We arrived here about 1:30 Sunday after a $18.75 trip of 156 miles on the PA Turnpike. It was a pretty drive through the Alleganies and the motorhome had no trouble with the hills. Pinch Pond is a large campground with all the amenities.
They have wireless but charge extra for it and my aircard has good reception so I will just use good ole Verizon instead of paying for wireless. I had DirecTV up and running in a bout 5-10 minutes - life is good!!!
Monday we went to Hershey, PA, home of everything chocolate. We spent most of our time at Hershey Gardens which is one of the best gardens we’ve seen. It had many varieties of roses of which I have included more than a few pictures.
There were also some trees we have never seen before such as the weeping cedar
. They had even managed to get a Giant Sequoia to grow there. We also went to Chocolate World to take the factory tour. Come to find out the tour was more like an amusement ride than a factory tour. It showed us how things are made but was done in an artificial way with props rather than actually showing us the production line.
Tuesday we did the Amish thing and visited the Dutch area of Lancaster, PA. It was a very enlightening day. Most of the Amish run 40 acre farms and appear to do very well with them. Doing everything without motorized machinery, 40 acres is about all they can handle, even when the whole family works at it.
They had some of the largest homes
and the whole farm was better kept than most farms I have ever seen. We found out that really the only things they do without is electricity and gas-powered vehicles (cars, tractors, etc.). They use medicine and others items much as we would. They do this to emphasize family life. Without a car you cannot go far from home and the absence of electricity eliminates the use of TV, video games, computers and other things that take away from family time - maybe not such a bad idea. I don't have a lot of pictures of the individuals as they prefer you don't take their picture.
The children go to the Amish only schools from the age of six until fourteen, getting an eighth grade education. They normally beat normal high school students on standardized testing even though receiving four less years of education. This is remarkable since the children only hear Pennsylvania Dutch at home and have never heard English until they go to school where they are taught English and High German. When finished they speak, read and write all three languages. The ones we talked to spoke English very well. You couldn’t hear any accent at all – they sounded just like us except they speak perfect English.
An interesting thing is young people are not considered Amish until they are baptized. This only occurs after they have had a chance to experience the outside world (called Rumspringa
) and choose to live the Amish way of life. Only about five percent choose to leave the Amish.
The women make some unbelievable quilts. You would have really enjoyed them Linda. Most have squares that are only one inch or less and they make some really wonderful designs. The queen size ones were selling for between $750 and $1,600 or we would have brought one home for you to see. :)
Wednesday we went to Philadelphia, the birthplace of our nation, to see all of the historical sites. We saw the home of Betsy Ross, Christ Church, Ben Franklin’s Grave, Congress Hall, Independence Hall , the Old City Hall, the Liberty Bell, drafts of the original Declaration of Independence and Constitution before they were signed. All of these are in what is called the Old City and is in easy walking distance from one another.
Some interesting facts are that Christ Church
is still being used as a church on a regular basis. It is probably the oldest building in the country that is still being used for its designed purpose. If you ever get to Philadelphia, you must see it and get one of the docents to explain its history, etc. It is the beginning of the Episcopal faith in America and all American Episcopal churches can trace their roots back to it. It was the main church in Philadelphia during the forming of our nation and all of the principals to that beginning attended this church, though not all were members.
is where our first Congress met after the adoption of our constitution since Philadelphia was the nation’s capitol until it moved to Washington D.C. in 1800. Like many of the buildings used by our new government, it was borrowed from the Philadelphia or Pennsylvania governments. Congress Hall was first built as the Philadelphia County Courthouse and used as such until the US Congress took it over on 1790.
was actually the State House of the Province of Pennsylvania built between 1732 and 1755. This was the meeting place for the Second Continental Congress. It was in the Assembly Room
of this building that George Washington was appointed commander in chief of the Continental Army in 1775 and the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. In the same room the design of the American flag was agreed upon in 1777, the Articles of Confederation were adopted in 1781, and the U. S. Constitution was drafted in 1787. The building, inside and out, has been restored whenever possible to its original late-18th century appearance. Most of the furnishings are period pieces. The "rising sun" chair used by George Washington as he presided over the Constitutional Convention is original.
The Old City Hall
was built as the City Hall of Philadelphia, but the building was used by the U. S. Supreme Court from the time the building was completed in 1791 until 1800 when the Federal Government was moved to Washington D. C.. The municipal government and courts occupied the building during the 19th century.
There were many parks with a lot of green space around the area and though we didn’t have time to enjoy them due to being on a formal tour, we could see where they would greatly enhance a visit back into history, allowing you to just sit on one of the benches and absorb everything.
Today, Thursday, we are just lazing around the campsite and preparing for tomorrows trip to the Richmond, VA area. We will fill you in on that visit next Tuesday or Wednesday.