A Pennsylvania Adventure

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We decided that it would be easier to visit Pennsylvania before Tiffany was born than to try to come to the big family Thanksgiving meal with a two month old. We knew we wanted to stop somewhere along the way to break up the trip. Tim had not had a meal at Shady Maple since before he went into the Air Force, so we decided to stop there for lunch as our halfway point.

I saw a billboard on the way that said that Shady Maple Smorgasbord was the largest buffet in America. I believe it. The building itself was huge. There was plenty of food. You stand in line and they seat you. The waitress asks if you have eaten there before and explains the four different grill stations as well as the salad, dessert, and drinks. Then you get to go through the line and serve yourself. You leave dirty dishes on the table and get new ones each time you go through the line.

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We all really enjoyed our lunch. Clarissa said we should go back to eat there again. There is a set price for breakfast and lunch. Dinner is a different price each night of the week because there is a different special. Clarissa was half price because she is 5.

There were several other attractions nearby. The Shady Maple also has a Farmer’s Market, a Gift Shop, and a General Store. We went to the gift shop which is located under the Smorgasbord. It was huge! There were so many different items for sale. There was a huge toy section, pop culture pictures (think Beatles and Star Trek), Christmas items, and a large selection of personalized items. As usual, there was nothing that said either Clarissa or Suzanne. But there were several items available for Tim and Tiffany. I couldn’t talk Tim into buying this mug though.

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After lunch we headed to Tim’s parents house. We hung out with them for a bit before we all headed to his aunt’s house for dinner and some pool time. There was also a birthday dessert for Tim and Clarissa.

On Saturday, we went to Knoebels. Most of Tim’s extended family (including himself) have spent many summers working at Knoebels as lifeguards and in food service. So it is kind of like a part of family history to be able to go there. Parking and admission to the park are free. Then, you pay for food, rides, and games. Veterans and active duty service members can get a free book of $20 ride tickets by showing your military ID or DD214.

At first, Clarissa wasn’t super excited about any of the rides. She did some of the games that require quarters like using an excavator or driving a car. She got excited about the trains so we rode the train twice. She was also really excited about the bounce house and the hand cars. The food was good and the prices weren’t awful for an amusement park.

After Knoebels, we took Clarissa to play at Fort Discovery in Sunbury. It was a wonderful playground and she would have stayed all day if we let her. It is located right next to a community center and baseball field, so there are bathrooms and parking available.

Next, we headed to Shikellamy State Park. Tim and I actually got engaged at this park ten years ago. He had originally planned to take me to the overlook to propose, but the road was still closed for the winter so he had to settle for the marina. We went to the overlook for the first time Saturday. The views were beautiful. And you can see the marina from the overlook so that was fun to be able to point out the spot to Clarissa.

On Sunday, we headed home a different way so that we could stop by Clarksburg Premium Outlets near Gaithersburg, MD. I read that there was a STEAM Fair that day so we thought Clarissa would enjoy the festivities. There were a few fun events and the shopping was decent too. We got some decent deals at Motherhood Maternity and Columbia.

Pennsylvania visit

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Apparently I acquired many things in Virginia because when I tried to check in my suitcase, it was 20 pounds over the weight limit. Oops. Mom is going to mail some to me instead. 

Clarissa did well on the flight to Philadelphia. She was again disappointed at the lack of TV. But I gave her a new activity book so she was fine. 

After the flight, a lady stopped me to ask how old Clarissa was and then asked me how to keep a toddler happy on a long flight. I wrote a post on that once so I need to go back and update it. 

On Wednesday, Clarissa, Omi, and I went to the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum. It only cost $6.50 per person for admission and it was excellent. We stayed two hours, but we would have stayed longer if it wasn’t closing time. 

There were two floors of interactive exhibits. The top floor was more geared toward preschool and lower elementary aged kids. There were life size dioramas of animals that live in Pennsylvania. There were even models of the animal homes. Some animals had crafts as well.  They had several matching games, a huge bird’s nest with bird costumes to wear, an Eastern Woodlands Indian longhouse, live turtles, giant teeth, cars with a race track, a boat, and a play house. 

The bottom floor was geared toward elementary and middle school kids. They had some dress up clothes, food pyramid activities, ancient Egypt, a one room school house, a coal mine, and dinosaurs. 

On Thursday we had lunch at the park where Tim and I were engaged. We didn’t get all the way to the marina because Clarissa was distracted by the playground. 

We went to the thrift store in the afternoon to get Clarissa some snow boots and snow pants. I was excited because we found both as well as black boots, brown boots, and some skirts for me. On the way home we spent some time with uncle Matt and aunt Anne. 

On Friday, we woke up to snow. Clarissa was so excited that she really wouldn’t eat her breakfast. Once outside, we tried to make a snowman and taught Clarissa how to have a snowball fight. 

We even went sledding which I had never done before. 

It was fun to walk around the yard and see how different things look in the snow. 

We spent the evening at Aunt Anne’s for a family dinner and a play date with her granddaughters. When it was time to say goodbye Clarissa went from “but I like it here” to “I want to go back to my homeland for Daddy to hold me for real (instead of Skype).” 

Saturday was one of my favorite days. Omi put in an old Sunday school music cassette tape and Clarissa loved it! She spent at least an hour dancing around the room. Then she spent a few hours playing Legos with Pop before making some jewelry with Omi. 

After dinner we went to Aunt Anne’s for a Jordan Essentials party and a play date for Clarissa. 

Sunday morning, Omi opened her birthday presents. Then we headed south to meet Tim’s kindergarten teacher who always sends Clarissa presents for holidays. We headed to Philadelphia to meet up with some other aunts and uncles before we headed to the airport. 

When we moved to Korea, we flew through JFK and had to change terminals and go through security again. I assumed it was because we switched airlines… We had to do that again this round. I was so glad we had a long layover because the trek between terminals and security took over two hours. 

We were able to Skype Tim before our flight. The flight wasn’t full so they changed our seats to give us our own row of 4. Clarissa fell asleep within 20 minutes and slept about 8 hours. Due to the increased space, I actually slept 4 hours on the plane, which never happens. 

We are on our train to Daegu now. Clarissa and I are so excited to see Tim.