Sunday, July 3, 2011

Faraway Adventures: Lancaster County, PA (Amish Country)

 I love living in a city where people from all around the world want to come on holiday. I am always happy to give directions to landmarks, explain the Metro, take pictures so the entire family can be shot. But sometime, especially in case of the major holidays, an escape route is needed.

This weekend my escape route was up to Amish Country with a couple of friends.

Quick history of the Amish in America, deep breath:
16th century Europe, Anabapists challenged some of the points of  Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.  Known as Mennoites, after the Dutch Anabaptist Menno Simons. Religous persecution, fled to Switzerland.   A group led by Jakob Ammann broke away from the Swiss Mennonites, and were known as the Amish. The first sizable group of Amish arrived in America around 1730 and settled near Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania, as a result of William Penn's "holy experiment." Amish communities are now found in 24 US states, as well as Canada and Central America.

Ta da.

Now, back to the my trip. This was my second time in Amish Country, and it is always seems to be a balancing act. I want to explore this culture that is so different from mine, but I don't want to exploit their way of life, they're real people, not a tourist attraction.   Out of respect, I didn't  take any pictures of the people, even the most adorable children you have ever seen.  We stopped at the little stands outside of their homes, rather than the more commercial markets/tourist traps, to buy homemade pies, jams and jellies and Apple Butter BBQ sauce. We fell in love with hand crafted furniture and quilts in showrooms surrounded by farms and gardens. We spent a whole morning just driving along the winding country roads admiring all the lovely country landscapes. We also learned that some U-turns are more like in the shape of the number 5.

It was much needed break and a reminder of the simplicity of life. And pie.

First, the look, I do have a real camera shots:

I have banjo radar.   
In other  music news, I was in charge of the music for the car. I made sure to throw in enough Bon Jovi so the rest of the car won't catch on to the fact that I was making them listen to a lot of songs with banjos. Some might call in brainwashing, I call it horizon broadening in a confined space. 

Annddd, back to the iPhone photos of things I ate:

 Animal Crackers make a great road trip snack, especially if you get lions and tigers and bear all in the same handful.
 First stop of the day: an Amish bakery for an apple fritter
I am pretty sure that we saw at least 126 million beautiful quits.

 We couldn't pass up stopping to admire the countryside views
 Jars of homemade goodness. Many come home with us.

 Apple walnut pie.

 This was one of the very, very few restaurants opened after sundown. When we saw the sign, we thought that they were hiring for the live mariachi band, so we worked on a quick routine, and then went in and just ate tacos and watermelon water.
 We stopped in a local grocery store for milk and forks and found a demented, trapped M&M instead.
 The before picture of the peach pie that we got at the same stand as the all the jams. We knew it was a winner of a stand because other Amish were stopping at it to buy pie. 
 Eating pie on a red fox plate, sitting cross legged on a hotel bed, I love vacations, even the short ones.
Not Amish, but drive-ins are a road trip must

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