Here are some gleanings from 2 days in SE Pennsylvania:
1. Had an excellent stay at the Olde Stone Guest House - a cozy B&B on a Mennonite farm just east of Gap, PA on the Lancaster/Chester County Line-Mrs. Stolzfus, the owner is a super baker and cook and we had two terrific breakfasts, including homemade bagels (definitely not NY style), jams and grape juice, fresh fruits, a lovely braided yeast pastry with a layer of cherries and cream cheese inside, a rich oven cooked souffle-omelette and creamed chipped beef over delicate shredded homefries. You are very aware of stepping into a distinct cultural setting here with a Christian tone - Mrs. S. says a prayer before breakfast is served. I believe that with pre-arrangement Mrs. S would cook other meals, and based on her performance over breakfast, thats definitely something I would consider for the future.
2. Based on fervent requests from the kids, we revisited shady maple smorgasbord (Rte 23 just east of US 322) in Blue Ball/East Earl, closed sunday, like just about everything else. Its an enormously successful restaurant, with a huge capacity and long lines, much loved by locals, and as a result is not highly publicized. Fixed price, you can eat as much of the hundreds of items on offer as you want. Highlights this time were the broaster (fried) chicken, which was just wonderful and always has been, the roast pork, and side dishes, such as slaws, potato salad, barbecued limas, dried corn, fried corn fritters, sauerkraut salad etc. Overwhelming dessert selection; people liked the pecan pie and the fruit desserts (like the cherry or peach supreme, with rich sponge cake baked on top) and of course the kid fave, the massive sundae bar. A certain % of dishes there are bizarre (green jelled dessert concoctions) or simply mediocre (the hot bacon dressing was sickeningly sweet, the fish is never anything much, the cranberry relish included artificial cherry flavor, probably from jello. the potato filling was just ordinary), but you can just put the plate aside and go for something else.
(3) As to other restaurants in the area, I pass along Mrs. Stolzfus's recommendations; we were really sorry not to have a chance to give them a try; neither promote themselves much through the tourist agencies: Her two recommended restaurants were Yoders (on Rte 23 in New Holland; closed sunday) and Dienners (sp?) in Soudersburg on Rte 30 (closed Sunday and at 5pm on Saturday); both serve family style meals (platters) and Yoders at least also offers buffet.
(4) FWIW Mrs. dissed the nearby Gap Diner; she said "oh, no" when I mentioned it and also said she had heard bad things recently about Millers Smorgasbord.
(5) Re Longwood, the cafeteria on the premises was very good, comfortable and excellent value - the salads, soups, hot dogs,unbelievably enormous and rich chocolate brownie dessert were all highly appreciated, and the hot dishes (roast pork, etc) looked excellent too. I suspect the restaurant is good too. Thanks, Barb for the recommendation.
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