We are on our way south–part of the snowbird migration to Florida—with stops in North Carolina and Georgia. Unlike most snowbirds, our Florida stay will be brief because we are eager to be out West again.
We left Massachusetts with the leaves just starting to turn and morning temperatures dropping into the 30s. Time to go.
Our first stop was Connecticut, where we again visited with family and prepared for the trip. Fall is the loveliest time of year in New England and, although we did not stay for the whole season, we got a good taste.
Zoe found her calling as a farm dog. She’s never been happier.
Surprisingly, with all of the rolling around that Zoe has done on this trip, she has not had any ticks. And despite all of our hiking and time outside in fields and woods, we have not had any, either. Ticks were one of our big concerns for this trip because we knew we would be in the heart of Lyme Disease country. Plus, we hate them. In my anti-tick zeal, I even bought light-colored, non-patterned sheets and blankets for our trailer so that any stray ticks would easily show up on the bed. But, not a tick in sight. I heard it was a mild tick year in New England. Whatever the reason, we’re happy. Let’s hope that our luck continues.
After leaving Connecticut, we revisited Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County, an area we loved when we came through in June. Here is our previous post.
The two visits made interesting bookends on the farming season, with fields just planted in June now ready for harvest. In the spring it was a frenzy of activity. School was out and the Amish children were busy on the farms in the day and outside playing in the evenings. The farmers and horse teams were working until late at night, haying, plowing, tilling, and fertilizing.
It was much quieter on this trip, with school in session and the corn, alfalfa, soy, and tobacco still in the fields. The big Belgian work horses were grazing in paddocks, getting a rest before their harvesting work begins.
The manure smell was more pungent after the summer’s heat, battling one evening with the smell of skunk and woodsmoke. Not a place for the odor-sensitive.
Stink bugs were everywhere, trying to get in the trailer, buzzing around like little armored drones when they succeeded.
The Amish women were harvesting pumpkins, gourds, tomatoes, beans, eggplants, potatoes, peaches, pears, and apples, and selling them at farm stands, along with a variety of fall products such as home pressed cider, home canned goods, apple butter, and pumpkin whoopie pies.
Every morning we looked down on a thick fog below our hillside campground, which slowly dissipated as the sun rose.
The sky was always changing, with impressionist cloud swirls.
Landscapes out West tend to be in-your-face beautiful, undeniably stunning to even the most crusty old beauty-hardened individuals. Lancaster’s beauty is more subtle and nuanced, sneaking up on you and catching you by surprise. Turn a corner and there’s a line of corn against a streaky sky or silos poking up from the mist.
On the weekend, the campground was full of retirees on end-of-the season trips or snowbirds heading to warmer weather. It was mostly a big-rig Class A crew, staking out their spaces with happy hour flags and pots of chrysanthemums. Many were rushing around to flea markets and the enormous local smorgasbord buffets. We preferred a slower pace, walking the roads, and taking in the beauty and glimpses of Amish farm life going on around us. It’s a special place.