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Days 27, 28 and 29: Philadelphia Pt. 2

July 2, 2013

I am so behind!  The past few days have flown by – we are currently in the middle of Connecticut, just outside of Hartford, hanging out at a hotel.

So, let me backtrack…when I left you last we were winding down after a great day with adopting families.  Sunday we drove just across the border to New Jersey to share with the congregation at Hope Community Church in GORGEOUS Moorestown.  An adopting mom who will be traveling this month attends there and got us connected.  We had a very warm welcome and really enjoyed talking with so many people there!  Then she took us out to lunch and we began the drive back over to PA in the biggest downpour yet.

That afternoon was a lazy one and it was time for evening church with our host family.  Worshipping with so many different people is a really unique highlight of our trek across the country and each congregation is so different!  Our last night with our hosts we watched a movie once all the kids were in bed and stayed up way too late.

We were sad to say goodbye Monday morning, but it was time to move on.  We decided to take a day for a little sightseeing and our first stop was a treat for me personally.  I have always been a nerd about the Amish lifestyle and community, reading some light Christian novels and whatnot to learn about their ways, so being so close to Lancaster County I really wanted to go.  It was drizzly, but we took a backroad through the most Amish-populated towns.  It was a beautiful piece of farmland – which we got to see at a slow speed, since we had to slow down to pass the many horse and buggies being driven by the locals!  About halfway to Lancaster (which, I’ve been saying incorrectly my whole life…it’s pronounced LANK-aster) we passed a farmer’s market-style set up, with a sign announcing it was a charity benefit for children with special needs in the Amish community.  We saw a few other tourists pulling in, but the buggies far outnumbered the autos in the grass parking lot.

Our kids were far more fascinated with the horses lined up along trailers loaded with hay than the Amish spread, but Matthew and I were interested in mingling under the tents and the FOOD.  All of the food was being prepared right there and we had our fair share – fried pies (still warm and the BEST you’ve ever had), warm soft pretzels with cheese sauce…but not cheese-from-a-can sauce, oh no…it was apple vinegar, dijon, cheese goodness from heaven that I cannot describe.  Pretty sure I gained five pounds.  Oh, and the fresh doughnuts.

Plus, there was the people watching, which is fun at any event, but when 3/4 of the people are Amish, it is even more interesting!  I already knew that children and some women go barefoot for the entire summer, so there was plenty of that, even at this public gathering, but the rest of the ladies wearing shoes?  They were flip flops or Crocs – this was a surprise to me!  The German dialect being tossed about made it even more cross-cultural.  The auction happening in an adjacent tent sounded surreal and was completely incomprehensible.  But, oooooo the quilts that were up for auction were tempting.  Not that one needs a warm Amish quilt in Africa…

As we took the kids back to the car and made one more stop at the horse line-up, an Amish man preparing his buggy for the ride home began chatting with us.  This, too, was surprising to me.  He asked if we were local and then didn’t understand how far we had driven…  When Matthew made a joke (which is not a joke, really) about still driving 10,000 miles, he asked if that would take the rest of the week.  We found this so interesting!  Imagine living in such a way that you don’t realize how long it would take to drive 10,000 miles…I’m not poking fun or looking down on his lack of understanding, but rather digesting how different a lifestyle he might live!  He asked why (because why WOULD you do that???) we were driving so far and for so long, and we told him about aviation missions in Africa.  It was similar to trying to describe snow to our Congolese friends.  So incomprehensible that you realize it’s time to change subjects.  But, it was fun to have a brief interaction with him and said goodbye as his family walked over.

We drove on into Lancaster and saw some really awesome farm houses – it was Monday, Amish wash day, so all the laundry was hanging at each house…in the rain.  Matthew took Levi into a local hardware store for a few minutes while Amelia napped in the car (I stayed with her, of course).

We had originally planned to stay the night, but decided we probably could move on and make a little progress on the road.  Downtown Philadelphia had yet to be driven through, so away we went.  It wasn’t far and we made our way right to Independence Hall.  We knew we didn’t want to spend the money to get in (it was full for the day anyway) or even to park, so we found a drop-off zone and I got out to get something VERY important to us: Cheesesteaks!  Known everywhere else as Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches, these are one of my most favorite foods and I’d been holding off eating one until I could have a REAL one.  From a truck!  Then I got behind the wheel while Matthew took the kids to the Hall to get pictures outside.  I ended up finding a great (free) one-hour spot four blocks away and, grabbing my purse and the computer bag, made the brief walk back – remember, our entire lives are in the truck, so we can’t exactly just park and leave it…we’ve already been broken into once.

We wandered the grounds for a few minutes and walked back to the truck and made our way north through PA.  We wanted to take the scenic route along the Delaware.  What a great place for American history.  We saw where Washington crossed the river on Christmas night to defeat the Hessians.  We also saw homes that were magnificent and looked as old as the historical events that made the area famous.

By evening we were tired of the car and needed to stop for the night.  We only made it to Easton, PA, but called it a day and found a hotel.  The kids went swimming with Daddy and I ordered dinner (tasty Italian from a local place that delivered).  We ate and I crashed.  You know I’m tired when I even ignore facebook for the day, which I did.

This morning we were up early, decided against much more in the way of touristy things, knowing we had quite a bit of computer and paperwork to do, and moved on.  We decided to get to Connecticut, New Haven specifically – the home of Yale and right on the water.  Mostly, it was our just-over-half-way point.  We drove through New York City, seeing the skyline in the distance, and even passing through parts of Manhattan and the Bronx.  We plan to spend a day in the Big Apple on our way back south next week, so it was okay to just drive past today.

We had a little trouble with traffic once we crossed into Connecticut and then couldn’t find a hotel in New Haven.  We just kept going north and settled on here, Berlin, I think?  I don’t think any of us have been to CT before…  Amelia and I went grocery shopping for dinner and road snacks while Matthew started in on the work.  Then we had dinner and pool time and now we have two sleeping kids.  Whew.  See?  Busy!

Tomorrow: PICTURES from the past week!  Woo hoo!  I know you can’t wait!

One Comment leave one →
  1. nic permalink
    July 2, 2013 0829

    Wow, I’m fascinated! Love reading about your trip, definitely can’t wait to see the pictures! !

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