Friday, November 11, 2011


Punxsutawney, PA.  

Home of Gobbler's Knob and a rodent named Phil.

It was our halfway destination en route to Gettysburg last week for a district foursquare conference.  We were so eager to walk the streets where Bill Murray may or may not have walked during the filming of the comedy Groundhog Day, that I left the youth retreat after midnight on Saturday and we started our drive East early the next afternoon.

We lost count of how many small towns we drove through along the way, but were pleasantly surprised by the snow on the ground and the children dressed in costumes.  It made up for the fact that I was missing my favorite thing about Halloween (handing out candy to the neighbor kids) and was a sight that endeared both of us.   

Farnsworth House was where we slept that first night.  A delightful Bed & Breakfast located in East Run (Marion Center), PA, owned and operated by two gentlemen named Jon & Bill, Farnsworth House was an unexpected treat.  Jon restores player pianos and makes a mean omelette, Bill is an interior designer, and their home is an opulent treasure in the middle of nowhere.

Our proprietors were wonderful.  Hospitable and friendly, they even stayed up late with us sharing stories from their childhood and giving us a tour of their antiquities.  My hubby had a turn at the player piano player (also called a pianola).  It's an intriguing art that you can learn more about here.  Bill sang music from The Producers as Chris worked the piano player with his feet and hands.  Between the music and storytelling and Bill's fresh baked cookies, we had a truly lovely evening with two new friends.  In the morning, I asked Jon to tell me about the dinner parties they've had in their home, and more stories of grandeur emerged.  They even suggested an Italian restaurant in a neighboring town that served me the best handmade fettucini I've ever eaten.

After our goodbyes, we drove the remaining fifteen miles to Punxsutawney.  We were greeted by a large wooden sign in the shape of a groundhog wearing a top hat, and a gas station attendant who pumped our gas for us.  I asked him if it was the law in Pennsylvania, like it is in Oregon.  He said no, it's just a service they like to provide (free of charge).  

Nice folks.

In all honesty, Punxsutawney wasn't much to see.  I mean, what can you expect from 3.4 square miles?: a gift shop, Phil's Burrow, Gobbler's Knob, and several fiberglass statues of Phantastic Phils. The McDonald's in town was featuring their McRib sandwich, does that count?  

At some point that afternoon, it occurred to me that the animal this town is famous for is a distant relative of the one digging holes in our backyard.    

And yet, we bought a mug.

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