Hershey, PA

Since we have two weeks before our next project starts, we decided to stay in Pennsylvania for a week and do some sight-seeing. There is a Thousand Trails campground just outside Hershey, so we stayed there for a week.
Our site was very nice,

and the geese kept us entertained while we were there.

We started our sightseeing at the Hershey Chocolate World

First we took the trolley tour, which we found VERY informative about Milton Hershey.

He was born near where he built the factory, in this house, when only the center, brick part existed. His great grandparents built it in 1826 on 350 acres.

His father later lost the house to auction for taxes, but Milton later purchased it back and the president of the Hershey schools lives there now, and some activity was going on when we drove by.

This was the house (High Point) he built in 1908, and lived in until he died in 1945. It overlooked the factory.

Many of the mansions in town were built for his upper management and are still owned by the company. This one was occupied by Mr. Wm. Murrie, president of Hershey’s Chocolate.

His son, Bruce, was one of the M’s of the candy, M&M. Mr. Mars, the other M, received a patent for his own process in 1941. There was an arrangement that allowed M&M candies to be made with Hershey chocolate, which had control of the rationed chocolate.

Hershey was successful, after many failures, with caramel candies. He started with chocolate in 1895 to cover the caramels, and was selling the chocolate to other confectioners. He then sold his caramel candy company for a million dollars (in 1900!) and began to focus on the chocolate. He was the first American to develop milk chocolate, introducing the milk chocolate bar in 1900. He first developed Hershey’s Kisses in 1907.
He built his factory in 1903

Before his factory was complete, he set up a transit trolley system, and right
after the factory was built, in 1905, had a community center built to provide store, post office, boarding house and lunchroom. He also provided laundry, blacksmith, cafe and barber shop, and a department store.
He constructed homes for employees, but wanted them to look individual, not a typical “company” house. Our guide told us he sold them to employees, charging no interest.

Because he knew the workers needed recreation, he planned a park in 1910 to include playground, band shell for concerts, swimming pool, a zoo and a bowling alley.
Today, the amusement park, Hershey Park, is 110 acres, with 60 rides, including 10 roller coasters.

He added a Hotel in the 1930’s, employing workers during the depression.

Also during the depression, in 1933, he built a new community center, six stories tall with indoor swimming, a gymnasium, library, hospital, and theater. Later it became a Junior college until 1965, and now is used as offices for Hershey.
In 1909, he set up a boarding school for orphan boys, located at his birthplace. He created the Milton Hershey School Trust and endowed it with 486 acres. The initial enrollment was 10 students. Now students live in homes with dorm parents (who have their own attached apartment). It now allows enrollment of girls as well, and provides free K-12 education to 1800 students, on 9,000 acre campus. Focus was on industrial arts at first, but now encourages college, giving $80,000 scholarships to qualifying students. None of his schools get any government funding at all.
Industrial arts are still available in the original school which is now the middle school.

The town itself even has Hershey Kisses as light covers.

We then took a simulated tour of the plant.

We learned a lot there as well! The building has a 3D film we watched, lots of shops, and other candy related activities, so you can spend a LOT of time (and money!) there.

It was a fun, informative day.

Back to Gettysburg

We decided to stay at Rhodes Grove for a couple of days after the project was complete, and were able to go back to Gettysburg (yes, again, for the fourth time!) to complete our visit there.

President Eisenhower’s farm is adjacent to the battleground and the only home he and Mamie owned. While there it POURED down rain! He raised Black Angus, developing them into a better breed.

We were able to take picture inside, without a flash. It looked like they were still living in the home.
Living room,



favorite room (the enclosed porch),

and study.

We did not get to tour the rest of the farm, since the paths were really muddy and had turned into rivers!! The land is so saturated from hurricanes Irene and especially Lee, the water just flows.
On the way back to the visitor center, the bus driver opted not to try to ford the road
This is the view out the front of the bus,

and this is out the side of the bus!

and backed up about 1/4 mile. I got a great picture of the back of the home though!

For lunch we wanted to eat at the Springhouse Tavern, located in the basement of the historical Dobbin’s House, one of the first buildings in Gettysburg.

But we had to wait for about a half hour while they mopped up 6 inches of water that came in when the spring overflowed during the downpour.
It was worth the wait, and it really was a unique place.

The spring is just to the right of the rock wall in this picture.

We were able to look into it through a small window in a locked door.

and followed the stairs up to where they used to hide runaway slaves!

We also took the opportunity to visit the National Cemetery that we were too tired to see on our previous visit.

More monuments, including this one honoring Lincoln

and this monument to the New Yorkers who were in the battle, which is on the site where Abraham Lincoln gave his famous address.

On the way back, we passed this covered bridge, built in 1852, and used by both confederate and union soldiers.

The river below it was really high

We also passed “Pumpkin trees”,

Caledonia State Park, with the furnace

and blacksmith shop.

And a unique barn with antique advertising.

And Paul had some fun “taking care of business” in the RV.

First, repairing the washer/dryer combo….a job in itself getting it out of the closet! The part arrived, but not installed yet!

During one of the storms, the television was hit by lightening, so that was another challenge, to get it out of the box.

He wasn’t too upset, since it meant getting a new, larger screen! He will be doing some remodeling when we get home!

Next month, the first Friday is later in the month, giving us two weeks between projects. We plan to spend a few more days in Pennsylvania, to the northeast of here, before moving out of the state, and on to New Hampshire!

Bath, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

One day last weekend we sent south to see Berkeley Springs in West Virginia.

One of the earliest colonial visitors to these springs was George Washington. From the time he was sixteen, when he first visited while surveying in 1748, Washington visited the area, owned land, and bathed in and around Berkeley Springs.

Although the area around the warm springs was named Bath in 1776, it is known throughout the world by it’s 1802 post office name, Berkeley Springs. The colonial elite made it the country’s first spa. Founders and buyers of the first lots sold in 1777 to George and Samuel Washington

as well as three signers of the Declaration and Constitution, two Revolutionary War generals and half a dozen members of the Continental Congress.

Lord Fairfax originally owned the warm, 74 degree temperature springs. The mineral composition and the 1500 gallon per minute flow remain unchanged. It is now a state park in the middle of the town.

The museum is located on the second floor of of the historic Roman Bath house, which was built in 1815. On the ground floor, it has nine individual bathing chambers with tubs that hold 750 gallons of mineral water heated to 102 degrees.

Open for use, we of course had to have the experience of soaking!

A huge castle looks over the town. It is a private residence, and was originally built as a summer cottage in 1885 out of local sandstone.

Above, and west of the town there is a Panorama Overlook, seeing West Virginia on the left, and Maryland on the right of the Potomac River. Just south is the juncture with the Cacapon River, and a small town Great Cacapon. Nearby, Washington owned 240 acres of riverfront land.

A scenic railroad bridge is over the Cacapon River as you enter the small town.

We are intrigued by the area.
Close to the camp is a beautiful covered bridge

The barns in the area are beautiful and unique. The top story comes out over the bottom, and the brick work often displays a design, like this one with the horse at the top!

and this one was just so pristine

and this had some pretty decorations on top!

This is the last day of the job here. We had a great team!

We will be staying for a couple more days before moving on. We have two weeks to get to New Hampshire, which is about 530 miles.

Gettysburg, PA

The camp we are working at is located about 24 miles from Gettysburg.
It took us three visits and we still did not see everything!

The first time we went there, we went to the visitors center,

where we toured the museum, watched the movie and saw the original Battle of Gettysburg cyclorama, which measured approximately 377 by 42 feet….longer than a football field and as tall as a four-story building. It lit up as the story is told, highlighting specific scenes.

We got an audio-guided tour CD to describe the stops along the battlefield, (which we highly recommend getting!) but by the time we were through at the visitor center, it was too late to start the tour, which they estimated would take about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. When we did take the tour, it took us 6 hours!!

One Sunday after church, we went over to Gettysburg to visit the town itself.
The many shops were fun to visit, and some even felt like museums since they were full of Civil War artifacts and memorabilia.

Notice the cannon ball in the chimney of this home in town. I just happened to see it as we were driving by!

We finally made it to the battlefield on Friday.
Seeing and hearing about each of the battles fought on these grounds, it was easy to imagine the battle on 25 square miles surrounding the town over a three day period, from July 1 to July 3, 1863. During this time, 51,000 were dead, wounded or missing.

The following are the highlights of our tour:

The battle started at McPherson’s farm;

McPherson’s Ridge;

Eternal Light Peace Memorial, dedicated in 1928 by President Franklin D. Roosevel, with a crowd of 200,000 attending;

Oak Ridge;

Views from the Observation Tower looking southwest to the town of Gettysburg;

and looking southeast to McClean house and barn;

where Union soldiers were ordered to the barn and surrounding areas to flush out Confederate sharpshooters. Union Corporal Rudolf Schwarz was heading to the barn when he spied Confederate prisoners being taken to the rear. One of the men he caught sight of was his own brother, fighting with the Southern troops near Oak Hill. The two men embraced, then parting, the Confederate brother was escorted to the rear. Later that afternoon, the Union soldier, Corporal Schwarz, was killed in action.

Pickett’s Ridge, lined with 3 miles of cannons, as it was on the day of the fight;

NC Memorial, whose sculptor suspended his work on the Mt. Rushmore presidents in order to make this one;

Virginia Memorial, with General Lee riding his horse, Traveller;

Pitzer Woods with the Louisiana Memorial and the

Mississippi Memorial;

Another Observation Tower gave us views of the Eisenhower home, the only one they owned. He planted 50 trees lining the driveway, one for every state.

Warfield Ridge;

Little Round Top;

Trostle Farm, with the cannonball hole in the barn (just below the right diamond);

Pennyslvania Memorial, dedicated in 1910 at a cost of $182,000, and required 1,252 tons of cut granite. The base contains 34,500 names, every Pennsylvania soldier present during the Gettysburg campaign;

The copse of trees, the Union side of Pickett’s charge, also referred to as the “High Water Mark”, the apex of southern military achievement during the war.

It is a sobering drive through all of the memorials. My pictures and comments are not enough for you to get the full effect…. it is one of those places where you have to go yourself.

MMAP Rhodes Grove, PA, week 2

We just finished our second week renovating the cabins.
Warren repaired screen doors and painted,

Ashley painted,

Dennis cut boards

Paul nailed the boards as kleets for support of the one inch pinewood siding that will be installed.

I don’t think the two cabins that are receiving the majority of the work will be completely done, since some of the siding will not be available, but they will be closer than when we began. We have also been painting and doing window repair on some of the other cabins.

Some of the ladies washed walls, I painted doors and trim, and the day before a ladies tea, we all helped put ribbon on the favors, a small hanging ornament that is cinnamon scented and teapot shaped.

The camp sponsored the tea for ladies, and we were invited to attend. It was a great, relaxing time.

I may have gained back a few pounds, but oh, so worth it!
In addition to the cabins, Rhodes Grove includes a three-story hotel facility with a large kitchen, dining room, and meeting rooms as well as 30 hotel rooms;

other cabins that are dorm style on the interior;

a gym with dorm rooms on each side, one for women and one for men;

a swimming pool, (to cold to use)

a playground,

and pergolas in different areas, with this one having a great view of the sunset

It is hard to believe there is only one week left. It has been pleasant weather, even with a little rain. The rain actually kept it cooler. After it stopped raining, we had a few nights of sitting around the campfire visiting.

A great “camp” experience!

Flight 93 National Park Dedication

I am sure most, if not all of you, remember where you were 10 years ago today!
As I have heard recently, 9/11 attacks are the Pearl Harbor of our generation.

When we were scheduled to work here in Pennsylvania in September, I was not thinking of being here on the 10th anniversary of the event. After getting here, we realized we were only about 2 hours away from the spot where Flight 93 crashed, so it was put on our list to “go see”.

Then we heard about the services that were scheduled there for the weekend. We were fortunate to be able to attend the dedication ceremony of the Flight 93 National Park at noon on Saturday.

They were expecting thousands, so we left camp at 7:20, arriving at 9:20. Second to turn into the park, we did not move for 15 minutes…. then it was slow going taking 3 hours to get to the parking lot approximately 3 miles away!! Along the way, at least one car ran out of gas and we found out the delay was due to the muddy fields. Cars were getting stuck and towed out, so they had to bring in trucks to put down gravel.

We then had a wait to go through security…. just like an airport!

We were not there very long before it started, an hour later than expected at 1:00.

The rain stopped, and it was worth the wait!

The flag raised is the one that was flying over the capitol building on 9/11/01

During the ceremony, the names of the 40 crash victims were read aloud as bells tolled in their honor,

followed by “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes

It was an amazing privilege to be present to hear our vice-president speak, plus two former presidents:
George W. Bush, who by the way had a long, standing ovation,

followed by Bill Clinton, who announced the planning of fundraising efforts to get $10 million to finish the park.

After the unveiling of the wall of names, which included 40 marble stones, each with a name, connected to form the wall along the path the plane would have taken prior to crashing, Vice President Joe Biden spoke.

Grammy-award singer Sara McLachlan sang her awarded song, “I Will Remember You” and “Angel”. Both were beautifully done!

And the ceremony, praise the Lord, began and ended with prayer.

The families had 30 minutes to view the wall and walk to the rock marking the place the plane hit the ground. Only family members can go behind the wall and walk to the rock, and only then on the anniversary date of 9/11.

After the family viewing time, we were able to get up close to the marble wall,

and the bells.

Views walking down the walkway back to the shuttle pick up

We took the shuttle

back to the car and left, wanting to see just what the little town of Shanksville looked like. It was about like Julian, two blocks long, the fire station in the center of it.

The road was blocked to the fire station, so we went to the next block so we could get a shot of the metal cross from ground zero. As we approached, we were told to stay on the grass….. VP Biden had made an unscheduled stop. He was giving an interview, then before we knew what was happening, he approached Paul after coming out of the fire station and had a short conversation with him. He took the time to shake our hands and we could have posed pictures with him, but did not think of it at first.
There were only about a dozen people standing around, so we got close up pictures of him and got his autograph on our program!

Gloria told him she was praying for him and he said he appreciated it.

By the time others had pictures taken it was time for him and his dozen body guards to leave.
After he left we got our picture of the ground zero cross.

We continued on through Shanksville about four miles, where there is another memorial, a small chapel.

Inside is a room commemorating each individual.

The whole day was an experience neither of us will soon forget…. we will not forget where we were on the 10th anniversary of this tragedy.
God Bless America

Gibble Chip Factory and Harper’s Ferry

One of the MMAPers that is a full time RVer had this great trailer that we converted to a working space due to the rain.

I made it into my “office”! But I also shared!

and Paul adjusted the umbrella to cover the saw in his “office” on the porch!

We are praying the rain will stop here….. and move to Texas!!

During a MMAP job, the ladies usually plan a ladies day out. We visited the town of Chambersburg and checked out the Chamber of Commerce, which also had a museum telling the history of the town. It has the distinction of being the only town north of the Mason-Dixon Line (Probably learned in school that it is the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland, but had forgotten!) to have been burned during the War of Northern Aggression! It was burned after a ransom was not paid, in revenge for burnings in the Shenandoah Valley. The fountain in the “town square” has a statue that is facing south, to guard the city from the Confederates.

There is a 8-foot tall, 250 pound wooden statue of Benjamin Franklin that was carved from pine in 1865 that turns in the window.

It was previously on top of the County Courthouse until 1991. There is another statue of Benjamin Franklin there now, but do not know the story of why the change.

This historic house is the house that John Brown stayed in just prior to going to Harper’s Ferry.

We have Fridays off, so we started off the day with a tour of the Gibble chip factory located about a mile away.

They are sold on the east coast, so we had never heard of them before. There is also a Gibbles restaurant, where we ate on Sunday, family style, and candy store, which we have been avoiding!!
It was really interesting! An auger pushes potatoes down a chute into a cutter. They then move into the heated lard. Yes, lard! Most natural, when you consider the processing oils go through, and it has 0 trans. fats, which other chips do not!

After about 5 minutes cooking, they are moved out and salted (you can see the white salt as the chips are coming out of the cookers)

and onto a conveyer belt

moving it into the packaging area

Then we headed south to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. Lewis and Clark stopped here and stocked up on supplies before their trek west. Harper’s Ferry is located on a peninsula of land with the Potomac River (on the left) and Shenandoah River (on the right) converging together

On the way we passed over the Potomac River, which was really choppy. You can see the bridge in the background of the previous picture where I took the following picture.

We started with lunch at the Town’s Inn,

then walked down to the Harper’s Ferry National Park at the end of the road.

The park is made up of several historic buildings.

Harper’s Ferry is where John Brown, the abolitionist, was captured. He was convicted of murder, treason, and inciting slaves to rebellion. This is where he was holed up and captured,

and this is the holding cell they put him in!

We hiked up to Jefferson’s rock,

passing the beautiful St. Peter’s church

On the way back, going through Greencastle, which is about 3 miles south of the camp, we had to be diverted because of flooded, closed roads. But we still found ourselves going through a flooded road,

and a swollen creek at the camp!

They had received an inch and a half in the afternoon!

But thankfully the rain stopped, water receded, and Saturday was fantastic weather!!

MMAP Rhodes Grove, PA, week 1

Monday, the project began at Rhodes Grove Camp and Conference Center.

And of course the rain began as well!

After almost two weeks of vacation, it was hard to get up early!

The cabins we are working on are really cute, duplexes built in the 1930’s!

The camp is in the process refurbishing these cabins one at a time. Eventually, “our” Maranatha cabin will look like this one that has recently been completed! They look like they are meant for family camp, with a living/kitchen downstairs and

a large bedroom with a couple of beds upstairs

MMAP was assigned Maranatha cabin last month, so some of the work was started and we are continuing that work.

The old linoleum is really classic!

The cabin had a toilet at the top of the stairs with no privacy, just sitting at the top! It was moved, along with plumbing, by MMAPers last month (so no picture of “before”).

Framing was built around the plumbing to conceal it in the ceiling downstairs after moving the toilet.

Paul completed the walls to form a half bath in the room upstairs,

and adding wall panelling.

While Dennis, another MMAPer is doing electrical work, moving outlets and adding switches. The lights have the little chain to turn them off and on.

Ashley and Dennis are repairing windows upstairs in the cabin (downstairs were done last month). Some need glass replacement first. They are working on the broken windows. The rest need up to 90% glazing, and all of them need sanding prep, and painting.

Lots to do here!

Shenandoah Valley, Front Royal and Luray, VA

Another fun day!!

The campground we stayed at in Front Royal, Skyline Ranch, was very pleasant. Complete with a small pond,

petting zoo, (this guy thought I had something for him! There were also two more pigmy goats, a small pony, and two pot belly pigs that were still sleeping )

and small train for kids to climb on, and yes, we got lots of close-up pictures for possible future project!!

And here is another view of the Massanutten, from the campground. It seems we have been all around it!

We have seen many caverns in different states, so we were not going to see any of them here in Virginia. But since we have been here, everyone talked highly of the Luray Caverns, so we decided we should probably see them!

So Thursday, we visited the Luray Caverns, discovered in the 1880’s. On the way we kept intercepting the winding Shenandoah River.

At one point, we were 147 feet below the ground at the deepest, and we saw 47 acres of the 60+ acres that they cover during our 1 1/4 mile walk.

I thought this looked like the Nativity scene!

This was a one foot deep lake that had such a beautiful reflection…. it looked much deeper!

and best of all was the world’s only Stalacpipe organ

I videoed it playing, but it failed to upload (after a couple of tries), so it is just the picture!

Included in the ticket was entrance to the Car and Carriage Cavern, a museum displaying more than 140 items dating back to 1725. The automobiles covered 1892 to 1935.

The 1892 Benz,

the Rolls Royce, with the faux leather paint job, that belonged to Rudolph Valentino,

and the 1935 Hispana-Suiza, with the 24K gold plate accent trim and German silver, that cost $20,000 new, were among my favorites.

The Luray Valley Museum, a living history museum, was also included.

It displays artifacts from the 1750’s to 1920’s along with a collection of historic, local buildings transported to the site and restored to represent a small 19th century farming community.

Among the artifacts owned by a local family, was the Abraham Strickler Bible, printed in 1536 in Zurich,Switzerland. Abraham was the first owner of this Bible here in America. It is one of the only complete Bibles in vernacular German left in the world. This edition even has woodcut illustrations by Hans Holbein, royal painter for the English court of Henry VIII. It was quite interesting, that a descendant of the Strickler family came in to see it while we were there. It had been in the same family since a Swiss relative of Abraham Strickler, Conrad Strickler, was arrested and died in prison in the mid 1600’s for his religious belief.

Close by, just at the East entrance, we saw the Luray Singing Tower, a native stone carillon containing 47 bells.

We left Front Royal on Friday, arriving at our destination, Rhodes Grove Camp in Chambersburg, PA, mid-afternoon.

We know our leaders, the Taylors, having worked with them in French Camp, MS, earlier this year, and met the other two couples around the campfire. We will begin work on Monday.

Shenandoah Valley, Skyline Drive, VA

On Wednesday, on our way to view another battlefield, we decided to take the Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah National Forest. The northern entrance is in Front Royal.

Views to the west of George Washington National Forest and the Massanutten Mountain

and of the curving Shenandoah River

and to the east (Blue Ridge Mountains)

All of the views were incredible!

We passed a meadow of thistles, with butterflies galore!

And drove through a 600 foot tunnel (good thing we did not have the RV…it is 12‘4” and the tunnel height was 12’8”).

We stopped for a picnic lunch before taking a 4 mile round trip hike to see Rapidan Camp. This was the presidential summer retreat built by President Hoover. His presidential successor, President Roosevelt did not like it, so built Camp David. The boy scouts leased the property for a few years, it fell into disrepair and then was refurbished, making it a museum and destination hike. There is a van that comes a few times a week, but fills up fast. Fortunately it was full, forcing us to hike, which gave us a unique opportunity!

It was a rustic path, taking us 900 feet down in two miles…. yep that meant two miles uphill on the way back!

On the way down, we met a deer, (and also another one on the way back!)

saw some colorful “fungi”,

and crossed the stream two different places!!

There were numerous buildings at the time, but there are only three now; the Brown House, which was the president’s house, set up as it was in his time (no pic allowed inside). It was basic, outside single-sided walls with exposed studs with no insulation inside.

The Prime Minister’s House, because Prime Minister McDonald, from the British Isle, would visit on a regular basis, now a museum,

and the Creel Cabin, housing Hoover’s personal assistant and his personal doctor. It is now used as the volunteer rangers’ home.

There was an outside kitchen where everyone present at the camp dined,

and a stream where Hoover fished and caught many good sized trout.

He even had a trout pond built!

This was certainly an unexpected site. The hike took about 2 hours 45 minutes including time at the site. With only three places to get off the Skyine Drive, we decided to get off after 65 miles (the end was another 40 miles) and headed home on a scenic road, seeing up close the farms and scenery we saw from the Skyline Drive.

Needless to say, we did not make it to our original destination, but had such a great time, getting fun exercise, and getting out into nature!!