then across the state line into Pennsylvania. We toured a number of small towns, such as Waynesboro, Mercersburg, McConnellsburg, Greencastle and Chambersburg. We crossed back in MD, had supper at the Shamrock in Thurmont (we have eaten there on other occasions) and drove back home.
Here are the highlights:
1. There is some extraordinarily beautiful scenery, both in the Catoctin Mountains shortly after you cross into the state, and in the Appalachian Mountains that you cross (zigzagging up and down) to get into and out of McConnellsburg.
2. There is at least one farm where they breed registered Texas Longhorn cattle – what a surprise to see them on the other side of the fence.
3. On Memorial Day weekend, everyone is having a yard sale. The surprising thing is how much junk people gather over time.
4. There are many very, very fat people in this part of the world. What a shame.
5. There are still large used book stores in most of the more sizeable towns. My guess is that the rent is dirt cheap, and most of the sales happen on-line and not from walk-ins or regular customers.
6. While most towns seem to have downtown places to eat comfortably, Waynesboro is the exception. We had a nice lunch at the Hoover, located in an old house, but out of the main business area.
7. There are at least two chocolate candy factories in Waynesboro. We bought some candy at Zoe’s, at their “outlet store”.
8. We stopped at a farm where they had an extensive collection of antiques for sale outside – mainly old kitchen and farm implements. But they only sell on Memorial Day weekend. That’s it. The sign, as you leave, says “see you next year”.
9. There are Chinese and Mexican restaurants everywhere. We saw few people who looked either Chinese or Mexican.
10. These places have all seen better days. Some towns today are in better apparent shape than others. But the historical architecture is still there – if there were only the people to fix them up and support them.