Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire has several advantages, including three motels in walking distance in case you want to imbibe the beer, mead, wine and spiked cider available . You can stroll the day long, checking out the variety of musical, comedy and juggling acts, among others. You can shop for funky stuff, eat all kinds of fun fodder, and if it ain’t all authentic, it’s still all in good goony fun. Oh, and you can dress up fancy if you like.

You finish the day off with a joust, even if our hero Roland loses again, and pretty impressive fireworks.

However, you also are located nicely. Withou much fuss, you can head to the Lancaster area and Pennsylvania Dutch Country — including the inimitable Ronks and Intercourse, PA, and no, I’m not making that up — for great dining in the smorgasbords, such as Miller’s, traditional eateries, such as Plain & Fancy and other homey if trendier choices, such as the Revere Tavern, that the vicinity offers, not to mention all the cool shopping choices available at Kitchen Kettle Village and Dutch Haven Shoo-Fly Pie Bakery. You an also stay on a replica steamboat at the Fulton Steamboat Inn, that actually has some quite attractive accommodations. Lititz, PA has the old-timey Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, where you can learn to be a pretzel twister, and who doesn’t want something to fall back on? Then there’s Hershey, with its amusement park, major concert setting, Tröegs Brewing and The Hersey Story museum, where you can become a candy-making apprentice or sample chocolate from around the world.

So, you got choices. (But be warned: Some of these places aren’t open on Sunday, such as KKV, or close early on Sunday, sometimes earlier than the posted time, such as Miller’s, so calling ahead is a good idea if you want to be certain they can accommodate you.)

Oh, and P.S. The town of Lancaster has the Lancaster Brewing Co., a nice stop in its own right.


Left Coast Kitchen & Cocktails

img_8844A descendant of those New American cuisine restaurants that gave you variations on theme to only occasionally gratifying effect. Except the effect of Left Coast Kitchen, in Merrick, NY, is quite gratifying. As such, the Peanut Butter Bacon Burger actually works as more than the sum of its what-might-be-considered-disparate parts. Brunch is particularly appealing, with the Sneaky Pete slipping in a jolt of spicy flavor, as the image above hints. Highly recommended.


On a Different Note; Urban Farm Fermentory & Gruit Brewing Co.

Portland has a lot of great brewpubs and tasting rooms, and they vary in approach from foundational, Gritty McDuff’s, to traditional, Shipyard, to continental, Oxbow, to outdoorsy, Rising Tide. However, for a distinct experience, try the Urban Farm Fermentory & Gruit Brewing Co., a relaxed, New Agey drinking experience just across the street from the Lone Pine/Goodfire, back to back operations, and despite their good reps, I’ll not direct you to them due to their sin of tapping too many IPAs. The approach to brewing at Urban Farm Fermentory is creative and pretty unique, featuring beer, mead, cider, kambucha and jun. What’s jun? Check out the bottom right corner of the photo. The illustrated explanation may help. Or not. They even had a pettable dachshund at the bar. Is any hot dog safe in a room of people drinking beer…and some other beverages I’ll tentatively identify as related…? Well, the other customers may have been vegetarians. And we’d already eaten, so…Anyway, said dachshund, seemed as chilled as the two-leggers. I particularly like a sourish brew called Biscuit Phrase, which somehow had a yogurt component. Didn’t hurt, may have helped, good beer, whatever the case.


Flatbread Company, Portland, ME

Okay, so it’s a chain restaurant, which I found out after eating, but who cares? Its dining room is casual and comfortable, the staff is attentive and the back and rear deck look out on Casco Bay. They have pies that are effectively pizzas with tomato sauce, but you can go without as well. I stumbled upon Punctuated Equilibrium with Kalamata olives, rosemary, red onions, Sunset Acres goat cheese, fire-roasted sweet red peppers and whole milk mozzarella baked on bread dough with homemade garlic oil and herbs. Ingredients run to the organic, if you are into that sort of thing. Very good and inexpensive.


Sift, a Fiendishly Good Bakery in Mystic, CT

What the hell, say I, when you’re toutistring about, may the calories burn in the fires of flaky perdition. Or something like that. Ham and cheese croissant: Sinful! Almond croissant, with nice, light whipped cream sandwiched in the middle: Sinfuler! But the Blueberry Violet Cheesecake: Not even Fr. Egan could come up with a penance long, dreary and severe enough to get you off the hook for that one. But you weren’t gonna see heaven anyway, were you? So you better sink your teeth in whilst here. Oh, and the peanut butter sandwich cookie was monsterous.


Captain Daniel Packer Inne, Mystic CT

Outstanding. We ate in the close, cool downstairs bar and dining room part of the historic, building. The almond crusted goat cheese salad and stuffed lobster were excellent but the portobello mushroom Alouette cheese appetizer was out of this world, and I don’t throw around extra-planetary superlatives a lot. They had a prickly pear sour beer from Two Roads Brewing, Stratford CT, that was first rate and quite sour. More on that latter. Best go visit Dan Packer whilst in the vicinity.

Captain Daniel Packer Inne