We spent our first night in Pennsylvania camped very near Three Mile Island. Mike thought it was funny that this elaborate evacuation plan was posted near our campsite. Fortunately we did not hear the sirens in the night. We enjoyed a breakfast the next morning at the local diner, where we have learned to sit at the bar and catch up on all the gossip!
Driving along the small highways and backroads in Pennsylvania requires some particular attention to slow moving vehicles. This is a fairly common sight as well as girls in full dress with bonnets tending their gardens and men in full dress with coveralls working their field team.
The next stop in Pennsylvania was the town of Hershey. Since it was pre-tourist-season the big amusement park was not open and the crowds were small. We toured the store and the mock factory, but felt a little disappointed that you can no longer go in and see the real stuff being made. Nonetheless we bought the requisite souvenirs and enjoyed the time there. Fortunately we met one of Mikes relatives working at Hershey who told us of a hockey game that night! We were able to eat chocolate all day and watch a hockey game that night- perfection!!
After the hockey game we drove late into the night to our next stop. This was to be a unique one for Mike, as we were meeting up with cousins and family members that he has very few memories of. This next few days would be interesting.
But all that worry was for naught, as they turned out to be a group of the most wonderful, welcoming and warm people! We camped in the front yard near Petersburg, PA and explored the area. We were able to look at old photos of Mikes mother, read a letter that she wrote just before she died and also see her gravesite which is right across from an elementary school in PA. We learned about her sisters, brother, parents and grandparents through the stories of these folks. A special highlight was the most delicious dinner prepared by Mikes cousin, Teri. She prepared traditional family foods and used regional recipes that were FANTASTIC. It was so special to sit around that table with cousins that Mike never knew he had, and share stories and smiles as if they had known each other forever! It turned out to be an emotional, but beautiful visit with a group of amazing people. Even the dogs had a great time there, as they found a hollowed out tree to worry themselves with We were all reluctant to drive away, but our sights were set on a deadline in the Boston area- so we had no time to waste! We had several states to dash through, and many miles to cover. Would there be time for any tourist stops along the way?? Watch for the next blog post to find out for yourself!