September 4, 2012

Modern Family Camping at Hickory Run + a Jaunt to Jim Thorpe

The summer adventures continue.
Last weekend Lance and I joined one segment of the Woods family at Hickory Run.
We were talking Rickets Glen for a few weeks, but they were sold out. Then my brother Michael mentioned "World's End." That was a little further than I wanted to drive.

We were also sitting on a gift certificate for The Inn at Jim Thorpe that would be worth nothing on September 9th.  We figured out that Hickory Run was a mere 16 miles past Jim Thorpe so we could do both in one weekend.

I haven't been camping outside of "Ommegang camping" in some time. Lance Romance calls Ommegang camping "passing out in a tent." It's nice but in addition to the thousands of singing cicadas, there's plenty of people that are finally retiring for the night while others are rising.

Hickory Run defines their experience as "Modern Camping." There were very nice bathrooms with showers that were well-maintained throughout the day. The car was right there so we could secure our food from the bears. $46 a night.
There's plenty to do, but I agreed with my brother when he said, "It's all about the food." Jenny and Mike were in charge of cooking one night, and Lance and I tended to the coals the next.

I decided we would grill pizzas. I got a tip from Felicia D'ambrosio to pick up some pizza dough at Trader Joes. There were options! White and wheat- I preferred the white. I also scooped up some chardonnay chicken sausages, bacon, pepperoni, zucchini and squash. I went with TJ's pizza sauce as well and some shredded cheese blend. I wrote menus for everyone so they could check off what ingredients they wanted on their personal pizza. I also discovered my nephew Mikey love bacon as much as I do. They were dynamite!

Afterward Lance made made his version of bananas foster.
He chopped up the banana and mixed it with cinnamon and honey, put it back in the peel, wrapped it up in foil and threw it in  the white coals.

There were a few other first besides the coal-fired pizzas... I got to see my nephew make it across the monkey bars for the first time. And I went geo-caching for the first time. The prizes were lame, probably comparable to those vending machines that kids cry for quarters to insert on the way out of grocery stores.But I like a good scavenger hunt so it was fun. As they say with many things in life, it was all about the chase.

Jenny told me that there was probably a lot of hidden treasures around Philly. Maybe if I had some time to spare, I'd get more into geo-caching. But I don't.

Another highlight was a trip to Boulder field. Apparantly geologists from all over the world head there to scope it out. It's the largest of its kind on the East Coast. I could have spent a good hour boulder-hopping but we had the kids so we didn't go out too far.

We headed out to Jim Thorpe on Sunday. Got there by noon.  All I could think about was replicating last September and having a $3 bloody mary on the 2nd story porch and rocking in a rocking chair while reading Sloane Crosley, "You said there'd be cake." But when we arrived I really wasn't feeling a bloody mary- so we went Irish Coffee. But we rocked. I rocked for hours.

We then went out on the town. A town mind you that was recently voted "4th most beautiful town in America."  by Rand Mcnally and USA today.
We made sure to hit the absinthe bar, which is actually the oldest absinthe bar outside of New Orleans at the Albright Mansion. But in similar fashion to last September, service is spotty and now it's called Crave, which is just bad. But the Absinthe was not!
We walked up the street to FLOW, which has a great beer selection and nice ambiance. It was my favorite place on the "strip" last year.
The restaurant is in the Stabin Morykin museum. So you can take in some art before or after you drink and dine.

From Flow Webste. That area sectioned off is
where you can see river
You can see the river running through the restaurant from one of the rooms.
Lance and I sat out back and enjoyed some wine and beef cheeks.  We still had dinner ahead at Wheel so we didn't want to over do it.

That's right-we were only going to places with one-syllable names.

Wheel was lovely. There are a few bad yelp reveiews out there so I was nervous, but once we were settled in and we ordered a bottle of wine just about $10 above cost, I relaxed a little.Our server was interesting. My gentleman didn't appreciate that he opened the bottle of wine in the back and didn't present it to us...but he got the job done.
Lance sprung for  a generous rack of lamb which was served by the chef with at least 8 perfectly medium rare  lollipops. I was talked in to the manicotti. Which unfortunately was a bit soupy. I wish I would have ordered something else. The chef walked around checking on all the tables and made recommendations, which added a personal touch. I think they get a lot of regulars. There were some guests that were walking back to the kitchen to chat with the chef and said, "See you next week." The room was full of whimsy playing off the "wheel" theme.

The next day arrived quickly We ate breakfast directly across from the Inn. It was called "Bear Appetit"  It was under new ownership. We needed quick and easy and some caffeine for the road.  Most people wouldn't want pulled pork first thing in the morning. But I do. So I went with a breakfast wrap with eggs, cheese and the house-made  bbq pork. Two thumbs up.

And we were back in Philly in an hour and 40.
Back to work, but I wore the shirt that I had on in front of the campfire so through memory/smell association I remained relaxed throughout the day.

Jim Thorpe is a great day trip. Especially in October with  such an array of autumnal colors spreading across the mountain. There's a record shop, plenty of other boutiques, Molly Maguire Jail, and a sweet gent named Bernie, who is an ex-CIA agent and will probably be on his front stoop welcoming you to town.

If you have any other questions, feel free to email

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