Arrival in Ohio's Amish Country and a Quick Trip to Pittsburgh
Berlin, OH - Events of Monday, May 2 to Wednesday, May 4, 2016
We headed out from Piedmont, South Carolina, fairly early last Monday morning toward Berlin, Ohio, which is in the heart of Amish Country. After about a 4-hour drive, we made an overnight stop at Ft. Chiswell RV Park in Max Meadows, Virginia near Wytheville. Ft. Chiswell RV is located along a stretch where I-77 and I-81 run concurrently for a few miles. That coupled with the fact most of the sites are long pull-throughs with full hookups and 20/30/50-amp electric make this a very popular place for overnight stops. We have stayed here several times before, and the campground is almost empty when we arrive because we usually arrive early in the day, and the place is just about filled by 5 or 6 p.m.
Ft. Chiswell RV has about 90 sites. The entrance road is paved, and the secondary roads past the sites are gravel, as are most of the sites. They have a row of 8 or 9 sites that are paved, and we have gotten one of these paved sites the last couple of times we stayed there.
There is free Wi-fi that is fairly fast even when the campground is full, and there also is good Verizon 4G service in the area. Even though the campground is conveniently located less than half a mile from the interstate exit, it is behind a hill so there is very little traffic noise. The cost for our site for one night was $34.75. That included a 10% Good Sam discount and tax.
We always like to get a pull-through site when we make overnight stops so we don't have to unhook. That was a good thing for this stop because we had a long (for us) drive of a little over 6 hours to Amish Country the next day, and not having to hook up in the morning would allow us to get on the road nice and early. We pulled into Scenic Hills RV Park around 2:30.
Scenic Hills has about 110 sites that are a mix of pull-throughs and back-ins. All sites have full hookups, some with 20/30-amp electric and some with 20/30/50-amp electric. The roads are tar and chip, and the pads are gravel. The gravel is always nice and fresh so there are no bare spots. The sites are on three levels - the ones on the middle level are all gravel, and the ones on the other two levels have well-manicured grass between the sites. A few of the sites are a little narrow, but most aren't too bad for a private campground. The overnight rate is $35, but there are various discounts for stays of three nights or longer. We are paying the monthly rate of $595, which includes electricity.
The next photo shows our site in the back row of the upper level where they like to put long-term guests.
Since it was early in the season, there weren't that many RVs there yet as the next photo of some of the upper level sites shows.
After we got set up, we relaxed the rest of the day, but we didn't waste any time heading for Pittsburgh to see Lydia first thing Wednesday morning. On the way, we made a quick stop at Der Dutchman Bakery for our first cream sticks of the season - undoubtedly the first of many.
Even though Lora sends us photos of Lydia all the time and we FaceTime with them frequently, we were still surprised at how much Lydia has changed since we last saw her at Christmas. She is no longer a baby, but a toddler. She has quite a large vocabulary and speaks in sentences, although we frequently need Lora to translate some of the words for us. And she picks up new words and grasps the meaning very quickly.
Lora and J. Michael's two boxers get along very well with Lydia, but she really likes playing with Freeway probably because he is more her size. However, Freeway is used to being around adults so he was a little wary of Lydia because she is a little noisy, and she moves pretty fast. Although he still seemed a little cautious, it didn't take Freeway too long to start playing with Lydia. It was fun listening to her giggle.
Talk about being born into the electronic age - at the age of less than two years, Lydia likes to play with Lora's iPad. She knows how push the button to turn it on, and she knows how to swipe the screen; but she can't unlock it because her fingerprint isn't programmed in, and she doesn't know the pass code.
Lydia also knows her colors. When she was playing with her stacking rings, we could tell her which color to put on next.
The best part of seeing Lydia in person was being able to interact with her and to play with her. In the next photo, Paul and Lydia are playing with her Plaskool Stack 'n' Spin Gears. Lydia would take a gear off and stack it on top of another one. Paul would then take a different gear and replace the one Lydia just removed. Instead of getting frustrated that Paul was undoing what she just did, she caught on right away that it is was a game he was playing. She then started doing the same thing to Paul by moving yet another gear to the replace the one he had just taken away. It went on for quite a while as they both swapped gears back and forth.
Grammy got into the act, too. In the next photo, Margery started swaying her hands in time with music that was playing. Lydia quickly followed suit.
After Lydia's nap, we took her outside to the swing.
Lydia likes to swing, but what she really loves is for you to twist the swing up and let it go so she spins 'round and 'round. She giggles and giggles as the swing unwinds.
J. Michael stopped at Hunner's Pizza on his way home from work and picked up a pizza. We love their pizza, and it seems every time we are in Pittsburgh and want to get one, it happens to be a Monday, which is the day they are closed. The pizza was as good as we remembered.
After we ate, we chatted a while then headed back to Ohio to chill out for a couple of days and rest up from our travel days. We'll have another update before long, so check back.