Get out the slide projector, grab a handful of popcorn, and take a seat....
We decided to go away for a long weekend because we have not had a vacation in a couple of years. It was Peter's birthday/Easter weekend, so what better time to get away from the stressors of everyday life.
We left Friday afternoon to allow Katie time to attend her gymnastics class (a favorite pasttime). I also thought that since it was such a long car ride, it would be good for the kiddos to get the morning to play with friends, then grab lunch, and leave when they were both ready for their naps. You know, make the trip go faster for them.
Good plan in theory. While there was no traffic on the GW Bridge, New Jersey was a nightmare. It was stop and go the whole way. UGH!
During our travels through Pennsylvania, though, we stopped at the King of Prussia Mall (http://www.kingofprussiamall.com). One word- AWESOME! All my favorites were there: Nordstrom's, Bloomingdales, ... and all in larger than life buildings. The place is h-u-g-e!
We arrived much later than planned, checked into The Amish View Inn, and discovered Jenny's Diner for dinner. It was a "throw back" to the 50s, quaint, and much tinier than Orem's.
On Saturday, we woke up to rain. While the egg hunt was still occurring, we did not join in the festivities simply because we had no desire to get soaked. So, we opted to go to the outlets instead. While there, we saw an adorable puppy who was lost. She had a collar, but no tag. The manager of Carter's took her and contacted the Humane Society. That little black pup with a white star on her chest almost got a new home in Connecticut (wink).
After the outlets, it began to clear up and we headed to Kitchen Kettle Village. It was neat to see the canning. I totally love that kind of thing, as you well know. Next, we drove on a scenic road recommended by AAA. We passed through many adorable towns. One such town was Lititz. There we saw Linden Hall, the Moravian Church, Sturgis Pretzel, and more. Very cute place.
Did you know that on Easter Sunday the Trombone Choir of the Moravian Church go to the street corners and announce the Greatest Good News at -Are you ready?- 3:30AM? Then there is a sunrise service at 6am, followed by a breakfast, Holy Communion, Easter egg hunt, and worship ceremony. It takes up most of the whole day. Amazing!
Peter and I kept commenting on how cool it was to be in such a devoutly Christian place during Easter weekend. We could not get over how business all throughout Lancaster County (as in gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants) have signs that say things like, "Jesus saves" and "Bow your heads; He has risen." It is something that you simply do not see up here.
We learned that there are Amish, Bretheren, and Mennonites in the County. Not all Amish drive buggies, and not all buggy drivers are Amish. The three groups are Anabaptists and believe that you are not born into a church, but rather you should choose your church when you are a young adult.
The Amish do not use electricity simply because -and, this is amazing- they refuse to support a corporation that makes people work on Sundays. So instead, they all use a combination of solar panels, windmills, propane, and diesel engines to do everything that we use electricity for on a daily basis. Oh, gosh. There are so many facts we learned, but there is only so much time to write this post...
Anyway, back to Saturday. We ended the day with the Peter Cottontail Express, a train ride in Strasburg. It was an old Victorian era steam locomotive that chugged through farm country up to Paradise and back. The seat backs moved so that you could always face front no matter which direction the train was traveling. Very cool.
On Sunday, we took a day trip up to Hershey Park. The street lamps shaped like kisses (alternating between ones that are "wrapped" and "unwrapped"), the main road colored like chocolate, the smell of chocolate... We first did the tour of the fake factory as you cannot tour the original plant anymore. Then we went to Zoo America. It was a fantastic zoo; I highly recommend it! All the exhibits focused on what is found in North America. Then we saw the garden.
In Bird-In-Hand, the town where we were staying, we saw many things like one of the oldest hardware stores in the country, a farmer's market, toured Amish farms in horse and buggy, and so much more! Overall, it was a great trip. Peter and I would have liked to have stayed one more day, but it was time to head back to reality.
If you ask Katie, her favorite part was seeing all the animals, especially the baby lambs that had just been born on the farm. And, Phillip giggles at mention of all the cows. You could say that a great time was had by all!