Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Finding something other than a mall

Other travel blogs are mainly written by people who choose where they will go and who want to go somewhere (or anywhere) in the first place.  Neither of these apply to me.  I don't want to go anywhere.  I don't choose where I go.

Sometimes I am asked to go somewhere tourists might go - San Francisco (which I love), Miami (which I hate) or Orlando (which is somewhere in the low-side of middle).  But usually this isn't the case and I end up in places like Albion, NY or Waynesboro, MS or Perryville, MO.  This is why I don't leave the hotel much.
On the trip to Albion, NY the nearest airport was Buffalo so I made a side-trip to Niagara Falls on the way back.  It was 29 degrees outside when I took this picture and I was the ONLY tourist there.

This blog has been a catalyst for me to get out and find what treasures these places hold.  I do a little research before I go but this is an imperfect system.  If I search for things to see in York, PA for example, I might find historical sites IN York.  It isn't that easy to look at the surrounding areas when you don't know the city names and without having to spend hours at the computer (which feels a lot like what I do at work all day so no thanks).  So I supplement my own research with a little local advice:  I rely on my customer.

The day I arrive I will ask the people in my class, "What is there to see while I am in town?"  Almost without exception they say, "There's a mall".  Okay, this isn't exactly what I meant.  I can go to any one of several malls at home and almost never do.  I married the first person I ever dated...let's face it, I am not a shopper.

David recently found this photo cleaning out his closet.  Taken in 1985, I am 16 years old and we had already been dating for 2 years. 

I try to clarify...is there something unusual or interesting to see here...something I might not see anywhere else?  I look out at a sea of blank stares.  But not in York, PA. 
"We have a house that is shaped like a shoe."  Really?  You have my undivided attention.

This way to the shoe house.

The Haines Shoe House was built in 1948 by Colonel Mahlon N. Haines.  He owned shoe stores in Pennsylvania and Maryland and built the house as an advertising gimmick.  It is 25' high, 17' wide and 48' long.  It has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms a living area and a kitchen. 

There is a small exact copy of this behind the main house.  Most people think it is a dog house but no one knows for sure.  All of the windows are stained glass and have little shoes in the middle.  Even the fence has shoes on the crossbars.

You can see the house from the highway and they offer tours during the summer.  Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to tour the house, I wasn't even able to drive up to it as they had chains up blocking the parking lot.  I was able to pull into a small alcove of the driveway to take a few photos. 
Even without going inside, it was well worth the short side trip on my way to Lancaster to see this. 

Now, in a few weeks when I go to Omaha I can say, "The last people sent me to a house that looked like a shoe, what do you have that can compete with that?"

If you are ever in the York/Lancaster PA area, look up the Shoe House, here's the address:
197 Shoe House Road (Really, I am not making that up) Hallam, PA

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