Monday, July 19, 2010

Amish Country

Between Chicago and Ithaca, we spent a lot of time driving through Amish regions in three states: Indiana, Ohio, and New York. In Indiana, we stopped at Das Dutchman Essenhaus, a humongous tourist trap with a whole "village" of shops, lodging, and the Essenhaus, the largest restaurant in the state of Indiana. It felt weird to be in such a developed, touristy spot, but the cafeteria-like buffet of mashed potatoes, steamed green beans, stuffing, and short ribs hit the spot somehow. I couldn't resist taking a picture of the silly Amish buggy-turned-booth at the next table. The rest of the patrons couldn't resist taking pictures of our wagon in the parking lot.

We didn't have time to go to any real Amish villages and have a look around, but we drove past many farms and buggies along the way. We saw one guy commuting home from work on rollerblades, which reminded me of this really interesting article on Amish technology that I read awhile back. Apparently, while it varies community to community, some Amish communities allow rollerblades but don't allow bicycles because bicycles have the potential to take members too far from home. I also spent some time thinking about a recent article about Amish farming practices as we passed their fields of cattle and corn.

We did have one planned stop in Amish country. A trip to a homesteader's ideal shopping destination--the Lehman's store in Kidron, OH. Lehman's is a purveyor of old-fashioned housewares and non-electric appliances, and I have been drooling over their website for years. When I found out that they had an actual store in Ohio, I had to make the pilgrimage. Boy, was it worth it.

I was like a kid in a candy store. A whole room full of kerosene lamps? A hardware store featuring hand cut nails and leather-working tools? All the best in canning equipment, pickling crocks, and other food preservation gear? Hand-cranked EVERYTHING? Oh boy! Unfortunately, I don't have any room for anything, but it was fun to browse, and Tristan was able to purchase a nickel-plated cast iron griddle at 75% off. He is the breakfast cooking champion, and now he is equipped like one.

1 comment:

Jennifer Hancock said...

I'm so jealous you got to go to Lehman's!! I found that store online and I never got to go there when I lived in Chicago.... :( I hope all is well on your travels..