Saturday, November 10, 2012

Amish Country

Late Thursday night when we were laying on my in-laws' couch, Matt and I decided we were in need of a little family getaway time. I'd taken Thursday and Friday off work since Matt had the days off for teacher's convention (since canceled due to Sandy, but he still had the days off), and we thought our little trio could use a day away just the three of us.

So, we left the land of no-power to head to another land of no-power...Amish Country!

We've always talked about taking the 2.5 hour drive out to Lancaster, PA for a little R&R, and what better time to go than when we have no electricity? ;-)

We arrived yesterday around lunch time, so after checking into our hotel (which we booked on Travelocity on the drive out, and which was beautiful!) and doing a little sightseeing downtown, we  pulled into one of the many country restaurants in town. Buffets seem to be the thing around here, but I prefer to order off the menu to keep my portions in check. Unfortunately there aren't many veggie options in Amish cooking, so I went with one of 2 on the menu: a grilled cheese & tomato sandwich on homemade wheat bread with handcut sweet potato fries.

Not the healthiest lunch, but it sure was delicious.

After lunch we stopped into a few shops, including an Amish-run grocery store. I was amazed at all the "packaged" mixes they made in the store - dips, soups, puddings, pancake mixes, etc. All with natural ingredients and no preservatives. We left with a few veggie soup mixes and their famous chai tea mix.

There were tons of quilt shops around town as well, and Matt's actually been wanting a quilt for our bed for a while now (our down comforter is nice, but so HOT!). I almost squeaked when I saw the price tags on those babies - some were nearly $1,000! They were beautiful, but I think we'll be sticking with the comforter for a while.

Next up - a ride in a horse & buggy! The Amish don't drive cars, so there were also lots of horse & buggys around.

Our driver and his horse Pete took us on a tour of his farm and some of his neighbors' land, explaining  his family's history, the area's heritage and the Amish way of life along the way. It was a really pretty ride and it was amazing to hear how his farm has been in the family since the 20s.

Some other tidbits:

- The Amish don't have churches. Rather, they take turns holding church in each others' homes, with up to 200 people attending. They also only hold church every 2 weeks.

- They have weddings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from October to December, as these are the best times for farmers. The weddings last all day with 2 big meals, and lots of singing, but no dancing.

- The Amish don't use electricity from the public power grid, but they can use batteries and gas or propane powered items. They don't watch TV or listen to the radio.

Halfway through the tour, the driver stopped at his farm and his granddaughter offered us treats for purchase, including some homemade honey mustard pretzels (devoured before they were pictured), and homemade root beer. I'm not a soda fan, but couldn't resist these adorable bottles.

How cute, right? After we toured the farm, Riker got up close to some goats and other animals, which got him super excited. Love that little face.

By the time our tour concluded, the sun was setting and we wanted to get back to our hotel to relax. We were staying at the Doubletree in Lancaster, which I booked specifically because it had a huge indoor water park and jacuzzi area.

Talk about perfect for an 11-month old, or any kid for that matter. Riker loves pools, so he had a blast playing in the water. We hung out in the pool area all evening, making sure to take turns taking dips in the hot tub and adult pool as well. :)

We didn't feel like getting dressed and driving anywhere for dinner, and Riker was soooo tired after pool time that there was no way we could take him to a restaurant. Room service it was!

We put Riker to bed in his pack & play in the entry way area, and we were able to stay up chatting over veggie quesadillas and local brews without waking him up. Our window overlooked an indoor courtyard where a wedding happened to be taking place, so guess what our entertainment was for the night?

Bad picture, but we could actually see pretty well. The groom's dance moves were awesome. We were total creepers and kept our curtains open, chairs turned to the balcony, loving every minute of his Backstreet Boys dance-offs. Amazing. Hey, if I have to choose between Saturday night TV or late-night wedding dancing, the choice is clear. ;-)

Such a great family day!

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