travels

outside philly

Christopher Elbow chocolates

Christopher Elbow Chocolates

I was lucky enough to grow up in a town that smells like chocolate. Lititz, Pennsylvania is the home of Wilbur Chocolate, and I remember the sweet smell that would waft through the air as the neighborhood gang played ball or built forts or terrorized the old lady next door. Though I’m not a chocolate […]

The life of Jesus in Christmas lights

The life of Jesus in Christmas lights

What’s this? Why,it’s an animated Christmas light Jesus flogging. Frankly, I find this display a disconcerting piece of Americana. The above picture is part of an annual spectacle in Blue Springs, Missouri. Guided by smiling gingerbread men, visitors drive through a subdivision and see lights that depict the life of Jesus–everything from his birth to […]

2004 Punkin Chunkin

2004 Punkin Chunkin

Why are men with trebuchets, catapults, and cannons shooting pumpkins at this airplane? Because today was the final day of the nineteenth annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin. Memo to pilots:  for obvious reasons (like huge pumpkins being hurled into the air at ridiculous speeds), there is a low-flying aircraft ban in effect during the festival. […]

Park Cafe and cryogenic cookies

Park Cafe and cryogenic cookies

Glacier National Park isn’t exactly a culinary mecca, especially for vegetarians. The only salvation is the Park Cafe, a homey restaurant with a motto you’ve gotta love: pie for strength. In addition to the extensive, homemade pie selection, the Park Cafe serves up some kick-ass Oatmeal Chipper cookies. I have high standards and won’t waste […]

SkyMall catalog: consumer whoredom at 50,000 feet

SkyMall catalog: consumer whoredom at 50,000 feet

The SkyMall Catalog. It’s one of the few constants in today’s uncertain airline industry. The carriers can reduce the number of blankets and take away the meals, but travelers can always count on the SkyMall Catalog, a beacon of consumer whoredom, to be waiting for them on the plane, conveniently located in the neighbor’s seat-back. […]

Testicle Festival

Testicle Festival

While traveling, it is useful to track down local publications, which provide insight into a place’s character. Last week in Montana, I picked up a copy of Fish Fables, some kind of Whitefish newsletter, and the Independent, one of those invaluable liberal rags with weekly listings and arts reviews. Fish Fables consists of weird factoids […]