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Amish Country

September 8, 2012

I slept really well at the campground last night. I probably got more sleep than I have so far on this journey! With the vents open and the windows cracked a tiny bit, there was a bit of a breeze (it’s been in the 90s here) and lots of pretty night noises.

In the morning I headed to downtown Gettysburg, and walked around the historic part of town – it’s not all that big, and I was happy it wasn’t all congested with tourists and traffic. Then I started heading for Lancaster because I wanted to spend some time in Amish country. I decided to get out and walk a bit more in New Oxford – one of those towns with a town square and fountains and old brick homes lining the street. Got another mile and a half in – in 90+ degree heat. I parked in the town square next to a fruit vendor, so got a big peach and apple to bring along. My next stop was York (I wasn’t planning on it, but when I see signs that say “Historic Downtown York” I can’t resist. Since it was so hot out, Tula stayed in the car (I can lock it and leave it running with the AC on)and I just walked a mile up and down the main street. There was an old half-timber tavern on a corner that was built in 1741 and looked kind of out of place next to the rest of the brick buildings. But nice to see it still standing!

By this time I had decided that my donation of the day would be food for an organization in Lancaster called Bridge of Hope, which helps homeless women and children get back on their feet. They’ve been around for almost 25 years. The lady I spoke with gave me some suggestions for the kinds of food they could use, and it was fun going to the store (a Giant store this time, not Wal-Mart!) and taking advantage of some good sales – this time I got stuff like rice, pasta, pork and beans, hamburger helper, tuna, soup – stuff the women can use when food stamps run out. And they also needed some snack stuff like cheez-it’s, pretzels, peanut butter to have on hand in the office when hungry kids come in. The ladies were very nice when I dropped the food off, and gave me some good suggestions where exactly to head to get out and do some walking in Amish country.

So I headed in the direction they suggested, and turned off the state highway, and drove thru beautiful rolling hills full of Amish farms. There were horse and buggies out and about, and the roads were pretty narrow and it took me a while to find a place to park the van so I could get out and walk. I finally came upon a church with a big parking lot and Tula and I enjoyed walking 2 1/2 miles past homes and farms. Tula behaved when the horses and buggies passed. I would have walked farther there, but my peaceful road ended on a busier one. So I headed to Bird in Hand (I liked the name, and one of the ladies had suggested it) which was a hopping place on a Friday early evening – there were some hot air balloons in the sky, and they were getting ready for a marathon tomorrow, so there were people all over the place – lots of horses and buggies co-existing with cars. I walked another mile and a half, and as I was getting back to the parking lot I left the van in, I saw 3 horses and buggies tied to a hitching post, and then 3 teenage Amish guys were walking together, and they all got into their buggies, and were quickly trotting down the road. They might not be able to drive a car, but most teenage boys certainly don’t know how to harness a horse to a buggy and drive it, so I guess they’re even! I still had a mile and a quarter to finish off and since light was fading and Bird in Hand ran out of sidewalks, I headed back to Lancaster and finished my walking on the sidewalks near the motel I’m at – noisy with traffic and lights. Kind of an extreme opposite to the peaceful country roads, and I much prefer the quiet! But I had to finish!

I’m going to try to figure out some more photos tomorrow. Time to sleep now because I want an early start to the walking since the weather may be bad in the afternoon. And I’m staying 2 nights in the same place (one of my “rules” every week so I have some time to get caught up!) so I hope to work on photos tomorrow afternoon if it’s raining.

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