So why Pennsylvania? It's kind of a long explanation, but I am the leader of a youth service club for a non-profit insurance company and every three years they reward their leaders with a trip (if you are an active club that meets certain guidelines). The trip this year was to Hershey Pennsylvania. Joel and I were excited because that is the same area he served on his mission! We never ever ever travel- only to Phoenix to visit his family (and we do that pretty infrequently too) so this was a new adventure for us. THANK YOU to my mom, grandma and sister, who all worked together to watch the kids while we were gone!!
Modern Woodmen Insurance put us up in the Hershey Lodge for 4 nights and it was so much fun to be there with so many other friends from Idaho. I'm not really exaggerating when I say that half the moms in our homeschool group are service club leaders for this organization! We only had one day of meetings so the rest of the time we were able to explore the town or do side trips.
Monday, we went on a walk in the woods with Jenny and Travis and baby Hyrum to see a "deciduous forest". We loved the blooms on this tree which I told everyone was a magnolia but later found out was a mountain laurel. Oops, what do you expect from a westerner? I can correctly identify sagebrush and cheatgrass though!
Kristi and I visited the Hershey gardens and butterfly house the next day while our husbands rode roller coasters at the Hershey amusement park. (I'd had enough motion sickness from the plane ride- I didn't need to stand in long lines to experience more of the same. ...oooh it makes me shudder just thinking about the plane rides....)
The next day we went to Lancaster to see the Amish. To be exact, we were in the small towns of Intercourse and Bird-in-hand because Lancaster itself is too urban to see many Amish. All over town there were buggies, men plowing their fields with horses and ladies hanging the family laundry out on the line, next to their perfectly weeded gardens. We stopped and took a buggy ride from an Amish fellow who says he makes a living doing buggy rides part of the week and making harnesses the rest of the time. It was very interesting to be able to ask him questions and learn a little more about the Amish way of life. Here's Joel, just hanging out with the locals....
This particular buggy had the prettiest high stepping horse. There were horses everywhere!When Joel and I returned to Idaho, all the kids wanted to learn more about the Amish- they are so intriguing! So yesterday we did an afternoon of reading and learning from an informational book for kids that I picked up while I was there. We had a great discussion.
The following day Joel and I traveled south to Gettysburg.Gettysburg was full of Civil war monuments and tourists. I didn't realize that I scheduled us to visit the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. We were there July 2nd and the battle was fought July 1-3. So rather than visit many battlefields or museums, Joel and I just took pictures of the flowers. Look at this beautiful one Joel took. We probably could have stayed and watched some reenactments but we'd had enough of the crowded streets so we jumped back on some small country roads to find our way to my old college roommate's home.
Shannon was one of my favorite roommates in college (in the same category with you Lish!) and it was SOO fun to see her and her family! They had the most amazing place- 50 or more acres, with forest all around their yard. Hay fields, garden, privacy, wild raspberries- in my opinion you can't ask for anything more! They raise a few chickens, turkeys, goats, beef cows, dogs, cats and horses because they like the "simple" life. Shannon wishes their life was a little less simple sometimes. ha ha
The beautiful driveway up to their house-
The whole family except for Willow, the 4 year old.
Shannon was kind enough to remember that it was my birthday and made me a cake. What a great friend!
I'll be back later with the rest of my travelogue. The kids and I need to go get ready for our soccer, mowing, and piano lesson day. But I'll leave you with a picture of a beautiful hydrangea. Why, oh why, can't they grow like this in Idaho? Okay, I'll stop all ready.