Thursday, December 20, 2012

Amish Pennsylvania is fun for a seven year old boy

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Firstly let me say that leaving New York was a hard decision to make.
We had such an eventful time - never stopping!
It had gobbled a lot of our funds, and that had made me tense.
It was also nearly impossible to home-school and we had too many fights.
Being in a room in some-one's house can be tricky.
My son tried to get away with a lot more, and attitude was terrible.
I think all of this helped me decide it was time for some peace.
He was 'over' seeing things.
We had thought about Washington D.C. and had booked accommodation.
However I noticed as we drove out he was not remotely interested in 'looking'.
He needed down time.
The weather was so foggy.
we collected the car and went back and got our luggage and loaded up.
The crazy GPS took us back through the centre of Manhattan, New York!
My best driving achievement to date.

I could barely see where I was going, so a wasted scenic route through New Jersey. 

We select 'avoid motorways' on the GPS, and after a crazy drive through Philadelphia, 
we land in Lancaster County.
It is getting dark and we try a couple of hotels that just don't sound right.
We then drive up and see Greystone Mansion.
for $99 we get - the Loft 2 bedroom suite with en-suite; 
a dinner voucher for two to Iron Horse Restaurant (superb!); 
a fully cooked hot breakfast - complete with Shoo-fly pie;
 and a voucher for a horse-buggy ride the next day.

After dinner there is an assortment of DVD's and games and a lovely lounge area.
My son decides he will do some school work - no arguments - yeah! 

Next day we drive up and down the area, looking for the buggy ride. 
The town is seriously called Intercourse - no comments please.

The kids ride scooter bikes.
Now Amish do not like to have their photographs taken.
They will not look in a mirror.
They believe a photo is a graven image.
We respect that so we just take the back of them. 

We enjoy shopping in real Amish stores.
The prices are so reasonable, as they believe in being fair,
so really it is a bargain! 

We find the buggy ride - after going miles up and down the road 4 times.
This guy is real Amish, but progressive.
He is OK with one picture, but no more - he shies away. 
He was a lovely guy and we enjoyed being able to tip him too.
The buggy ride was fun!

Then we had heard about Kitchen Kettle.
So we met some lovely folk inside who allowed us to sample so much -
well it was lunch for me!
We got some great food items to take for Christmas to our friends.
There was lots for kids to do, even if it was cold. 

I love this display - old sweaters / jumpers!

Kids can decorate a gingerbread man - freshly baked - all for $1.
Now be aware, in USA most stuff is 'closed for the season'.
This ranges from stores to motels and attractions.
We are limited in what we find to do, so if you head there for Summer,
well it will be busier and more eventful. 

All that sugar and my seven year old is bursting with energy.
They have wagons to pull the kids around in - we enjoyed these.
I found he loved little hills and making his own ride. 

More energy to burn,
so I chased him around the car and buggy park (see the horse behind).
This was great, and he needed to release his energy. 

We then went down to the junction to
Intercourse Pretzel Factory.
Being quiet, they were not making fresh pretzels.
BUT, I did meet the most delightful lady.
She gave me a hug, and was just lovely.
It made me day meeting some-one so precious as her.

We wander around the back roads, looking for a hotel.
We find the Amish kids happily playing at their school.
We sit and talk about how they would feel.
How simple life is for them. What they miss out on.
And what they have.  That alone was educational!

We then get told that Lancaster has the oldest continuous market in USA.
So in we drive for that.
Food, food and more food.
We find an Amish stand and buy some yummy snacks.
This includes 'Dirt Pie', home made creamy potato salad, and a few other goodies. 

We wander back through the lanes, and find The Quiet Haven Motel.
Look at the view below. Set in fields this is a hidden treasure.
The price is low, the rooms are clean and warm, and the owner is a lovely lady. 
She tells us to go to Revere an old Inn for dinner - we enjoy the whole night.

Next day we get lost in the lanes, and talk to Amish.
We see corn drying on the cob. 

We see the Amish washing drying - it is all so neat and plain. 

We find (after getting lost) 3 covered bridges.
Be aware - some you will get to and they are now closed as unsafe to drive on. 

We have been told to go to Julian Sturgis Pretzel is the oldest (and best place) 
to learn pretzel history, and we can learn how to make them too.

We book in for the tour.
It is quiet and we get our own tour - fabulous.
My son gets to learn so much of the history and he takes it all in.
This is often a part of our un-schooling.

We then learn measuring and making.
We earn tradition and why the pretzels are that shape.
It has to do with prayer.
As me if you even meet me and we will give you a demonstration.

We complete the lesson and get our certificates.
We then go and eat a freshly made soft pretzel.  Oh so yummy.
We both find them filling and way nicer than the ones off the New York street vendors.
We are also given samples to try of different hard pretzels.
Prices are great, and we buy a few snacks and gifts. 

Ending the day tour, we head to Wilbur Chocolate Factory.
We see the ladies at work - reminds me of Haighes in Adelaide back home.
The free samples are nice.
We are heading to Hershey so we only buy minimally here.
Please see our next blog re the town of Hershey!
In summery.  Pennsylvania is a relaxing and great place to take a child.
It is the best way to learn culture, and history.
I really loved the people. So gentle in spirit to talk to.
It opened up a different level of conversation, 
and made us question why our world is so complex.
What is good, and what is not.
Still pondering some things to be sure.

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