Friday, June 5, 2009

Recharging In Lancaster County, PA

Lancaster County , home to a large population of Amish, is a little more than an hour's drive from my home. I love to drive out there for the scenery, the Amish and THE FABRIC. All 3 of these are important to help me recharge spiritually and creatively.

When you drive out Rte 30W from my home, you come down a long hill and you see a magnificent view of an Amish farm and their patchwork fields. You know you have arrived. It is my friend Nancy's favorite view of all. If you leave Rte 30, which you must, and drive around the back roads, you will see acres and acres of farms, dotted with barns, covered bridges, one room schoolhouses, horse drawn farming equipment and Amish.
If you are unfamiliar with the Amish, they are an amazing people who have chosen to eschew modern conveniences. (I know there has been a lot of bad press latley about the puppy mills. Most of them are not this cruel.) They don't use electricity or drive cars. Most of them make their living from farming. They lead a simple life that includes only an 8th grade education.

I have a very good friend, Ann Davis, who loves the Amish countryside even more than me. She loves Lancaster County so much that she bought a house there to use as a vacation house. (She calls it the Faux Farm.) Ann befriended an Amish family and introduced me to Sadie. Sadie has become my friend. She is in her 70's and we have spent hours sitting, talking and quilting at her quilt frame. (I think she must take out all of my stitches after I leave.) She has a ton of kids and even more grandchildren. The funny thing about Sadie is that she does have a phone (mainly to check her pacemaker). It cracked me up one day when she telephoned my house. "My Amish friend is on the phone!". She will also jump in my car or Ann's car for errands, visiting or just to go get an ice cream. She reads the newspaper and is ready to converse about world events.
Ann is an amateur photographer and gave me permission to share some of her photos. She has a wonderful eye for composing. (Don't think I haven;t thought about using a photo of hers for a quilt.)They really make you feel like you are there. If you want to see more of her artistry , check out her blog:

So the 3rd thing that recharges my battery on this road trip is a visit to the fabric stores. Here is my opinion (and shared by some of my quilting buddies) of the best.
  • My favorite is Hayloft Fabrics ( It is located in Morgantown, right off of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It is located upstairs from Martins', a grocery store. They have LOTS of current fabric, batiks, batting, and novelties. Their prices are discounted, plus they will give you a guild discount if you have a membership card. PLUS, when you are done shopping for fabric, you can go downstairs and treat your family to some baked goods like whoopie pies, sticky buns or shoefly pie.

  • If you get back on the turnpike heading west, take the next exit west. Close to the exit in Denver is Sauder's. It is located in the basement of a house. The prices are great and they even have remnants and fabric at $1.79/yd. They have lots of batiks in the $6 price range. They also have a section of bulk food at really great prices - flour, pasta, cereal, candy, snacks and spices.

  • Also in Denver, but quite a ways away, is Burkholders ( I like 2 things about this fabric store. It is a great place to find the "basic" type of fabric - like fossil fern. They have these fabrics in almost every single color there is. The prices are discounted and again they give a guild discount (12%).

If you head to Intercourse on Rte 340, you will find a little village with tons of shops. There's a heritage center with an informative movie about the Amish. There is also a great restaurant called Kling House. And a few quilt shops:

  • Zooks has lots of current fabric at discounted prices. They have some of a lot. But around back is a hitching post for the Amish buggies. Watch where you walk.
  • The Old Country Store ( has fabric, but the reason to enter the store is to see all of the locally made crafts including lots of finished beautiful quilts. Upstairs is the Peoples Place Quilt Museum ( with changing quilt exhibits - free admission.

If you still have some time and energy, keep driving west into the city of Lancaster. The Lancaster Quilt & Textile Museum ( has a large collection of Amish quilts and it is located right near an indoor farmer's market. (The origin of this museum was to house the Esprit quilt collection.)

1 comment:

  1. Hayloft also has a website and their prices are even good on line.

    from Lisa....who lives among Mennonite and German Baptist in Ohio, but not Holmes county. ;)


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