Tuesday, August 26, 2014

10 More Things We Did in Lancaster County

We love going to Lancaster County and spending a few days there.  I remember hearing about it from friends Mike and Sue
back in the early 1990's when we first met them after moving to Fairfax, VA.   We learned they had recently retired back to their home town of New Holland, PA and we planned a trip to go see them.  It was a great week!

In fact, we saw so many things I could write a blog about each one.  Instead, I thought I'd post a picture or two of some the things we saw:

1.  Produce Auction (New Holland, PA) Old order Amish and Mennonite's selling vegetables, fruit, flowers, etc

(which also included pallets of flowers)

2. Martin's Furniture (New Holland, PA) local factory and showroom

3. Wilbur Chocolate Factory (Lititz, PA)

4. Sturgis Pretzel House (Lititz, PA)

5. Mennonite Information Center (Lancaster, PA)

6. Amish Farming Tobacco

7.  Mowing the Fields (Amish Farm)

8. Covered Bridges (Lancaster County, PA) We only saw a few - there are over 25 in the area. Click here to see where else they are located.

9. Gourds at an Amish Farm

10.  New Holland Museum

Our week was a full one during our time at New Holland and there is more to share.  See you next time on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Some things to see near Lancaster PA

We saw some interesting sights around Lancaster with our friends Mike and Sue.  We met at their place about 10:00 AM and went over to the horse auction.  Next we went to a tour of Wheatland, home of our 15th president - James Buchanan.

First over to the horse auction.
There are a lot of auctions in this part of the country.  Estate auctions, houses and farm auctions, quilt auctions, produce auctions and this - a horse auction.
 When we arrived in the parking lot, it took a bit to find a good place to park among the trucks and horse trailers.  And the Amish buggies.

I've never been to a horse auction.  It was a busy place.
On our way out we could see some energetic games of checkers going on
I wanted to get some more photos of the animals outside before we left

Our next stop was a few miles away over at Wheatland - the home of our 15th President - James Buchanan. The property and Visitor's Center is on outskirts of Lancaster PA.
We walked down to the back entrance to the home and were greeted by our docent who proceeded to give us a room by room history of the home and its occupants.
Wheatland was on 22 acres when James Buchanan bought the place in 1848.  He lived there many years before his distinguished service in Washington.  After his presidency he returned to Wheatland where he lived until he died in 1868.

Buchanan was one of our most experienced statesman, having served 10 years in both the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as being the US ambassador to England and to Russia.  He was also the Secretary of State under president James K. Polk.
He allowed his name to be entered for nomination in the presidential race of 1856 under one condition, that the campaign be run entirely from Wheatland.  Other did his bidding and committees throughout the country were organized to campaign for him.  He was easily elected and oversaw one of the most contentious and divided periods of history in our country - immediately before the U.S. Civil War.

James Buchanan was a lifelong bachelor.  His niece, Harriet Lane was orphaned and he became her guardian. When he was ambassador to England, Harriet joined him and when he was elected to the White House, Harriet served as the First Lady.  In fact, she was the first one to be labeled the "First Lady".  She also lived with him at Wheatland until she married at 36.

One thing I noticed about the house downstairs was the use of mirrors with candles near them to reflect the light in many rooms.
The whole house was interesting.  Each room had a story and uniqueness about it was noteworthy.  It was filled with furniture that had been returned over the years and was either from Wheatland originally or from the time-period.
The tour lasted about an hour. It helped fill in a lot of questions and misconceptions I had about President Buchanan.  We find that we learn a lot about our country by visiting presidential museums and libraries and their homes.  This was no exception.

Thanks for joining us today on two memorable events for us -- the auction and Wheatland.  Until next time...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Summer Concert Evening in the Park - New Holland

Yesterday we left our three week stay in Fort Meade, MD for Lancaster County and a new campsite at Beacon Hill Camping.
We are on a level site, with full hook ups, good cell service and internet.  And we are across the street from a large Amish farm.  They have horses and cows and dogs and guinea pigs.  And farms smells which add to the experience.
The campground in on the side of a steep hill.  Its a nice cardio walk to the top where there are some great views of the farms down through the valley.  To get a good view and some pictures, we'd have to walk on a driveway or two so we didn't do that.

We arrived in the afternoon, got all set up and then went over to friends Mike and Sue's place in New Holland.  After dinner, we then went over to see the summer evening concert in the city park.  The Nomads are a Oldies Band that was simply GREAT!

We got there as the show was starting and it was crowded.  Usually 200 people for one of the evening concerts is about average.  Tonight, there were about double that number.
These guys were really good.  It was fun to hear the music and kind of join in on some of the songs (you have to know the words to really join in...but that has never stopped me from giving it a go).  It was a toe tapping, singing, hand-clapping good time!

A few got out there and danced quite a bit and that was fun to see them have fun.
It was a couple of hours of a great time.  I can just imagine the same thing has happened across hundreds of cities and towns this summer -- evening concerts in the park.  Have you been to any this summer in your part of the country?

It was a great start to our stay in Lancaster County.  We'll be here all week so more to follow!
Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Plans Change for the Winter

We had thought we were going to be spending most of the winter in Florida.  There's something about the warm weather and great beaches that we find very attractive.  Plus there are so many other things we like about Florida.  I think we have spent four of the last five winters there and love it.

There is lots of history, things to learn, places to see we have never been and a generally welcoming atmosphere in Florida.  We need to go see the World Golf Hall of Fame again in St. Augustine.  We've been there once, but I don't think I was able to absorb all of what it had to say.  Golf being my favorite sport and a wonderful pastime, I look forward to seeing that place again.

Then there is the weather.  Usually during the winter months, Florida manages to escape some of those cold temps. At least in Southern Florida.  We like Key West for a few weeks and it is very affordable at the military campground at the Navy Base there.

We also have some great friends who live in Florida and / or 'winter' there.  So it would be great to see them again.

But this year we will spend a few weeks in the late fall in Florida, but mostly spend our December, January, February and ??? in Virginia.  We intend to be in Virginia Beach mostly, but will likely take a few days at a time and come up to the Washington D. C. area for visits.

As you know, our daughter and son-in-law live in Virginia Beach and our son and his fiancĂ© live in Chevy Chase, MD (really about a block from the D.C. line).  And we have absolutely loved the weeks we have spent in each place and getting to see them all.  Whether it is a night or two during the week or time on the weekend it has been great to dip into there worlds again and see them.

Our goal is to do that as much as we can without over doing it.  There is a balance here and we aim to find it.  So we are going to keep at it and plan on seeing more of them.

We leave this weekend for Pennsylvania and the Amish Country.  And we will be seeing some of Philadelphia again and then heading down the Eastern Shore and back to Little Creek Navy Base Campground in September.  We also have plans for some time in Myrtle Beach and Tennessee and probably Red Bay, AL before returning to Virginia Beach for the holidays.

During the holidays, (and maybe before) we will probably be honing up on our cold weather camping and hoping that Virginia Beach doesn't get 8" of snow like it did in the winter of 2010-2011.  We got caught in that one and waited for the snow to melt enough to make a bee line South.

This winter we will hang around and wait for the birth of our first grand child which is scheduled for mid-February.  After two years of marriage Kelly and Jon are expecting their baby to be here.  We are VERY excited for them and want to be there to help.  So there will be more on that later I am sure.  We found out a while ago and were sworn to secrecy.  Once she posted it on her blog and FaceBook though, we figured it was OK to spread the news!

Which brings me to my question of the day:
Any advice for new grandparents-to-be?

Thanks of joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Oh Say Can You See?

Though we've lived fairly close to Baltimore and Fort McHenry, we've never been to the National Historic Park.  It's really impressive!
I've never been to clear about the War of 1812, but this was an opportunity to learn more and put some more history into perspective.

The United States declared war on Britain and Ireland for a number of reasons including: the hijacking of U.S. sailors and forcing them into service aboard British ships (known as impressment);  support of Indians in war against the U.S. and blockading/restricting U.S. trade with France.  The British seemed to have the resources and momentum after burning down the White House and Washington D.C. in 1812.  But later the U.S. had finally had some key victories in New York and New Orleans and in Baltimore. The war lasted from 1812 to 1814 when the Treaty of Ghent was signed and then ratified by Congress in 1815.

In Baltimore, the British were getting ready to take out Fort McHenry and then Baltimore when Francis Scott Key was trying to effect a prisoner of war exchange.  He was on board a British ship just before the hostilities broke out and they held him until after the siege was over.  It was from a British ship that Key saw the flag through the fog and smoke of 25 hours under bombardment.  He penned what was originally called 'Defense of Fort HcHenry'.  It was adopted for use by the U.S. Navy and eventually became our National Anthem in 1931.

We loved our time at the Historic Site.  The displays in the Visitor Center were unique as was the fantastic video of the story behind Fort McHenry and the flag.
At the end of the video the double wide screen went up and through the picture window we saw the flag over the old fort.

It was quite moving when one, then two--then all of us stood up as the Star Spangled Banner blared over the speakers.  Great start to our visit.

Next we went outside and listed to a Park guide give a presentation on the flag.  This was an audience-participation event and we all got into it.

First we lined up into two lines then held the flag which is an exact replica of the one  being flown.
As we unrolled it and then rolled it back, the guide gave us quite an interesting history lesson.  For example the flag that was flown at the time had 15 stars and 15 stripes.  (Guess what states that symbolized? - the original 13 plus Vermont and Kentucky.)

As we moved around the grounds, we went over to the old fort itself.
The grounds and the rooms around the fort were very well maintained.

The fort was also used in other conflicts including as a hospital during the Civil War and World War 1 and as a training base.
The fort is right on the water which has changed its look over the years with industry near by.
But some interesting vessels still make their way down the Chesapeake.

Fort McHenry was a great stop and we enjoyed our afternoon there!
Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!