Friday, July 15, 2011

Road Trip: Pennsylvania Dutch Country and Home

We woke and left Blackwater Falls, West Virgina with no destination in mind. I steered us northeast as Amanda pored over the maps and finally we decided on Lancaster, PA and the nearby Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Five hours later, we arrived and tormented ourselves with a sweltering driving tour of the city in yet another afternoon of 95-degree heat and debilitating humidity. We briefly found comfort in the shade of a Lancaster park and delicious Vietnamese take-out.

From Lancaster we turned southeast, deep into the heart of Pennsylvania's Amish farmlands, but far from the tour buses and commercial sprawl of PA Route 30. We traveled through beautiful, traditional communities where we, in our VW monstrosity, not the dozens of families passing by in horse-drawn buggies, were subject to stares. I saw young girls in long dresses and bonnets happily hoop rolling in the dusty driveway of their farmhouse. Women plowed the fields with teams of horses pulling equipment that one might otherwise encounter in a museum of American colonial life. For a moment, we felt as if we'd been transported to the distant past.

But the scorching sun brought us back to the present and we knew that it was time to move on. We resumed the journey not knowing where we'd stop next, but again, as if lost in a desert, we found ourselves desperately seeking water. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, some 130 miles away on the New Jersey/Pennsylvania line, seemed an obvious choice.

After reaching the general vicinity, we pushed further to New Jersey's Worthington State Forest where we planned to camp for the night. Before settling in at the campground, we found an access point to the Deleware River and savored a cleansing, cooling, swim.

Feeling renewed, we entered the gates of the park for what would have been the last overnight of this four-week voyage. For reasons we can't explain, of the countless state, federal and private campgrounds we had visited, this was the first and only that did not allow dogs. With no alternative camping plans, and no desire to spend the last night of our trip sleeping at a New Jersey Walmart, we decided that it was finally time to end this epic adventure. By 3:00am, with 9,000 new miles on the Vanagon, we were once again enjoying the comforts of home, sweet, sweet home. It has never felt so good.


  1. Jeff,
    I'm happy you had a good time in Lancaster, my hometown. It's a great place for a day/halfday trip. As you could tell there are two distinct parts of Lancaster, the city and the Amish country. It seems like you hit up both. Good to hear. Great Blog. You're adventure looks and sounds amazing

    Matt Ferry

  2. Hey guys! Faye & Jason here. We're so glad that all of you had a great trip. We did too. Road trips are awesome! I hope you both are doing well! find us on facebook: Faye Adinda Hoek & Jaso Benrubi