by Megan Kopp
I chose to spend the day biking around
Lewisburg, heading out along quiet country roads to explore the pastoral
wonder of Central Pennsylvania under my own power. Motorists seemed to be
incredibly polite, perhaps it’s because locals are used to the
slower-moving Amish buggies that still frequent backroads and by-ways. We
chugged along beside Buffalo Creek, passing the historic Grove’s Mill,
built in the 1700’s and still in operation today.
While the rest of my group spent the
afternoon antique shopping at Roller Mills Antique Center and exploring
Walnut Acres Organic Food Farm, I paddled down the Susquehanna River with
Betsy and Allan Quant in their 12-passenger voyageur canoe. Feeling a need
to stretch stiffening legs, I took a pre-dinner stroll through New Berlin,
following a historic walking tour pamphlet as I meandered along Penn’s
Dinner at Gabriel’s that began with Salad
Neapolitan (layers of field greens, mushrooms and feta cheese topped with sun dried
tomato vinaigrette and toasted pine nuts), followed by citrus and ginger
marinated chicken and salmon with a fresh cream sauce and topped off with a
shortbread crusted triple-berry pie. Replete, I was more than ready to give
in to a peaceful night’s rest.
When I awoke the next morning, snuggled
beneath a blue-tone, hand-made Amish quilt, lace curtains filtering the
early light, I heaved a sigh of contentment. The Inn at New Berlin in the
heart of Central Pennsylvania has that effect. As I strolled across the hall
to my personal bathroom, floorboards creaked and I was struck by memories of
visiting my Grandmother’s home. I stood a little straighter and was
tempted to make my bed before heading down the wooden staircase to
investigate the mouthwatering aromas of breakfast below.
|The staff at Gabriel's collect loose coins
received, up to one dollar each per shift, and stow them in a glass bowl.
Once the bowl is full, the change is emptied, counted, matched by Innkeepers
John and Nancy Showers and delivered to thankful charities.
initiated by waitress Tiffany Knorr, has provided funds for the
Mountoursville TWA Flight 800 Family Fund, ALS Research, Haven Ministries,
Lupus Research Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the local Ronald
Executive chef Scott Brouse and cohort Gabriel keep a close watch on the herb garden behind the inn's restaurant. Photo credit: M. Kopp. Click to Enlarge
The graciousness of John and Nancy and their
staff is infectious and guests soon feel not only welcome, but at home. It
is a feeling that prevails. At the historic, mid-1800’s Samuel Aurand
house a small metal sign hangs on the door of a private apartment. It reads:
Innkeeper’s Mother. John’s parents ran a general store in this building
for many years and his mother now has a suite in the old family quarters.
John says they have no intention of expanding
beyond possibly one more room in the carriage house behind the main inn.
"We don’t want to become an impersonal hotel, we want to have the
chance to get the know the people who stay with us." If you spend time
with John as he works in the herb garden, or chat with Nancy about son
Michael’s framed grade school artwork hanging next to family photos, I
think you’ll find you enjoy the chance to get to know these folks too. A
table in the Inn’s sunken living room holds photo albums which chronicle
their 9-month labor of love that transformed the old house into a romantic
retreat now listed in the Innkeeper’s Register as one of the distinguished
inns of North America.
If can bring yourself to abandon the porch
swing, the Susquehanna Valley has a whole host of activities awaiting your
pleasure -- from bicycling quiet backroads to visiting Mary Koon’s quilt
shop, touring the Packwood House, Slifer House or Mifflinburg Buggy Museum,
or attending tastings at local wineries. Regardless of how you choose to
pass the time, the Inn and its surroundings are a getaway that will take you
home again, back to a simpler time when people cared.
If you go:
Mid-week rates range from $83 - $135 and
include a complete breakfast at Gabriel’s. For further information and
reservations at the Inn at New Berlin, call 570-966-0321 or visit online at www.newberlin-inn.com.
For further information on the Valleys of the
Susquehanna area and its various attractions, call toll free 877-507-3570 or
visit online at www.pavalleys.com.
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Megan Kopp is a freelance writer published in a variety of markets including
Reader’s Digest, Canadian Living, Western People, YES Magazine, Western Parent, Northwest Family and The Traveler’s Journal.
She has traveled extensively throughout Western Canada and the United States;
spent time in the Cook Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Guatemala, Costa Rica,
Mexico, and Belize and have recently been re-directing her writing efforts towards sharing my passion for new sights, smells and