Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hitchin' up the buggy, churnin' lots of butter

I initially told people that were we headed into “Amish Country” for the weekend, but seeing our first stop was at a wolf sanctuary, which is not something that has a particularly close association with the Amish, I eventually started talking about it as a day trip into Lancaster County instead.

We haven’t been down that way in nearly a decade. Last time, we went down on a Sunday, and nothing was open but the local laser tag arena.

Despite encountering some construction on the way, we made good time down to Lancaster, arriving in time for the 10 o’clock tour at the wolf sanctuary. Our guide was an older man, and he was personable and well-informed, able to answer any question offered by the crowd, even the astonishingly specific ones asked by the teenage wolf nerds. Something that surprised me was just how feral the wolves remained in captivity. One of the older wolves was suffering from some kind of ailment. The staff wanted their vet to check him out, but in order to do that, they would first have to drug him, a process that he probably wouldn’t survive. So they let nature take its course, and he began slowly improving over the course of the week, and was eating with the rest of the pack when we were there.

I don’t like dogs at all (I’ll soon be launching a Kickstarter to replace all pet dogs with Roombas), but I enjoyed our time there.

We ate our picnic lunch at the gazebo behind Hayloft Candles, which is a candle store/petting zoo, the latter of which is a loss leader to bring in customers. It’s not a combination that would have occurred to me, however it seems to work for them, so more power to them.

I almost bought candle making supplies, but decided against it. It looks like it could be a fun process, and I’m sure I can pick up the supplies at a hobby store. Jen bought a Pennsylvania Dutch cookbook, so she can make those pig knuckles just the way my Grammy likes them.

After that we drove to Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy Rides. There was quite a line, and we gave them our names set out to kill time. The reason that there was a line was because the hotel offers a package that includes buggy rides. This hotel also boasts of its free wifi and multimedia shows.

We went to the Plain & Fancy store. I saw they had selfie sticks.

When we were planning the trip, I observed on Facebook that it seemed wrong to be researching a horse and buggy ride on the Internet. It’s 2015, and I’m usually the last guy to complain about making activities more accessible, but this kind of naked and shameless commercialization did bother me a bit.

We went on the cookie ride, where we ride around town and through a farm. I was a trifle annoyed, because the advertising led me to believe that we would receive a cookie as part of the tour, rather than be given the opportunity to buy a cookie. The little kids who sold us the cookies and root beer were pretty cute, though. No more than six or seven. I’ve never had the opportunity to describe someone as “tow-headed” prior to this.

We bought some Amish root beer to go with our cookies. It was yummy, though the experience was tainted by the fact that the buggy was pulling out just as I was taking a swing, and I got a noseful of manure just as I swallowed.

Here’s a picture of the horses in the buggy behind us. They’re not Amish horses, so I was able to photograph them without stealing their souls.

At one point, our buggy was bookended by a pair of Lexuses. This amused Jen.

We had planned to eat at the smorgasbord at the Shady Maple, but we were still pretty full by the time we decided to leave, so we opted not to. We hit a farmer’s market instead, and Jen picked up some of their shoofly pie.

It was a nice little day trip.

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