This past weekend I found myself watching a TV special about the Amish of Lancaster, Pennsylvania while in that very city. Although I find it a little ironic that the program proclaimed, "Please do not ask the Amish to pose for photos for it is against their religion" while they filmed them, I found a lot of other amazing things to take photos of in Lancaster.
My trip to Lancaster came only four days after I officially touched down on the Minnesota tarmac. I hadn't quite gotten over my jet-lag, nevertheless we hopped a plane and a timezone forward for a mini family reunion of sorts to celebrate the graduation of my two cousins Emily and Laura from high school and college respectively.
In between the festivities we explored historic downtown Lancaster. The oldest inland city in the country and traditionally a farming community, now the city is full of colonial buildings that house hip ethnic restaurants and the flannel wearing hipsters (in the 80F heat!?) that frequent them. It's a city where you can find the devout aforementioned Amish in their horse and buggies (the local Costco has hitching posts) heading off to their church and 20-somethings swing dancing in another church. Lancaster is the perfect combination of the traditional and modern and great for a weekend visit.
As it turns out, we came on the right weekend. June 3rd was the beginning of First Fridays, a community event when all of the art galleries are open late. As you walk between the galleries there is live music and food vendors making for a charming welcome to Summer. My cousin Laura and I wandered around and sampled local burritos while my parents bought a painting- a fun and fruitful night for everyone. Congrats again to Laura and Emily who are both moving on to bigger and better things, but with their sense of humor intact (see cake, below). I have another Lancaster post coming up featuring my favorite discovery, the famous farmers market.