Monday, September 28, 2009


My husband and I, just returned from a week in Lancaster, PA. We have been going there twice a year, for the past 17 years, and it's the most wonderful place. I had been there with my parents, as a young child, and always wanted to go back. When the movie "Witness", came out in 1985, and I saw the breathtaking scenery, I knew I had to return. Hubby's response was, "you want to go where?" LOL! After a lot of convincing, we made our first trip in 1992 and something I never expected, happened - my husband fell in love with Lancaster and we have been returning year after year. There is something about it that is very relaxing - the pace is slower, and watching all the Amish horses and buggies, and barefoot children, almost takes you back in time. The quilts and the furniture made by the Amish are just stunning. So, I have taken a kazillion photos and if you have time, grab a cuppa, and join me for a tour.

First stop is Bird in Hand Farmers Market - it's open several days a week and is crammed full of fruits and vegetables, along with the most scrumptious baking, crafts and home made candy - YUM!

There are furniture shops and gift stores, filled with Amish furniture and crafts from local artists.
There is a fabulous Antiques Barn for those who enjoy browsing for things from the past!

Further down the road is a little town called Intercourse, PA. Yes, that's the name, although it was originally called Cross Keys and who knows why they changed it, LOL! One of the tourist attractions is a collection of 30 shops, arranged in a little village, called Kettle Creek Village. A must see, for those who are in the area.

Although we had taken a buggy ride before, we decided to take another one this time. The young man in the picture, Jason, was our driver and we had him all to ourselves for over an hour. He has an Amish grandmother, although he is not Amish - his dad grew up Amish but chose to leave. Jason took us over many gorgeous back country roads and gave us lots of fun information. One thing we learned is that they come to a little Amish community near us, St Jacobs, Ontario, to buy their wagon horses, and they are the best horses they can buy - a cross between a Clydesdale and a Hackney. The taller horse in the back is one they just bought from Ontario - who knew!
The rest of Intercourse is filled with a quilt museum, more quilts and delightful shops, bakeries, soft pretzel stores and on and on and on. It doesn't get much better :)

And of course, there is Zimmerman's hardware store - some of you might recognize it from the movie Witness. It's where the female tourist was asking Harrison Ford if she could take his picture. The phone booth is gone but the coke machines are still there.

Sights like these three children in a pony cart, were common on our drives in the country. The carts and ponies are adorable.

Have I mentioned the food? The restaurants are amazing - Millers is a wonderful place to eat!
Shop window at the Quilt store at Millers.

One of the best parts of the trip is our motel - The Garden Spot Motel on Route 30. It's a darling little motel and we have been staying there for years. It's owned by two sisters, Debbie and Jenny, and we have become friends over the years. It's like visiting family!

The Garden Spot has it's own little coffee shop, that just serves breakfast until 11:00 a.m., but it's fabulous and VERY convenient!
One of the local quilters, that sells quilts from her house, Sylvia Beiler. My niece bought one, when they came on holiday with us one year.

Next stop is Strasburg. Pa. It's a beautiful little town, founded in 1733. It's also full of quaint shops and it has a wonderful ice cream and candy store, where we always seem to spend a fair bit of time. This lovely horse and buggy is a common sight in the area.

The Amish schools are quite small and they are dotted all over the countryside, among the Amish community.
A gorgeous historic Country Inn

Mules, waiting for the owner, so they can get to work.

Harvesting Corn is a lot of work.

Hot air ballooning is a popular activity in Lancaster.

I mentioned the movie, "Witness", with Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis, earlier. It was filmed entirely on location in Lancaster County. We tried to find the farm but were never successful. Then, a few years ago, on the twentieth anniversary, they offered tours of the farm, so we took it. It was interesting to see it as it is now. The movie had the house and summer kitchen attached, but it was all a facade. It's two separate buildings. They chose the farm because of it's location - it is not visible from the highway. They didn't want a lot of onlookers interrupting the filming. It is owned by an Amish family now - it wasn't when the film was made. Harrison Ford boarded with a local woman, while filming, and apparently did a lot of carpentry jobs for her - she was a widow. Kelly McGillis loved the area so much, she bought a house in Philadelphia, not far away. The bird house that Harrison knocked over with his car, and then repaired, is still there.

The barn was both gorgeous and huge - it's built into a hill. This is the upper part where the dancing scene was filmed. The animals are on the lower level.

Amish buggy in the barn

Almost all of the indoor filming was done in this summer kitchen - only the bedroom scene, when Harrison Ford was shot, was filmed inside the house.

A close-up of the birdhouse, still standing today.

A gorgeous little pond on the property.
That's the end, folks - hope you've enjoyed it and if you ever get the chance, visit Lancaster County. You won't regret it!


the lady loves bears said...

Wow Brenda what a fabulous post I love that movie and I would love to visit there it looks fantastic. All the craft I would be in heaven.


Brenda said...

Thanks so much Raewyn! Hubby and I were almost planning to retire there, until our grandson came along - its too far away from him :(



Lynn said...

Beautiful pictures Brenda, I would love to visit that area some day.


Crowsnest Pass Primitive Folk Art said... time you go i want to come with!!! I have wanted to go down thee forever & seeing your pics really gave me the incentive to talk to my husband about taking a vacation there. Thanks for sharing. Susan

Brenda said...

Thanks, Lynn! It's a beautiful area!

Susan, I'd love to show you around Lancaster :) You should talk your husband into going for a visit - he might surprise you and really like it. I can't wait to go back in the spring. It feels like home, now.



lapousmor said...

Thank you very much for sharing these beautiful photos with us, Brenda!
This is funny you are talking about Amish, because last week we watched an episode of Cold Case and it was about a young Amish...
It looks like life in Lancaster is very relaxing and peaceful.
I am happy both you and your hubby enjoy yourself so much.


Brenda said...

Thanks, Sophie! I missed that episode of Cold Case - we were probably on holiday in Lancaster LOL!



Karen ~ Cider Antiques said...

Great pictures Brenda. . . and I just may have to go back and buy another quilt :) It certainly is beautiful down there. Why do I keep going to Florida anyways??? Much closer to PA and soooo pretty! Karen.

Brenda said...

Hi Karen,
You & Steve and the kids should come down with us next time! Aren't the quilts fabulous!


Bumpkin Bears said...

WOW, what a beautiful place, those buildings are just like a dream and I felt a gentler pace of life just looking at them, what a fascinating place to visit. I am not surprised you go back again and again, I sure would. It's fun to see an area near to where my Art is in the Hatch Gallery in Lititz. Thanks so much for sharing, Hugs, Catherine x

Brenda said...

Catherine, we were in Lititz, at the Wilbur chocolate factory and the Teddy Bear Emporium. We didn't have a lot of time to browse and I totally forgot that your artwork was there :( It's only a ten minute drive from where we stay. When we go in the spring, I'll have to remember and try and take some pictures for you!
Next time for sure!!!



Nancy said...

Hi Brenda...
Oh, your pics are simply gorgeous! What a beautiful place. I would love to go there sometime.
Your photos truly capture the countryside as it is there. Lovely!

Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday!

Hugs, Nancy
PS...Love your new Halloween bears!

Brenda said...

Hi Nancy
I agree - it is a simply beautiful place and I hope you get to visit someday. We always have such a fabulous time when we are there.

Thanks for the compliment on my halloween bears, I love decorating them.



Mel and Angus said...

Thanks for the tour. I have always wanted to go there!

Brenda said...

You are very welcome! I've checked you blog and the fabulous pictures - I've always wanted to go to Scotland!