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Our American His-toury Tour (Pennsylvania)

Author: dewey a chiles
Date of Trip: January 2001

we actually have 2 bed & breakfasts to reveal. both are in pennsylvania; one in philadelphia, the other in lancaster county.

we wanted to experience the 4th of july in one of our most historically famous cities for that celebration. so in february of this year (after much research) we booked 4 nights from july 1st to the 5th at the Alexander Inn in philadelphia. we wanted to be near the historical downtown area yet far enough away that the crowds and noise would not keep us from getting any sleep. the Alexander Inn fit that description perfectly. it is about 6 blocks from the visitors center and constitution hall. from there everything is all within walking distance. the inn itself is rather historical. it was built between 1890 & 1898 as a upscale hotel. it was called “flanders hotel”. originally built with gas lighting it was converted to electric. since then it has been completely remodeled with all the amenities we needed and then some. our desk clerk was very warm & forthcoming. after the long plane trip from denver and hectic path from departing plane to baggage pickup to locating a cab and then subsequent trip from airport to the inn, he was like the smiling familiar face at the end of a hard day. after directing us to our room he was more than happy to give us the details and directions to all the locations we were there to see. he even provided maps with highlighted circles on the “must see” places. but it did not end there. we had wonderfully prepared breakfasts. not the usual coffee, roll & cereal we have become used to. and the person in charge of the breakfast always made sure to come out to the small but well laid out dining area to ask how everything was. i was impressed. our last day as we were ready to check out. the desk clerk was more than happy to call us a cab. he also helped us with the luggage out the door to the cab. i would definitely stay at the alexander inn again if i am ever in philadelphia.

after our stay in philadelphia. we had allocated another 4 days to visit the lancaster countryside; amish country. i had spent quite some time on the internet researching the areas around lancaster. we didn’t want to stay directly in lancaster but in a smaller location away from the city. we ended up at the b&b at folkcraft center. folkcraft center is within the village of witmer and about 3 or 4 miles from bird in hand (another wonderful little amish village). this little jewel of a b&b is situated in a old brick farmhouse built in 1871. it only has 3 or 4 rooms but they are just fantastic. ours was situated on the second floor of the house facing the street. it was a large room very tastefully decorated and quite comfortable. one would think that facing the street would have it’s distractions. and i was a little apprehensive at first. were we pleasantly surprised at how little traffic there was. in fact about the only traffic was the “klop, klop klop” of the horses hooves from those gentle amish people. and those were heard only in the morning, on their way to work and in the evening on their way back. it was truly a delight. the innkeeper was one of kind. his name was mel horst and from the beginning his hospitality was overwhelming. mel horst was a well known lancaster photographer. his pictures were located in many lancaster and amish magazines. he was also a wealth of information for that wonderful part of pennsylvania. we spent some time with mel and gathered as much information as he could offer before going out on our day trips. he offered a continental type breakfast which was quite tasty considering this elderly gentleman (about 75 i would guess) runs this place practically by himself. the b&b is really centrally located as well. we drove the beautiful countryside visiting such colorful villages as bird in hand, intercourse, & blue ball. we also visited a working amish farm, drove to hershey for chocolate (only 30 miles away), and did a day trip to gettysburg (60 miles away). but it all would not have been as possible, as memorable or as enjoyable without the b&b and mel horst. again if i were to find myself in this area of pennsylvania i would be staying at the folkcraft center in witmer pa.

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