Thursday, November 12, 2009


I must be really susceptible to advertising. I got a post card announcing a big sale at a Lancaster County furniture maker's showroom and warehouse. So, earlier this week I hopped into the Box and headed to New Holland. It was a decent day, weather-wise, so it was a pleasant drive down Rt. 322. There was still some autumn color, but it's obvious that winter is on its way.

I first encountered one of my favorite historic houses, the Hopewell Forge Mansion, home of Peter Grubb, who built nearby Cornwall Iron Furnace in 1742. Beautiful, isn't it? I always thought the furnace manager (that was me in the 1980s) should have that house to live it! But no-o-o-o.

Moving further east, I stopped for a moment at the famous Ephrata Cloister to visit the museum store. The cloister is a beautiful enclave of medieval-style wooden buildings surviving from the 18th century and housing a religious sect. It served as a hospital during the American Revolution.

The store was full of all the things Susanne and I like, including pottery, which I was able to resist -- for now! I was most taken by a redware reproduction of an bowl most likely made for use at the cloister and now in the museum's collection. It looks to me like a perfect Christmas present.

Next stop was the Martin Chair Company at New Holland. On my way from Ephrata to New Holland, I drove through "Amish country," encountering buggies and children walking home from school, the girls with bonnets and the boys with straw hats. It all looked so peaceful and innocent.

The showroom contains many beautiful items, and on the way to the warehouse, I was able to catch some of the carpenters at work. Like many businesses, the place seemed to be going through hard times, but they had introduced new lines of furniture, like French Country and Arts and Crafts. I looked at the 18th and 19th century reproductions.

The furniture is beautifully made, with well crafted proportions and exquisite finishes. I chose a couple of pieces I could easily take home with me. Then I looked at the price tags. Well worth it, but some rich person will have to buy it!

I decided to add to my itinerary, and, using the GPS system, the Box and I headed to Lititz to re-visit the Shaker Shoppe. That proved to be a good decision, because I saw many beautiful old farm houses, fields, and animals. I even came across mules pulling a load of hay. Lancaster County has so many lovely back roads, small towns, and scenic views. That's the real Lancaster County, not the outlets on Rt. 30. I do feel a bit of regret about the seeming exploitation of the plain people by the tourism industry.

I was greeted at the Shaker Shoppe by a vicious dog. I was afraid to get out of the car, actually. S/he was sitting outside my door as I pulled up. I finally screwed up enough courage to get out and was nearly licked to death! Man, it was frightening!

In the store I looked at a few pieces I had seen before and decided that Susanne must see them soon. They are beautiful -- and on sale! Yippee!

On the way home, I went through Lebanon, or Lepnan, as they say down there, and decided to stop at the famous Heisey's Diner along Rt. 72. I had meat loaf and filling. Let's just say that it must be famous for something else.

Still, the place was full, so there must be some attraction. I did enjoy a small serving of ambrosia, an odd side dish, I thought, but it was a nice little dessert, helping me to avoid ordering something really bad for me! In olden times, Susanne used to make a mean ambrosia.

The Box looked particularly handsome in the glow of the big Heisey's sign, don't you think?

Here's that hay wagon that I followed until it was safe to pass.
Notice the roar of the Box's mighty engine!

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