Rarely do we take the time to sit down and connect without distraction with family during dinner, let alone perfect strangers.
The family to my left was from my hometown of Rochester, New York. We shared an affinity for the city's annual Lilac Festival and knew some of the same people.
The three sisters to our right were from Germantown, Maryland, not far from where we have a home. We swapped opinions about the best local farmer's markets and places to shop.
The guy sitting across from us, was from Indiana. I'm not going to lie, he was just plain creepy. He uttered barely a word to anyone and kept his eyes on his plate the entire meal.
But the creepy guy excluded, it was a heartwarming and humanity affirming experience to dine in the company of strangers.
Good 'N Plenty is both delicious and plentiful, offering as they say, traditional Pennsylvania Dutch hearty home cooking.
Situated on a working farm, complete with a petting zoo and gardens, Good 'N Plenty, resembles a large white farmhouse.
Once inside, you have the option of a family style spread or you can order from the menu. We opted for the family style spread, which is what the restaurant is famous for. Famous as in they receive busload after busload of visitors daily.
We were ushered into the main dining room, where we were greeted by row upon row of wooden benches simply decorated and set up with pitchers of water, iced tea and lemonade.
A table fits 10-12 people who share in the endless supply of fresh green beans, savory mashed potatoes, buttery noodles, crispy fried chicken (they're famous for their chicken), meat loaf, ham, buttery sweet corn, warm homemade bread with fresh churned whipped butter and apple butter. The food was really good in a stick to your ribs sort of way. The dessert course had us sampling a cheesecake platter, cracker pudding (bread pudding made from saltine crackers-I wasn't the biggest fan), freshly churned ice cream, apple pie and shoe fly pie (a thick molasses pie with brown sugar crumble- a little too sweet for even this sweet tooth).
A trip to Good N' Plenty in Smoketown, PA, is so much more than a dinner, it's an entire experience and glimpse into the Pennsylvania Dutch culture of the region. One can make an afternoon or evening of it. There is a petting zoo and an elaborate gift shop boasting local goods and wares.
An assortment of beautiful Bed and Breakfasts and Country Inns can be found in the area.
If you're looking for more things to do, the Tanger Outlets are a big draw, as is the Intercourse Pretzel Factory (if you can get past the name), where you be led on a tour of the factory and sample freshly made hot pretzels. You'll also be near Hershey's Chocolate World and depending on the season and your religious inclinations, the Sights and Sounds of Christmas experience is a huge tourist attraction.
As for Mark, Ohm and I, we took our sated selves to Koziar's Christmas Village, about an hour away, to see the Christmas lights.