But Punxutawny is not exactly close to DC. It's 5 hr drive, actually. So this trip was a true journey, and like all good journeys, it had many twists and turns.
The first one started with food. A "samich" to be exact.
This was the bribe to get DK onboard with the trip. A "samich" happens to be guy food, a whole meal on a bun. This one has cole slaw, french fries, corned beef, chicken breast, and a fried egg on it. See how happy he is? I was surprised how much I liked the flavor of fries, coleslaw and fried egg together. Who knew?
A man holding a sandwich so big he can barely get his mouth around it is a happy man.
Our "Samiches" came from Steel City Samiches in Indiana, PA, about a 1/2 hr south of Punxutawny.You should go there if you are in the neighborhood, happen to be a man, or are just really, really hungry.
We made it to our hotel in decent time and went to bed early, knowing that 4:30am was going to come sooner than we wanted it to.
Fast forward to 5:15 am Feb 2, MY BIRTHDAY!!!
It was 8 degrees. Totally not kidding.
And when it's 8 degrees, you wear more layers than you knew were possible. And you always wear a hat. I do so love my hat. I have a thing for cow print, plus I didn't bring my curling iron.
Courtesy of reading an excellent write up I found here (It really is a very entertaining description of adventures in Punxy on Groundhog's Day), I knew that there would be fireworks. Well who doesn't want to see fireworks on their birthday? So we hurried to the
school buses shuttles that took you up to Gobbler's Knob, bought our $5 tickets and hopped aboard.
Alynne modeling our Not So Golden Ticket.
It was a jolly ride up to the top. As we were about 3/4 of the way there, the fireworks started. This was my introduction to Gobbler's Knob:
I was really here! Gobbler's Knob, home of Punxutawny Phil.
We found a place to wait with the 20,000 other lookers-on.
You thought I was exaggerating there, about the 20,000 people.
There is something about crowds and silly celebrations that just makes people bust out the silly hats. This party was no exception.
Even I couldn't help it. When the local woman in front of me heard it was my birthday,
she offered me a shot with her official Phil hat and paws. Love!
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity to my kids, and what was actually about 15-20 minutes, the guys in the top hats showed up.
Obviously DK took this photo. I couldn't even see the tops of the hats due to my lack of stature. But if I stood on the tips of my toes, I could see the sign.
Phil whispered to the Inner Circle that we would be having an early spring this year.
Most of the crowd bailed instantly. It was 8 degrees. I stuck around hoping to get a picture with Phil for my
scrapbook, I mean blog.
That's as close as I got. DK faired a bit better.
So there you go. Proof that a weather-telling rodent actually exists.
But there was still much fun to be had.
Cards to Phil from strangers down from New York to sign.
"I was here" photos to be taken.
And the whole Groundhog city to explore.
We started by shopping the local vendors.
Someone spent a whole bunch of time carving these beauties with a chain saw.
If only I had an extra $55 and a cabin in the Poconos. JK, I'm good.
This is the view from the top of the bleachers overlooking the craft show where DK wisely took Emerson to eat her cupcake. We bought a bunch of stuff here, including Groundhog activity books, bottle cap magnets of Phil, a t-shirt celebrating a man and his kilt, some hand wrapped jewelry, and a crazy wooden groundhog.
Even DK decided he needed to take the "Road Kill Phil" hat home.
In the same building we found Phil's birthday party, set up especially to celebrate people lucky enough to be born on Groundhog's day.
You actually had to produce your driver's license and prove it was your birthday.
Then they gave you a present and a cupcake with juice.
And in the bakery dept, for a $1, you could decorate your own Groundhog cookie
Even the 13 yr old liked this one.
While wandering around, we found Phil's lair, in the corner of the public library.
He was all pooped after an early morning with his many fans.
Nearby was a life size bronze statue.
Finally! A picture with Phil.
The the bells started to toll, because it was noon.
There really are groundhogs everywhere in Punxutawny.
And the library....
At the bank...
And the hotels...
There are even groundhogs at the strip malls.
And a really great one with a giant tooth carved out of wood that I never got the right chance to take a picture of. I wonder if the chain saw guy made him?
With our last bit of energy, we pushed on.
My sister and I found matching shirts. Everyone needs to match with their sister. Especially if you live on opposite sides of the country from each other.
And completely by accident, we found the best shop of them all.
Would you believe that Punxutawny has it's own barn sale? This inobtrusive little shop right on the corner of Findley St. and Mahoning St, is called "Chicks From the Sticks."
Trust me. You want to go there. Here's why:
Need I say more?
Plus they have the coolest logo ever.
A vintage lady riding a groundhog. Love!
I spent about 20 minutes trying to talk the owner, Rebecca and her right hand lady Stacy into doing the Luckett's Fair this spring, so you all could sample their wares and enjoy their great pricing.
We'll have to see what they decide. I'll keep you posted.
Me, (looking tired and sort of crazed), Stacy, and Rebecca
In the meantime, you could "like" them on Facebook, if you want.
Our last stop of the day was for lunch. Remember, we did have DK with us.
Daddy's was in downtown Clarion, not too far from where our hotel was.
It had been calling to Al ever since he read a review about their burgers.
The Bilbo Baggins comes with loaded potato skins on the burger. What man could resist that?
These men surely couldn't. They are the guys responsible.
And my sweet husband couldn't have been happier. You should take your man there too, if you are ever in the area. It's totally worth the trip.
It was with full stomachs and bags full of loot, that we made it back to our hotel
and on to our regularly scheduled lives.
But I have to say, I will always hold a special place in my heart
for Punxutawny PA, where I was queen for a day.