York County, Pennsylvania is where I'm from, and where my immediate family live, and where we visit while in America. Here we are at Wrightsville, a small town on the edge of York County before crossing over the Susquehanna River into Lancaster County. The town has a lot of history and historical houses, and a lot of the downtown areas are being revived with new shops, antique stores, places to eat, etc. In our photo, in the background, is the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge. Once-upon-a-time it was a covered bridge, and famous for a time as being the world's longest covered bridge. It also became known during the American Civil War for being burned in an effort to prevent Confederate troops from further invading the North.
When Stateside visiting, we often cross over into Lancaster County, it is an extra heart home for us. We just LOVE all that Lancaster has to offer in its culture, history, landscape, food, the arts and so much more! The gentle landscape and farm lands of Amish Country in Lancaster is a joy to experience, where many Amish, Mennonite and others make their living and shape their life from the land. We like to take the backroads and wander around. And it was great fun to be home during autumn and harvest time and seeing corn fields in various stages of harvesting. It was still VERY green many places while we were in Pennsylvania... the warm summers can last so long. We were hoping to see more of the changing colors of autumn--the reds, oranges and gold... but it was mostly green!
When in Lancaster we always stop in at the Bird-In-Hand Bake Shop in the sweet village of Bird-in-Hand! It was VERY busy there the day we visited, and many Amish work there, so I did not like to take many photos in the shop out of respect for them. They hold with NO photography or making images--"Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth..." Deuteronomy 5:8 KJB. The shop has some of the best sweet treats in Lancaster County--famed for delicious regional favorites like whoopie pies and shoofly pie, as well as cinnamon rolls, cookies, breads and lots more. The shop also sells locally made gifts and crafts, and out on their front porch there were autumn delights!
Locally made jams, preserves, pickles and just about anything that can be put into a jar! So much good food at every turn in Lancaster!
We visited the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society and The Mennonite Information Center, which are next door to each other, and work together, both offering different resources for learning more about the Amish and Mennonite communities--the people, their history, their faith, their way of life, etc. For all the years we've explored Lancaster, somehow we just now got around to visiting these places. And both places offer special events throughout the year, exhibits, documentary films, books (LOTS of books), Pennsylvania German folk art & crafts and other goods for sale. We saw a film "Who Are the Amish?," which we enjoyed very much. And we spent a long time browsing the many books dedicated to the Anabaptist groups of people who settled in Pennsylvania, and specifically in Lancaster. I've long been fascinated and inspired by these people, their faith, their way of life...and learned a lot more on this visit. We will be going back!
The bookshop/ arts & crafts shop at The Mennonite Information Center...
...where parts of the floor was tiled to look like quilts!
We brought back this book, On the Backroad to Heaven by Donald B. Kraybill and Carl Desportes Bowman, which explores the unique worlds of the Old Order Anabaptist--a study of the different cultures, histories and ways of life of each group. I can't wait to start reading! Also a little treat in the form of two sets of Scripture cards made by a local artist in the Fraktur style of art. Fraktur can be compared to illuminated manuscripts, and was a style of folk art of the Pennsylvania German people from around 1740-1860, named after the Fraktur calligraphy which was/is used to create the works with--usually baptismal and marriage certificates, wedding, house blessings, etc.
And you just can't go to Lancaster County without at least ONE trip to a great buffet restaurant! We went to Yoder's at the Yoder's Country Market and Restaurant complex in the village of New Holland. It was evening, and after much fun tooling around Lancaster, we enjoyed the hot dinner buffet. (Along with menu options for other times of day, Yoder's also offers a breakfast buffet, which we'd like to try another time.)
Here's my dinner plate... from the right, clockwise, there's mixed vegetables, Salisbury Steak, Browned Butter Noodles, and Amish Rosht (Sometimes called Wedding Rosht--roast--as it is often served in BIG quantities for large gatherings among the Amish). Rosht is a mix of all the favorites into one--a bread stuffing mixed with cooked chicken and gravy, and usually served with mashed potatoes...Yum! Believe it or not, after all that, I managed a small slice of shoofly cake (a variant of shoofly pie)... but forgot to take a photo, we were enjoying the food so much!
Lancaster County in pumpkin time... be still my happy-beating heart!! :)))
For more information about all sorts to be seen and experienced in Lancaster County, visit Discover Lancaster. And for some info on food and family tradition of the Amish, take a look at this page from Amish Country News.
Stop by again mid-week, if you can, for one extra stop in Lancaster...