Monday, October 15, 2018

Lancaster County Pennsylvania: The Amish Village

Lancaster county transportation.
Somehow in all of our journeys up and down the eastern part
of the country we have missed Amish Country.
It was time to correct that omission and are so glad that we did.  

Lancaster county is some of the most beautiful farm country
that we have ever seen. Talk about country roads!
It seemed like we never found a way to get from one address to
another without driving over and around a mountain.
We started our visit with a trip to The Amish Village.

Cultivating corn.
The drive took us past several farms and were lucky
enough to see the corn field of an Amish farm being cultivated
with a horse drawn wagon. The farmer was balancing in the
moving wagon with a dog running along beside him.
It was like a look into the past and we were thrilled by the

The banked barn has entry on two levels.
The Amish Village is an authentic Amish homestead.
It currently serves as a museum that showcases the house and
banked barn.
There is a covered bridge on the 12 acre property as well as a
small dam with water wheel and a wind generator that
demonstrate methods of generating energy that are acceptable
to the Amish way of life.
There are a blacksmith shop and a one room school built
according to a standardized plan. These buildings are typical
of a Plain community.
Premium admission included a bus tour of the surrounding
countryside and one was getting ready to leave as we checked in.
Amish farm
Margaret was our bus driver and tour guide for the day. She is
a long time resident of Lancaster County and has many friends
within the Amish community.
We learned that the Lancaster County Amish came here to
Pennsylvania after being invited by William Penn himself.
They arrived between 1720 and 1730 seeking religious freedom.
Members of the thriving community of over 30,000 continue to embrace a simple life free of materialism and dedicated to God. The Amish way of life is focused on service.
Margaret's stories helped us to understand some of the Amish
customs and traditions. It was interesting to learn how a culture
has learned to do business with the English while protecting
themselves from becoming too worldly.

Scooters outside the one room schoolhouse.
Margaret took us past a number on one room Amish school
houses. She told us that all were built from the same approved
plan. It was interesting to see the childrens scooters all parked
Thats not an outhouse its a phone box, outside the house.
We learned how to recognize Amish homes by the lack of
phone and electric wires, the type of clothing hung to dry and
sometimes a telephone box near the end of the driveway.
Kitchen gardens were meticulously tended, neat and ordered.
We drove through miles of Lancaster County backroads
observing the Amish lifestyle without intruding upon it.

Lydia's Country Store
We stopped at Lydia’s Country Store where the baked goods
were a huge temptation. Molasses sugar cookies are my
weakness and oatmeal raisin Fred’s. Its going to be tough
sticking to our food plan in Lancaster County.
The bus dropped us back at The Amish Village and we
toured the 2 story homestead built in 1840.
This stand mixer runs using air as power.
The kitchen was pretty amazing. Propane lights and a mixer
powered by air were a couple of the innovations we found
The lamp base hides a propane tank.
The bathroom was surprisingly modern.
I had pictured hand pumps for water but learned that a wind
generator supplied power for the water pump.  
There was a laundry and separate kitchen area for canning
in the basement.

Beautiful quits were on all of the beds.
Outside was a Spring house where milk cooled in metal cans.
The banked barn built into the side of a hill, allowed entry on
two levels. 

Basement laundry
We enjoyed the tour and then headed to Deinners for a late
lunch at Margaret’s recommendation. The food was plentiful and
the service great just as she said it would be.

The Amish Village
199 Hartman Bridge Road
Ronks, PA
(717) 687-8511

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

On the Road Again: West Point Military Academy and New Paltz, New York

It's been a wonderful Summer but the road is calling our names.
It's good to be back on the road again.
In case you can’t tell I’m singing these words.

After a year on the plains and in the desert we were happy to see the beach.

Fred and I had a fantastic Summer in New York.
We camped and had outings with our grandsons, spent time with my Mom, enjoyed the company of our daughters, and spent some time with extended family. We got back to the coast enjoying the beaches of Maine and northern Massachusetts.

These 3 are always ready for adventure
Somehow there was time to dust off our construction and gardening skills as the Lake George house foyer got a facelift and major pruning was accomplished outside.

Melissa and Clay's new deck and flower boxes.
A new deck and flower boxes were completed at the Connecticut country house and the Behemoth got new window treatments.

Fred's new Can Am Spyder
Fred checked another item off his Bucket list when he acquired a Can Am Spyder that he has been wanting for a long time. He even got to attend a Spyder Rally in Queensbury at the beginning of September going on a couple of rides with large groups.

Round Pond

Our first stop was at West Point Military Academy’s Round Pond Recreation Facility where we enjoyed a couple of nights at the top of the mountain. Round Pond is a beautiful site. The roads are narrow, steep and twisty to get there but worth the effort.
We were pleased to meet  neighbors Karen and Bill who are new to the full time RV lifestyle.  We met as they were dealing with a broken cable on one of the slides of their rig. We dragged out Nick Russell’s Guide to RV Good Guys to try and find them some help.  You meet the nicest people in military RV parks and we were happy to read a few days later that they found a temporary solution to hold them over until the needed repairs could be done by an RV Good Guy in Virginia.

We had one day to devote to sightseeing and spent it in the Historic Huguenot district of New Paltz, New York.
The Huguenot’s were Protestants who emigrated from France to the New World in the 1600’s seeking the freedom to worship as they chose.

Twelve families settled in the Hudson River Valley in 1677 after purchasing 30,000 acres from the Esopus Indian Tribes. The 12 families who formed the town of New Paltz are referred to as patentees. Names common to the Capital District and Hudson Valley like Deyo, LeFevre, Hasbrouck, Dubois, and Freer originated here.

A portion of Huguenot Street consists of 6 stone houses built before 1720.  Those houses are protected as a National Historic Landmark. Each home is a museum preserving the history of a  patentee family.
The families built their original homes of wood, replacing them over the next 40 years with stone houses in what is now called rural Colonial Dutch architecture. Gambled roofs and curved eaves in single story houses built of local stone are hallmarks of that distinctive style.

We walked the hilly street along the banks of the Wallkill River admiring the stone structures and beautiful gardens. There is a replica wigwam on the lawn of the Dubois Fort representing the Munsee Esopus people who lived in this region prior to European settlement. The wigwam was constructed using authentic techniques and locally sourced materials to make an accurate presentation.
There is a stone church (reconstructed in 1972) and a small cemetery where some of the early members of the community were laid to rest.

The walking tour was pet friendly since we opted not to walk through the inside of the homes.
Rascal enjoyed it and afterward walked with us up the hill to Main Street for lunch at Mudd Puddle Coffee Roasters. Mudd Puddle is right next door to Paws of Distinction so he enjoyed  chicken and sweet potato dog treats.
Lucky Rascal.

We left Round Pond on Friday morning.  Army fans were already starting to arrive for Saturdays big game against the Rainbow Warriers of Hawaii.  Grills were being set up and long tables were set out under shade canopys. I bet it was a fun weekend at the Academy.
Army won 21-28.

Next stop Amish Country, Lancaster County Pennsylvania.