The reason we left Atlantic Oaks Campground a little earlier than originally planned was to attend Bill’s high school reunion. His classmates have been so diligent and successful in planning a reunion every five years and Bill has attended most of them!
We arrived at the Allentown KOA in Pennsylvania on Friday, September 20 to discover a packed campground for a very warm September weekend – lots of families – tons of kids – with everyone having an awesome time! After settling in, we went to dinner at the New Tripoli Hotel, a very local spot we had visited before. Friday night brought lots of locals to the hotel for drinks and good food and stories of the week. One of the reasons we returned was for the home-made pierogies and they did not disappoint!
On Saturday, after cruising through Bill’s hometown while he reminisced and shared, we attended Bill’s reunion at the Carriage House in East Greenville, PA. It was a lovely affair as I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing Bill reconnect with his classmates and hearing their stories. Would you believe that Bill leaned on Barbara for homework on a regular basis? Or that Howard and Bill and others were anything less than “good boys” in high school? I loved it! All in attendance appeared to be having a wonderful time – myself and Bill included!
Sunday, still in Allentown, we slept in for the first time all summer as we had worked early every Sunday at the campground. Bill cooked a luscious breakfast, including bacon we brought from Vermont – truly a feast.
We then discovered Eight Oaks Distillery in New Tripoli. “Eight Oaks is a veteran-owned, family-run, farm-grown, craft distillery located in the rolling farmlands of the Lehigh Valley.” All of the grains used in the distilling process are grown on the family farm and the family works closely with non-profit partners, to which a portion of every purchase is donated.
Tre’ is a locally sourced food truck that provides the menu items for the distillery which are unique, delicious and changed with the seasons. So… what did we try? Bill ordered a Cuba Libre, featuring their rum crafted from 100% molasses and I chose a Bloody Mary – and what a Bloody Mary it was! I chose pickle-infused vodka and was then directed to the bar – look at it – several choices of tomato juice/Bloody Mary mix plus various hot sauces and then the accoutrements – carrots, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, corn, cheese, pickles, horseradish, green beans, and more! I was in heaven! We decided to try a snack as well – the Brunch Nachos – which included chopped brisket, lettuce, sunny-side egg, Tre’ whiz, and spicy chile sauce!
The distillery setting was wonderful as well – a huge barn where drinks are served, the spirits are distilled and the food is created. Outside you will find fire pits, corn hole, and lots of seating, all overlooking the acres of farmland. Of particular interest to the Eight Oaks family is the number eight. The patriarch of the family, when writing letters to family members, would sign each correspondence with the number “8.” Representing not only a sign for infinity, he used the eight to symbolize the eight letters in the phrase “I love you,” thus becoming a sign of love and admiration for the family! We truly found a gem in the Lehigh Valley!
Our last stop of the day was Blue Mountain Vineyard, a winery that has been operational for over thirty years. All of their grapes are grown in the area as the Lehigh Valley provides a “micro-climate,” well-drained soil, and terrain very similar to central and northern parts of France. For $5 we sampled 5 different wines of our choosing, although our server, Claire, shared a sixth that she thought we would like – what’s not to like! We then chose a Petite Syrah to enjoy on the porch overlooking the vines and a pond. We had arrived soon after the weekly Sunday entertainment was beginning to wind down but still enjoyed a few songs by the band!
After all of this, we ended our day with football and rejoiced in the NY Giants win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers! What could be better?
Stay Calm and Travel On…