Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Woke up this morning and the first interesting thing we saw was a horse and buggy parked in the Walmart parking lot. They had 4 hitching posts designated for that purpose. We decided to just drive around a bit and explore the city of Lancaster. It was an old and interesting town, but the only evidence of an Amish community was the occasional horse drawn buggy clopping along the street. Then we remembered seeing a store called Amish Stuff as we were entering town last night. So off we went to find it, if for nothing else than to get info on where to witness Amish life. It’s not like we wanted to go and gawk at some Amish people. What we wanted to do was drive through the country and see the people at work and buy goods from roadside stands and the like. It turns out that the man in the store was very helpful with a couple of brochures and maps and some local history. He showed us a route to take where the Amish folks lived and farmed. He said we were not likely to see roadside stands this time of year. His store was interesting and he had goods made by local Amish and Mennonite craftsmen. He had quilts and straw hats and aprons and bonnets. Jams and jellies and such as well. We bought a few items and thanked him for his help. We recommend the store. It is on highway 30 on the right as you enter Lancaster from the east.
So we headed up route 340 out of town and into farm country. The only thing that distinguished these farms from farms anywhere else was the absence of trucks and machinery and the presence of horse drawn work wagons and buggies. We saw children out in a field playing a game of some kind. The only thing that distinguished them from other children was their clothing and the absence of gameboys and cell phones. The countryside was beautiful, the fields and homes were neat and tidy, some painted, some bare wood, some stone, all well kept. Another thing that distinguished this farm community was that it seemed to be laundry day and there were clothes out drying on clothes lines. When was the last time you saw that?
We didn’t see any roadside stands, but we did stop at a Mennonite farm store and bought some lunch. It was very nice. All of their goods were handmade and each item had a little tag on it with the name of girl or woman who made it. We ordered sandwiches and watched as they made them. Lucy commented that there was just something comforting about a young girl in a white cap and apron making a sandwich for you. You just know it will be good. And they were excellent. I had an Italian sub and Lucy had egg salad. Lucy also had some homemade red potato salad and I had some homemade sugar free tapioca pudding. All very good. As we were paying our bill, the young lady at the register was very curious about our van and our travels. We talked a few minutes and then left. All in all it was a very nice experience.
Also in this area is a town called Hershey, PA. Lucy and I are fond of chocolate and thought it might be fun to see the factory. We kind of expected an experience similar to our tour of the Maker’s Mark Distillery. You know, show us how you make the candy, give us a kiss and send us on our way. As it turns out Chocolate World is an amusement park with rides and such and it is closed this time of year. There are no factory tours but there is a museum about the history of Hershey’s candy. It costs $10 to tour the museum. There was a gift shop and a cafe. We skipped the museum, bought a candy bar and a latte and headed out of there. The whole thing was a bit disappointing, but the candy bar was good. (don’t tell my doctor)
We decided to chance the weather and head for Roscoe, NY where we might meet up with some friends. So we left Hershey and drove north and east through some mountains. We had planned to stay at an RV park near a town called Honesdale. When we arrived it was closed. There was a note on the door with a phone number but there was no cell service. We decided to just find a spot and then go to the office in the morning so we started to drive around the park. There did not seem to be a level site in the park and after the rain we just had, all the available sites were muddy. There are very few things as unpleasant as trying to hook up the van to water and sewer and power in the mud, so we left in search of the nearest Walmart. We found one in Honesdale and claimed a slot. It is cold here tonight, in the mid 30’s, but we are snug enough under the covers, and that is where I am headed now.