I have to apologize for reporting on our August trip to Lancaster, PA so belatedly. I suppose it seems odd to post this in December with all of the attention Christmas should be getting, but I wanted to get this done before the end of the year. Otherwise it will be like a series on my old blog, in which the trip to Ireland never did get wrapped up.
Anyway, my husband and I had been to Lancaster before, but my mom had never been. Sight and Sound Theater does a wonderful job of retelling Bible stories through musical drama. David and I saw Jonah last time and this year they were doing Samson. We know people who visit this theater annually to see each new show, and we totally get why. The performances are impressive as are the sets and special effects, and there are no "programs" listing the cast (this is so all the glory goes to God). The building and property are huge with two gift shops and food areas. I imagine it's the same at their Branson, MO location.
Samson was excellent as was expected, complete with the destruction of the Philistine temple.
We highly recommend that you go and see a show if you ever have opportunity. Next year they are doing Jonah and The Miracle of Christmas at the Lancaster venue.
In addition to Samson, we saw Josiah for President! at the Bird-in-Hand Dinner Theater. This was also a musical, but in a much smaller, less assuming environment. We were amazed at how professional this production was and, without going all political on you, were wishing Josiah had been able to run in this year's election. The show wrapped up just prior to November 8 and I'm not sure when they might do it again, but I imagine any musical or play they'd put on would be high caliber. There are a few upcoming shows listed on their website. Mennonite Girls Can Cook! sounds like fun.
The little town of Strasburg, PA is very close by so we decided to visit the Strasburg Rail Road and take a steam train ride. The trip is about twenty minutes long and takes you into the Amish countryside. We all enjoyed it, though I wished the excursion had been a bit longer. Part of the time includes a stop to switch the engine from front to 'back' for the return trip.
Speaking of Amish countryside, the area is well known for its Amish and Mennonite farms. You can tell which is which by the absence or presence of hydro wires entering a property. Corn and tobacco are both crops in abundant evidence. It's rather ironic to think that the ultra-religious Amish would have no problem contributing to the tobacco industry when you consider how addictive smoking is and how devastating its effects on people's health and on health care costs.
A word of warning if you are driving the country roads: they are narrow and twisty and people drive fast. You have to be on the alert for horse and buggy and share the road. Sometimes there are signs that say "Stop, unless turning right," which can be confusing and cause road rage (local drivers accustomed to the practice don't like it when tourists stop "unnecessarily").
On our return from Lancaster, PA, we stopped at Letchworth State Park near Castile, NY. Billed as the Grand Canyon of the East, I was curious to see it in light of our trip to the Grand Canyon (real deal) in 2015. Once we were there, I could certainly see a comparison, though the Grand Canyon, AZ is more vast, colorful and awe-inspiring. If you can't get to AZ, or can't get there as often as you'd like, this is an excellent alternative.
A great family trip. My mom really enjoyed it, and so did we.