Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Vacations are Great, but There is No Place Like Home (Part Three)

Here in Montana the wife and I like to do what we call "critter creeping"--basically it is driving around looking for animals in the area.  Our Lancaster part of the vacation was an exercise in what my sister termed "Amish creeping"!  Our early morning trip took us up through Chambersburg, Pennsylvania (where my brother and his wife now live in the house my parents left to him), through Gettysburg, and then on into Amish country around Lancaster. Since the wife and my sister had been up to this area before they sort of had an idea of what they were doing to avoid the most popular routes tourists use. We went on a whole bunch of side roads that gave us lots of opportunities to see the Annabaptists at work and play.

It is this area that there is much to see and do if one enjoys looking at the folk art of the Plain People and English (non-Amish and Mennonites) that inhabit the area--especially if one loves quilts as there people are world renown for their quilts.  Our first stop was in a small town in which the wife and sister decided to do a little quilt shopping.  Of course this left me with nothing to do but to take pictures and encounter my first scooter riding Amish . . . 

 Amish Quilt--Star Pattern

Young Amish man on a popular Amish mode of transportation--the scooter

After saving thousands of dollars by not buying any quilts we were out to the for a little "creeping".  The area was a luscious green, corn was a good seven to eight foot tall, the tobacco was healthy, and the farmers were out haying the fields.  It was neat to watch the farmer swath the fields with horse drawn mowers.

 The lush farmland of the Amish

 Mowing hay

 More mowing

Hoeing the tobacco 

The goal of driving on the back roads was to be in the "presence" of the Amish and Mennonites as they went about their daily lives, and it was also to take a less traveled route to Intercourse--Amish Mecca.  There was a lot to see before we got to Intercourse . . . 

 Some of the local traffic

 Mascot Roller Mill--in operation since 1865 until 1977 by the Amish

 A couple of young Amish girls playing by the Mascot Roller Mill

 Amish family driving by the mill

 Another Amish family out riding

 The Meyer Homestead--a Amish farmstead since 1759 by the same family

 Young Amish girl with the family pets

A little Amish laundry

Eventually we made it to Intercourse and its many shops and tourist attractions.  Now this is a great spot to do a little "creeping" as the Amish zip through the town, work the shops, and generally live life.  The folk art was spectacular . . . and the Amish people, well, see for yourself . . . 

 How the community of Intercourse got its name

 A little of the folk art

 An older Amish couple

 Sharing the roads with the "English"

 More folk art

 A wary look towards the tourists

 An elderly couple heading down the road


 The Amish use a lot of trotters for their teams

 The excitement of being in town

 Brother and sister strolling through town

 A popular mode of transportation especially among the young Amish

 An "Amish" moose

 Two generations out for a ride

 Moving equipment back to the farm

 An angel

Leaving Intercourse

From Intercourse we made our way through more countryside looking for shops and the Amish.  Along the way we saw another mill and several horses enjoying the day.  Eventually we came upon a little town where there was a winery--non-Amish run, but English run.  Despite that we were assured that the Amish like their wine.  Again, excellent photo opportunities . . . 

 A horse enjoying an afternoon snack

 Shoemaker Mill

 Checking out the local traffic

 Scooting down the road

 No matter what culture a child stuck between a rock and a hard place

 Strasburg Winery--open ten weeks

 A young Amish boy

 Brothers at play

The wine was nice--even had corks in the bottles--must be good

From Strasburg we headed back to Hagerstown, but not without a quick stop in Gettysburg for supper and some time with my youngest brother and his wife at the Appalachian Brewing Company.  This was actually my second visit to a Appalachian Brewing Company site as I visited one once before on a training trip to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania several years ago.  Despite a familiarity to the brewery it was still good food, brew, and company.  Once we were done we took a cruise around the Gettysburg battleground before heading home.

Good food, wonderful beer, and great family at the ABC of Gettysburg

A nice cold brew after a long, hot day "Amish creeping"

It was a Jolly Scot Scottish Ale (if you were wondering)

 The errieness of the battlefield at dusk

Across these fields a battle was waged by the North and South 

 It was a bloody battle that saw both sides winning and losing

 Now the battle field only echoes of the violence of the past

 A symbol for the call for unity and peace

 A place so beautiful and yet a monument to the violence humanity can commit 

 A reminder

The community of Gettysburg at dusk

From Gettysburg we eventually made it home after a twenty mile detour--in the dark on roads none of us knew anything about--thanks to an accident.  The final day of our vacation was a day of respite and rest as we sat around, talked, and had supper with my other brother.  It was a treat to be able to spend time visiting new places, but the best treat was having time with family.  The wife and I flew out of Dulles International Airport at 6:30AM--made a quick run through the Minneapolis Airport to catch our connection to Montana--and we were home by 10:15AM.  It was a whirlwind trip symbolic of our whole vacation, and a tiredness of a job well done.  As fun as it was, it was great to be home and greeted by Maddie and her Boxer dance.  There is no place like home.

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