Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Have you been to the Lancaster PA Area?

April 22-April 24, 2014
Charlottesville, Virginia


TUESDAY  April 22


We got another early start leaving Zooland Family Campground.  It’s a great place for an overnight if you are planning to go up Route 29 through southern Virginia to the foothills and provides another route to the Shenandoah National Park other than I-81.

The only problem with it this time is that the bridge between I-73 and the campground was out and going around added 5 miles to the already 4 miles between the interstate and the campground.  But it’s only once for us as the bridge will be back in business as of June 1, they say.



The drive up Route 29 through Virginia is really really lovely as the dogwoods and redbuds and azaleas are in bloom.

Since we got an early start, we arrived about 1:00.  I really like that.   The rest of the day was spent in getting Winnona situated in her not so level spot and getting out to the farm to see how many days of roadwork and tree limb pruning it would take to get her down the driveway.

Things looked great at the farm.  No winter damage at all despite the never ending snow and continually freezing temperatures.










Spring at the farm and in Charlottesville is always simply gorgeous!   The dogwoods and redbuds and azaleas are all in bloom.   You just can’t help but be happy and smile when you see them.  They are a big reason why I keep coming back to Virginia in the spring “on my way” to somewhere else.

Winnona has a gorgeous pink dogwood keeping her company for two weeks.


The tulips and daffodils are nearly finished but there are a few beauties hidden in the shade of one of the dogwood trees.



If course I have the same problem in the fall.  The turning of the leaves on the Blue Ridge is magnificent and we often find ourselves here again on our way to winter spots.


This morning is the lab visit for all the blood tests necessary to the doctor visit next week.





In the afternoon is a bath for Winnona and cleaning off some of that pollen and mildew from wet wet Florida.  FINALLY!  So hard to do this in parks.  They don’t let you wash your vehicles.

Last October Winnona got everything washed and waxed but her roof.   So hopefully tomorrow the roof will get finished.  Seems we only have two sunny days before the rain may return.  Sad smile










Also on tap is a trip to my favorite library for REAL BOOKS that aren’t eons old from the swap tables at parks.  I love books!  I love the smell of books!  I love to turn their pages.  I love my library!

Tomorrow is the dentist.   No so whoo hoo!





Most important of all is asking your advice.





We will be going to Pennsylvania in mid May for our solar install and will be spending a few days in the Lancaster PA area.  I know many of you have been there and hope you will comment with suggestions on campgrounds to stay in and specific places you loved that we should visit.   My commenters are way better than RV Park Reviews or Trip Advisor.





I am so enjoying the beautiful weather and the gorgeous trees and flowers.
I hope you are too.

Happy Happy Spring to you all!



  1. Such lovely flowers! Spring is such a beautiful time of year. I wish I could steer you to good parks near or in Lancaster, but we've never stayed there! Living north of there in our stix, we've never had the opportunity to visit some of the parks.

  2. We were in Lancaster last May and loved it. We stayed at Old Mill Stream campground, it's a very nice park Lots of trees, very quiet yet close to everything. We were in site 315 which is on the right when entering park it gave us a great view across to a Amish farm where we saw them working their horses in the field. We took a carriage tour with a Amish girl from Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse. We learned lots about the Amish and saw beautiful farms and countryside. One of our favorite finds was Countryside Roadstand in Ronks you have to try their pretzels and sweet breads. There are several communities within miles of each other Ronks, Intercourse, Bird In Hand, Smoketown and Strasburg. A great place to eat is Good And Plenty
    in Smoketown they serve family style and it is wonderful. Hope you have a great time we can't wait to go back.

  3. Forgot to mention on Saturday morning an Amish couple come thru the campground with a "traveling store" a buggy filled with pies, sweet rolls,cakes and hand made items.

    1. Wow Jan this is all great! Thanks so much for the comment and welcome.

  4. Can't help you with PA. Those blooming trees are gorgeous!

  5. Sherry,

    I second comments about Old Mill Stream. We stayed there in 2012 for a Montana rally. Nice campground and quiet, even though it is next door to the amusement park. The park isn't open very late at night, so the noise was not really a factor, even though our site was at the end next to the roller coaster. We enjoyed the shops at Kitchen Kettle Village http://www.kitchenkettle.com/our-village/index.asp and took our Amish carriage ride from there. Old Mill Stream is basically in town, but easy in/out, close to things in town but also convenient for exploring outlying towns of Intercourse, Bird-In-Hand, etc. The countryside is lovely and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Cows from the neighboring Amish farm came to the stream in the evenings and lightning bugs put on quite a display, too. I would definitely recommend it. Enjoy!


  6. Country Acres in Gordonsville is the campground I think is the nicest, but it is very difficult to get a spot. I couldn't really recommend anything else though, knowing the type of campsite you like :-). We used to go there every June WAY back then, the guys to play golf, girls to shop, eat at Miller's Smorgasboard (only open for breakfast on weekends) and go see a movie! Stock up on jams and jellies etc. at Kitchen Kettle Village. If the Strasburg Train Museum is still there you would probably find it interesting. But definitely get out into the countryside, Route 30 is horrible overdeveloped now. Which also reminds me, try Beacon Hill Campground in Intercourse; you can walk to town from there, it's on a side road next to an Amish farm, and is adults only. I tried last fall to get a site there and they had no openings.

  7. Your are right about your readers having the most helpful information. Thanks Jan! I am psyched for visiting Lancaster area - I have been through but never stopped. If Longwood Gardens isn't too far. I would love to see that again if we have any time left over. HA! Gorgeous pictures of the trees & flowers. What is not to love about Spring??

    1. Thanks to Jan, Karen and Betty for the suggestions. I think it's the fresh veggies, the pies and the bakeries I'm interested in. :-)

  8. Love that pink Dogwood, what a great companion for Winnona! Someday, when we get another house, you can be sure we'll be planting a pink Dogwood.

    I've been to Lancaster PA (as well as other Amish areas in OH) and feel very uncomfortable there. I feel like I'm viewing the Amish people like they are in a zoo. It seems like I'm invading their privacy. I know tourism is a big boon to those areas, but for me, I have to avoid those areas. Maybe I'm weird (you already knew that), but it's just the way I feel.

    1. There is a community of Mennonites in our former area of Virginia. I have always enjoyed their Relief Sales but felt as you do that I didn't want to stare and take pictures. So I'm not sure what a trip to the above will bring. We have time to kill before the solar install which got set back from its original. Thanks for your honesty Paul. I really like multiple points of view especially when I am also conflicted.

  9. The ride on the old steam train is very cool.

  10. Where is a picture of the farmhouse? So look forward to a picture of it!! Beautiful blooming trees!!!

  11. Everything that Jan said and the others too. We love this area. Nancy and Neil are there this time of year. You might contact them. They can really give you a tour. Don't forget Sturgis Pretzel Co and Wilbur Chocolates in Lititz! Well worth the day! Hint: triple chocolate almonds at Wilburs :)

  12. It's such a special treat to know you have Home to come to in the spring and fall for all this amazing color.

  13. We took the train ride (think it was Stroudsburg) but I'm not sure. It was amazing to travel through farmland--nothing to indicate that we were in this century or the last one! Very pretty farmland. I don't know if it's close, but we liked Jim Thorpe in PA, too.

  14. Wonderful advice from everyone ver never made it to Lancaster but loved the Hershey and Strasborg areas at Thousand Trails parks. They were beautiful parks.

  15. Be sure to visit the Shady-Maple Farmer's Market and Smorgasborg in East Earl, PA. www.shady-maple.com

    We love to take off and just ride the back roads and explore the Amish Farmlands...beautiful:o)) We mapped a group of covered bridges and explored them on one of our rides. http://www.padutchcountry.com/activities/pa-covered-bridges.asp

    Like Gail said... Lititz is worth a visit. It is a beautiful town and Wilbur Chocolates are not to be missed;o))

  16. I do love all the spring blooms. That pink dogwood is gorgeous. Glad to hear the farm survived the winter. I hope you can get it all spruced up quickly so that you can continue your journey.

    I recently learned about the Amish and their puppy mills. It seems they consider them livestock, and they are not treated well at all. Google "Amish puppy mills" and you'll find a lot of info. I will never again buy any of their products, and that's all I've got to say about that. (just finished watching Forrest Gump again)

    Sorry you had such a wet winter. I hope things will soon dry out for you. It's funny, as wet as the Florida mainland was, the Keys has had very little rain this winter.

  17. I can't recommend the one we stayed at, Beacon Hill in Intercourse maybe adults only but the area we were in the sites were tight, we were backed onto the road. We did enjoy Kitchen Kettle Village, the rail road museum is very nice, we enjoyed the national Christmas museum and the Shady Maple smorgasbord and market is great. We also enjoyed the Amish Village, stocked up on meat and pot pies at Stozfus Meats and visited Liitz to visit the Sturgis pretzel factory and Willbur chocolates.

    Love all the spring trees and flowers, we seem to be having a long spring but guess that's because we keep following it north.

  18. Cannot wait to see the blossoms this weekend :) So glad everything is well at the farm. That is fantastic news! I do hope Winnona gets her wash. Enjoy the books-I know you will!

  19. We are from an area just west of Lancaster, York. We did stay at Old Mill Stream RV Park for a rally. A very nice spot for a private campground. You won't get the space you are use to, though.

    Be careful of the many tourist trap places. Just drive out into the country area for real Amish living.

    We did some fun hikes and kayaking last summer and fall but they were in York. We did, however, do a really awesome hike over near Lancaster with great steep climbs. Check our blog for last Oct.

    If you like motorcycles, Harley's assembly plant is in York. They give a great tour.

    Yes, do visit Lititz. Make sure to stop at the pretzel place and make a pretzel.

  20. Thanks for posting the dogwood and redbud pics. Ours have been totally spectacular this year, but have just about completely leaved out now, so thanks to you, I got to enjoy them again. Sorry can't help with Lancaster area suggestions. We have been there, but it was several years ago and everything has likely changed. I do think the Amish want you to purchase their things and are dependent on tourists, but I also think it can be done with courtesy and respect. No need to make them feel "different" or "unusual." Central Pennsylvania does have some incredibly beautiful scenery. A couple of years ago on our way home from New England, we drove all the way through PA on secondary roads and were amazed. It was gorgeous. I also want to see a picture of the farm!!!

  21. Just read your post and had to comment. Lancaster is one of my favorite places. It became a home away from home for us. We just loved going there and are planning on retiring there we loved it so much. We used to take our class a there twice a month on weekends and stay one week in spring , two in summer and one in fall I tried out most of the camp grounds there and by far country acres was the place to stay. We stayed in the 50 amp sites It is a spotlessly clean place with a super friendly staff and lovely people who stay there. It quickly becomes a favorite place to go. I would book my visits a year ahead to get my favorite spots. So if you are going in May call now as weekends are hard to come by. During the week is easier to get a space. The nice thing is you can cancell 7 days before without paying. You will love it if you can get in. They also put a new pool in recently. My favorite places to visit are kitchen kettle and the town of intercourse has sweet shops and bird n hand too. You have to try dienners for breakfast in Ronks on rt 30 and millers for dinner is nice buy a little pricey. Hope you have a wonderful time. I'm jealous. We sold our rv and I miss going there so much. Have a great trip. Veronica

  22. Have not been to Lancaster or Amish country anywhere, so I have nothing to contribute on this topic (except the puppy mills are shameful).

    Love, love, love the dogwoods, azaleas, and even the fading tulips. Makes me homesick for springtime in Oregon. Hope all goes well with your work on the farm and your stay in Charlottesville.

  23. We've been to PA but not the Lancaster area, so I'm no help.

    I sure do love Ol' Virginnie in the spring when all the dogwoods and azaleas are in bloom. That dogwood next to Winnona is a real beauty!

  24. Love love love the tulips! I was trying to figure out how to get the best pictures of the ones downtown at the bottom of Preston Ave. There is a tulip festival in madison County that we have enjoyed but this year they said that the deer ate their whole crop. They have (had) hundreds and hundreds of tulips there.

  25. Joe's Uncle lived in Willow Valley Retirement Village in Lancaster and we went to visit him on our wedding trip across the United states. We absolutely loved the area . I can't add much to what your readers have already said. But what stood out for us was the dinner train ride, and all the horse and buggies belonging to the Amish people. We ate at Good and Plenty too.


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