Dream City

April 22, 2013

I write this post about my trip through Pennsylvania as I sit in my small one-person tent in a quiet park in Buena Vista, Virginia. Buena Vista sits in a valley several miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway in the southwest part of the state. More on Buena Vista, the exquisite Skyline Drive and the unanticipated quiet of the Blue Ridge Parkway in a future post. But first, a picture of a sunset moon over southwest Virginia.

moon over buena vista

I departed Pawling, New York, on April 18th under grey skies that promised the certainty of rain later in the day. I wound my way through the secondary roads of New York, northern New Jersey and into eastern Pennsylvania near Stroudsburg. Twice, before I crossed the Pennsylvania border, I had to pull over to wait out some rain. I set up tent in a field hidden behind pine trees and next to an old abandoned mill of some kind. I found it eerily beautiful.


The next morning I got started early under another grey sky day. I wanted to arrive early in Gettysburg so I had more than a day to re-visit a place where I lived for four years and had not been back to since I left. Not far down the road I saw a sign for a diner that seemed to flash in neon lights in my eyes, “STOP HERE!” It was called Dream City. How appropriate for this trip. After I ate I found the cook, Phil, and my waitress, Shelley, outside in the parking lot. Phil was retired, but when the owner of Dream City told him he needed a cook, Phil replied, “I can cook.” And so he does. Pictures ensued.

Dream city

Dream City

I arrived in Gettysburg early that day. I attended Gettysburg College in ….. wait …. if I tell you the year you’ll know how old I am. I’ll make it a contest. Guess the year I graduated from Gettysburg. Put your guess in the comment field, below.

1865 – 1969 – 1982 – 1986 – 1992

The first thing I had to see in Gettysburg was my old fraternity house. Yes, I was a frat boy in college. Surprise you? I’ve decided I’ve had three incarnations in this life. That was one of them. That was then, this is now. Just like this house. This is what Theta Chi fraternity looks like now. When I lived there it still looked like the dump it looks like now, but it was blue and had the Greek letters Theta and Chi emblazoned on the front stupa.

Theta chi

I had anticipated sleeping there. I learned that Theta Chi lost its charter some years before. I have no idea what mischief caused it. Surely it was mischief that did the deed. It was apparently purchased by someone else and being renovated. And I was going to show those frat boys how old school throws darts. Oh well!

The following day, April 20th, was my first sunny day. I immediately rode to the battlefield to reacquaint myself with fields and woods that were very familiar to me during my four years at Gettysburg. My first stop was the fire tower that overlooks the Peach Orchard to the east, an area of fierce fighting during the 1863 battle, and the President Dwight D. Eisenhower farm to the west. Here are some pictures from around the battefield.

Picketts charge

Eisenhower’s farm


south of picketts

A group of Civil War re-enactors were camped near the Union army’s position during the third day of the battle. In July tens of thousands of men and women will converge on Gettysburg to re-enact the 150th anniversary of the battle.

line up


lady at camp



Later in the morning I visited my alma mater. Here are some pictures from around the campus.

The main administration building was a hospital for the Union army during the Civil War.


Glatfelter Hall, where I had many of my classes



Early afternoon I departed Gettysburg for Arlington, Virginia, where I would be staying with my friend, Amir Tahami. More on Amir, his cats and Erich Shiffman in my next post, called Sun & Moon.

7 thoughts on “Dream City

    • Makote, 1969 is a good guess, but that would make me over 60 years old. Makes me wonder what I looklike to my younger friends. When I look in the mirrorI see a 25 year old…. Not.

      Anyway, we have a winner in my friend, Karen, from Maine. The date was 1982.

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