by Chrysa Smith

I admit it. I’m a NYC snob. Well, at least I use to be. Because, if you’ve ever seen that poster–A New Yorker’s View of the World—you’d know that it begins at the Hudson River; ends at the East River. Period. The end.

I do think NYers come by it naturally. They don’t set out to believe they are just a little higher on the food chain than others, yet, the vibe and unique nature of NYC make it like unlike any other—for better or worse. And because of it, it’s hard to get that feeling and some of its services, anywhere else.

Since I’ve been out of the city for over 25 years now, I do find that I need a ‘hit’ of urban culture at times. But, for the same reason, I’m so much more in tune to those NY attitudes that make NYers none too endearing to their 49 neighboring states.

So I am happy to report that this week, with house guests visiting from Montana and California, and a conference in rural Pennsylvania, I had opposite experiences. What’s usually up was down. What’s usually left was right. And I’m happy to report that a little bit country made the week end on a perfect note.

Mid-week, we went into NYC to dine with family members. A nice get-together on what is called ‘Restaurant Row’, we had dinner at an Italian restaurant that called themselves one of the best in the city. Now, that’s a hard title to win in a city like NY, where you could dine at a different restaurant daily for years and never repeat a meal. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained. And we had a perfectly pleasant meal. But I had to say, I was a bit disappointed. I have several favorite restaurants out in suburban Pennsylvania that far exceed the menu selection and preparation of that meal. Mark agreed.

So later in the week, I had a conference in Bloomsburg, PA. It’s about 2 hours past Philly—smack in the heart of Central Pennsylvania. Besides a state university, there’s not much there, but for farms and a few antique shops. We stayed at a lovely inn called The Inn at Turkey Hill. An old, converted home, the inn overlooks I-80; the road between NYC and Western PA, yet feels a million miles away. Buffered by lush landscaping, the grounds harbor a pretty pond and outdoor patio, which served as a perfect resting place. After days of misty, rainy muck, the sun came out as I arrived—and I sat and pondered my navel, which was a nice break from all of the activity of the week.

A cat jumped on my lap, ducks waddled by and a bunny hopped past me, as I contemplated the Garden of Eden—or at least it’s PA equivalent. And I waited for Mark to arrive for dinner.

What a pleasure. The view was pretty and peaceful; the service, proper and unhurried. And the food was absolutely excellent. I began with greens complimented by dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, pecans and goat cheese, then followed it by a Hawaiin Snapper prepared with a citrus glaze, and paired with baby veggies and a slice of layered potatoes. It had both quality and detail to preparation. We even had a pate from the chef and a sorbet between courses.  Absolutely lovely, the rural outpost in the middle of PA far outranked the meal we just had the day before in the urban cuisine mecca. Go figure. And if you find yourself in Central PA, go to the inn. A respite from the hustle and bustle and a civilized, gourmet dining experience, the Inn at Turkey Hill will not disappoint.