Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Roots Market, the famous farm market and auction house, is open only on Tuesday. Yesterday being the last Tuesday before Thanksgiving and the impending visit of daughter Sarah and her children Cole and Chloe, it was imperative that I make one last trip this year to the huge retail complex near Manheim.

The Box drove off Pa. 283 one exit too early, so we had to wind through some back country roads to find the place. It was a misty morning, with the sun struggling to break through the clouds. Finally, I spotted the market in the distance and headed in that direction.

All of the parking lots were full, so I had to park along the road on a grass strip apparently reserved for silver-colored cars (see photo). Pedestrian aisles were full, too, both inside and outside of the sprawling complex. I headed straight for the stand where I have bought the chocolate shoofly pies that Sarah loves. I expected to see the bearded Amish man and his daughter, dressed plainly in black and bright solid colors, at their stand full of baked goods. Instead, all I saw was the stand. Empty. Desolate. Void of human presence. Well, you get the picture.

Beginning to panic, I recalled another stand outside run by plain people, but they seemed to specialize in whoopie pies. Would they even have a shoofly pie, let alone a chocolate one? (The difference is that chocolate sauce or syrup of some sort replaces the molasses found in a "regular" shoofly pie.)

Can you believe there were four chocolate shoofly pies in a row at the end of the stand? Naturally, I snatched up two of them. The young Amish man behind the table (I say Amish even though he might have been from a number of different sects among the plain people) boxed and bagged them for me. Satisfied, I decided to spend a few minutes more before heading back to a lunch date in Harrisburg.

Just for visual fun, I checked out the other bakeries. At one of them I found a stupendous lemon meringue pie. There must have been the whites of a dozen eggs on top! I passed up the bear claws, the sticky buns, the donuts, and the pies, even the Moravian sugar cakes, which I love.

I made my way through the smallish group of outside vendors and back to the Box. On the way out, I stopped once again at the stand where I had bought the shoofly pies and ogled the miles of whoopie pies on display. Not being a fool, I bought a couple to take home. When I asked the young man if I could take his picture behind the table with the hundreds of whoopie pies, he backed up, tossed the bag of whoopie pies I bought onto the table, and said I could take a picture of the whoopies, but not of him.

We headed north on Pa. 72 to Manheim, then turned west on Pa. 772 toward Pa. 283. Before entering the highway, I realized we were only two miles from Mt. Joy and decided to stop at the Wilton Armetale Outlet there to see what bargains they might have. They did not have anything that interested me, and when I asked about bringing some Armetale dinner plates to have them polished, the woman told me that they no longer operated in this region, but instead that all of their products were made in Mexico or China. Disappointed, I left, probably never to return.

Next we headed north on Pa. 230 through Elizabethtown, Middletown, Highspire, and Steelton, arriving finally with our precious cargo of pies at Harrisburg. I found a parking spot on Briggs Street and hoofed it over to Roxy's Café at Third and North, where I met old (I mean former, of course) PHMC cronies Joan and Marcia. We had a good meal and witty conversation. We watched former colleagues crossing the street and continuing on to fancier and pricier eateries. When the time came, Joan and Marcia left, and I walked to my car.

There I ran into my friend Guy, who had walked home from downtown for a cake he had forgotten to take to work. Though unable to talk him out of a slice, I offered him a ride back downtown on my way to the John Harris Mansion, where I was to meet with, you guessed it, Marcia from Roxy's!

After the meeting, I walked around to the front of the mansion to see the progress on the front porch, which is being repaired. The north end will be finished soon and the south end after that.

I also walked across busy Front Street to photograph one of the few trees in Riverfront Park still bearing fall foliage. It was near the grave of John Harris, Sr., who had lived nearby and operated a ferry across the Susquehanna in the 18th century.

An array of whoopie pies -- the largest variety I have ever seen!
Double click to enlarge and read the labels.

Here's that beautiful tree in Riverfront Park.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are welcome here.