Thursday, July 1, 2010

Time Away--Relax, Revive, Reunite

While visiting friends in Pennsylvania recently, Hubby and I took advantage of the refuge our friends always offer at a moment's notice. No big plans are necessary--the welcome mat is always out. These are true friends who are always glad to see us and offer us hospitality with open arms.

They have shown us what friends are and can be. While others come and go, this friendship has grown over the past 22 years. Not only is this couple our good friends, but their family is always gracious to us as well with invitations to dinner, weddings, and even a family reunion! We are grateful for each member of this Amish/Mennonite family and hope we pay it forward to each person we meet.

While basking in the love and friendship of these kind souls, we had some extraordinary scenery to enjoy as well. We are simple people at heart and we thoroughly enjoy driving through the country side and seeing what gorgeous sites our Lord has prepared for us in this life when we slow down and take the roads less traveled.

From the backside of their dairy farm this is the scene that is repeated each evening before sundown. The sky is awash with color and the fields look like patchwork this time of year.

The 100+ year old house where they reside is divided into 2 households--the larger part of the house seen here in the background is where their son and his family live and they operate the dairy and the smaller part of the house in the foreground is where our friends live who operate a bed and breakfast (Clearwood Farm Home Lodging, Gap, PA) in their part of the home. The B&B has 4 bedrooms upstairs with a shared bath and an efficiency apartment in the daylight basement with a private bath. We stay in whatever hasn't been rented to travelers whenever we visit. At one time or another we have occupied each of the guest quarters.

Aside from visiting with our friends, we've met people from all over the world (Germany, England, Ireland, Holland, Japan, Australia, Scotland and a variety of states in the U. S.) when we've been there. Everyone is cordial and very sociable. Sometimes we've stayed up late to talk with people we know we'll never see again. It is always a great experience.

As my husband was on his way from the local hardware store, he came across 4 young Amish children waiting for their mother who was shopping. They were sitting under a large shade tree and their horse and buggy were nearby. Hubs engaged the children in conversation while he took a close look at their mode of transportation. He's got it in his mind that he wants a draft horse to keep on our farm for work purposes. The toys list is getting longer!

One evening while there, I went out to take a look at the full moon. It was outstandingly gorgeous! I wish my camera could have duplicated what I saw--a very large, orange moon that lit up the countryside like nothing else could. I hurriedly went in and exclaimed to the others what a sight they were missing. Everyone (including 6 tourists) rushed outside and we all stood on the side of the road and gazed at the wonderful spectacle of the full moon. As we stood there in amazement, thousands of fireflies danced across the corn field before us. SPECTACULAR! Our friends said they have never seen as many fireflies as are showing off this summer.

This gentleman is the greeter at Ye Olde English Tea Shoppe and is always on duty no matter what the hour.

It has become our custom when visiting that we organize a group of ladies to have lunch at a local tea room, Ye Olde English Shoppe, 3606 Old Phila Pike, Intercourse, PA. The ladies who manage the tearoom are British and are very accommodating and friendly. The meals as well as their tea services are wonderful! They serve hot teas as well as iced teas. I've tried most everything on the menu over the last few years and the food is delicious. The table settings are quite lovely as are the surroundings. I always feel as if I'm in the home of a friend. The meals are always served on pretty china and everyone at the table is impressed with the variety of dishes. Each room is similar, but has its own personality too. I always look forward to a repeat visit. We're already planning when we can visit the tearoom again.

This trip I purchased a gorgeous 3 tiered server! I will use it every chance I have. I've been looking for one for several years, but just never saw the one I wanted. When I saw this one in their gift shoppe, I knew it was going home with me. It makes me happy just to look at it on my table.

I forgot to take a picture of my lunch before eating it. This is part of the "meat pie" (chicken and mushroom) and salad I had for lunch. I also tried the Bartwell Tart which was in several layers (pie crust spread with cherry jam, a layer of lemon creme cake with a sugar glaze, all topped off with warm vanilla custard)--YUMMMMM! My friend had Sticky Toffee Pudding, also a very excellent choice!

I would most definitely recommend this establishment. The proprietors pamper their guests and want to assist them in any way they can. Dining there is an adventure each time.

All too soon, our time away was over. We look forward to our next visit!

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