My 8 hour Mini Road Trip

radutch_72So I was supposed to attend a workshop the day after I visited the Flight 93 Memorial, but it was postponed due to incoming inclement weather – a good call, as it turned out. So I hauled out the laptop and plotted an itinerary for the day to take advantage of some interesting stops between Western PA and my home in City Island, NY. This is what I came up with:

Bredford, PA – the giant coffeepot cafe

City Island, PA – just had to stop there!

Roadside America in Shartlesburg, PA

Centralia, PA

Within one minute of leaving my motel I passed this:


Silversign_72Okay, so this was going to be a good trip. I love drive-in theaters and this one was a beauty.



concession_72This theater even had the old speakers you attach to the window. What a find!

Next, the Coffeepot. It used to be a little diner, but now it’s a minor attraction in the town of Bedford. It’s located right across the street from the fairgrounds.


coffeepot_72On to City Island (PA). I just had to stop here – it was on the way. City Island sits in the middle of the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg, the state capital. There’s a minor league ballpark, an arcade, a little children’s train, a playground and a park. The beach is closed and so is the bathhouse – I would love to have been able to get inside that building.


bathhouse_72This little mural was hiding behind a railing near the bridge – not at all in character with the place yet reminiscent of our City Island, in the Bronx.


muralOddly, the shape of this much smaller island is very similar to our City Island.

City Island, PA                                                                                        City Island, NY

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 11.05.39 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-01 at 11.05.19 PM














Next stop, Roadside America. This attraction is the massive miniature village, town – world? 8,000 square feet, 18 trains and trolleys (yes, it’s a train set), 10,000 trees, etc – created by Laurence Gieringer, all by hand and described as “an enchanted miniature land of yesterday and tomorrow”. You just have to go and see it. This was my second visit after 30 years and it looked exactly the same. I think it was the same woman taking tickets at the entrance, too. And she hasn’t aged a bit – still hovering around 60.



corner_72He even created tourist attractions for the little people in the town. This is a cavern:


caverns_72So that was fun. On the way back to the interstate I passed this:


steamboat_72A steamboat sitting on somebody’s lawn.


stern2_72I wanted to get inside that, too. But it wasn’t meant to be.

So – two nice surprises bookended my little adventure last Sunday: the drive-in theater and the steamboat. I didn’t make it to Centralia. I decided it was getting late – weather was moving in and I had to try to make the GWB before horrendous Sunday evening traffic ratcheted up. I felt the pull, though, and I’ll definitely schedule it into my next trip out to PA.

This turned out to be a good trip.

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