Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lancaster County, PA

We arrived at the Elks of Lancaster on Thursday. The lodge is downtown in the historic district. The roads in downtown are all one way and when we came in we needed to turn left and, of course, we were in the right lane. We made it but it took awhile for the traffic to stop and let us turn. Then we had to come up an alley to the parking lot of the elks. It was very scarey but Dean did a great job. Tomorrow we leave - via the one way alley. Hopefully on Sunday there will be little traffic in the downtown area.

It rained the first two days we were here. On Thursday we did our Costco run for prescriptions and more supplies. That afternoon we went to the lodge for HH. It rained most of the day.
On Friday we went to the Central Market - covered huge market downtown with produce, meats, crafts, sweets. Then we spent most of the rest of the day at Verizon trying for a new broadband (we ended up keeping the one we have). And it rained off and on all afternoon.
The City of Lancaster is very old and has a lot of churches downtown. This is just one of the many steeples. There seemed to be a large church on every corner.
On Saturday the sun was out and we had a gorgeous day. We took off in the car and wanted to see the countryside and the Amish farms. Our first stop was to tour an Amish farm. This was a 1805 farmhouse with a one-room schoolhouse and 15 acre farm. The tour of the farmhouse was very informative about the house and about the Amish people.

Since this was a suny day and they had not had a sunny day in a week there was a lot of clothes hanging on the lines. This is just a small amount at the farm we toured. In the countryside they had long lines of clothes strung from the second floor to the barns and back.
Amish raise pigmy goats and these were so cute. The white and black goat is scratching his back.

In Strasburg, PA we toured the Pennsylvania Train Museum. Lots of restored locomotives, railcars, and artifacts.

We were really hungry so we ordered the family feast at the Stoltzfus Family Farm Restaurant. We had fried chicken, hamloaf, homemade sausage, green beans, corn, potaotes, homemade bread, and Shoofly pie.


The countryside is very green and beautiful. There are huge farms in this county. There are over 30,000 Amish living here. There were buggies on the road as we drove. We went to Intercourse, PA to the rhubarb festival. There was a parade and the queen and king rode on a front-end loader in the parade. The Amish were selling buggy rides at the festival

Tomorrow we will leave bright and early for New York state. Get me out of this downtown area!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


On Tuesday we left Greenbelt, Maryland and headed for the elks lodge in Hanover, Penn. The traffic out of Baltimore and DC was a little tricky but once we got into Penn. it was easy going.
Since we got into Hanover around 10:30 (and it was not raining like the weather men said) we decided to go to Gettsyburg that day.
Gettsyburg National Military Park comprises the battlefield where one of the most important and hotly contested battles of the Civil War was fought on July 1-3, 1863.
We first toured the museum and visitor center where we watched a film and the Battle of Gettsyburg Cyclorama (377 ft painting) sound and light show. Then we went to the National Cemetery for a ranger tour. This cemetery is famous as the site of Abraham Lincoln's Gettsyburg Address.

In the Cemetery are many memorials but the largest is the Soldier's National Monument. There are 3,555 Union Civil War graves, 1,600 of them unknown. The graves are arranged in a wide semi-circle that radiate out from the large Monument. The burials were organized around state sections. If the soldier was identified his name appears on the stone. If they knew the state he is listed under that state as unknown. If they didn't know state or name he is a number.

After the cemetery tour we drove the battlefield which took about an hour. There are 1328 monuments and memorials on the 25 square miles of the park. The memorials and monuments have been erected by the states hororing their soldiers. We only stopped at Little Round Top which showed the countryside the way it looked before the battle. It is hard to imagine this field littered with soldiers bodies. Gettsyburg was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War with 51,000 wounded, captured, or killed. We are learning so much about our country!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mt. Vernon, Botanical Gardens, Art Gallery

I'm going to finish my Washington DC blogging today. I spent 10 days walking and walking all over the Capitol area and Mt. Vernon. What an educational experience. I think any American would thoroughly enjoy this area.

Ron, Bernita and I went to Mt. Vernon on last Thursday. It is about a half hour drive from Greenbelt Park. There were a lot of tours, kids on field trips but the estate is beautiful and there is lots of see.
The mansion has a wonderful view of the Potomac River and sets on a hill looking down to the water. We were able to walk thru the house where tour guides spoke in different rooms (no pictures allowed inside). The Washington's entertained alot so there were many bedrooms and dining rooms. The interior has been restored based on a 1799 inventory taken at the time of Washington's death.

George Washington and his wife Martha are buried on the grounds. Ron and Bernita are posing in front of the tomb where George and Martha are buried.
There is also a memorial to the slaves that lived and worked for Washington. The original grave markers have disappeared and the identities of the 75 individuals buried there are mostly unknown.
Washington considered himself first and foremost a farmer. There is a Pioneer Farm Site on the grounds. Washington had many farms in the area.
This farm features a 16 sided barn where he processed his wheat. Horses would walk over the laid out wheat stalks on the upper floor and the loosen seed would fall between the wood slats into the lower floor. Pretty smart.
There is also a reconstructed slave cabin and garden in the pioneer farm site.

On Saturday I went into DC by myself after Ron and Bernita left. Dean was flying in from Kansas that afternoon and I told him I would meet him at the Metro. And it gave me one more day to see some things that I had not seen.
I love Botanical Gardens so I had to visit the National Botanical Gardens. This is the entrance. Outside is the Rose garden and inside there are different sections such as Rain forest, desert, medicinal plants, orchid garden and more.

I walked around the Capitol and took a picture of the Supreme Court building. Not open on Saturdays.

My final stop was the National Gallery of Art. There is an East and West wing. The West wing contains American art as well as one of the finest collections of western Europe paintings and sculpture spanning the 13th century to the present. I got up close to Rembrandt, da Vinci, Monet, van Dyck. In the East Building the focus is on modern and contemporary art such as Picasso, Gaudin, O'Keefe. Check out the picture of the underground walkway between the two buildings. The last artpiece is definitely modern!