We needed a place to stay on our way to Vermont. Lancaster County's Dutch Country met the approximately 200 miles criteria we prefer to drive. New Holland, PA was experiencing a heatwave as we arrived. But the Amish people were hard at work in the fields bailing hay using Sperry New Holland balers that are horse drawn and clearing their fields as we turned on the air conditioner.
Not a bad view from our campground.
We woke to a hot air balloon floating over the farms. The people staying at this KOA have been so friendly and stop to visit when they see where we are from (Colorado) and sitting outside.
This weekend is the rhubarb festival and most of the campgrounds were totally booked. We found the local KOA with views overlooking the farms had room for us. Does it seem wrong to sit and watch people working?
The Amish arrived in Lancaster County in the 1600s and 1700s long before the Revolutionary War. Nearly all of the farms in this part of Pennsylvania are Pennsylvania Dutch. Most came from Switzerland and Germany.
We were glad when the wind was out of the north. any other direction would remind us that this is dairy country. We got up at 6 am and out the door by 7:30 for a bike ride since it was already 76 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.
This Amish family was putting their hay in the barn after bailing it.
Sitting by our trailer we could hear the sound of the horse's hooves and wheels of the carriage before watching them go by. Driving on the backroads was tight when passing at times.
This is a huge tourist area with most of the focus on food, shopping, covered bridges and watching the Amish. We decided to ride our road bikes on the narrow hilly roads often following a horse drawn carriage.
Horse parking in front of the hardware store.
Many of the horse trotting in from of the carriages are retired race horses.
I liked the teeter totters in front of the Amish school.
We made a stop at the Mennonite/Amish Visitor's Center to learn more about their lifestyle, religion and immigration. Many of the homes had their laundry out drying on clotheslines with a pulley system.
Forge Poole Covered bridge
The Rhubarb Festival ran on Friday and Saturday. Everything closes down on Sunday.
These ladies were canning the rhubarb preserves.
With all of the bakeries and roadside farm stands, we had to make a conscious effort to avoid indulging too much.
By the way, according to Roadside America, Intercourse has the highest number of stolen town signs in the country.
The temperatures dropped 34 degrees to 60 with high winds. Rather than bike ride, we drove to the town of Lititz to visit three small museums.
We toured the Lititz Museum. The historian there shared a good deal about the town and their religion. She is Moravian and was quite knowledgeable and pleasant to visit with.
The little town of Lititz was established in the 1750s. Only Moravians could live in Lititz, and the church owned the property on which a house could be built. Congregation members had to adhere to strict rules of living that were clearly defined by Moravian church leaders. This system lasted for just over one hundred years when the now-bustling town of Lititz was opened to all. Because Lititz was a tight-knit religious community, many early Moravian material goods remained here.
It was a closed community (providing everything they needed themselves) until the Revolutionary War. The Brethren's house was used by order of George Washington to take care of injured and sick soldiers in 1778 from the local battles. This brought problems to the community. The people had not been exposed to many of the diseases and became sick themselves. The community remained closed until the era of the railroad.
We visited the Wilbur Chocolate Company for samples.
Since it was Saturday, all of the small museums were open and staffed. The railcar museum's docent was quite interesting. He grew up in this town as the trains started running through there. He talked about the effects of WWII on the trains and steel industry.
A wheelchair from the Revolutionary War time in the Moravian museum.
We also toured the Moravian Church Archive Museum which had some great items and history. Across the street from the Moravian girl's preparatory school was the Sturgis Pretzel Company, the first commercial pretzel company in the US. We skipped the tour and went straight for a pretzel.
Moravian Church Square
There are rolling hills in Dutch County but the Amish just march their bikes up and over them. They are definitely a hard working people.