Wednesday, September 30, 2009


My friend Eileen McHugh of Montreux, Switzerland, came to visit this week. Eileen and I studied together at the Université de Montpellier, France, in 1966-67. A Pennsylvania native, she has lived in Switzerland for several years and is chief translator for the Rolex watch company.

This morning we jumped into the Box and headed to Hershey for breakfast at the Hershey Pantry, a pleasant little restaurant on the road to Palmyra. It reminds me on the outside of the some of the buildings of the chatauqua at Mt. Gretna, further to the southeast in Lebanon County.

We enjoyed real coffee as we awaited our breakfasts, which were delivered in a flash. Susanne had chosen poached eggs and home fries, and I hankered for a cheese omelette and home fries. Eileen ordered pancakes and scrapple.

Imagine Eileen's surprise at the size of the pancakes -- there was a stack of three as large as the dinner plate. I offered her $10 to eat the whole thing, because I knew it was impossible! She dutifully sawed away at them, but most came home in a styrofoam box. Why do American restaurants serve more food than one can eat? They often force you to waste. Anyway, the food was delicious, and the service was good.

We took a ride past Milton Hershey's mansion, his one-room school, and the Derry Church Session House that he had enclosed in glass, then past the roller coasters of HersheyPark. Then the Box chugged up the hill to the Hotel Hershey to see its fabulously beautiful new approach and the cottages build behind the hotel for visitors. We had a nice glimpse of the town in the distance and the Hershey Gardens opposite the hotel. The sky was dramatic -- dark and cloudy over the mountains behind the hotel and clear to to the south.

Next stop, our favorite antique/junque shop on the Hershey Road. I bought a wooden rack to display redware. A bargain! Susanne bought some very interesting pumpkins and a sprig of bittersweet. Eileen enjoyed seeing a lot of "treasures" that she remembered from her childhood. She told us she is not in the buying mode, since she wants to consider moving back to the U.S. in two years. In fact, she said, she likes the idea of making her guests take something home with them so her house empties out before she starts packing!

Before heading home, we drove past our old house on Linglestown Road. Then Eileen packed up and headed back to Philly, where she will visit with relatives until returning to the Land of Watches and Chocolate.

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