Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Amish in Lancaster County

The Amish in Lancaster County.... it took some time for me to get use to living here. As we decided to settle down to open up our bed and breakast in this bucolic community, we had to get use to "slowing down" Now I say slowing down with all due respect. I have never been as busy as I am now. However, I hear it all the time when guest come here to stay at the Harvest Moon. They say, "what a slower paced life you have here... it is so quiet and you have it so easy".

In the beginning I really did not understand what it was that they were talking about. Then as I started the discovering the county, I began to realize what they meant. You hear it as you pass through the country side, (off the main drags) you hear it as you go to a small road side stand, ( the friendly service ) and you see it as you stand out of the car and look at the country side from a hill top, ( nothing but beautiful farmland ).

Our area is something else, there are a lot of special places in the world; Lancaster is most definitely one of them. From the small local bakers that sell their home baked bread on the side of the road to the quilter that just hung her latest masterpiece for sale. If you are looking for what my guest call "quiet" you will find it, in all senses of the word.

Join Jan from the Artist Inn and myself for our tour as we dig deep into the Amish way of life, Go to a bakery and learn the process of Amish baking and canning, see age old traditions of how they make a buggy and top it all off with a dinner an an Amish Household. You will be totally immersed; we guarantee.

To find out more go to the Harvest Moon. We hope to see you on this one.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lancaster Cheese

Just when I think I've got a hold on Lancaster County, WHAM!!! I find a new part that simply amazes me. I just need to suggest to our guest here at the bed and breakfast to join us during our next Cheese and Wine Tour.

Today was most definitely one of those days. I was on a mission; find an Amish run dairy farm that makes their own cheese. Should not be too hard.... Well no it was not too difficult, how could it be? Sampling cheese is always a lot of fun.

I found just the place... in the southeastern part of the county below Christiana. A place really close to Chester county where you have the feel of the rolling hills, beautiful forest with small streams meandering through and covered bridges that span across. The place was serene. So as I continued to drive along in search for my Dairy farm, the road became narrow, and the houses were now sparse. I was deep into the county.

I sprang up over a hill and there it was, Grass Valley Dairy. Just a small place that with the blink of an eye, one would not know of it's existence. No website, no email address, you probably wont find it on the map anywhere; a hidden gem!! I am glad I found it. So as I took the car down the long and winding road, I could not wrap my head around the beauty that lay in front of me. Nothing short of spectacular!!! I could see no other sign of life other than the entourage of friendly canines that came to greet me. One was even crying as I bent down to pet him as if longing for some type of attention.

So as I waited with my friends tossing the ball a bit and could not get over how quiet it was here. Really a place to just unwind... and once again, how beautiful it was. Moments later from over the hill I saw a figure chopping wood; soon after Mr. Stolzfus came down to greet me.

He talked with me about his Dairy Farm and his cheese. Explained the process from beginning to end and gladly answered my trivial questions. Then the moment of truth, he presented to me his cheese; both Colby and Cheddar. Wow was it good, I really like the Colby. Just the right kick behind it. Knowing that we do our Cheese and Wine tours with our friends at the Artist's Inn, he presented me with a small sample bag of each to bring along. My hope is that I will not eat it all before I see Jan, ( Good Luck Jan)

Sooo... paired with the perfect wine, this cheese would be the perfect accompaniment ...ohh and some great crusty bread would be perfect... and maybe a bit more wine... get the picture??

Can't wait to bring guest to meet Mr. Stolzfus on one of our cheese and wine tours. Oh, and did I mention how beautiful it was back there...