"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12



“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats





Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pennsylvania and Amish Country



Here we are on our first ride at Hershey Park, The Comet!
I love wooden rollercoasters and thought I would try video taping
the ride. It only worked for a bit, until the camera dropped and I couldn't
get it back in my hands. So, sorry for the "bumpy ride". We had a blast!
(Remember to scroll down to turn off background music.)




I will be finishing these entries in parts, since I have found it really hard to sit and put it all into words without leaving out the details that I want to remember years from now.

After a small mishap of losing my entire notebook containing all of the information about our trip (flights, hotels, mapquests, reservations, etc.) we finally arrived on Sunday night in Litiz, PA. Our innkeepers, John and Heidi, were wonderful, caring people.

(PLUG TIME: If anyone is looking to stay at a B & B that truly makes you feel at home and go the extra mile to make sure your stay is perfect, The Lititz House is it!)

Monday morning we awoke to a great breakfast and headed off to Hershey Park. I want to add here that this was my first visit to Pennsylvania and I loved it! It was probably the best part of our trip. The rolling hills and dotted farm lands were just beautiful. The people were kind and we had a magnificent time. I digress.

Hershey Park was loads of fun. The weather was perfect. The only thing I would've changed was the lines on the rides. We were only able to go on about 7 rides due to the 1 - 1.5 hour wait in each one. That was one of the few times on the trip I was happy to say that kids weren't with us. I just couldn't imagine standing in those lines with 3 toddlers. That said, we had a great time. We laughed and frolicked through the park and water park like 2 kids. Not to mention, we ate just about every bit of junk food the park had to offer....and loved every minute of it.

The next morning, we again were spoiled by a tray of delicious coffee brought up to our room as a "warm up" to breakfast, which again was delicious. We sat around the table, chit-chatted a while and then headed to Intercourse, P.A. Amish Country. I was again blown away by the beauty there. Corn fields were as common as palm trees in Florida and after a long search, gave up the battle in trying to find a house that wasn't surrounded by flowers and just plain beautiful. The horse and buggys were everywhere and we of course had to join in by taking our own horse and buggy ride through town. We found an Amish farm with homemade rootbeer.....YUMMY!

We then headed to Kitchen Kettle Village, a quaint little shopping area filled with all-things-Amish. We bought Amish cheese, sweet bologna and bread and had a romantic little picnic lunch, making sure that we didn't stuff ourselves so that we could be plenty hungry for our dinner with an Amish family.

Afterwards, we drove through Bird in Hand and Strasberg where we visited (mostly for the kids) the Thomas the Train museum and picked up some more goodies.

Finally, we arrived back at the B & B around 4:30 p.m. just in time to shower and get ready for our 5:30 p.m. dinner with the King family. We drove out to their 68 cow dairy farm in Lititz and pulled up to the beautiful home. Upon arriving, we were greeted by their 9 year old daughter, Mary Sue. She graced us with a beautiful smile and a warm welcome as we entered their home. Her Mama and she had been cooking up a storm. Mary Sue is one of the 6 King children ranging in ages from 9 mos. to 11 years. The youngest and the oldest being the boys of the family.

We noticed a fan running in the dining room where we were seated which must've put a puzzled look on our faces, since the Amish do not use electricity. Rachel, the mother, quickly explained that the fan ran on generators, but that they did not have electricity in the home, and that all of their water came from wells, also run on generators.

We learned an awful lot about the Amish lifestyle, starting with the fact that their faith is Christian based. She and Mary Sue began bringing out dishes to the table filled with meatloaf, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, zucchini casserole, Amish-style chicken pot pie, homemade ketchup, applesauce, and chow-chow (not sure of the spelling) which was similar to a pickled 3 bean salad. Everything was scrumptious!!! Just when we thought we couldn't take another bite, Mary Sue informed us that we had to have dessert. She had made them. Then suddenly, out from the kitchen, appears Rachel carrying a 3 layer Bavarian chocolate cake and of course, Shoo-Fly Pie! (Becky, I thought of you immediately!)

The Shoo-Fly Pie was good, but oh my gosh, that Bavarian cake had to be the most delicious thing I've ever had. Yummers! Soooooooo good!

The children wanted so badly to give us a tour of the farm and finally convinced their parents to agree to allow them to do their chores afterwards. These children, with the exception of the 2 year old who reminded us so much of AJ, get up at 4:30 in the morning to help the parents. First, the oldest son (11) and the the two youngest daughters (6 and 8) head out to the barn to help milk the cows. They clean the stables, feed the goats, the cats and the horses. All this while the 9 year helps indoors with laundry, since this needs to be done before the generators need to be used for milking the cows. When the laundry is finished, the 9 year old goes out and hangs it on the line while the mother prepares breakfast.

By then it's almost 6 a.m., the kids come in, clean-up and have breakfast and they ready for school. They attend a 2 room schoolhouse where grades 1-4 are in one room and grades 4-8 are in the other. They attend school up until the age of 14 and then they join the family full time in working the farm. By the way, the children all spoke Dutch, German and English. We were explained that their first language is Pennsylvania Dutch. a dialect of German. But, all of their church services are in German, so they must learn to speak, read and write German and then of course, English since they live in the US. Sweet little Stephen, the 2 year old, was rattling away in Dutch with his Mama and then turned and spoke to us in English. I was saddened to see that they don't attend school further than age 14, but I also understand that this is their religion and their lifestyle. I emphatically want to add that all of the children were so respectful and friendly. They had wonderful manners, were smart and just filled with a yearning to please both their guests and their parents.

We loved the tour the kids gave us of the farm. I was so moved by the 6 year old having to tell us goodbye because she had to feed the animals. A few minutes later, we see her pushing a wheelbarrow that was almost bigger than her as she is going from stall to stall shoveling new bedding for the calves. It was quite a learning experience.

I did want to share that we did not take pictures of the family out of respect for their beliefs. They strongly belief in God's word and take it literally. Exodus 20:4 tells us that Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth, hence their reasoning for not taking pictures.

I loved our stay in Lancaster. I never expected to enjoy this part of our trip as much as I did! I truly learned a huge amount and was honored to get to peek a bit into the lives of these humble people. I could go on and on....but I won't. :)

The next morning we toured a bit of Lititz, had an amazing lunch at Good and Plenty (again, thanks Peg!) and began our drive into the spectacular Blue Ridge mountains of beautiful West Virignia.

Note: April, we tried to get to Shady Maple, but there was no way we could eat so much in 3 days! Another reason to go back. :)

Also, I am dying to find the time to catch up with everyone's blogs and my emails. I hope to do that very soon!!!

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8 comments :

Bella's momma said...

Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us. It is awesome!!!

Garden Keeper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
My3Monkeys said...

You are making me so homesick! Glad that you enjoyed your time in PA.

Crazy Mama said...

Wow! Thanks so much for the great detail of your trip. I almost feel as if I was there with you.
Something about the simpleness of life that the Amish live and love, makes my soul long for it.
Blessings to you all as you settle back into life again.
Shanna

geminirn said...

Sounds like a great trip.The Amish are truly wonderful,kind,caring individuals.When my son was younger and we travelled to Ontario each summer to visit family he would always ask to go visit the minerals(he meant the mennonites)lol!!!
Glad you guys had a great time however I cannot believe you actually enjoy "WOODEN" roller coasters,i love coasters BUT NOT the wooden ones..lol!!

The Ferrill's said...

Ohilda what fun! That video of the ride cracked me up...and made me motion sick! ;)
You make me want to visit Hershey Park and Amish country!!!!! It sounds so neat, every bit of it!

Michelle said...

Wow!! What an awesome thing to get to spend part of your day with an Amish family and really learn about their lives. I grew up in an area with Amish and I have always been fascinated by their lifestyle, but never fully understood their beliefs even though my dad took me to visit some farms when I was young. They all work hard - that I do know. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip!

Aus said...

Ohilda and Scott - so glad to read about your trip - thanks so much for sharing it with us - looking forward to more....but all of that is digression. Re: Pictures - thanks you guys so much for respecting the beliefs / faith / practice of your hosts in this way - so many of us fail in this kind of respect!

hugs - aus and fam

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