What? No Laptops?

Thursday 1 June 2006, 7:56 pm

Thursday, June 1

Today we traveled all over the Lancaster area. We started by visiting a quilt store on the west side of town. I left the papers in the car so right now I don't remember the name of it. The store is run by Mennonites and their quilts were beautiful. One difference between the Amish and the Mennonites is that the Mennonites will use electricity. The quilts we saw today were pieced by machine, but quilted by hand. We bought some fabric at a great price, and we bought some trinkets for gifts. If you're on our Christmas gift list, look forward to some fun stuff this year!

We took a 25-minute ride with Amish Barn Buggy Rides, located in the town of Bird In Hand, east of Lancaster on Highway 340. Our driver had grown up Amish but had left when he was about 20 years old. He joined up with the Mennonites, who allowed him to drive his Mustang and take a job in aviation. (The Amish do not allow the use of automobiles or electricity, and they don't allow one to work outside the community.) We had fun swapping stories with him, because he was familiar with Chuck Smith and John Wimber, and he apparently came to a real personal faith through the Vineyard ministry.

The buggy ride took us onto a real working farm where we could see the cows, alfalfa fields, corn fields, house, barn, and diesel equipment. (The Amish use diesel engines to provide hydraulic and pneumatic power for their tools, but they don't use the engines to generate electricity.) He told us about the typical farm (a dairy farm with 64 acres and about 50 cows) and its trials. He also told us what different kinds of workers are and are not allowed to do. For example, construction workers working on a barn might be allowed to use electric tools while on a job, but they are not allowed to let the clients use the electricity to power radios or other appliances. Also, an Amish landlord might have electricity in their house if they are renting a room to someone who is not Amish, but only the renter can use the electricity; the landlord cannot.

Finally, we went to the Lancaster County History Museum. We hoped to learn more about the Amish and the Mennonites, but we didn't really learn anything new, except that the central Pennsylvania area became a destination for several persecuted religious sects, including also Quakers and Huguenots. It showed that one president was from Pennsylvania and lived nearby. Daniel Boone was from this area. Davy Crockett campaigned here. Abraham Lincoln passed by here twice, once on the way from Illinois to his inauguration, and the other on the way home to his burial. Overall, we thought the museum was very well done, but geared more toward children, and overpriced.

We are now in Gettysburg. We hope to visit the National Park and the cemetery tomorrow. There's a lot here to get through. But the hotel here is expensive and we're determined to move on quickly. We hope to be in the Washington DC area by late tomorrow night. That's less than two hours away from here.