Friday, June 20, 2014

Views of Incredible Lancaster County Pennsylvania and Amish Tour

I hope you enjoy these photos I took on a recent "side trip" to Lancaster County.  We visited the towns of Lancaster, Bird-in-Hand (where we stayed),  Lititz and Ephrata.

I wanted to get the latest info on the retirement communities of "Lititz" by Traditions of America and "Home Towne Square" by Landmark Homes.  Both communities have beautiful homes in the scenic Lancaster countryside.  Read more about them on my website.  Now on to our Lancaster Tour of the Amish countryside.

Our immediate destination was to tour the iconic Central Market in downtown Lancaster.  It is only open at certain days and times.  I thought it was open later but it was closing just about when we got there at 4:30PM!  We only had a half hour to get everything done.

The red eggs are marinated in beet juice.
We were starved from the long drive of 4 1/2 hours from Long Island, NY. and we were eagerly anticipating a nice leisurely lunch of fresh food from the Lancaster farms.  Instead we had to dash around, camera in hand, snapping photos and deciding quickly on what we wanted to eat and hearing the clatter of shops closing up all around.

Whoopie pies - Chocolate, Mint, Peanut Butter

We were pointing madly from item to delectable item of our food choices, snapping photos all the while, so that we would have some time to sit down and eat.  Most of the shops were packing up so we didn't have as wide of a choice.  But what we did get was super fresh and flavorful. 

The cole slaw had that bite that just-picked cabbage has.  In addition to the whoopie pies, we found a bakery there.  We selected cream-filled buns.  One was chocolate, of course, and the other was iced with peanut butter frosting and a cream filling.  Very light, fresh and delicious.  (Prices were very reasonable.)

Central Market produce shop

The Central Market is the oldest continuing farmer's market in the U.S.  I absolutely love farmer's markets so the variety of food shops inside the high-ceiling red brick building was a treat for me.

The Herb Shop (herbs, teas, condiments, etc)

If we had more time, we would want to stroll around the town with its quaint restaurants and stores. We only had time to glance in the store windows.

Unexpected gorgeous jewelry in downtown shop window!

We saw this sophisticated jeweler but no time to go in.  We also saw elegant clothes shops and cozy coffee houses.  But we had to hurry on to find a place to stay for the night.

We had asked at Central Market where to stay and at least 2 people recommended Bird-in-Hand Inn.  We had never heard of such a place but in checking the map we saw it was only a few miles away.  We were lucky to find this amazing place.  Motel, inn, restaurant, pools, miniature golf and so much more.  All owned by the famous Smucker family.  It was more of a resort than just a place to stay.

Bird-in-Hand Family Inn in the country town of Bird-in-Hand

Bird-in-Hand front lawn but had no time to enjoy these chairs in the Lancaster countryside
The adjacent restaurant had a smorgasborg of Pennsylvania Dutch cooking..

This is my vegetarian dinner:

My very fresh vegetarian plate (yum)
Baked sweet corn (yum), stuffed shells, potatoes, green beans, bread stuffing, home-made ice cream and banana cream pie.

My husband had turkey piled high, mashed potatoes, pork and sauerkraut, and so much more; also cherry pie and ice cream.  Everything is home-made from scratch.

For breakfast my husband had a plateful of pancake, french toast, waffle, eggs, bacon, pork sausage, ham, etc.  A side of fruit included their famous home-made applesauce (yum).  The food tasted like something you would make in your own home--maybe even better and fresher!

Breakfast at the Smorgasborg
The Inn offered a 2-hour tour of the Amish countryside.  What luck!  Just what I wanted for my blog! On to the tour.   The countryside is so beautiful it is hard to describe and much more scenic than my photos because they were taken from a bumpy bus.   They offered us a map and said we could go back which I really wanted to do because I missed so many good photo pics, but no time.

The tour guide talked extensively about the Amish and the Mennonites who were concentrated in this Lancaster area.  They are also located in 28 other states, especially Indiana, Ohio, and upper New York state,  as farm land becomes expensive and scarce in Pennsylvania.  Enjoy these photos:

Amish woman in horse-drawn carriage
Amish homestead with craft store
Amish countryside farms in Lancaster County - perfectly neat
Amish "clothes dryer" - they use no electricity
Lots of Amish clothes drying on this sunny day
A perfect picture of Amish cleanliness and neatness
Amish Plow in the rich earth (richest soil outside of California)
Amish schoolhouse - one of 200 in county 

The Amish are exempt from sending their children to public school (verify) and are educated in these small schoolhouses which are scattered around the county.  At age 15 they are finished with school. Some do go on to college.  The average family has 12 children (verify) and a family of 6 is considered small.  One known Amish woman had 18 children.  They are Christian but preserve the Amish way.  They all dress alike and make their own clothes.  Nothing is too fancy as considered prideful.  At 17 they decide if they wish to join the church.
The Amish do not believe in putting their elderly in a home so you will see these granny houses everywhere.  They add them on to their homesteads when needed. (Notice the neatness of gardens.)
Children's bikes - Adult and children's bikes have no pedals.  They added the scooter to bikes.

Carriage House

 Kitchen gardens are seen everywhere with lots of flowers.

Typical neat row crops with no weeds in sight

Horse in peaceful pastures
We are dreaming of going back soon!
Thank you for viewing our tour of this unique area.  For retirement communities in the Lancaster area, be sure to see our over 55 communities site


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