One of my fondest summer childhood memories was picking blueberries with my grandmother. It began with a visit to the hotel kitchen (her uncle owned Spring Lake Hotel in Parksville, NY) to ask for two large empty cans. A short walk away into the hilly countryside always rewarded us with several bushes of wild blueberries. We picked until the cans were full which took a while as I would eat as I picked. As you can see from the blue cast on my teeth in this photo, little has changed. The bushes in the Catskills that once towered over my head as a child were replaced with the huge Pensylvania bushes at the George Schmidt Berry Farm that also towered over my head. The farm offers many seasonal products for sale as well as a pick-your own berries. The blackberries were at least as large as those in Portland and Seattle which are the largest I'd ever seen prior to this day. Picking blueberries this summer was part of a day-long and long-overdue tour of the area within an hour's drive from Hope. Maria Menegus joined me picking the berries which made it even more fun. My resolve to retire some day to Hope was reaffirmed when the Meneguses introduced me to some of the many treasures of the area. I fell in love with it all: the charming Allentown with it's farmer's market that is the oldest in the country and beautiful old theater, Yuengling Brewery, also the oldest in the country, Wegmans ( oh joy!), Klein Farms Dairy & Creamery (raw milk and yogurt--double oh joy!) and Diedricks which has the most amazing selection of meat and other treasures such as bacon horseradish cheese and hickory nuts. I will be revisiting these places, hopefully for years to come.
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