Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pennsylvania

Well, with the crappy weather, I finally get around to posting more of our trip.

Pennsylvania didn't appear to be much different than New York, as far as scenery. But there was a distinct change in the types of barns...

We stopped in Meadville for the night, but decided to toodle around the town a little bit. Their DOT office is the coolest...
They had this "flower garden" built out of roadsigns. Also, their privacy wall was a mural made from roadsigns. It was awesome.

After we got on the road the next day, it became very obvious we were in Amish country. Even Chris was in the mood to explore, so we jumped off the Interstate when we saw a sign for a local winery in Volant. After winding around, here and there, we found the little town of Volant...but the winery was closed. Actually, it looked like the whole town was closed. Must be a summer attraction? That will be on our list of places to revisit if we ever get back out that way in the summertime.

We saw lots of these...

And even a field still full of shocked corn...

Considering the state of the economy...suddenly the self sufficiency of the Amish seems pretty interesting. But it raised a question between Chris and I...do the Amish vote?

Since our touristing wasn't working out like we had hoped, we jumped back on the road and headed for Pittsburgh. And there, we found Chris' favorite spot to shop...

And right across the way, a trotting horse racetrack...
I could see them working horses, but the barn areas are restricted, so I couldn't get any closer to really check it out. I have never seen trotting/pacing races in real life. So yet another reason for us to get back out that way "in season".

My mom told me a pretty good story when I told her about checking out the Amish community...When my parents lived down south in the early 60's, they became friends with Mooney and Loretta Lynn. Well, Mooney used to raise some absolutely gorgeous draft mules(Belgium crosses) and he would haul trailer loads of them up into Amish country to sell. He said they were the best customers he had, they bought everything he brought up and paid in cash. I guess after Mooney had a few wrecks trying to train driving mules, he figured it was better to sell them untrained and buy back trained ones. I remember seeing a team he raised when we was visiting them one time and they were just gorgeous. He also had a really nice Appaloosa stud too. He sure did like fancy horses and mules.

13 comments:

Stephanie said...

Those road signs are really neat - I really like those!

I just love road trips!

Adventures of a Horse Crazed Mind said...

Cool pics! I'd love to see that country! We have a TON of trotters (Standardbreds) around here because we have a big trotter track (and used to have two). It is REALLY sad. Maybe I should do a post about them sometime... they are worth nothing even when they are really well broke and steady trail mounts. You could pick one up for free at anytime. I actually half owned/leased one for about a year when I was 12-13. A big black gelding named Alfie. I tried to teach him to canter..... It wasnt pretty... nor was his pace much fun to ride but he was a good, safe, solid minded gelding. Big bone, big feet. And boy, oh boy can they FLY at a pace!!

I hear that the Amish put a really nice handle on a horse. I wonder what methods they use? Actually a few years back my friend bought a Haflinger gelding that was raised by the "Amish" (they called him Amish and OMG he was SOOO freakin cute!). He was broke to drive and had been used for a few years so it didnt take long at all to get him going under saddle. She sold him to a 3 day eventer 12 year old girl and made a pretty penny on him too.

Cool story about Mooney.

Jennifer said...

I grew up just a bit south of where you visited, so I speak of some experience.

No, they don't vote. They in fact don't participate in anything "American" except for the currency.

They don't always treat their working animals with the best care. The "handle" they put on them will make them good work animals, but not like the riding partners the majority of us horse folks enjoy.

Leah Fry said...

How funny! Mr. Fry was born and raised in Meadville. I was raised in that general area also. Small world.

Andrea said...

I grew up in Northeastern Ohio. We has a few Amish people there. They are really a talented people. And no, they do not vote or pay taxes. But they don't have tv either. It kind of depends on what kind of Amish person you are. There are the traditionals that only wear black and white, and there are others who wear color and have electricity. So, I guess it depends on what kind of Amish person you are if you vote or not? :) My sister in law bought a Percheron cross mare from an Amish man.

I love that country up there. It's so hilly and pretty. Even in the winter time. I miss those big old barns with rock foundations. Sigh......

I hope you are staying warm and getting some rest from those achy muscles!!

Jackie said...

Wow! Looks like I'm joining quite a party. Volant is almost my hometown, next door in New Wilm. It's definitely a great place in summer, and also quite busy on Black Friday. The rest of the year it's pretty quiet.

The Amish don't vote, nor do they pay taxes. They very rarely sell their land. They really are a nice bunch tho.

If you happened to drive on 208 between Volant and New Wilm, you would have passed a little Amish shop called Lonely Pines Harness Shop. It's owned by Chris and Elizabeth Byler, and not only do they fix harnesses, they sell tack. At exceedingly good prices. I've known them since I was 10. I'm in Ohio now, but I still go to them for most of my horse stuff ... or get my mom to do it for me. They used to bake us cookies at Christmas, and even put together a little wedding gift for me a few years ago. My life is definitely a little bit richer for having grown up in an Amish town.

smellshorsey said...

That Amish self-sufficiency is appealing. Very interesting story about Loretta Lynn's husband. I thought the Amish bought trotters that were too slow at the track. I guess they buy good horses wherever they can get them.

When we were in the Bahamas a couple of months ago we saw a line of touristy carriage horses. I asked where they came from and they said they were retired Amish horses. Didn't look like a great retirement.

gtyyup said...

I've never been east of MO, I'd like to take a trip like you did...in the open season!! Beautiful pics and wonderful sights anyhow. I've always wanted to see the Amish country.

Natarojo said...

looks like youve got lots of little places to explore come summer time!

As Chelsi said, we have a big trotting track out this way and Standardbreds are a dime a dozen. Standardbred racing is often refered to as "Poor Mans Racing" around here. While the thoroughbred track here treats most of the animals like gold, and the barns equate that, the standardbreds sseem to be treated the same wether they are winners or losers on the track. It's really quite sad. The stall fronts in the barns don't even have proper doors on them, just pallets propped/tied up. I don't know if this is how all the trotter track barns look like, but its how ours does. We have a Standardbred at our place and she's broke to ride. It's the strangest thing you'll ever feel! And she's learnt to canter too, but it sure takes a strong leg to get her there.

If you have a young kid wanting to learn horses in a safe envirnoment, i'd highly recomend a standardbred. Their gates are wonky to most of us, but they are the gentlest breed out there. And virtually bomb proof. It's sad that they really aren't thought much of. In my eyes they're a little diamond in the rough. personally I'll stick to my Quarter Horses as thats the area of riding im interested in riding/showing, etc, but a STBD is an AWSOME starter horse.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

This is so cool. Thanks for posting more info on the Amish.

Jackie-We did see that saddle shop. How cool. Note to self-stop there "next time".;)

I did get to ride a Standardbred once-a friend of mine in AZ bought a very gentle old mare. So I know what you all mean about the lope-yikes.

smellshorsey-I think for regular driving the Amish always keep light horses around, but for farming they buy up the draft animals. I don't think they ride much though do they? I guess I can't ever remember seeing them actually riding-although, I suppose they do occasionally?

Any industry where animals are raised specifically for sport-TB's, Standardbreds and Greyhounds is predispositioned toward dumping problems. It's sad and it's a problem. I understand the need to get involved and change how things have always been done. But, I'm also a person who loves the sport of racing and both Chris and I love to go to the tracks and bet. It kinda puts us in the middle. I would hate to see the loss of the sport, but also hate knowing that so many of the animals are simply dumped if they are not winners or after their winning days are over.

Melanie said...

Thanks for sharing more about your road trip with us, and I must say that this comments on this post have been quite educational as well!!!

Holly said...

Hey! If you were in Meadville you were 20 minutes away from me! I have that same privacy fence up on my blog.

Too bad we didn't know it, I'd have come had lunch or dinner with you.

ezra_pandora said...

Cool pictures. Love those flowers out of road signs, I'm surprised they are still there and not mysteriously missing. hehehe

As with anything Amish are kind of give and take. You hear some treat the animals great, you hear some are really nasty and treat them like crap. You and I were talking about them on the phone :) We have menonite which are an off branch and you have the same. Some are normal as you and me and some are just as "severe" as the amish and wear only the pastel dresses. The one family that lived down the road from us rode their horses too. We'd see them up and down the road we lived on.

That's cool your parents knew Loretta Lynn and her husband!!