Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tourists in Lancaster County

Where we normally live, I am certainly not a true insider, but I'm not a tourist, either.  I have a certain understanding of the culture and what is acceptable and what isn't.  Often we chuckle over clueless and very obvious tourists.

So, when we spent a night in Lancaster County, one of the things I most wanted to see was the Amish way of living.  Of course, I knew I was going to look like one of those clueless tourists who stick out like a sore thumb.  


Relaxing at our B&B
We stayed overnight at Walnut Lawn Bed & Breakfast near Lampeter, PA.  A friend had given us a very generous gift to "spend on yourselves", so we decided on a night at a Bed & Breakfast. While "shopping" on line for a B&B, this one attracted me because the rooms looked fairly simple and tastefully decorated (I don't like a lot of flowery stuff and clutter).  The clincher was that the proprietors had served in the Peace Corps after their retirement so we figured we'd have world travel in common.  They were a delightful couple, the breakfast was spectacular, and we had a very restful night.  They routinely say grace at the breakfast which is served family style.

When we walked into our room I couldn't figure out where the bathroom was.  But it was there, hidden behind the large doors.  Originally the house had a large cistern system and the cistern was hidden behind these doors.


The view from the parking lot of the miniature golf place
We arrived Sunday afternoon.  After settling into our room we went out to play miniature golf.  It was definitely the best course we played, with 23 holes, most of them very challenging.  It went down through the woods and followed a man-made stream that had waterfalls, etc.  The only drawback was that there was a rain forest effect down there with the heat and the humidity coming from the streams and then the trees closing in all of that humidity.  From there we went to a sandwich place and had a light supper.

The next morning after our amazing breakfast, complete with shoofly pie for dessert, we went out to be tourists.  We found a place where we could get a ride in an Amish buggy.  Our "guide" was an Amish man who does not own the tour company, but is hired by them.  

He took us to his brother's place where they run a wood-working business.  
It was Monday and wash day
Farm land is so expensive in Lancaster County that many Amish can't afford to farm, but operate home-based businesses as well as having gardens, a milking cow, etc. He was very funny and joking with us all the time.  I kind of thought the buggy was manufactured just for tourists, but he said it had been a school "bus".  

After that we went to the Amish Village, which was advertised as a "working Amish farm".  Ha! Ha!  I guess it had been a farm, but there it was between Target and CiCi's Pizza.  
A typical Amish sitting room  set up for Sabbath worship.  Notice the lights...kind of takes away from the authenticity of it!
Still, it was quite informative though I would rather have gone to a real farm....  
No time is wasted spent making a friend.  Stitched during the 9th year of my life and I hated every minute of it.

This time of artwork is allowed...a hand stitched family tree
We also ate at a smorgasboard (Dienner's Country Restaurant) that was very good.  It was a smaller family-run business, but had been recommended to us by both our B&B hosts and the Amish tour guide.

From there we went to a model of the Tabernacle run by the Mennonite Information Center.  I wouldn't say we learned much from it, but we were both amazed by the size of the tabernacle when it was set up.  It's pretty incredible that it could be that big, yet taken down and carried from place to place. We weren't allowed to take pictures of the model itself.

Our B&B hosts told us that if we had said something to them they could have arranged for us to eat with an Amish family.  Oh well, next time.  We ended our day by driving through the countryside on our way back to the main highway and home.


2 comments:

Jane said...

Interesting visit...a good friend, her daughter and I enjoy the ride to Lancaster, shopping at the Farmers' Market and having dinner at Dienner's.

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