Groundhog Memories

Let me tell you about the time Kevin and I took our 3 kids, ages 9, 4, and 1, to Gobblers Knob for Groundhog Day…

Once long, long ago, Kevin and I saw that the upcoming Groundhog Day was on a weekend. We had the bright idea of taking the kids up to see Phil. I was excited! This sounds crazy, but after a lot of years spent teaching elementary school, we always had a lot of fun on Feb. 2 (think paper plate groundhogs, stick puppets, songs, and cupcakes) and I had always wanted to go to see Punxsutawney Phil.  We made a reservation at a motel – but not too near Punxsutawney, because all of the motels near there were already booked. We packed up all of our winter gear X two adults and three kids, snacks, etc, and set off.  

We went to bed early because we had to wake up WAY before dawn!  Not sure how it is now, but back then, we had to park in downtown Punxsutawney and take a ‘shuttle’ up to Gobbler’s Knob. We estimate that we got up at 4 am, left the Punxsutawney Elem. School parking lot at 5 am, and got to the groundhog sanctuary at 5:30 am.  Lots of time til sunrise! 

Ha! You can imagine our surprise when we got off the school bus 🙂 and saw HUNDREDS of college-age kids with their coolers and KEGS full of Miller Lite, Bud, and Coors! It was a BEER PARTY for sure! (Not really a family event.) AND it was sleeting! AND we were already VERY late and there was no way at all that our kids would be able to see anything over the SEA of people who had arrived before us. Eventually, KJ found a nearby tree to climb – he was determined not to miss a thing! Ryan sat on Kevin’s shoulders, and with Maura in a pack on his chest, Kevin was at least warm! 

We could hear everything, and after all of the officials in the Inner Circle 🙂 spoke – it seemed like an eternity – Phil, of course, saw his shadow. So many camera lights around him – of course he did! It WAS fun!  Finally it was time to get out of the wet and cold (I was nerve-racked because we had brought our baby into this place!) but there was a new problem: how do we make our way through what was now THOUSANDS of people (but very few families!) to the four school buses that were taking people down into town? Yikes! Kevin grabbed KJ and me pushed us forward through the throngs, who were slower because of their early-morning beer. We hopped on one of the first buses, and sat down in relief while all of the crowds still outside banged-banged-banged on the bus windows. 

PHEW!  Lucky us – we got outta there alive!  We warmed up on the ride to town, peeled off our wet jackets, and went to the school cafeteria where the church ladies were selling hot cocoa and sandwiches. KJ and Ryan even got chocolate groundhogs – really Easter bunnies with their ears chopped off!  

At Beer Towne we have Straub’s Groundhog Altbier in stock, and, if Phil sees his shadow, plenty of winter brews left:

*Allagash Ski Report

*21st Amendment Fireside Chat

*Troegs Blizzard of Hops

If there’s no shadow and spring is on its way, there are spring beers:

*Genessee Spring Bock

*Dogfish Head Nordic Spring

*Sam Adams Breakaway Blonde 

Happy Groundhog Day!