Jun 10, 2008
|Now that we have your attention . . - Tuesday, June 10
The Philadelphia/West Chester KOA is not far from Lancaster, and Lancaster County is in Amish country. It’s always fun and a treat to visit Amish country. Especially when there's a town there called Intercourse.
Madolyn punched ‘Intercourse’ into our GPS and Lucy knew right where it was. An hour later we spotted the first yellow traffic sign with a picture of a horse and buggy, and we knew we were getting close.
A company doing tours of Amish country advertises, “You’ll see roads free of power lines.”
Now I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t seen every road in Amish country, but I have yet to see one that didn’t have a power line running down it. There are other people living on these roads too, and the power company has to run lines to serve them. What you don’t see are a lot of transformers and service wires. Amish people will not hook up to the grid - and that is that.
When you’re going to Amish country you don’t stop and eat on the way. Eating is something you want to do when you get there, so our first order of business in Intercourse was finding a good (‘good’ meaning Amish) restaurant.
On the outskirts of Intercourse we spotted a white barn with STOLTZFUS FARM RESTAURANT painted on the side. Stoltzfus certainly sounds Amish, and they can’t all be named Yoder, but there was an electric service running to the restaurant. Nevertheless we stopped, and it turned out to be a really good decision.
Inside a woman explained the menu. You can be seated ‘family style’ where they just keep bringing things until you can’t get out of the booth and they have to send for the jaws of life, or you can order lighter fare off the special lunch menu. We opted for the special lunch menu and sat down to the best lunch in a long time. I had a homemade sausage sandwich, and Madolyn tried their homemade (and award winning) ‘sweet bologna’ topped with a melted cheese. Both were superb.
Literature on the menu said founder Amos Stoltzfus had grown up an ‘Amish boy’ but in his picture he is wearing a regular store bought shirt. None of the women working in the restaurant were Amish, so I asked the waitress if the owners (now Amos’s kids) were Amish. She said ‘no’ that shortly after he got married Amos had left the Amish church to become a Mennonite, which is generally a more liberal version of the Amish.
We completed our lunch with another first, Shoo-fly pie. If you've never had Shoo-fly pie, it's made with brown sugar and molasses and topped with a crumb crust. With vanilla ice cream it’s a diet wrecker, and if not addicting it's certainly habit forming.
After lunch I wanted to lie down and take a nap, but Madolyn was anxious to see the cannery so we drove into town and found a place to park.
The town was originally named Cross Keys after a local tavern. In trying to explain how Cross Keys changed into Intercourse one theory held that it was the crossing or intercourse of the Old Kings Highway and the Wilmington-Erie Road.
Another more imaginative brochure came up with the following theory. There was once a racecourse outside of town. They think the racecourse might have had a sign out front that said ‘Enter Course' and that 'Enter Course' just naturally morphed into 'Intercourse.
Yeah - right!
I think the Chamber of Commerce thought it up - trying to find a name that no one would forget. Name recognition is everything and let's be honest - if I'd have titled this page Cross Keys would you have read it? Probably not.
The cannery was cool and they had some great items for sale. If you get there early you can watch them canning stuff, but it was late afternoon by now and they were cleaning up. We bought some of their more irresistable offerings, and then took a walk around town.
Zimmerman’s True Value Hardware was doing a brisk business, and along with the cars and pickups, several buggies were tied up in the parking lot. They have special places for the buggies so they don't get horse manure scattered all over the parking lot.
My favorite picture is one Madolyn took, of an Amish father loading a blue plastic swimming pool into his buggy while his two barefoot little girls look on. When taking their picture you have to be careful not to offend them. Some believe God included photographs in His commandment forbidding ‘graven images’ and they don’t want their picture taken. I find it hard to believe God would object to a picture as sweet as this one, but then I have my God and they have theirs.
Two hours of Intercourse on a hot day can make you tired, and we headed back to our RV. We were parked in front of Stoltzfus Meat Market and Deli so we stopped in to get something for dinner. We came out with sausage, orange gumdrops, watermelon sticks and a pumpkin roll with white cheesy filling. (Camping can be rough and you have to know how to do it right.)
We pushed on to French Creek State Park and scored a lovely campsite deep in the woods. It was so pretty we didn't notice the huge clouds piling up, and soon another 'violent thunderstorm' was upon us. We were at ground zero this time and the thunder claps were arriving simultaneously with the lightning bolts that created them. Lightning that made you feel like you were being x--rayed, and thunder that rattled the fillings out of your teeth. I don't think we could have survived it without the orange gumdrops and watermelon sticks to comfort us. You might want to remember this and put in a supply for the next time you're threatened with anihilation!