We awoke from our first night in the camper to an overcast and very chilly Sunday morning. Today was a big day that we had planned for a long time. On this day, we were all headed to Dutch Wonderland!! DW is an amusement park which is designed specifically for younger kids. You won't find crazy pukey roller coasters that twist you into knots at 100 mph, but rather tons of great rides and attractions perfect for kids about 10 and under with an area of really cool rides designed JUST for little little kids (like Ivy).
DW is only open on Sat. and Sun. in the Fall, so this was the only day that we could go. The best part is that the weather kept away the crowds, so it felt like we were sharing this enormous amusement park with like 40 other people.
Marry-Go-Round is good to go!!
The girls, with our nephews in the background
The Famous Dutch Wonderland Pretzel. There's about 4 million families in the United States with this exact same picture.
It was a fantastic time. Unfortunately, our camera broke about an hour into our DW trip and we couldn't get anymore shots. Chrissy's sister took a bunch and will email them to us at some point so I may need to post a supplemental DW photo blog in the future. We had big fun on the rides. Ivy dug the little kids stuff...the teacups and what not. Gavin and I did the Tilt-A-Whirl (in DW land...the Turtle-Whirl) which was one of my favorites as a kid. They also had those old-timey gas powered cars that you can actually steer and accelerate but they are guided on a central rail. We hit those a few times. Gavin LOVED them because he could actually drive them, although I'm pretty sure that I now have a tumor from inhaling the fumes that those things put out.
As cool as they were, nothing, I mean nothing, beat the 2 or 3 turns that we took on the bumper cars. They are never not fun. They are the 1 ride that gets like 10 times better as you get older. There is NOTHING like T-boning some unsuspecting 7 year old and her dad from their blind spot and spinning them around 2 1/2 times. That steering wheel is padded for a reason, sister! Gavin and I were assassins on that thing.
We ended our DW day with a trip on the skyride, which is always such a cool way to take in a park from such a unique angle. The great thing about Dutch Wonderland is that, despite the fact that it's been around for decades, the place looked like it opened last week. Fresh paint on everything. Super clean. Beautifully landscaped.
We didn't get to meet Duke the Dragon, but other than that, we had a blast.
The weather broke a day later and we were treated to cloudless skies and crisp Fall temps for the rest of the week. We spent a good deal of time either chilling at the campsite or wandering around Lancaster County, just taking in the scene....and we stopped at Target and bought a new camera.
At one point early in the week, the boy took a dive off his Strider bike and raspberried up his noggin' pretty good. I know, I know...always wear a helmet...which he usually does...but...the one time he doesn't, you know? Anyway, that's what the big blotch on his forehead is in pretty much any further picture that you see of him.
Why am I so happy? Because I just hit up the:
Welcome to Lancaster County. Bring comfy pants and leave your belt at home...you won't be needing it. I think the unofficial motto for Lancaster County is "If your pants are loose, loop the Smorgasbord one more time".
Our campsite from across the river. The cabin on the right is Susan and Dave's.
Gavin showing the cousins around the camper while Ivy sends a text message. The outside wall of the bathroom doubled as our art gallery for the week. I purposely left those drawings up on the camper wall, just so I can forget about them and then be surprised and nostalgic the next time I set it up.
Most mornings we were greeted by this little guy:
Spotty-Face the Cat!! Not sure if he belonged to the campsite or to the Amish farm nearby but we fed him some buttermilk so he became our little adopted buddy for most of the week.
Chrissy picking up some hot pepper jelly from an Amish farm stand. This was one of our favorite things to do. As we drove along the countryside, many of the Amish farms/homes had farm stand signs at the end of their long driveways. it was cool to be able to go up onto their land and check out their homes, barns, buggies, animals. Sometimes there were mothers and kids manning the farm stand. other times (like the time pictured above) there was no one there...just a price list and "honor box" on the counter. it's great to be able to go to a place where business is still done on the honor system. Anyway, we bought firewood, some amazing jams, jellies, and the BEST homemade root beer that you've ever had at stands like this one.
Anyway, this about wraps up Part 2. Part 3 will include us riding on a 105 year old steam locomotive and the best ice cream ever.
For now, I'll end with a few evening camping pics that I snapped at our site:
Forever fine-tuning the art of "Simple".