Saturday, 13 October 2012

Leaf Peeping…*

Saturday 6 October

After again a bad night (I do have too many of those since the last few years) we have to drag ourselves out of bed at 6.30am.  While I am getting ready I hear Frank in the kitchen.  He’s preparing breakfast while Jay is already enjoying an early morning cuppa. After a while Peggy comes down too and we have breakfast together.  It’s never quiet when you have guests, so story after story is still being told.  However, they are anxious to visit family in Rochester and don’t want to leave too late, which works out fine, because we want to get ready to leave as well.  We say goodbye after we’ve both taken pictures and again we part as friends.

Our guests Peggy & Jay

Then we water the plants, check windows and doors and prepare lunch (if we can we always prefer to take lunch when driving a distance) and leave at about 10am. 

We don’t regret having taken the car instead of making the trip by train.  It is a beautiful trip and not too demanding.  New York in autumn is all it’s promised to be and more.  The only draw-back is that the weather is not optimal.  It’s overcast and the clouds are heavy with rain.  Only now and then sun appears and changes the beautiful autumn colours in a vibrant pallet of shades of green and yellow, via orange to bright red.  Sometimes it’s even like the yellow leaves are covered in gold dust!  We can now understand why ‘leaf peeping’ in this part of the world is a must do. J

The first part of the trip is along minor highways, so more or less through the country and the houses and surroundings are beautiful and the atmosphere rural.  After a while we are driving through the hills, which makes photo opportunities even better, although we don’t stop for pictures because of the weather.  Here too we see the wind mills (generators) as these hills seem to be the right place for them.  We haven’t seen too many between Lake Eerie and here.  

After a while we leave the minor highways to turn onto the major through way towards Pennsylvania.  At 12.30pm we turn off the highway into a little town, Avoca, NY to eat our lunch.  We are so used to stop at rest areas along the highways in Australia, and mostly in a nice climate, that we are a bit surprised about the lack of rest areas here and even more about the cold!  We have taken our lunch to a bench in a little park, but finish it quickly so we can get back to the car.  

And cold it was!
After a while we pass the New York/Pennsylvania border and here we see rest areas at regular intervals with very clean toilets, road maps and tourist information.  At some of them one can buy hot drinks and soup and more.  

Frank waiting in the car at the rest stop

Crossing the border

Another beautiful road
Since we have had our lunch we decide to keep going (save for a toilet stop), because we don’t want to get to East Stroudsburg too late. Just as well…

When we rang the day before Craig (our host) told us to turn off route 80 into Stroudsburg and give him a ring, so he could give us directions to their house.  However, Murphy (remember Murphy’s Law?) threw a spanner in the works.  All we had from the ATC members’ list was a street name, so we had entered the name in our GPS. We knew from the map on the computer that the highway we were on would eventually lead to route 80 if all went well, but it didn’t.  A while before we had to turn off there was a road closure and since we didn’t have a road map of that particular corner of Pennsylvania we kept following the directions on the GPS, which lead us to Park Lane.  As we didn’t have the street number I decided to give Craig a call and said: “Craig, either we are close by or very much lost.”  Well, it appeared the latter was the case more or less, because we were not in the Park Lane where we were supposed to be, but help was near.  Craig gave us the address of a pharmacy in Stroudsburg and would meet us there.  The GPS told us it would be a 10 minute drive, so he also had plenty of time.  And yes, we met and were home in no time.  Now, what had happened, I hear you ask.  The problem was that in the past there had been more than 1 Park Lane and their street had been renamed Parker Lane and not yet been entered in the street maps, so the GPS would not have been able to find it.  The road closure hadn’t helped either, because we never got to route 80 which would have lead us straight to Stroudsburg.  But never mind, we got where we wanted to be and it was only 5pm.  Not too bad.  We met Lynette, Craig’s wife, and after an initial welcome the four of us went to a local Italian restaurant for dinner.  The menu was very comprehensive and had items on it that we’d never heard of.  So, when our hosts decided on a Stromboli to share (between them), we asked if they objected if we did the same.

This may need some explanation.  Sharing, if you are not used to the expression, is very often done in Australia, as well as in the States, it appears.  Meals are often quite big.  In some countries one can ask for a doggie bag (as my brother may remember from our visit to Pizza Hut in Sydney!) if one can’t finish the meal, but in Australia it’s no longer possible in most restaurants, because of cases of food poisoning.  This also needs to be explained.  Restaurants have been blamed for food poisoning where it could be traced that the restaurant had not been at fault and had served food that was okay at the time, but people had taken a doggie bag home and kept the food at unsafe temperatures (or too long), which led to food poisoning.  Of course the restaurant got the blame and they don’t want law suits hanging over their heads any more, so: no doggie bags!  An alternative in most cases is to share a meal and since these Strombolis were quite big we had good reason to share.  A Stromboli looks like a long, flat loaf of bread (and is just as big!) and is filled with meat and lots of different vegies, etc. and it tasted very good.  We asked the waitress to take our picture, so got that out of the way before we would forget.

Dinner at Alfredo's with Craig and Lynette
We had gotten quite well acquainted at the restaurant, so by the end of the meal we knew we had hobbies and interests in common: woodworking and geocaching, so Craig showed us his big shed and some items he was working on.  He was using a different technique: carving with a grinder.  The result was a very elegant table.  On the way home we had seen some deer grazing along the roadside (as it was dusk by then) and Lynette explained that all the ribbon around the gardens was electrified to keep the deer out.  Their appetite is voracious. There are not only deer in the area, but in the woods behind the house lives a bear.  Nobody seems to be afraid… 

The elegant table Craig is making (legs need to be cut off still)

The gorgeous work shed (and that's only the shed!)
After the rounds of the house, again a big one according to our standards, we settle with a cup of coffee and delicious pumpkin pie.  As Craig and Lynette don’t get to meet a lot of people, they like to talk, and talk, and talk….  Lynette didn’t stop until Craig pointed out that it was 11.30pm and the visitors might like to go to bed….. ;-)  We did, but as most of the stories had been interesting we didn’t mind listening. 

* Leaf peeping in America is almost a National Sport!  People come to the northern states in autumn to see the beautiful autumn colours, or the 'leaves turn colour', hence the name 'leaf peeping'.


  1. Apart from the houses, it looks very much like Sweden, including the deer and the bears!
    Beautiful it is!

  2. I bet it does! In particular in autumn. After all this travelling I have come to realise that there is not one country that I would like better than others. Every single country we have been to has its own particular charm and all countries are beautiful in their own way, also depending on the time of year, I think. By the way, you don't have squirrels in Sweden, do you? I know there are squirrels in Holland, but I think I have only seen a squirrel once when we were holidaying in the little town of America (in de Peel).


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