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Amish Country

September 1, 2008

IMG_1950, originally uploaded by

This weekend like many people we enjoyed having three days off. Since we are new to the Philadelphia area we wanted to check out some local stuff and decided to head west into Lancaster County. That area and NJ is where most of our fresh produce, meat, and dairy comes from at the farmer’s markets plus there is pick your own apples, museums and a ton of other stuff to do. 

We didn’t end up having time to do everything since we do have a dog at home with bladder limitations but we did have time to do quite a lot. Our original plan was to visit some of the many covered bridges in the area and test out the new flash that I (N.) got for my birthday. But when we went to the visitors center and assessed all our options we though that was something we should come back and do another time since it would take a day in itself. What we did have time for was a visit to a recreation of an Amish village, the PA train museum, and a visits to a coupe farmer’s markets/ farm stands. 

We often make jokes about wanting to become Amish. With their “simple” life and aversion to material goods and technology but really we knew little about their beliefs and real lifestyle. They are simple and they do live off the land but they are slowly moving into current times. They aren’t averse to technology they simply don’t believe in being tied to it and have instead replaced many hand cranked appliance with compressed air or propane. It makes me wonder as solar power becomes more prevalent if they will allow electricity into their homes that way. It seemed, from our tour, that their aversion to vanity is based heavily on trying to be what their persecutors are not. They don’t wear bright colors or ostentatious clothes and they don’t wear buttons if at all possible. 

We left not wanting to be Amish but certainly understanding their viewpoint and incorporating some of their beliefs into our own and maybe one day we will be able to buy our own farm and incorporate more of their planting and growing techniques. In the meantime we’ll keep hitting up the local markets for everything from handmade straw hats to meat.

The next stop on our tour was the PA Train Museum which was a blast. The museum is really a large warehouse holding a bunch of trains in different styles and from different eras. Most of them you aren’t allowed into which I think is a real shame but you can pear through the windows and see all the restoration they have done inside. We ran around taking about 100 photos trying to get the flash and photos just right and I’m still not thrilled with most of the ones I took but I’m never going to get better at photography if I don’t take pictures and the trains made really interesting subjects.


After a couple hours of that we wanted to pick our own apples but it was too late so settled on picking up a bushel of Akane apples that were at the farm stand and a jug of cherry apple cider (so good!). In a couple weeks we will head out again to pick our own and try our hand at making our own applesauce and maybe finding something that we could store in our cellar to last through the winter. We didn’t grow anything that we could save ourselves but we want to try canning some tomato sauce and cold storing some things from the farmer’s market to at least attempt to avoid to the traditional grocery store during the winter.

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