by Valerie Nusbaum
Randy and I haven’t been able to do much traveling over the last several years, and we both miss our excursions and adventures, particularly the road trips to places unknown. Since we can’t take those long vacations any more, we made a bargain with each other to find new places to visit that are closer to home and can be reached in a few hours. Day trips can be fun and spontaneous, with no reservations required and no deposits to be lost if the trip has to be cancelled.
Not too long ago, we were spending a lazy morning having breakfast and reading the newspaper. I mean the actual newspaper, not the internet news. We’re dinosaurs, remember? Anyway, I saw an ad for Seven Springs Resort somewhere in Pennsylvania, and I was curious about it. This was a Saturday morning and still early, so we looked at each other and said, “Why not?” The ad I’d seen advertised a food truck festival and a grand and glorious fireworks display at dusk. Over 30 food trucks were promised and 3,000 brilliant explosions lasting forty minutes. How could we go wrong?
We got ready, grabbed our go-bags and some water bottles and headed out the door. We gassed up the truck, got some cash (again, we’re dinosaurs), and decided to swing through the McDonald’s drive-thru for some sustenance and Diet Cokes. I ordered the oatmeal and Randy got an Egg McMuffin, along with our drinks. We pulled up to the pay window and the nice lady said that our order had been paid for by the person in front of us. Wow! What a nice thing to have happen, and we’re very grateful to our unknown benefactor. Randy looked like a deer caught in the headlights, because he’d had a previous experience with the “pay-it-forward” thing and it hadn’t gone well. I nudged him and told him to ask the cost of the order behind us. It wasn’t much at all and we were happy to pay for it. An even better thing was that we recognized the folks in the car behind us. We don’t know them, per se, but we’ve seen them around town, and we were glad to do something for them.
The Nusbaums headed out of Thurmont feeling good about things and excited to be out and about. I always enjoy being on the road with Randy because we have some of our best conversations during those times. We sight-see and we aren’t on the clock, so if we want to pull over and explore something, we can do that. I did remind him that the food truck festival started at 3:00 p.m., but we had plenty of time and the trip would only take three hours at most.
Seven Springs Resort is in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania, not far from Somerset. That’s an area we’d wanted to visit anyway, so we took note of things that we’d want to look at in more detail on a possible future trip there. Breakfast had been early, and we’d skipped lunch in order to be hungry enough to visit several of the food trucks. Don’t judge us. It was an adventure.
Along the way, we did notice a restaurant in Somerset called Eat & Park. The place was packed, and I’m sure we’ll stop there if we go back up that way again; but, it did beg the question: Shouldn’t the order of the name be reversed? I’d definitely park first.
We finally found the resort nestled way, way back in the mountain. We parked and went looking around. We found it to be a very rustic place, with lots of activities. Of course, the ski slopes weren’t in use, but the lifts were, and there were toboggan rides. The weather was actually a bit chilly and drizzly, but it felt good to us after the heat wave we’d been experiencing.
We purchased our tickets for the festival, and were waiting at the gate with a lot of other hungry people at 3:00 p.m. It became a blur after that. The best empanadas ever—I’m still dreaming about them. Then, a chili-rice bowl and lasagna-stuffed eggrolls. The list goes on and on. We ate a s’mores crepe and then some pizza. Randy and I shared everything so that we could taste more dishes. I didn’t care for the smoked mac and cheese, and I’m still not sure what the Venezuelan platter was all about. I do know that the three meats were delicious, but I honestly don’t know if I ate plantains or French fries.
Luckily, I had some Tums in my go-bag. Incidentally, old people carry go-bags when we take day trips. Extra underwear and a toothbrush are always a good idea.
The hours flew by, and since we had planned to see the fireworks, we decided to see if we could get a room for the night. Yes! We were pretty tired, so we sat on our balcony in our make-shift pajamas and watched the gorgeous display. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, but I did point out that it only lasted twenty minutes—not the forty minutes we’d been promised.
We went inside our room and stretched out on the bed. It was 10:00 p.m. We’d had a full day, stuffed ourselves, and we were tired. Then the second act of the fireworks started. We didn’t care. We just opened the curtains and watched through the window.