Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

The sweet legacy of the Hershey Story

“ . . .there is no provision for a police department, nor for a jail. Here there will be no unhappiness, then why any crime.”  Milton Hershey, 1903, on planning Hershey, PA

The Hershey Story: Museum on Chocolate Ave., Hershey, PA
The Hershey Story: Museum on Chocolate Ave., Hershey, PA

If it wasn’t for shipping costs, Hersheypark might have been built in New Orleans. In 1883, after less than a year, the struggling caramel candy entrepreneur Milton Hershey gave up on a southern location and moved back to his home state of Pennsylvania. The Hershey Story – aka the chocolate museum on, naturally, Chocolate Avenue ­– may strip any cynicism one may have concerning philanthropy.  A visit to the Hershey Story generated both awe and admiration at the tenacity and vision of a single candy maker – and his extraordinary legacy.

Gail Forbes, the Chcocolate Lab

It’s the chocolate first, though, especially milk chocolate. At the Hershey Story’s Chocolate Lab, Gail Forbes explains that chocolate (cacao) is native only to Mexico, yet Africa now produces 70% of the world’s supply. The Portuguese established cacao production in central western Africa in the 17th century. Cacao now thrives worldwide but only within a narrow band 5° north and south of the Equator.

equatorial chocolate beans

One cacao pod contains an average 30 beans and will produce enough edible chocolate for a 3-ounce bar. This enjoyable hour long hands on chocolate class resulted in the group molding individual milk chocolate bars and seasoning them with optional additions including bitter chocolate shavings, cinnamon and red pepper flakes. The Chocolate Lab has an extensive schedule of events and classes.

18th century chocolate pots, Hershey Story

The exhibits in the Hershey Story are laid out within a modern spacious interior in chronological order covering cacao and chocolate processing, the long life and career of Milton Hershey, the company, the town and his legacy. In 1903, already having segued from caramels into trendy Swiss milk chocolate, Milton Hershey moved his company from Lancaster.  Among the many reasons he purchased a vast amount of Derry Township, besides being born there, was to construct a modern assembly line factory achieving a cost reduction that would put chocolate into the hands of working class children.

Hershey Dairy

In Pennsylvania’s agricultural heartland, he created extensive dairy farms securing a controlled supply of milk. To this day, only black & white Holstein cows produce the milk that’s processed into the double condensed milk developed by Milton himself that gives Hershey’s milk chocolate its creamy texture.

Hershey Kiss street lamps in Hershey, PA

Yet another major interest for the sizable land investment was to establish a model company town. Inspired by Bourneville, the village created by England’s progressive Cadbury brothers (Cadbury chocolate), Hershey , Pennsylvania, would include housing, churches, schools, health facilities, public transit, theaters, a vast community center, a luxe hotel, an award-winning public rose garden and the ever-popular Hersheypark (1907). Like Bourneville, foresight and the company’s continued success ensured the town’s future prosperity.

Reeses display at the Hershey Story museum

Milton encouraged home ownership and private businesses, even competition. Harry Burnett Reese was a young worker at the Hershey chocolate factory when he was inspired to make candy on his own in his home’s basement. With investment from Milton Hershey himself, the peanut butter cup was born in 1928 and the H.B. Reese Candy Company thrived. The business admiration was mutual since the chocolate was procured from Hershey. Reese’s became a valuable brand for the Hershey Chocolate Company when purchased from H.B.’s heirs in 1963.

In 1909 Milton and Catherine Hershey added a unique institution to their town and their legacy when they created a perpetual endowment for the Milton Hershey School by signing over their shares – and ownership – of the Hershey Chocolate Company. Providing orphans comprehensive residential K – 12 education and training (and beyond in many cases) the Milton Hershey School continues its mission today as a model co-ed institution serving a population that’s often at risk. The Hershey Story has an extensive exhibit on the school’s enviable success.

display at museum of life at Milton Hershey School

Established in 1935, the M.S. Hershey Foundation’s mission has been to concentrate on community educational projects, The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the Hershey Gardens and The Hershey Story. Even during the Great Depression, Hershey was spared the worst. The luxurious Hotel Hershey and other company supported construction projects were completed during the 1930s. In the 21st century, Chocolate Avenue’s Hershey Kiss street lamps light a vibrant and attractive commercial center including many original buildings and cafes.

Hershey Hotel from Hershey Gardens, Hershey, PA
Hershey Hotel from Hershey Gardens, Hershey, PA

Hershey Gardens was laid out as a public space in 1935 by Milton in front of the hotel and provide a panoramic view of Hersheypark. It includes acres of original roses, a delightful children’s garden and butterfly house and an extensive arboretum with complimentary plantings. Like all things in Hershey, horticultural coordinator Brooke Umberger detailed a list of community outreach projects especially aimed at environmental education for children.

At the end of a long leisurely tour, a Countries of Origin Chocolate Tasting at The Hershey Story’s Café Zooka gives visitors the chance to sample hot drinking chocolate from a half dozen locations of the globe. This is thick rich warm chocolate like a liquid bar. From the tiny super supplier African island of Sao Thome’s earthy deep cocoa to Java’s caramel undertones and ancient Mexico’s spicy Aztec brew, chocolate has pleasured millions, but it created the means for Milton and Catherine Hershey to provide a continuing legacy of humanitarian service.

Countries of Origin Chocolate Tasting

Discloser: the author was a guest of the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau. Check their site for up-to-date event listings.

Hershey, PA, is conveniently located off the Pennsylvania Turnpike just east of Harrisburg and 95 miles west of Philadelphia. Domestic and international flights service Harrisburg International Airport and Amtrak provides national rail.

 

Please read more by Travel with Pen and Palate at…

Hellenic News of America (Travel with Pen and Palate)
Hellenic News of America (Marc d’Entremont)
Travel Pen and Palate Argentina

 

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Rehoboth Beach and Harrisburg: an art and culinary drive

Harrisburg the capital of Pennsylvania and Rehoboth Beach in far southern Delaware may be 165 miles apart, but they share similar European colonial origins, the Susquehanna/Chesapeake Bay river basin and legendary farmlands.

Wearable art at the Art League of Rehoboth
Wearable art at the Art League of Rehoboth
Larry Ringgold,  driftwood horse sculpture,  Peninsula Gallery
Larry Ringgold, driftwood horse sculpture, Peninsula Gallery

 

From plein air painters feasting on the raw natural beauty of beaches and marshland to cutting edge jewelry design, southern Delaware has nurtured the arts for the past century.  As the motto of the Art League of Rehoboth says, Art Grows Here.™

 

 

Abraxas Hudson, artist , owner Abraxas Studio of Art, Lewes, DE.
Abraxas Hudson, artist , owner Abraxas Studio of Art, Lewes, DE.

 

View eleven of Sussex County’s best galleries at…

 Southern Delaware art galleries break design barriers

 

Cafe Fresco's Dim Sum Donuts
Cafe Fresco’s Dim Sum Donuts

 

a Pennsylvania dairy farm
a Pennsylvania dairy farm

Before there was state government, before there was coal, iron, steel and chocolate, farm and tavern table were always next-door. The ingredients to make a creamy mushroom risotto, charcuterie, or a Polish vegetarian chili are still from the earth surrounding the Harrisburg/Hershey region.

Bar at Devon Seafood Grill
Bar at Devon Seafood Grill

 

A spotlight on eight venues offering  culinary creativity…

Where farm and table are always next door 

 

Scrambled eggs w/truffles, pheasant sausage at Suba
Scrambled eggs w/truffles, pheasant sausage at Suba

 

You can read all my articles at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Insights

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

Fort Hunter: slavery, the Gilded Age and philanthropy

Party games at Fort Hunter Mansion late 1800s
Party games at Fort Hunter Mansion late 1800s
View of the Susquehanna River from a mansion window
View of the Susquehanna River from a mansion window

 

Fort Hunter captures a sweeping 200-year panoply of Pennsylvania.  From frontier outpost, slavery, Revolution, the promise of canals, Civil War, the age of steel to modern philanthropy, this bucolic site was at the center of history.

 

 

 

From 1786 to 1831 over 20 enslaved African-Americans made the soap, ironed the clothes, cooked and cleaned the house, worked the farm and its businesses. Narrowly avoiding being in the center of the Civil War, Fort Hunter entered an era as a focal point for Harrisburg society in the 1880s.

Fort Hunter Mansion
Fort Hunter Mansion

With over 80% of the mansion’s furnishings, antiques and art original to the families that called Fort Hunter home, a tour of the house provides a rare glimpse into 200 years of American life.  Read the intriguing story…

A Harrisburg historical site mirrors American history

 

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You can read all my articles at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Travel

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

Chef Christian DeLutis redefines pub fare at Tröegs

Chef Christian DeLutis at Troegs Brewery
Chef Christian DeLutis at Troegs Brewery

“A restaurant is a story,” says Christian DeLutis the thirty-something Executive Chef of Tröegs Brewing Company’s Snack Bar. Once you enter the sleek modern brewery, located next to Pennsylvania’s famed Hershey Park, you may well wonder what is the story? Sharing the same space as the brewery’s expansive beer tasting room, a customer can certainly order fries, popcorn or a grilled cheese sandwich. Yet that’s where any similarity to average pub food ends.

beef pot roast beef pot roast served in a mason jar.
beef pot roast beef pot roast served in a mason jar.

The hand-cut fries are served with aromatic hop oil and spicy ketchup. The popcorn may be seasoned with rosemary brown butter and sea salt, and the grilled sandwich will have three cheeses. Or you can try one of their specials of the day from the blackboard such as beef pot roast with root vegetables, duck fat mashed potatoes and a rich demi-glace, served in a mason jar. If this sounds too esoteric for a brewery in rural Pennsylvania then you haven’t been to Tröegs when up to 2,000 customers a day flock to the Snack Bar.

Snack Bar
Snack Bar

Chef Christian DeLutis, who grew up in rural central Pennsylvania, started his career as an English teacher before turning towards food. After completing culinary arts training in Pittsburgh, he spent time cooking in Ireland before moving to the Washington DC and Baltimore area, moving up the ranks in top restaurant kitchens. His grandparents made their own sausage and salami, but Christian was classically trained under French chefs.

Snack Bar
Snack Bar

This doesn’t mean the tasting room at Tröegs Brewing Company is white table clothes and suited waiters. It’s in the middle of a busy working brewery; there are long wooden tables and no waiters. Orders are placed at the Snack Bar counter, and you’ll have it in your hands within seven minutes. “It’s food that works with beer,” Christian states simply, even if it’s succulent, slow cooked sous-vide duck leg confit.

Chef DeLutis has based his menu concept on the popularity of locally sourced ingredients in the preparation of imaginative dishes being served in California’s prestigious wineries. Considering the explosion of national interest in fine craft beers, it’s only natural upscale breweries would follow suit. It’s to Tröegs benefit that Hershey is in the middle of the legendary Pennsylvania Dutch region known for the excellence of its agricultural abundance.

Locally sourced ingredients: bones for stocks, sous vide local duck, local Amish butter, breads made on site with locally milled flour
Locally sourced ingredients: bones for stocks, sous vide local duck, local Amish butter, breads made on site with locally milled flour

The Snack Bar sources much of its ingredients directly from local farms, orchards and dairies including fresh oysters from the Chesapeake. Christian believes in preserving as much summer produce as time allows. Personal relationships are cultivated with farmers and local producers to obtain the freshest ingredients such as local raw butter, lamb and beef. The Snack Bar staff of 30 includes bakers and butchers. They fabricate the cuts from the whole animal. One farmer buys the beer mash to feed to his cattle and then sells the cattle to the kitchen – the circle of life.

They cure their own bacon, prepare the sausages and pates, smoke their own briskets and make extensive use of sous-vide cooking which slowly infuses flavors into vacuum sealed ingredients creating dishes that improve while being held under refrigeration and are easily reheated. Even what products are not locally produced are customized, such as the large soft pretzels. They’re imported raw frozen from Bavaria, dipped in beer and topped with toasted malted barley from the brewery before baking.

Charcuterie board : house made & locally sourced
Charcuterie board : house made & locally sourced

Chef DeLutis creates the menu with staff input. There will always be standard items he says, but the menu reflects seasonal changes and when new beers are released. He strives to maintain a lighthearted but disciplined atmosphere both in the kitchen as well as the dining space, which is shared with the beer-tasting bar. Promoting from within and encouraging staff members to engage in continuing their culinary development is important. Currently the cooks are writing reports on ingredient requirements that’ll serve as the basis of ongoing discussions with the farmers.

But does smoked lamb sausage with lemon marmalade, roasted beef marrow bones and rosemary ice cream on a fresh plum tart make business sense? “Snack Bar revenue equals retail beer sales, which came as a surprise,” says Chef DeLutis with genuine modesty. But a brewery is about beer, and the Tröegs brothers don’t disappoint.

A sample of Tröegs beers
A sample of Tröegs beers

Founded 20 years ago by brothers who grew up in the Hershey/Harrisburg area and became interested in home brewing, Tröegs has grown prodigiously with national distribution. They employ three microbiologists to keep their proprietary yeast strains healthy. The brewery propagates it’s own yeast. The hops are from the Pacific Northwest.

Brooke siphoned off fresh beer during tour
Brooke siphoned off fresh beer during tour

Brooke, our knowledgeable brewery tour guide, stopped half way during the tour of the compact, nearly Rube Goldberg like, modern facility to climb up one of the vast stainless steel fermentation vats and siphoned off fresh beer. It was a unique tasting to experience an almost ready craft brew. The actual tasting of several Tröegs beers took place next to the active bottling station.

Golden Dream Weaver Wheat was a peppery pilsner with German hops and back notes of banana. Troegegenator Double Bock was an 8.2% alcohol dark, full-bodied brew with notes of brown sugar, molasses and malt. Perpetual IPA is a homage to the best of Northwest Pacific Coast hops with back notes of pine and mint. Visitors can opt for a self-guided wander behind glass walls with lengthy storyboards.

Locally sourced cheeses, jams, fruit tray
Locally sourced cheeses, jams, fruit tray

Tucking into lunch was sheer pleasure reminiscent to this chef-writer of French country bistros. The charcuterie board was an artfully arranged selection of house cured meats, duck, chicken and foie gras pate, smoked trout mousse and chicken liver mousse. It was paired with an equally fine cheese board featuring Double Gloucester, Brigante, Buttermilk Blue and Smoked Gouda. The soup of the day was earthy charred sweet pepper bisque blended with goat cheese cream. And the Bavarian Oktoberfest pretzel was sheer fun with its coating of malted barley adding a counterpoint to the soft, warm dough. All paired well with the corked, slightly carbonated, Belgian style LaGrave Triple Golden Ale.

When you go: Tröegs Brewing Company and Snack Bar, Hershey, PA, is open all year with a busy regular clientele. Opening hours: Sunday – Wednesday 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Thursday – Saturday until 10:00 p.m.

Disclosure: the author was a guest of the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau and Tröegs.

Troegs Bavarian Oktoberfest pretzel
Smile! It’s Troegs Bavarian Oktoberfest pretzel

 

You can read all my articles at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Travel

 

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New energy for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Fireworks over the Susquehanna River from City Island
Fireworks over the Susquehanna River from City Island

A new generation of young professionals have reversed the population decline, want an urban experience and are revitalizing Harrisburg.

Ralph Vartan, Michael Wilson & Danielle Prokopchak
Ralph Vartan, Michael Wilson & Danielle Prokopchak

Read about the movers reshaping a once “rust-belt” city at…

The faces of a new Harrisburg

 

Stained glass dome of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chambers, Capitol Building
Stained glass dome of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chambers, Capitol Building

Harrisburg is still one of the major railroad transportation hubs of the Northeast connecting to the west and the south. Old steel mill buildings and warehouses have been repurposed for new specialized industries and institutes of higher education.

Lark Quartet, Harrisburg
Lark Quartet, Harrisburg

Read more about Harrisburg’s new mayor – not a cookie cutter politician!

Sense the energy of 21st century Harrisburg

 

roast duck at Carley's glazed with a not overly sweet orange plum sauce and topping wilted spinach and goat cheese infused polenta.
roast duck at Carley’s glazed with a not overly sweet orange plum sauce and topping wilted spinach and goat cheese infused polenta.

Farmers who created Pennsylvania’s moniker the “American breadbasket” in the late 18th century built Harrisburg.

Buddha Buddha's cucumber martini
Buddha Buddha’s cucumber martini

Young professionals flooding center city Harrisburg, PA, have a penchant for gathering with friends – that’s fueling a revitalization of hospitality businesses. Read the rest of the article at…

Revitalizing Harrisburg hospitality along with the city

 

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You can read all my articles at:

Hellenic News of America

Original World Travel

Culinary Travel Examiner

 International Dining Examiner

International Travel Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner

Food & Recipes Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining – Part 2: The suburbs in bloom

As Philadelphia continues refining its vibrant Center City restaurant scene, the suburbs, a former culinary wasteland, are blooming with innovation in attractive locations.

The canal in Yardley, Bucks County, PA

In the suburbs:

On the Yardley riverfront Charcoal sizzles with creativity

Cured Sea Trout, Charcoal BYOB, Yardley, PA

The lowering sun casts a gold light on the swift flowing Delaware River as diners at Charcoal tuck into tender chunks of hanger steak, superbly seasoned octopus and wild mushroom soup with green curry.

Over the past 25 years the Greek menu at the Kitchen Bar has become an American

The Kitchen Bar, Abington, PA

It’s 9:00 pm on a Thursday evening and the Kitchen Bar Restaurant is nearly full. For a weekday night in leafy suburban Abington Township, where even most of the fast food chains are already closed, this is uncommon.

Kinnaree highlights the French influence on Thai dining

Pan Seared Hawaiian Butterfish, Kinnaree Restaurant, Horsham, PA

Set in an unassuming Horsham strip mall, Kinnaree Thai French Cuisine balances traditional Thai dishes with centuries old French influences.

Seafood Ceviche, El Sarape, Blue Bell, PA

El Sarape: Authentic Mexican in the Philadelphia Burbs

Devotees of authentic Mexican cuisine in the Philadelphia metro area have had few choices until El Sarape opened in suburban Blue Bell.

Historic Old City Philadelphia at Washington Square

In Center City:

El Vez is Starr Restaurant’s modern Mexican on Sansom Street

El Vez, Philadelphia, PA

There’s a lot of competition for customers seeking good dining on Philadelphia’s Sansom Street since it’s in proximity to everything of interest in center city.

Le Viet defines Vietnamese cuisine in South Philadelphia

Goi Hai San Trai Tho’m (pineapple & shrimp salad) Le Viet, Philadelphia, PA

The Italian Market/Queen Village district, to any resident of Philadelphia, is inexorably morphing into a little Southeast Asia.

M Restaurant in Philadelphia offers elegance and cutting edge cuisine

caraway scented goat cheese w/ multi colored beets, Meyer lemon, grated rye bread, M Restaurant, Philadelphia, PA

Set within an historic Philadelphia mansion, the M Restaurant & Bar is elegant yet unpretentious.

All my Examiner.com restaurant reviews are a click away: 

Philadelphia Fine Dining and International Dining Examiner

Philadelphia Fine Dining – Part I: The Sidewalks Aren’t Pulled Up At Five Anymore

The Philadelphia Restaurant Revolution started in the mid-1970’s with Chef Georges Perrier’s Le Bec Fin and the opening of the Restaurant School. The city’s culinary wasteland suddenly bloomed with some of America’s most innovative cuisine. Now, finally, the Revolution has broken through to the suburbs. Click the links to read my reviews as Philadelphia Fine Dining Examiner on Examiner.com

Bacalhau á Lagareiro at Massa Pizza & Grill, Ambler, PA

Why would a fine dining Portuguese restaurant want to call itself a pizza parlor? Situated diagonally across from the Ambler Theater, Massa Pizza and Grill is an excellent addition to Ambler’s growing reputation as a foodie destination.

Leila's Bistro, Jenkintown, PA

 Leila’s Bistro is where Edith Piaf would dine if she found herself in Philadelphia’s suburbs.

Valley Green Inn, Chestnut Hill, PA

 The 160 year old Valley Green Inn could not be more romantic and will make you comfortable with its decor and fare.

clockwise: Duck Quesadillas, Pecan pie w/ice cream, Cedar Hollow Restaurant, Malvern, PA, Crab Cake

 Within the past couple years the interior of Cedar Hollow Inn has been nicely remodeled with the main dining room benefiting from a southwest theme. Cobalt blue glasses contrast with the tan/reddish orange wall colors, crisp white table cloths and artistic prints depicting southwestern themes complement the space. Chef Stephen Guiseppe has added good southwestern inspired dishes.

 

The Continental Diner, Philadelphia, PA (clockwise Spinach Ravioli, Fried Philly Steak Rolls, Cheese Cake & Ice Cream, classic Martini, Thai Chicken lettuce wraps, Crab cake

 

Naturally, center city Philadelphia still shines as a culinary Mecca. Keeping up with Stephen Staar’s numerous and successful concepts is as difficult as keeping up with the Kardashians. Yet the Continental Diner stands out as a hands down favorite for Philadelphia natives.

Seared Skate w/ Fregola Sarda & lump crabmeat, Tripe w/ Fresh Tomato and Parmigiano Reggiano, Paradiso, Philadelphia, PA

Paradiso Restaurant & Wine Bar at 1627 East Passyunk Avenue, near Tasker Street, is in the heart of South Philly.  Yet being at the center of Philadelphia’s Little Italy, home to cheese steaks, pizza and veal parmesan with canned sauce, Paradiso is a haven from the typical Italian-American fare of too many area restaurants.

 Check Examiner.com often for my restaurant reviews. You can subscribe either to this blog site or by clicking the link next to my name on one of my reviews.

 

 

For the Love of the Grape on the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail

For me, traversing this bucolic region, l’arte del fare il vino – the art of making wine – seems more la storia d’amore di fare il vino – the love affair of making wine.

the wine shop at Cherry Valley Vineyard

 

Big Creek Vineyard & Winery
Big Creek Vineyard and Winery and Sorrenti Cherry Valley Vineyard are two of the vineyards on the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail in northeast Pennsylvania that make for a pleasant weekend getaway.
named for Dr. Dominic Strohlein’s grandmother – Big Creek Vineyard

Sorrenti Cherry Valley Vineyard

 

the garden for catered events at Sorrenti Cherry Valley Vineyards
the garden for catered events at Sorrenti Cherry Valley Vineyards

 

 

 

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Shawnee Inn’s Own Local Sourcing

Great Shawna Island Farm at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort

Pennsylvania’s Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort takes food sustainability seriously, and creates profits, taking food from their farm to their tables.

 

Shawnee’s beekeeper Erin Schroll

ShawneeCraft Brewery: aging beer in oak casks & hand bottled
Foodshed Alliance products at Shawnee Inn’s Tuesday market

 

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Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort: Preserving Pennsylvania’s Best for a Century

Jackie Gleason learned how to play golf at Shawnee in 1959

“Out with the old and in with the older.”

Shawnee’s Centenary motto

 

On Pennsylvania’s Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort’s spacious and secluded grounds guard bees congregate on the porch of the hives providing ventilation for the life of the queen. Six varieties of tomatoes, white eggplant, Chinese five-color peppers and multi-colored chard thrive in the middle of one of America’s oldest award-winning golf courses. Micro-beers are being bottled by a former electronics engineer of advanced defense weapons. Goat cheese is delivered fresh from a local farm. The mist on the Delaware River swirls through the tree-covered Pocono Mountains, and Frank Sinatra’s voice croons softly through the 100 year old lobby. This is the 21st Century?

 

The River Sanctuary
Shawnee Inn (1911)
guard bees in the Apiary – they’re providing cooling ventilation for the Queen
Chinese 5-color pepper at the Shawnee Farm
The Verandah at Shawnee Inn
The Inn in the evening

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