20120624 Centralia Route 61My oldest, Marine Girl, was getting ready for boot camp and she had one road trip request for her mum, she wanted to visit Centralia.  I was up for it since I’m into all kinds of creepy, weird places so we gassed up the Honda and headed out. (This was in 2012.)

Marine Girl, Art Girl and I tried in vain for a long time to find anything worth looking at. Cell service at that time was spotty and it isn’t like there is anyone to ask directions of. So we trespassed, we turned around many, many times and finally we found the abandoned highway most folks consider the highlight of a trip to Centralia.

20120624 Centralia

From the town you can see a wind farm in the distance, the giant turbines silently spinning. (Even more creepy…)

Centralia is a town that was in Columbia County.  A mine fire has been burning in, around and under the town since 1962.  The town was condemned by the state in 1992. The zip code for the town was closed in 2002 and currently less than ten residents remain.  Originally it was they demanded they leave but a 2013 accord has allowed them to stay until death. (More creepy…)  You can read all you want to know on Wikipedia here.


20120624 Route 61 Centralia

It was a fascinating place to visit, but, it is still burning.  There is some smoke, but not much.  The ground is hot in many places.

If you visit the closed portion of Route 61 be warned it is full of graffiti of an adult nature – both verbal and pictorial.  I had a hard time taking an unoffensive photo four years ago, I can only imagine what it is like now.  This is not a place for young children.  Take them to one of the cemeteries if you must take them.  I can only imagine what being buried underground near a mine fire must do to a body buried there. (Creepy and gross.)

20120624 Centralia

So, Centralia isn’t a safe place, you will be trespassing nearly everywhere you go and yet I bet you’ll want to visit if you are close by.  So here is a map:

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Centralia 40.804254, -76.340504 Centralia, PA, United States (Directions)
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Be careful.

Butcher's Farm Market PumpkinsFall in PA is a great time to visit Farm Markets (or Farmer’s Markets if there is more than one Farm selling).  My all-time favorite Farm Market is Butcher’s Farm Market in Newport, Perry County.

Butcher's curbside

Butcher’s is a family-run business and they grow much of what they offer, plus they sell other items from local vendors (and bananas and lemons from other places ’cause folks might need ’em.)  They also run Butcher’s Family Fun Farm in the fall and our family will be visiting them in just a few weeks there, BUT this trip was all about the pumpkins.

Fall is my favorite season and I love to decorate with pumpkins. Since orange is my favorite color this makes a ton of sense.  I visited Butcher’s on September 17th and I’ve never seen them busier.  The folks who work there are super nice and will help you pick things out, carry them to your car – they even have free apples for the kids and samples of their delicious baked goods.

Butcher's Farm Market Gourds

When I shop at a Farm Market there are certain things I look for and Butcher’s has them all.  My list goes like this:

  • They should grow MOST of what they sell
  • Folks should be nice and helpful
  • They should have a bathroom (kids ya know)
  • They should have great prices
  • They should have variety
  • They should support organic, local and renewable practices when possible.
  • They should accept Farmers’ Market Nutrition vouchers if possible.  (This is the government subsidized food program that includes farm fresh goodies – if nobody has any place to use those benefits they it doesn’t do anyone any good.)
  • They should have a little something for the kids.  Butcher’s has a free apple basket and plenty of samples to try plus low cost treats to go easy on the pocketbook.

Want to visit? Here is your adventure map:

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Butcher's Farm Market

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Butcher\'s Farm Market 40.484604, -77.136923 590 North 4th Street, Newport, PA 17074, United States (Directions)
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So here are some photos from my trip to Butcher’s Farm Market.  You can find them on Facebook here.  My camera hates the inside of their shop, makes everything yellow.  But you can still see the awesomeness inside.

Butcher's Beans

Butcher's Help

Butcher's Inside

Twin Kiss Creamery InsideOn one of my lovely long drives into work over hill and dale I spotted a sign saying “Teaberry Soft Serve” and my heart went all a-flutter.  I *love* Teaberry and I *love* soft-serve ice cream.  Sadly, the place with the sign was not open at 8am. I have no idea why not, ice cream is a dairy product, perfect as yogurt for breakfast!

Anyway, that sign kept haunting me and Saturday I couldn’t take it any more. I loaded my kids up in Kitten (my Kia Soul, not hamster-driven) and went on a drive to see if I could find the place again.

Along the way we stopped at Sledworks to do some antiquing and we also stumbled across a tractor parade.  Yes, a tractor parade.  I’m not sure what else you would call a long line of tractors in a field with people standing by watching.  (We actually had to double-back for that one after we got our ice cream… that’ll be another post.)

So I managed to find the place but now the sign said “Soft Serve Cappucino”.  Ruined my day but the nice girl behind the counter did make me a teaberry milkshake so I still got my pink, minty goodness.

Where was this magical place with the teaberry goodness?  Twin Kiss Creamery in Shermans Dale, PA.  I remember long ago there being a stand-alone Twin Kiss in that area, in front of an IGA if I remember correctly, but that was in the 80s or 90s and lots has changed in Perry County since then.

Twin Kiss Creamery Menu

So if you happen to be wandering through Shermans Dale, stop in at the Twin Kiss Creamery for a treat.  You can check them out on Facebook here.

3Bs Dauphin

So I moved to Dauphin in 2001 and I really didn’t want to move there.  It is kinda out there, ya know?  BUT, then I found out that less than a mile from my house was a 3Bs.

3Bs is a local ice cream chain that serves Hershey’s ice cream in HUGE portions, shakes, sundaes, slush puppies, sandwiches and sodas.

There are 3 locations of 3Bs currently:  Linglestown just off of Route 39, Duncannon on 11/15 and Dauphin on 225 just off 322.  The Duncannon location also has soft serve, not sure about Linglestown.  We don’t in Dauphin and that is OK by me.

You can find them on Facebook here.

Below is kids sized cone being enjoyed by Butterfly Girl

3Bs Kids Size

Twin Kiss Teaberry MilkshakeI had a very long drive into work last week, if you live along 322 this happens a few times a year.  322 ends up backed up, 11/15 is backed up so you hotfoot it over to Duncannon from the East Shore and take a nice drive through Perry County to make it to your office on the West Shore.

It’s just a Dauphin thing, we do it all the time.

BUT, on my trip I saw a sign that made me pull over.  “Teaberry Soft-Serve”.  Oh man, I love teaberry.  Alas the ice cream shop was NOT open at 8am (but I did make a return trip and got the milkshake above, no soft serve though.)

I asked some of my PIttsburgh Co-workers if they knew about Teaberry Ice Cream, but City Boy had never heard of teaberry and Mr. W only knew of Clark’s Teaberry gum.  Funny thing is Clark’s Teaberry was made in Pittsburgh until operations went to Mexico (the parent company is still there) so I’m not sure why City Boy had never heard of it.  Guess he just doesn’t get out much.

Just made me wonder where in PA Teaberry is famous, certainly in my neck of the woods in Central PA and in Schuylkill County where my Mom’s family is from.

If you don’t know about it, Teaberry is a flavoring used apparently only in gum and ice cream.  There is a teaberry plant that grows in these parts that gets red berries and supposedly this is how this all came about.  The flavor of teaberry is a mild wintergreen, a little sweet.  My kids think it tastes like Pepto-Bismol or those pink lozenges my grandma always had on her counter.

Below is a wonderful combination – a vanilla and teaberry cone (this is the SMALL folks) from 3Bs in Dauphin. Read about them here.

Teaberry and Vanilla Cone from 3Bs