Monday, May 14, 2012

Amish Country Anniversary Trip

For our anniversary trip this year, we chose to go to Lancaster County, PA--dubbed Amish country.   We started in the city of Lancaster where we walked around a bit, and ate lunch at a local market.  Then out to the countryside.  I love the serenity there and we checked out some new places this time.  We stayed in Lititz, a Colonial era town.  In Lititz, one of our first tours was the Sturgis pretzel bakery and museum.
                                                  Here we were  learning to fold a soft pretzel.

The plaque says On this site in 1861 Julius Sturgis established the first pretzel bakery in the new world. You can click on the caption for more info.  The house had been in his family since the 1700s.

                                    Dave demonstrates how they turned the pretzels in the hot brick oven.

Across the street was the oldest girl's boarding school in the country. The building in the back was taken over by Washington's army during the Revolutionary War for many months to be used as a hospital even though the people who built the town were Moravian pacifists.  Only Moravians were allowed to settle there initially.  A wealthy man gave a German Moravian preacher 4000 acres to establish a town of followers there.

In Lititz we also went to a Wilbur's chocolate factory.  They had a small museum of old molds, machines and tools.  We ate some yummy food in Lititz including sumptuous multi-course breakfasts, and a cafe with great tomato pie.  Then we headed a few miles south to the heart of Amish country.

We had never taken an Amish buggy ride, so I thought it would be fun. I loved it. Our guide, a girl about 20 who belonged to The Brethren' church, of which the Amish are an offshoot  told us a lot about their culture. We rode to an Amish farm, where a pretty Amish girl about 12 year's old had a basket of fresh homemade cookies for sale. How could I resist that!?

This is a one-room schoolhouse similar to that which our guide attended.  They are located about every mile in the area as Amish children walk to school.  They are only required by Federal law to attend until they are 14, where upon they are needed by their families to farm full time.

Next are some pictures of Amish people who are out and about working on their farms and traveling into their teensy towns of Intercourse or Bird-In-Hand or Salzburg on a Saturday afternoon.  While I realize that the Amish don't like to be photographed, I mean no disrespect, and I hope I didn't offend anyone, or act too obnoxiously touristy.  I just really admire the Amish people and like to get up close and see how they live.  They manage to live with grace without electricity.  Their farmhouses are so amazingly clean, and their farm so beautifully kept by horse-drawn teams.  I learned that many of these people only grow corn to feed their own dairy cows.  Some grow tobacco as a cash crop.  Anyway, here are some of the people we saw.  Oh, and bicycles are not allowed, but scooter are.

In this picture, you can actually see me in the mirror of our buggy on the right. As the other buggy with the woman and darling children with hat and bonnet overtook us, our guide said, "Amish road rage". :)

Here's another view of them from the front of our buggy.
                                     An Amish scooter

And lastly, here are a few pictures of our beautiful Bed and Breakfast where we stayed--a 6th generation German farmhouse.

Happy 28th Anniversary, David!