After a hectic Tuesday My Joy and I naturally slept late on Wednesday morning, ate Country Inn’s exceptionally good breakfast late, yet arrived on time for our scheduled tour of Amish country at 1:00 p.m.
The tour was arranged through the Mennonite Information Center. Our guide was Carl Landis, retired Lancaster Mennonite High School librarian. We recommend him. He asked us if there were any special desires and I said, “A glass of fresh goat’s milk.” He guided us straight into the Amish country side.
Our guide described the Amish school system and its philosophy, farm practices, home architecture, alternative sources of energy. Many Amish resort to woodworking as a side to the farm and are so prosperous that it may threaten their simple lifestyle.
Near the end of the two-hour tour Landis took us to a goat dairy. He knew of the farm but had never visited it. We found milk and cheese sold on a trust basis. My Joy bought some cheese and I bought a bottle of unpasteurized milk. When we returned to the information center the staff put milk and cheese in the refrigerator while we visited the historical society’s museum and the replica of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness.
The museum featured how things were done in the past. The picture of the benches emphasizes the simplicity of bygone days. If I had taken a picture, it would more likely have been of one of the overly fanciful dresses of the past. I asked if I could meet Rolando Santiago. He is the grandson of Timothy Brenneman, the first pastor of Bayshore Mennonite Church in Sarasota. He wrote a review of the first of my two volume series, “Roots and Branches,” which told him things he did not know about his grandfather. It was a pleasure for us to meet for the first time.
The Information Center features a replica of Moses Tabernacle in the Wilderness. The replica was conceived by a baptist minister who built it in St. Petersburg, Florida. I heard him lecture. After his death, Mennonites from Virginia purchased it and began a mission in the basement. Eastern Mennonite Missions purchased the replica and relocated it at the Information Center in Pennsylvania.
After retrieving our goat milk and cheese we found our way to Diener’s Restaurant in Ronks, Pa. We didn’t eat from the buffet, settling for a simple real hearty bowl of beef stew. I had a cup of chicken corn chowder on the side.