Finally arrive at Stafford Civil War Park in Virginia

Somehow, when I quizzed several adults, they attribute this title to Abraham Lincoln (It was really an English author, Hickson) .  Personally, I enjoy how W.C. Fields takes this to the new level with, “If first you don’t success then try, try again. Then Quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.”  Well, I tried quitting but Sparky was persistent and we finally found, nestled behind a neighborhood, the Stafford Civil War Park. The day was beautiful and we surely got in over 10,000 steps today!

This park is one of many that you can visit while traveling through the areas with a rich Civil War history. What makes this one special is the creation of this park. Thanks to passionate community members and Heritage Media LLC, the Stafford Civil War Park is not only accessible to local residents but to all Civil War enthusiasts. To learn more, here is a brief video. (The clip begins with the historical information. At 2:34, you are introduced to the park as seen today. Enjoy!)



East Earl, PA

I was more than excited to share the Shady Maple experience with Sparky on this trip.  See, growing up, Shady Maple was our primary destination for holiday grocery shopping.  In fact, it continues to be our ‘big shopping order’ grocery store, when we visit my parents.

Shady Maple started as a produce stand in the Amish Country of Pennsylvania in the early 1960’s.  Through the years, we have experienced the multiple expansions of Shady Maple.  Here are some of the changes to Shady Maple we remember: a focus on local produce, bulk foods – we always head here for sprinkles, a bakery with Shoo Fly Pie and the tastiest Apple breads and desserts, cafeteria grows to a buffet then grows to a smorgasbord – you need to be rolled out after visiting this eatery, a partnership with IGA and building expansions and remodels.  If I heard correctly, Shady Maple started out as a family farm stand and now employs over 700 people.  The farm stand also has grown, considerably – all departments use over 150,000 square feet of space.  Wow!

Let’s talk food.  Let’s talk Smorgasbord.  As we walked around, Sparky’s eyes were wide as we walked the over 200 feet of food.  Yes, 200 FEET.  Let’s provide a few visuals here…200 feet =  3/5 of a football field, 15 VW Beetles, 30 queen size beds, well, you get the idea…TONS of great food!

After realizing there is no way to sample everything, we just had to prioritize.  Sparky and I were starving, so you can imagine how high our FIRST plates were piled.  You name it, we tried to stack it.  Corn Fritters, Potato Cakes, Kielbasa, Salad Bar with DOZENS of options, Cucumber Salad, Soup, Casserole, Meatballs, Prime Rib, ohhh, I could go on.  Let’s just skip to dessert – cheesecake, turtle pie, cookies and the sundae bar.  Holy cow!  We can surely eat alot!

Guess I would like to say that if you are traveling through the Amish Country in Pennsylvania, be sure to look up Shady Maple.  Make sure that you are not hungry, but STARVING hungry!  The price is right, the selection seems endless and with seating for 1200, there is rarely a wait.  Check out what others say about Shady Maple on: TripAdvisor, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Discovering America with You!  Sparky & Darlin’