Friday, November 5, 2010


Our front porch posts and railings are about to disintegrate after twenty years, so today we (the Box, Susanne, and I) headed to New Holland, Lancaster County, to see vinyl replacements in the showroom maintained by a vendor who gave us an estimate in the spring. I wanted to be sure that I liked what we had chosen from a catalog.

The first stop was at the farmers' market located in the parking lot of the state Farm Show Building in north Harrisburg. Susanne got some veggies, we had a hot dog for lunch, and then I stopped at the Mennonite lady's bakery stand. There my eyes glazed over at the wondrous display of whoopie pies, cakes, and pies. I bought a chocolate and a pumpkin whoopie pie for snacks, then I gave the lady two miniature shoofly muffins that I had made for snacks at last night's choir rehearsal. She was truly amused and graciously thanked me. It was like the old saying about "selling coal to Newcastle."

Next the Box whizzed back onto I-81 and down I-83 and route 283 to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We EZPassed through the entry and headed east toward the Lancaster-Lebanon interchange. The goal was to avoid all of the traffic in the Hershey area. We got onto 322 at Cornwall and continued on through Brickerville, Clay, and Ephrata to Hinkletown and New Holland. There we found the Elite Vinyl Railings showroom, parked, and entered.

We checked out all of the sizes, shapes, and colors available and chose square posts with moldings at the top and bottom and a little "collar" near the top; nice rounded handrails; and square spindles. These will match those on the back porch except for the extra moldings. We'll get white in order to refresh the look of the front of the house.

Eventually, we would like to remove the Victorian decoration at the roofline, then replace the siding on the front of the house with the same vinyl that we have on the side (where the wind had lifted off the old aluminum). Then we'll need a new roof. What do you think of a metal roof on the porch and architectural shingles on the main roof? The main roof will be brown. Should the metal porch roof be brown, too?

Some new trim around the garage door, perhaps a new garage door with windows in it, and a new layer of blacktop on the driveway (the old one is sinking faster than Venice), and maybe, just maybe, removing the shrubs immediately in front of the door, and replacing the concrete walk with a little pavered plaza and walk to offer a more welcoming spot for guests. Then we'd be good for a few more years until they wheel us out and drop us at "the home."

With thoughts of renewing our house, we stopped outside of Ephrata to see the model home of a new 55+ community (at least they do not say "55 or better" like some other developments). We toured the main model, the largest of them all and containing examples of every option available. It was no doubt well made, but a bit over the top for our taste. All of the houses are in an arts and crafts style. Two smaller models down the street were open, too. One had just one bedroom and the other had two. Where would we put the children and grandchildren when they come to visit us? The houses were nice enough, but the taxes are twice what we pay now!

We drove home on country roads, passing through Annville; north on route 743 as the sun hung low in the west, creating interesting shadows; to Old Jonestown Road; and then west to route 22 and Crossroads restaurant near Grantville for a bite to eat before returning home, led by a flock of honking geese reminding us that old man winter is on his way!

 The "newish" yellow cauliflower was sold at the market.

The whoopie pies were ready for their close-up.

 The railing store displayed all their products.

 The large model home featured this pub in the basement,
next to the home theatre.

Oh, did I forget to mention the wine cellar?

The Box kept looking around, wondering
where the garages are!

Here's the one bedroom model with a faux dormer.

 The breakfast room was light and airy.

The living had a gas fireplace.

 This is the two-bedroom model.

 We liked the small windows in the dining room.

Here are the kitchen and breakfast room.

On the way home, we passed a number 
of picturesque country scenes.

Susanne took this picture from the car.

This was my take near the same spot.

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