Saturday, December 17, 2011


The Weathervane Shop.
Last night we picked up friends Bill and Debbie and drove down through Hershey, headed for Landis Valley Museum for its annual Bonfire Night. We stopped for a bite to eat in Hershey and then drove on 322 east to 501 south, through Lititz (one of our favorite towns) and on to Neffsville, where we turned off the highway and soon arrived in Landis Valley Museum's massive parking lot.

We had to circle the lot like a vulture, watching for people vacating a spot and claiming it before someone else did. Finally we pulled in, jumped out (well, sort of oozed out) and headed toward the Weathervane Shop, the museum shop selling all sorts of items related to farm and village life in the 19th century. It stands at the entrance to the open air museum itself.

The shop window.
For the first time since I was scolded at Wegman's a couple of years ago, I was told by a store employee, "We don't allow any pictures to be taken in the store," just as I was about to snap a picture of a display featuring some lighted Christmas trees. You'll never know how appealing it was! I don't know why they won't allow pictures inside. I did manage to take some of the front display windows, however and share them here.

Next we mosied onto the museum grounds, soon realizing that we were late for the bonfire itself. As we approached, it was being doused by local fire trucks, and the crowd was moving en masse toward the Yellow Barn. I thought they'd have kept the fire going during the entire event, but now we know better.

Food in the tavern.
We headed instead through a Civil War-era encampment, where was saw re-enactors gathered around a campfire in front of two wooden huts they had built for shelter. Emerging on the other side of this scene, we came to the village tavern, where museum interpreters were cooking and baking up a storm, proudly displaying foods and baked goods they had produced over an open fire.

In the Yellow Barn.
Next we saw a guide demonstrating spinning on an old instrument and saw other kids of weaving and textile production tools. As we left that building, we came across the Lititz Moravian Trombone Choir playing carols. We stopped to enjoy them for a few minutes, then joined a now shorter line in the Yellow Barn, where long tables of cookies and cider were set up. Many strings of lights decorated the rafters. Debbie and I enjoyed the hot cider, Susanne took a cold one, and Bill just ate the cookies, I think. Hundreds of them! Just kidding!

A tree in the Landis House.
It was in the Yellow Barn that I saw an old friend, Jim, who is now administrator at Landis Valley. We worked together when I was administrator at Cornwall Iron Furnace and he worked at Conrad Weiser Homestead. That was a lifetime ago. I also ran into Scott, from the PHMC's Bureau for Historic Preservation grants and markers program and had a nice chat with him.

After the cookies and cider, we drifted over to the Landis Brothers' house (they founded the museum) and saw two rooms there, one decorated for the season with a wreath and a decorated feather tree. We passed by the general store, the firehouse, and the tin shop on our way back to the car.

The best part was spending time with our friends, catching up on all the news, and having a few laughs.

Looking past the campfire to the tavern.
 A food display. Notice the upside down Christmas
tree. We have seen those in a previous post!

An interpeter tells visitors about the tree. 
Unfortunately, I was not able to hear him.
Here's a photo of a tree from
the museum's collection. Wild, no?

The Yellow Barn is on the left; the tavern at right.

Luminaries lighted the steps of the shop.

Here's the second of two front shop windows.

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