July 31, 2012

Pennsylvania Triangle 2012, Day 5: Layover In Lancaster

Thursday, July 12, 2012: After checking out of the Econolodge in Gettysburg, I set my sights on the third and last point of the Pennsylvania Triangle: Lancaster, PA. As I was making my way back east, I passed through Hershey and decided to make a quick stop at Chocolate World (being so close, how could I not pay a visit to the Sweetest Place on Earth?) I took two rides through the Great American Chocolate Tour, bought three bags of candy (which would later turn into chocolate soup in the trunk of my car), and headed back out on the road. 

There was one other place that I wanted to see before reaching Lancaster, so I set my GPS for the Cornwall Iron Furnace. Built in 1742 and operated until 1883, this charcoal-fueled blast furnace still stands as it did over one-hundred years ago due to the beauty of the Gothic Revival Style architecture that surrounds it. As I walked through these buildings, I definitely felt like I had stepped into another age. Pointed windows, sandstone walls, oil-burning lamps, and uneven wooden floors adorned each room creating a very distinct atmosphere. The workings of the furnace are very impressive and I was awestruck by the sight of the blast equipment -- a gigantic wheel pumped bellows which fed air into the furnace. During the tour, I learned a lot about the smelting process and how charcoal, iron ore, and limestone were combined in the furnace to create pig iron. In 1883, the introduction of anthracite coal made the charcoal furnace obsolete. It sat abandoned for years until it was given to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1932. Today, the Cornwall Iron Furnace is a National Historic Landmark. It is the last 19th Century charcoal-fueled blast furnace still intact in the United States.

When I finally reached Lancaster, I still had some time before check-in at the Rodeway Inn. I decided to play a game of Lost Treasure Mini Golf. The 18 holes that make up the Diamond Course took me with one Professor Hacker on a hunt for hidden jewels that led through caves, over mountains, and on to pirate ships. The site also features an elaborate maze. I ran through, knowing that my prize at the end would be a lemonade under a shady gazebo.

After I checked in to the hotel and had dinner, I would spend the rest of the day at Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park. My favorite ride was the Double Splash Log Flume, which I did about 6 times. Each time the huge wave kicked up at the bottom, it made me feel cool and refreshed. I also liked the Bumpers Cars and the Gondola Ride. I would finish up the visit at a diving performance in the Aqua Stadium. Although the story was the usual frogs and princes fare, the diving stunts were quite entertaining. It was a fun way to top off a really good day!

"Rejoice always, pray continually, 
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18