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Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge across the Susquehanna River

Cheeky Intercourse is a tourist haven, with every manner of home good and trinket available on offer.

The lovely Revere Tavern, situated on an old pike, it was owned by President James Buchanan, and has been serving pretty delicious dinners for more than two hundred and fifty years! The history around here is astonishing, and I am likely to sound like a broken record on this subject until my musings on this trip are over, so apologies in advance. As Westerners, it is wild and wonderful to be in the presence of such age, to think about all the people who have ever lived here and there, shared a meal, shed a tear, with hardly a trace of the majority. That will be us. That will be me. Fear not, I am not gloomy about it, only philosophical. This is life.

Dutch Haven is famous for its Shoo-Fly Pie. It wasn’t my thing, but the building is the TOPS!

Before traveling to Lancaster, we wondered if we would actually see horse drawn carts and buggies or if it was mere tourist campaign propaganda. My friends, it’s real. There are buggies galore, of all shapes and sizes, on every manner of road, even parked alongside cars at markets and roadside stands. We were quite awestruck.

 

Lancaster Central Market – the oldest continuously operating farmer’s market in the country. It did not disappoint.

Home of Henry Muhlenberg, a famous botanist who lived from 1753-1815.

First Presbyterian Church, circa 1851

This mosaic is made from bread clips! Take a step back to fully appreciate the awesomeness. It is on display at On Orange, where we enjoyed a fabulous brunch and some of the best service anywhere.

Great browsing and buying at Dogstar Books. The ladder, peeps!

Lancaster County is truly marvelous, with a vibrant downtown and college campus, to fine architecture lining streets named Lemon, Lime, and Orange(!), to fabulous cupcakes and beautiful handmade pottery, to the splendid pastoral rolling farm scenes of our imagination, we were surprised and delighted at every turn.

Look, the hubster in Philadelphia!

Shane Confectionery – old-timey beautiful sweetness. Try the Coconut Batido!

Charming Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia’s Old City is the oldest residential street in America. The buildings date as far back as 1728.

This was our favorite coffee shop in Philly – Menagerie.

United States Custom House

Society Hill Neighborhood, our home away from home.

More Philadelphia to come!

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Silly

Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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One, if not THE reason we picked up sticks and moved across the country was to travel, to feel in our bones, the deepest sense of our nation and this continent, to know the contours, of hill and dale and faces old and young. If our beginnings, with the trek to move here and our first trip (which started here) that already seems so long ago, are any indication, we shall make out like kings.

Nine days getting to know Pennsylvania, with a short stint on I-68 in Maryland, on our way to Gettysburg, fog and rain laden, air luscious with damp. This bit of sweetness is Vanderbilt, a mere curve on the road to somewhere, occupied by just over five hundred souls. There are countless jewel box towns like these, mostly older than imagination, my Western whippersnapper roots nearly constantly agog. This is America, where it all began.

And cemeteries! Since moving east, I have never seen so many, tucked in everywhere, both massive and diminutive as postage stamps, nearly all patriotic. This belongs to the Spring Field Church, with the building dating to 1849.

Bear Run and the sights in and around Fallingwater, probably the most famous of the Frank Lloyd Wright residences. We took a tour with a lovely fellow named Cletus. Though he’d been at it only a short time, his knowledge was vast and impressive. And the house? Wow, just wow. Go and be glad!

Such a lovely drive!

This is Gettysburg. Gettysburg. I kept repeating it aloud, just like that. Abraham Lincoln and fourscore and seven years ago and so many soldiers (and one Gettysburg woman) lost to war. The text of the speech is attached to the David Wills house, where Lincoln stayed the night before the address. I gazed about, dazzled, from which window did he peer, am I standing where he stood? Is this the path he took to the cemetery? Golly.

We stayed up yonder at the Brickhouse Inn and had a marvelous time. They have a beautiful breakfast, a kind and efficient staff, and charming and historical furnishings, very apropos, we thought. As is our usual modus operandi, we walked like the dickens, mouths agape at the history, the hallowed ground, the sheer number of buildings that dated from the Civil War, their bronze plaques in proud declaration.

Candlelight at Christ Church was the serendipitous highlight of our visit. On a walk after dinner (at Saint Amand – really good French food and kindly service!), I got an itch to go a particular direction, and on the steps of the church saw a crowd of people dressed in Civil War era garments, which is delightful and not at all unusual, but they were so numerous as to give us pause. We crossed the street and were invited to a service with music from the time, the history of the church, and stories and letters from the era. It was beautiful and quite moving.

The Gettysburg Cemetery – the dedication the occasion for Lincoln’s address. Most striking is the sheer number of unknown soldiers. This is before the advent of dog tags, so only those men with letters or photos of themselves or their beloved were identified. It saddened me.

Cemetery Ridge

Eternal Light Peace Memorial

It is a peculiar feeling to visit battlefields and imagine the reality of events that took place, cannon fire, mortal wounds, families pitted against one another. As we toured, this tender heart was often overwhelmed by imagination and wonder. How is it that we can do this to each other?

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Grace

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

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Laugh

Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.

Charles Bukowski

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