If you follow me on Face Book or Instagram, you know that Jim and I recently took a trip up to Lancaster, PA. It's a beautiful area about 3 hours from our home, accessed via roads lined with trees, pastures and fresh produce stands, that wind through small towns filled with antique and junk stores (I was dying to stop!). A rather pleasant trip, it's high on scenic value and low on traffic, so the ride up was very enjoyable.
I had often told Jim of my past trips to Amish Country, a large section of Lancaster County made up of small towns with names such as Bird-In-Hand, Ronks, Fertility, Paradise and Intercourse (I really need to look up the origins of some of these names) and he was eager to experience the quiet, somewhat quirky, tranquility for himself. For example, where else can you go to a strip mall and find a roped off parking area for horse-drawn buggies only? Or, when was the last time you stayed at 5-Star hotel that was located next to a dairy farm? Have you ever seen Chow-Chow or Shoo-Fly Pie on the menu of your favorite eatery? Comfort, charm and curiosities - three words that describe the area very well. Here's a little trivia - Lancaster has 29 functioning covered bridges still in use - the second largest number in the United States!
Our first night, Wednesday, was a new experience for me as we were in a more metropolitan area of Lancaster that I didn't know existed. We headed out in search of a restaurant , which we never found. The directions said to get on RT 30, which we did, but then to make a U -Turn at a certain point. This was an interstate with a large cement wall in the middle. I don't think you're supposed to make a U-Turn there! We exited off and meandered through an old down town area, filled with charming duplexes, brownstones, and Victorian homes. As a real architecture freak, I was diggin' this area big time! Finally, Jim spotted a restaurant called The Brasserie and it was a great find! A cute tavern room with the best blue cheese burger and fries I'd ever eaten and an ice cold beer!
Thursday was my birthday and we'd planned on having lunch in a refurbished railroad dining car and Jim was going to surprise me with a hot air balloon ride (wow!) but wind and rain changed those plans. Instead, we studied up on the area a little, then drove around taking in the local ambiance, stopping at the Dutch Haven in Ronks for some of their world-famous Shoo-Fly Pies to take home. When folks ask me what's in this type of pie, my answer is always simple: sugar, lots and lots of sugar! The ingredients include brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, eggs, flour - all those good healthy things! It is recommended that you eat it warm, but I like it better cold from the refrigerator.
Our dinner that night was at the Plain and Fancy Farm Feast in the town of Bird-In-Hand. I wanted to introduce Jim to "family style" dining and the wonderful home-made foods the Amish prepared. We shared a large table with a family and an older couple and really enjoyed the feeling of community and the fun conversation. The food did not disappoint! Large platters and bowls were passed around, filled with mashed potatoes, gravy, roasted corn, green beans, chow-chow, fried chicken, roast beef, mixed vegetables, salad, rolls, chicken pot pie, buttered noodles, sausage and fabulous desserts - oh my! What a birthday feast! All ingredients are locally grown, raised and prepared. Talk about comfort food! Side note: the farm and restaurant were featured on the Travel Channel's "Man versus Food" show!
Friday was a gorgeous sunny day as we set out on our "secret mission", our reason for coming to the area. I was able to take some nice photos of the area from the car as we went from one end of Lancaster to the town of Quarryville to the other end of East Earl. I'll share the details of our mission in my next post. For now, sit back and enjoy the peaceful countryside of Lancaster, PA.
I hope you enjoyed your tour of Lancaster, PA and thank you for joining me! Stay tuned for the upcoming reveal of our "secret mission" mystery! Have a fabulous day! Hugs, Leena