Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gourmet Burger Bistro, Port Jefferson, LI, NY

Look at that burger!  You'll never find one that will be its equal. 

We are at GBB, otherwise known as Gourmet Burger Bistro.  The burger that's in front of me is the Napa Valley burger that Rob and I shared.  The meat is marinated in cabernet with a minced shallot patty. It is topped with fresh basil, red onion, tomatoes and Monterey  Jack cheese with a pesto mayo.
 It's also served with lots of delicious onion strings and  a pickle.  The fries are served separately, but believe me, you get plenty of onion strings and that fits the bill.  If you do get the fries,  which is what we did the second time we were there, you won't be disappointed.  Everything there is delicious.  That night, Susan had Spinach Feta burger without the bun (and you have three choices to choose from, btw) which is a chicken patty mixed with crumbled spinach and feta and covered in cucumber yogurt sauce.  Yum yum. 

GBB was started in 2008 and is family owned and operated.  In a time when burgers were gaining in popularity, GBB had only one goal in mind and that was to "serve the finest burgers with the freshest ingredients."  Each burger is made to order and is uniquely all their own creations. They have a wide selection to choose from, chicken, turkey, veggie or seafood. And I can tell you that their crabcake burger is phenomenal!  You can even build your own burger and it can be done at affordable prices.

Only one side of the eating area
It is located in beautiful and historic Port Jefferson, which overlooks Long Island Sound. Walk around the town, shop, watch the ferries arrive and depart, but most of all soak up some history. This town is famous for it. Then sit back and enjoy the finest burgers this town has to offer. 

The other side of the bistro
All the servers are courteous, friendly and will answer any question that you may have. We didn't have a long wait (and we've been there 3 times already) especially if you are there early and believe me, you will never be disappointed. Mike, owner and chef, is very personable and friendly and will go out of his way to make you feel at home.

This is the owner, Mike.

If you are in the neighborhood, please check out Gourmet Burger Bistro, located in historic Port Jeff.

Here are the usual links:

Here is their website:

Verizon Fios1 news video spotlighting GBB

Village of Port Jefferson website

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Underground Railroad Center, Christiana, PA

This is Historic Zercher's Hotel located in Christiana, PA and is now the site of the first public Underground Railroad Center. Opened on September 11, 2006, it tells the story of the Christiana Riot, which took place not far from this location 161 years ago on September 11, 1851.  This is considered to be one of the first confrontations that led up to the American Civil War.  
You can't see me unless you blow up the picture, but I'm sitting on the bench on the far left.
The story actually begins at freed slave William Parker's residence where Maryland plantation owner Edward Gorsuch and his son, Dickinson came to retrieve 4 of his runaway slaves that had taken refuge in Parker's home.  The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 gave permission for a slave owner to take back his property (runaway slaves) wherever they were found and in the process arrest those who had harbored them or prevented them being returned to the owner.  

When Edward Gorsuch called for Parker to return his property to him, Parker resisted and thus began the fighting.  Four Quakers and 34 former slaves stood against Gorsuch, who was killed in the riot. His son was critically wounded, but not killed.  He was taken into the nearby farm of the Pownell family, where he recovered. Parker was actually a tenant of the Pownell's and his house was on their property.
This sign marks the site of freed slave William Parker's residence where the resistance began. The house was demolished in 1895.  There are no remains.
Meanwhile, Gorsuch's body was brought here to Zercher's Hotel. This is also where a government inquest began regarding the Christiana Riot. 
Monument commemorating the Christiana Riot.
The hotel was built in 1830 and is now the offices of the Charles Bond Corporation who have been at this location since 1915. They are the producers of industrial gears and gear boxes.   The company started off as the Christiana Machine Company which began its operation in 1834 until its sale to Charles Bond in 1915.  It is adjacent to Zercher's Hotel historic site.  One of the first railroad lines in the nation ran through here, the Columbia to Philadelphia line, but there is nothing left of that to be seen.  However, there is a railroad bridge not too far away.  We didn't go, it had just rained the night before and we were warned by our guide, Mark, that the trail to walk there would be muddy.  

The museum is free, but it is only open by appointment on the weekends.  The rest of the week it is open from 9 am to 4 pm.  It is a self guided museum with interesting exhibits regarding the riot.   This is highly recommended.  Mark was extremely informative and spoke to us for over 2 hours that Saturday morning.  This is definitely the place where freedom began.

Updated:  There is something that I forgot to mention and I'd like to add it now.  Dickinson Gorsuch had a younger brother whose name was Thomas. He was only 15 years old when his father was killed and was left an orphan.  He and his family were devastated when a not guilty verdict was rendered by the jury.  Thomas complained bitterly to a friend who would later refer to Thomas as his "bosom friend" and about how Northern abolitionists left him an orphan. It also weighed heavily on his mind that his father's  killers were set free without punishment and that these were "injustices that called out for revenge."  That friend who Thomas confided in was none other than John Wilkes Booth who would shoot President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre 14 years later. 

As usual, there are more links down below:

Christiana Underground Railroad Center as listed in the Lancaster County online guide.. 

Article on the history of Zercher's Hotel and the history of the Christiana Riot. It was actually a press release for the opening of the Underground Railroad Center.  There are pictures of the opening ceremony on September 11, 2006. 
Records and history of the Christiana Machine Company