Friday, July 6, 2012

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Lancaster County Pennsylvania turned out to be the most charming place I've seen so far.  The small Amish towns that came into view as I drove the backroads lie almost exactly 7 miles apart.  A Minnesota farmer once told me that the farm towns were built that far apart on purpose.  Seven miles was the most a farmer with horse and cart could haul his hay or corn to the big silos,  sell his grain, do the unloading and get back home before dark.  That was true 75 years ago in Minnesota--

and it is still true today in Lancaster County where going to town in a horse and cart is commonplace...

and rather startling the first time I encountered one of the carts.

This was not a re-creation of a 'days-gone-by tourist trap' designed to suck the money out of the visitor's pocket...
 Nope! It is a real honest-to-goodness buggy repair shop!

And I began to see wash, drying on the lines outside of the neat white farmhouses.  I realized it had been a very long time since I had see clothes flapping on a clothesline.  And certainly not dozens of washes.  And then I realized--clothes dryers had still not invaded the Amish farmhouse.

There was no mistaking the Amish household--the dresses on the line and the little boys haircuts were sure trademarks of the community. Did you know that a single Amish girl  will wear a colored dress with a white apron until married?  Then the dress will be black or dark and the apron will be black. And always there will be the mesh cap.  No buttons will be found on any of the clothes.  The Amish are pacifists and are opposed to buttons because they were developed for military uniforms.

Sometimes the traffic backed up a bit--but no one seemed to mind.  All of life got slower in this part of the world.

I stopped in a small Amish grocery store that featured honey--produced right in front of you.

I was totally fascinated by this busy-as-a-bee factory and bought a jar of the honey even though I hardly ever eat it.

But I had to have some 'Shoofly pie' and Wow! If molasses is your sweetener of choice then this treat is the nectar of the Gods. And I ate the whole thing.

Every horse I saw had the stance of a thoroughbred--halting at the corners as if at attention as they waited for the cars to pass....

then stepping briskly out into the road with barely a flick of the reins. I was told that most of the horses are a special breed and are very highly prized by the families.
And then some have succumbed to the more modern of conveyances. 

The farms were straight out of a Grandma Moses painting...

and most, if not all, were built, run and maintained without electricity, gas motors or computer equipped tractors.
Grocery shopping with a wheelbarrow...and I complain if I can't park within spitting distance of Safeway's front door.
(to be continued below)

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