Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Birch Beer & Bratwurst
If there is one thing I really appreciate my sweet wife for it would have to be introducing me to the fun of traveling. In my previous life I really never took time off to go anywhere in particular and it was a pretty dull existence. One of the places we both love to go is Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and we have been there numerous times. We feel a peace there that I have found nowhere else in our journeys and I have been thinking about it a lot lately. Of course when you talk about Lancaster County you immediately think of the Amish and we have the deepest respect for their way of life and so appreciate the way they make us feel everytime we are near them. In the little community of Bird-In-Hand there is a farmers market that offers everything imagineable from fresh fruits & meat to packaged, prepared bake goods, crafts, canned vegetables, etc. One of my "have to do" events on every trip there is to sit at the counter and order a bratwurst sandwich and a birch beer. Birch beer is kind of a cross between a Dr. Pepper and Root Beer and is red in color. Not really one of my favorite things to drink but when I am there it makes me feel like I am experiencing their culture in a more real sense. I have an empty Birch Beer can sitting on my desk at work to keep their memory close. I can almost smell the "exhaust" from the horse & buggys that fill the streets and have fond memories of the cute children riding in the back of the buggy smiling and waving to us. It was a fun memory the first time I spotted a metal rail at the only supermarket in the community where the Amish would tie up their horse while shopping. For anyone who may be thinking about visiting Lancaster they have other attractions that they are noted for. One is the awesome Sight and Sound Theater that has spectacular performances throughout the year. People come from long distances to enjoy their shows. In Lancaster there is a full scale model of the Tabernacle that is truly amazing. On the road leading to Bird-In-Hand there is a home on the right side of the street with a carving of a bear holding a baby bear carved out of the trunk of a tree with the roots still in the ground. It is large and beautifully done and well kept. Seems to look better every time we go there. One of the fun things you can do there is take a tour of the Amish countryside on a buggy. Most of the horses they use are former race horses that are living a calmer life now. One last thing I will mention is the largest "flea market" I have ever seen in Ephrata called the "Green Dragon" and only open on fridays. It is so large that the first time Linda and I went there we got lost and had a hard time finding where we parked our car so it is a good idea to remember well where you parked. It isn't what most folks think about flea markets in that the sites you see are beautiful vegetables, crafts and unusual items that will make you want to shop until you drop. Try Lancaster County, Pa. you will like it, I promise.