Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Vacation: 1st stop: Amish Country!!

I can't believe it has been 1 month since I have updated on my blog! I just have not been very motivated to blog still. But I had an INCREDIBLE 11 day vacation WooHoo & thought I'd write about it here!! Family Road Trip This is a long post, so you might want to grab a cup of coffee!! LOL

Our first stop was a dream come true for me!! We went to Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Amish Country!!! The oldest & original Amish settlement in the USA. We stayed for 2 nights at a very nice Bed & Breakfast called LoveLace Manor I would highly recommend anyone staying there if they ever go to Lancaster. I want to go there again myself! Eyebrow The Owners, Michael and Lark were very friendly & welcoming and they make GREAT breakfasts! While we were there we did a few things that were the highlight of the trip, for me!! We went on a horse & buggy ride the first night, then to a restaurant that serves up Amish foods & we ate at a big table with about 3 or 4 other couples that we didn't know, it's called a Farm Feast. They bring out platters of food and everyone takes some & passes the platter around so everyone gets some. It was about 4 courses. Everything was DELICIOUS!!!! We tried the Shoo-Fly Pie & it was YUM YUM YUM!!! That was fun!!

The next day, Tuesday, we had a full schedule so Jerry & I got up at 7am & got in our running & exercise & showers, Chris slept in till breakfast! LOL We had to be ready for breakfast at 9am. It was YUMMY! The table setting was like a very nice restaurant & they served the food and talked to us & answered any questions about the area or Amish if we had any, & made sure our coffee or juice was constantly full. It was really nice!! ... Ok, on to the rest of the day!

First stop: We went to a different horse & buggy ride, where it was just the driver, Jerry & me. The other one was a huge carriage with about 10 other people & it wasn't what we were expecting, so we did a different one & liked it a lot! Reuben was the driver & he was so nice and answered our questions & just talked along the way & pointed out things about the Amish & their lifestyle. I'll never forget his kind, gentle attitude. After the ride we wanted to get a picture of the horse & buggy we rode in, but that didn't work out, so we got a pic of us with a different horse at an Amish Health Food Store down the road. :D Here we are:
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We had a show in a theatre about the life of an Amish man & a little history of the Amish. Then the next stop was a 2 hour bus tour of the Amish Farms in the area, & there were a couple stops at Amish shops, an Amish Dairy Farm, it was neat & we learned a lot! Then we had a tour of a "mock" Amish house that went with the characters in the show. The lady that ran that tour was a hoot! She had these hard hitting/direct little blurbs about their 8th grade education & all they accomplish with it. It went so well with our family beliefs & home schooling, I loved it!! The other people there were probably thinking she was off her rocker! LOL

Ok now on to the DREAM COME TRUE part for me!!! :D I have read about the Amish and their way of life for a while now & have been fascinated and intrigued by it & when I found out that we could actualy eat dinner with a REAL AMISH FAMILY at their REAL AMISH FARM, I was about jumping out of my skin in excitement!!! The owners of the Bread and Breakfast we stayed at set it up with an Amish family that they are friends with. Tuesday night we drove out to Reuben and Anna Lapp's farmhouse. (different Reuben than the horse & buggy ride) We got a tour of their barn with the cows and it was milking time so we got to see that. I thought they did it by hand, but I didn't know they had 45 cows! LOL I was going to milk one, but they had these cool battery operated things that they put on the udders & it did the milking. Then it goes into a huge cooler after it is strained. We got to drink a glass of fresh raw milk & it was YUMMO!!! :D We walked through their vegetable garden & everything was so IMMACULATE!!!

Then we went into their BEAUTIFUL farm house for supper! We had a silent prayer, then the food started being passed around. It was some fresh food from their garden & it was YUMMY!!! Zuccini Casserole, Baked Corn, Coleslaw, New Potatoes, Chicken, Fresh Bread. Then some ice cream and YUMMY Cake for dessert! I'm probably forgetting something, but it was all sooooooo good!! Conversation was a lot of questions & answers. :D After supper they wanted to see our son juggle & we didn't have any stuff with us in the truck but, one of the other guys had some golf balls, so Chris did a a juggling show with golf balls! LOL But everyone really enjoyed it! Then we went inside with Reuben & Anna after everyone left. Jerry wanted to see their Bible & they were so happy to show us & talk with us & answer even more questions! LOL Their Bible is in German and King James. It was so neat! The one thing I wanted to know was how did they believe they get into Heaven. Reuben said "Only by the blood of Jesus. There's no way I could ever do enough good things to earn my way." I was so relieved to hear that, because of some of the things I had heard about them and works vs. grace. :D I so enjoyed fellowshipping with them, I never wanted the evening to end. They were so kind, generous, humble & were gracious hosts. ... They had a little table set up with some of the things they make & we bought a few things for gifts & souveniers. They make quilts, of course! They make these cute little stuffed dogs out of the scraps from the quilts, and a cool little spice mat that you set a hot pot on and it fills up the room with the smell of cinnamon.

Some of the things I learned about the Amish:
* Their divorce rate is almost ZERO!
* The children go to a 1 room school for 1st through 8th grade, then they train in their vocation.
* By the time they finish 8th grade they will know 3 languages: English, Pennsylvania Dutch, & High German.
* 90+% of their children remain with their Faith
* They vote Republican
* Everything they do is EXCELLENT, they aren't prideful at all, but they do take great care in doing things with EXCELLENCE.
* They do no get into debt, they pay cash for everything, including their homes.
* They do not reject or shun ALL technology, just the things they think could lead to seperation of family. For example, they have indoor plumbing & propane powered refrigerators & stoves.
* Their lifestyle produces peace & contentment

I learned a lot and I really enjoyed learning about their way of life. I could totally see myself living that way. Getting used to sleeping in PITCH BLACK with no sounds in the house would be the hardest thing for me to adjust to. (think about all the noise electronics make & how quiet it is when the electricity goes out!!!) I could live without all the electric conveniences. The results of their lifestyle is simply amazing. It seems like someone would have to give up a lot to "go Amish", but the way I see it, a person would GAIN so much more than they would have to give up. I guess you could say, I was really impacted by this part of our Vacation!

I will post about the rest of our Vacation at another time. :)