Published: August 8th 2007May 10th 2007
Lancaster, PA was our next destination. We stayed for two weeks and explored the farms, villages, and bounty that Lancaster has to offer. This area, sometimes called Pennsylvania Dutch country, is home to many Old Order Amish, Mennonite, and various related sects. Many of them still practice the old ways, farming with mule-drawn plows and driving horse-drawn buggies. Their lifestyle is plain but honest. They seem to be exceedingly good stewards of the land, and the countryside is dotted with large barns, silos, and one-room schoolhouses.
There are quite a few obvious tourist attractions, including outlet shopping, musical theaters, and all-you-can-eat smorgasbords with attached gift shops. However, we preferred driving around the countryside, exploring the local farms, farmers markets, quilt shops and bakeries. Although the farmers markets were quite good, it was early in the season for most local produce. A few times during our stay, an Amish couple arrived in the campground on their buggy laden with pies, cookies, breads, pickles, and other home-canned goodies—all at very good prices.
Diane’s sister Donna stayed with us for a long weekend so we all visited Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia. Longwood is a historic botanical garden built by the DuPont family.
We spent most of the day admiring the lush grounds, fountains, spring flowers, and the huge greenhouse with a gorgeous orchid display. Various other rooms held Mediterranean gardens, desert gardens, and the DuPont’s original “fruit” room with carefully pruned peach and citrus trees, cantaloupe vines, and various other edibles. The outdoor tulip display was quite lovely.
Next destination: East Lyme, CT, with a stopover in New Jersey for a bus maintenance check.
There are more photos below