We left Auburn last Tuesday at 11:30pm, traveled all night, and arrived in Lancaster the next morning a little before 9:00. It was a really long night, and I doubt anyone got much rest; but after some breakfast, we were reinvigorated and ready to go for the day. We visited our first Amish quilt shop Wednesday afternoon, returned to the hotel for check-in and a nap, then had a fabulous supper at the Olde Greenfield Inn, a restaurant ranked as Lancaster's Best. We ate really well while we were in Lancaster--buffet breakfast every morning and a different place for supper every evening.
Thursday we spent the day touring the historic district of Lancaster and the countryside. It sure was nice to see green grass and daffodils instead of snow for a change. Fran was our guide for the day and was very knowledgeable about both the history of Lancaster county and the Amish.
One of our first stops was the Lancaster Quilt and Textile Museum, which holds a collection of 19th and 20th century Amish quilts and includes a display of modern hooked rugs. I only took a few photos, but the hand quilting on these quilts is exquisite. Would you believe the stair runner, the butterflies, and the peacock are all hooked rugs? Amazing!
We visited Kitchen Kettle Village early afternoon, which is a favorite stop for tourists. I headed for the quilt shop, Zook's, and never saw another thing before it was time to get back on the bus. Next we drove through Amish farm lands, and Fran gave us a detailed accounting of what Amish life is like. I lived in southern Maryland for 14 years, and there were several Amish establishments in St. Mary's County, so I was familiar with much of what Fran shared.
I suspect most folks are familiar with the barn raising scene, the buggies, and the horse drawn plows in the fields; but I did see some unusual things I've never seen before on our tour. I'd never seen the inside of an Amish home, and that evening we were welcomed into the home of Mary Glick for a traditional family style Amish meal. We were treated to a feast of roast chicken, ham loaf, mashed potatoes, several vegetables and home canned peaches, fresh bread and a homemade peanut butter spread called schmeir, plus a variety of desserts.
Times have changed, and the Amish have had to change with the times. Farmland is no longer as readily available due to the encroachment of present day society, and the Amish have had to resort to buying single family homes and working in the community amongst the English, as outsiders are called, to sustain their existence. One of the ways in which the Amish have changed is that some of them have begun raising deer, and we saw enclosures with many deer along the roads, one of which contained two albino deer, a most unusual sight.
A day or so later, our bus pulled into a gift shop parking lot, and we saw a small buggy with four Amish children pulled by a small horse. Several of us tried to get a photo, but the buggy never stopped. I stayed on the bus while the others went into the gift shop; and when I saw the buggy come round into the parking lot again, I stepped off the bus and managed to snap this photo. Someone told me later that it's rare to see one of these buggies, so I felt fortunate to have gotten the shot.
Friday and Saturday morning were quilt show days, and I'll share a few photos in another post. Saturday afternoon, we did a little more touring, visited Sauder's, another quilt shop popular with the tourists, and had dinner at a Pennsylvania Dutch restaurant. Sunday morning after breakfast we departed Lancaster. In the photo, several of us are standing next to boxes containing our purchases. That's me, in the green coat.