Our time in Pennsylvania Dutch Country was short and in some ways bittersweet.
We drove through the rolling hills of farms, overtaking families on their Sunday buggy drives whilst admiring the lush landscape. We tried some Amish food specialities (their version of Chicken Pot Pie, Shoofly Pie and Birch Beer) at a local restaurant, which were both filling and satisfying.
To be perfectly honest, I was somewhat surprised at the welcoming nature of the Amish and Mennonite communities. I think I was expecting disdain for our technology and consumer driven lifestyles, but we received nothing but waves, smiles and general friendliness from the locals who we were essentially coming to ogle at.
We had originally planned to camp here but having previously experienced the whirlwind that is setting up and taking down camp in a 15 hour period we instead booked a cabin in an ‘over thirties’ RV ‘camp’ ground (we were the youngest there by a good 20 years). Our cabin was delightfully simple and homey and we drifted off to sleep listening to the gentle clip clop of horses driving past. Turns out the Amish are quite the night owls.
Our serenity was shattered the next morning as we attempted to meet work deadlines, do laundry and pack up our belongings before checking out of our cabin at midday and driving to Gettysburg for the afternoon. Being simultaneously pulled every which was at once was becoming a common and overwhelming emotion on this trip, but this was a tipping point for me.
In despair, I said ‘I didn’t know it would be this hard’. Erik responded with ‘I didn’t know it would be this kind of hard’. But as we sat, post meltdown, overlooking the beautiful Pennsylvania country side, eating our lunch, all the reasons we came on this trip came flooding back.
Being the generous soul that he is, Erik was kind enough to drive to Gettysburg as I met my work deadlines. We hadn’t really factored in enough time for Gettysburg, but it was almost on the way to Washington DC, so decided to at least swing past. We saw the video narrated by Morgan Freeman, the cyclorama and (to the disdain of the park ranger who we asked what to see if we only had an hour) did a quick auto tour of the battle field.
We were surprised by how well laid out and extensive it was, and have vowed to return one day to see more.