Grass is greener

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 16, 2004

An old song says the bluest skies you’ll ever see are in Seattle and I believe the greenest grass you’ll ever find is in Pennsylvania.

We just took a short vacation to that state and I personally believe Pennsylvanians take advantage of the byproduct from all those horses to fertilize the grass. We have tried the same thing with shrubbery and it works well.

We have been going to the Amish country around Lancaster and Bird-in-Hand once or twice a year for 22 years, with few exceptions. In all those years, we can only remember one trip when it rained all of one day. We were due some bad weather and paid our dues this trip. We were there six days and the weather was rainy, foggy, windy and cold. We had one day of sunshine and the wind was blowing 25 mph that day. Charlie came home with a cold so bad that I wouldn’t get within breathing distance for days.

When we began vacationing there years ago, it wasn’t crowded and lodging rates were reasonable. My, how things have changed. We were there the third weekend in October and traffic was unbelievable. I should have had an idea something was up when we couldn’t get weekend reservations at our usual inn. There were so many people visiting that even the locals were asking if anything special was happening. Apparently nothing unusual was going on, just autumn, shows/dramas and shopping. The desk clerk at our motel said October and November are their busiest months now. Since wait time for dinner at local restaurants ran from one to three hours, I believe him.

But we had a nice trip anyway. I am amazed at the resolve and simplicity by which the Amish live. They appear to be a happy people who do the most beautiful quilting and woodworking I’ve ever seen. The Amish are also some of the best cooks around, but their recipes are very simple and usually from food that can be raised in the garden or fed in the pasture. It’s always annoying to see tourists jockeying for position to take their pictures, even though the tourists know it’s not wanted. The Amish usually turn their heads and continue what they’re doing.

It is a treat to visit there in the fall and spring because they are several weeks behind us in plant life, so flowers that have bloomed and died here are in their prime in Pennsylvania. It amazes me that people in that area, not just the Amish, have such beautiful yards. Flowers creep and bloom from every nook and grass is so green it almost glows. We have decided that it’s because the greenery doesn’t get the intense summer heat that eastern North Carolina enjoys.

It surprises me that so many people go there for shopping, because I don’t find prices are any better than here. It’s nice to find places with 120 stores in one spot, so you can find everything you want within walking distance, maybe that’s the magnet that draws the money.

If you have some extra time and want to get away, I suggest a few days in Pennsylvania, but please don’t go on the weekend. If you do, get reservations before you leave home or you may be sleeping in the car.