Friday, June 27, 2008


Saturday night, as I said in Part 1 (READ LAST WEEK FOR PART 1), was reserved for Shady Maple Smörgåsbord. When you are near the BEST you must go there. Our certificate is still proudly displayed in their showcase - right under their business licenses and permits. I would say that this is a place of distinction. We expected a crowd but there was really no wait at all - though the restaurant was far from empty. This is a very, very large restaurant. Our meal was as good as always. Here, too, prices have taken a small jump and the Saturday dinner price is now $16.89. Shady Maple always adds a small tip and the tax - so the total is $19.26 per person. They are very up front about this and any listing of their prices breaks this down to show you exactly what you are paying. I am not going to describe Shady Maple again, just see January 2008 for the Best Of article. What I will say again is that for what you get the price is more than value. You will be overwhelmed with selections and the four grill stations that are cooking different meats and fish to order. After the meal we spent some time in the very large gift shop on the lower level which is always a very good place to walk off some of your meal before you get back into your car to leave.

Sunday was another decision day and that decision was pretty much made for me by our touring plans. We left the Amish area for the day and headed west to Gettysburg. There is a new National Park visitors center and museum that has just opened and it was something that we wanted to see. We had a great day there - and did a brief tour of the Civil War battlefield and went across the road from the battlefield to General Pickett's Buffets. You can read all about our return dinner at General Pickett's in my article of May 30, 2008. It is a small but good buffet - with the best value of all at $10.95! It is open on Sundays.

We had considered two other choices nearby Gettysburg. One was to return to the Cozy Restaurant - the historic restaurant/buffet that I wrote about in May 2008. The other was to try the second location of the Mountain View Restaurant. The Mountain View that we have enjoyed in further south near the Maryland border, but about twenty miles from Gettysburg there is a second location which is actually almost a next door neighbor to the Cozy Restaurant. Having never been to this location we were eager to try it. Then we realized that it was Sunday. This is another restaurant that is closed on Sunday. That left the Cozy or General Picketts and with the Cozy another twenty mile drive away and back, we opted for the General just across the road with no regrets.

Monday was our last day and we would have dinner before the drive home. From my original plan this was the night for Yoders. And this was Memorial Day. I had checked several ads and the Yoders website to see that they were open on this holiday Monday. There was no mention of holidays - they are always closed on Sundays. From everything that I could see they would be open, but as I passed supermarkets that were closed during the day I started to wonder if this supermarket-based buffet would actually be open on Memorial Day. It's neighbor, Shady Maple, is closed. Yoders is located out of the main "tourist" area of the region and even though it is on the way home, I did not want to get there, find out it was closed, and need to drive back to where there would be a buffet that was open. We sought out one of the tourist advertising newspapers that I have mentioned to find coupons in and got one in a gift shop. I got Yoders phone number and gave them a call... Closed. A recording answered telling me to enjoy my holiday as their employees were enjoying their holiday. Selfish of me, but my thought was how could I enjoy it if you are closed. Now I had a new decision to make.

It was just after 5:00 pm - a bit early for dinner for me, as I usually wait for about 6:30 pm to go for dinner in this area - most, if not all, buffets close at 8:00 pm here. We spent a little time roaming a gift shop that actually was part of another restaurant, and decided that this would be the day to go to Harvest View and see and taste the claimed improvements.

We drove over to Harvest View. It was about 5:30 pm and there were three cars in the parking lot. I wondered if they, too, were closed. There was a sign written on poster board in marker saying "WE ARE OPEN". This restaurant is off the main roads and obviously was going unnoticed on this Monday holiday. Other restaurants that were open were noticeably busy, but most were on main roads. This was one of the reasons that the former owners left this beautiful location to open Family Cupboard on a main tourist route.

I drove around the parking lot wondering if the three cars that were there belonged to the employees or customers. As we circled we discussed if we should go in. NOW, if I came upon one of the better buffets and saw just three cars in the parking lot I would hesitate and probably not go in. A buffet functions on volume and just a few dinners means partially filled trays and at times, food drying out from not being taken. This was not the time to review Harvest View for their big come back review. It would not be fair and I was not going to go in with the deck already stacked against them. We drove away and started to figure out where to go.

There are several "family-style" all you care to eat restaurants in this area. Two of the biggest were definitely open as we had driven past both earlier in the day. I have been to them in the past. It has been a long time since. I have not gone and reviewed them because, frankly, I prefer not to eat a large table of strangers and have to pace my meal on the other diners and the pace that the wait staff determine - which is what happens at these family-style restaurants. They were a possibility, but I really was not enthused by the idea.

Another possibility was the new Cici's. I do not have any Cici's anywhere near me and when I am around one I am very tempted to go in. This was a strong possibility, but not a new choice to be able to spend time telling you about. The other possibility was a restaurant that we had not been to in 13 years- The Hershey Farm Restaurant. This buffet was the choice. Despite the very high price, it was a chance to bring another buffet to my readers that I have never written about before. You will find my review of this very good meal in my article of June 6, 2008.

So there you have my four days on the road to buffet land. As I started out stating, there are so many choices here. I missed one of my favorites - Yoders. I'll make sure I get there again next time. There is one family-style restaurant that I have heard of but have never been to before that is connected with a meat business and serves what are supposed to be excellent country sausages. I very well may forego my relcutance about family-style dining to give it a try. And yes, I will eventually get back to Harvest View and if there are more than three cars in the parking lot I will go in and let you know how and if it has changed.

If you want to take a buffet vacation then go to Central Pennsylvania. So many choices...

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