We had already paid for our tour of the Eisenhower Farm in Gettysburg, PA on December 20, 2015. I was excited, I had always wanted to visit the farm at Christmas. We had some time to kill so we went to the battlefield and made our way to one of the towers. We explored a bit before spying the sign marking a hiking trail.
By mutual consent we immediately headed down the closest trial. We didn't stop to think about anything. We didn't think about our footwear. We didn’t think about the trail conditions (AKA muddy ground.) We just went.
About 500 feet (if that) down the hill my foot slipped in the mud. I couldn't recover and down I went. I heard something pop as I landed with my leg twisted beneath me. It was a struggle to move and get the leg out from under me, without feeling mad pain in my foot. But eventually I was standing I tried to place some weight on my foot. It wouldn't hold any weight. Jason motioned to a nearby stump, but I didn't think I could even make it that far at that moment. So, I stood clinging to him as I kept all weight from that ankle. I was convinced that I had broken my ankle. I wasn't concerned with the prospect of getting myself back u the hill. All I could think about was to ask, "Can you drive Stick Shift?" We hadn't been dating all that long and it had never been discussed. I had no concern other than needing to know if he could drive my car or if I would be giving him a crash course and letting him learn to drive stick shift on the fly in my car as he drove, because there was no way I was driving. Jason later told me that he was SURE we were heading to the hospital!
After a few minutes I attempted to put some weight on my foot and much to my delight, I was able to put some weight on my foot, with some mad pain...but it worked! We slowly made our way back up the hill to my car. Not only was my foot hurting, but I was covered in mud. Luckily, I had clothes in the car so in the middle of the parking lot (ok, I ducked behind a monument) I changed my clothes. I also switched out of my tennis shoes and put on my hiking boots. I did that for two reasons. I was determined to conquer that hill but I also know that my ankle would fare better with the support of the boot laced tightly around the foot and ankle. I lamented a bit about the fact that had I been in my hiking boots I probably wouldn't have been hurt.....but hindsight is 20-20.
Being stubborn, we carried on with our day. I actually did conquer that trail. I also made it to the Christmas at the Eisenhower Farm (what a disappointment....only one room had any Christmas stuff in it and that was a tree and some poinsettias). I also made it to my family Christmas that evening. I did NOT take off my boot until I was home for the evening. I knew the tight lacing would help keep the swelling and pain at bay. I knew that once the boot was off it would not be going back on too easily.
Yes, it swelled and yes it was painful in the days and weeks that followed. But it healed and I will always remember that day
About an hour and a half away from the craziness of Baltimore and Washington DC is the most bucolic and peaceful vacation destination. I am talking about Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The simple and slow pace of the Amish community that intersperses throughout the county harkens to a day when life was much simpler. It is hard to visit and NOT think longingly of life as an Amish person.
This visit was no different. We arrived and just breathed in the peaceful slow pace of the Amish life even amidst the hustle and bustle of a thriving tourist community.
We arrived on a Sunday. This day is not the ideal day to visit Amish Country. Many of the businesses are closed on Sunday due to the religious practices of the Amish community. However, even if you do find yourself in the area on a Sunday there is plenty of things you can do. We started our afternoon at the Amish Village. This is a small village that is dedicated to educating the public about the Amish way of life.
The price of admission (roughly $10) will take you on a guided tour through a farmhouse that is set in the 1950's. The guide will talk about the history of the Amish and how the Amish live even into the current modern age. At the conclusion of the guided tour you will exit the house into the village. You can visit the barn and the animals that are kept on the property. Make sure you have a few quarters to buy some snacks for the animals!
As you go around the property you will have the opportunity to sit in Amish buggies and look at farming practices. You will even have the chance to go into an Amish style schoolhouse.
Our day was about over by the time we were done with the antique shops and it was ready to call it a day. I knew that I wanted to indulge in a Lancaster County delicacy....I wanted a piece of Shoo Fly pie! The problem? Most of the stores that sell this Amish delicacy are closed on Sundays! No problem! I headed to The Dutch Haven! The Dutch Haven is a landmark that is right on Route 30 You can't miss it due to the large replica dutch style windmill. They have lots of touristy items for sale but the main reason for me to go.....they sell Shoo Fly Pie! Usually when you go in they will offer you a nibble of the pie. This is great because this gives the uninformed a chance to try the pie before you purchase. They sell the pie in different ways. You can definitely buy a whole pie (they do ship also) but you can also buy a single piece! I bought a single piece to enjoy in the hotel room that night! It was definitely delicious!
Monday morning dawned and it was a rainy mess! We relaxed and finally got a start to our day. We started the day at the Kettle Kitchen Village in Intercourse.
This is a village that is set up to sell various items. and is free to visit. What will cost you are your purchases if you can't resist the temptations! There is a jam and canned goods shop that has various homestyle canned goods to buy, a a smoke shop and shops that sell their own individual niche of items...things such as candles, knick knacks, quilts, leather goods. The skies the limit and it seems to change every time I go! You can also grab a ride in a horse drawn buggy at this location. (we did not do that this visit!)
After a rainy time spent shopping we decided it was time to head to Lititz! Why Lititz? Why the Wilbur Chocolate Factory Store of course! But first we stopped at the Sturgis Pretzel factory and bought some pretzels and went on the Historic Tour!
You will get a master Pretzel Maker Certificate when you are done..which is always a fun one for the kids in the group......or for the big kid like myself!The tour guide will take you into the original factory of this pretzel company. This company is one of the oldest continuously operating Pretzel companies in the United States. It has been in operation for over 150 years. The tour guide will show you how to make a pretzel and walk you through steps of making their famous delicacy.
The tour guide will go further and talk about how the company and the making of pretzels has evolved over the years. You can even buy a hot soft pretzel at the end of the tour! For $3.50 this tour is well worth it
After we had our fill of pretzel knowledge we headed over to the Wilbur Chocolate Factory Store. Ohhh the smell of chocolate is heavenly when you walk into the store. There are displays to show you the history of Wilburs. There are windows allowing you to watch workers hand dipping chocolate. And there are tables and displays of chocolate! Delicious chocolate!
This is a great little visit (and they have clean bathrooms!)
If you have the time, walk through the town of Lititz. There are some amazing shops. The Savory Gourmet is awesome. They have amazing cheeses and exotic meats. I but you won't be able to get out of there without a purchase! There are antique shops and other various shops to stroll through while you are in Lititz! Definitely take the time to explore!
A visit to Lancaster is always a favorite get a way of mine. It is fun as a day trip and fun as a short overnight trip! Lancaster, I will be back! (Stay tuned for more travel tips on places in Lancaster!)
A trip to the Washington Monument State Park is a great way to spend a day.
Belief In Living
Travel with us as we explore!