Friday, August 28, 2015

Next Stop Lancaster

            On our trip, the next stop was Lancaster and the obligatory visit to an Amish farm and the bus tour of the community. It lightened the mood left over from Gettysburg, but nothing will completely remove the emotions from that battlefield.
            The knowledge of Amish community and the area that the bus driver shared was remarkable, but then, I am sure that he could almost drive the routes while asleep. He described the differences in the Amish homes, farms and religion with today’s world. The bus stopped at the usual tourist traps and several small Amish fruit stands. I met a couple and their daughter who were Jewish. I spoke with the wife. She had an accent, so I assumed that they were from Israel.
            That over, we drove farther east to visit Indian Echo caves, Bushkill Falls, and Crystal Caves. Let me tell you, the effort of the hike to see the waterfalls at Bushkill Falls definitely made me feel bushed and almost killed me.
            Driving through Valley Forge was less impressive than Gettysburg and I didn’t feel the emotion that Gettysburg stirred in me, but then Valley Forge was a winter bivouac and no shots were fired in battle here. I learned a lot from the rangers who are guardians of Washington’s headquarters and home.
            From Valley Forge, we drove along the Delaware River hunting the bushes for every size waterfall in the eastern end of Pennsylvania. We saw covered bridges. Some of my favorite views were of the churches and cathedrals along the roads. No matter how far we drove off the main thoroughfares, there was a church. Even in the smallest communities, there was a church or chapel.
            The buildings came in all shapes and sizes. They were constructed of stone, brick, or simple white painted clapboard, most had a spire pointing heavenward. Some spires were tall and needle-like while others were more squatted and held a single bell to call the faithful on Sunday mornings.
            So many miles and so many waterfalls started to drive me crazy. It wasn’t bad as long as the sites could be located on the GPS, but when we had to drive down goat paths to see them. It became harder and harder for me to sit still. Too many of the falls were low on water or nearly dry which made the rides and disappointment that much greater. The next bright spot on the tour was a bed and breakfast near Canton, Pennsylvania. I will talk about that wonderful place in my next post.

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