Saturday, June 07, 2008


I never really got beyond NYC in my travelogue - but the sticker art I included in the post-before-last was from the second part of my visit which was in Pennsylvania.

I spent one day in Philadelphia.
It rained.

The rain started out gently and as it got more persistent and I decided I should, after all, fish out the umbrella from the bottom of my bag I discovered that I had brought my sun glasses. But not my umbrella.

I got thoroughly drippy wet - and therefore used my little compact camera, not the lost camera - and so I have some pictures.

So, here are my Philly street art pics:

The rain didn't really matter, I was meeting up with an old friend and we had a good time.
I also ate my first philly cheese steak, which was good.

It was also large.
But I ate most of it.

My Pennsylvania stay also involved ribs

and scrapple

seen here on the plate top left of the picture - an adjunct to the hash browns and humongous omlette containing ham, cheese, crab and lots of other things I can't remember...

I was introduced to scrapple as "even better than black pudding". It wasn't. It was... okay.

So I didn't eat grits, but i did eat scrapple.
So there.

But Pennsylvania wasn't all about food (not quite).

It was wonderfully lush and rural, spring woodlands full of blossom and cornus

and farmland with, here and there, the most beautiful old barns (some of the pics I'm saddest to have lost).

We drove through and around Amish country where I learned that Amish houses can be recognised by the absence of power cables and the presence of washing lines. The dark coloured clothing - black, dark blues and purples - is a sign of an Amish family, whereas more varied and brighter washing would probably be mennonites rather than Amish.

Which was kind of interesting. Washing on a line in Britain just means.... washing to be dried!

We stopped at a yard sale across the fronts of a few Amish houses. My friend noticed that some of the women were wearing crocs, which seemed a bit incongruous. Albeit black crocs.
But she said that some Amish families do have telephones - maybe in an outhouse, to be available but not allowed to dominate - or maybe even also computers. Sometimes they borrow farming equipment from mennonite neighbours - though I did see a lot of horse-drawn ploughs out in the fields. But the point is to be self-sufficient without technology rather than luddite, - maybe to use it as a matter of choice but without being dependent on or dominated by it.

We visited a couple of shops full of the most amazing amish quilting:

I also visited:
* Ghettisburg, which was beautiful and sobering

* a huge and very shiny Harley Davidson dealership where I bought a top for LG (top as in clothing rather than anything vehicular)

* Efrata cloister - home of a community founded in the C18th, who lived an extraordinarily ascetic and strict life in the most lovely setting, in buildings which were very photogenic but probably not terribly comfortable as homes, driven by the expectation of the return of Christ for whom they sat and waited at particular hours in the daytime and also in the middle of the night. They only slept 3 hours on either side of the midnight waiting, ate only one meal a day (a very frugal meal), worked extraordinarily hard and lived rather longer than average for their era.

The women made intricate and skilfully creative woven cloth - its amazing how creativity expresses itself even where there just doesn't seem to be room for it.

* the Brandywine museum/gallery. I was so delighted with this trip - I've loved Andrew Wyeth's work since being taken to a London exhibition by a college friend, way way back in the mists of the late 70's/early 80's. Wyeth's father was a painter/illustrator, his son is also a painter - the last exhibition I saw in England featured all 3 generations, and the Brandywine museum has the major collection work from all three. We also took a tour of a local farm - Andrew Wyeth painted the building, landscapes, family over and over again. I saw this very room and window:

So - thats highlights and a few pics. from Pennsylvania.

Long post.
Catching up.


Baguette said...

Ooh that food has me dribbling and drooling all over the keyboard. Now THAT's what I call real food. You can keep that scrapple thing though.

And I kind of like the Amish attitude to technology - something to make use of if necessary, but not to rely on.

M and I were LOST for our first 2 weeks here, without telephone, TV or internet. We went to bed at 9pm and spent the day reading or sightseeing - and it wore thin very quickly. Which is sad, in a way, as we can't appreciate life without technology.

Akelamalu said...

Long post - nonsense - I enjoyed every word - I want to go to America now!

Sally Crawford said...

What an evocative post, Lettuce. I'm there although I've never been.

Good luck with the small digi. They are small enough to go in a pocket, light but stable in the hand, and don't mind being covered in fingerprintey smears and pocket detritus (v. important for a camera used by me at any rate).

Amish: they're very wise about (trying) to keep technology in its place - make sure you're running it rather than letting it run you.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

I've always shunned trying scrapple as I've heard it's made from 'everything but the oink' however a couple weeks ago when I was visiting my cousin who lives in a tiny little pennsylvanian farmtown (she's not a farmer, just lives in an old farmhouse) she had scrapple that a neighbor made and it was form choice meat - and then the stuff like oats or whatever. I tried it, it was actually quite delicious. suz said it's the way scrapple is supposed to taste but most doesn't.

oh my I did go on. I love grits!! grits and marmite together. yum, must go try that. speaking of marmite, enjoy the mouse today!

I love all things amish. speaking of which, I have a book for you. was planning on mailing it but perhaps that won't be necessary now!!!!!!!

the efrata cloister reminds me of the shakers....though not as much doesn't normally think the shakers are fun, with their end of the world bit, and no sex, but there was a lot of joy in their lives. these guys seems very serious.

Dumdad said...

The mention of Amish immediately puts the film Witness in my mind and the scene where Harrison Ford, dressed as an Amish, punches some guy's lights out who was taunting him thinking he was an Amish so wouldn't hit back. Then there's the scene with Harrison Ford and the woman in the bathroom but I'll stop now....

Lee's River said...

I'd never heard about the efrata cloister before. Their thinking sounds pretty close to that of the Cathars in this part of the world. But then, I guess there's just so many ways one can do penance and abstinence, no matter what the theology.

Enjoyed the street art - and the presentation, too.

Scrapple, huh? must look it up.

tut-tut said...

Grits; I'll make you some grits that you'll be amazed at. And I'm not even southern; just a transplant. True grits can't be had at a restaurant.

Never heard of the efrata cloister either. Will take a look.

Trac said...

Grits and Marmite????


I do sometimes think that the grits that were especially made for us was some kind of joke that the people of Sweet Home Alabama played on the English!?

I want tut-tut to make me some!! :O)

No, I certainly won't have Marmite with it.
Nice day today eh?

Squirrel said...

Scrapple is good! and Philly Cheese steaks !

here's an ice cream cake TV advert from 1980's nyc

lots of places make them, but Carvell has the weirdest cakes --but they taste great.


Squirrel said...

I agree with Kim HOMEMADE scrapple is good... It's easier to get black pudding in my area than scrapple, but in the Western foothills of the Catskills they sell scrapple. (close to the PA border )

Steve said...

Scrapple -- ugh. No thanks. But grits, on the other hand, are terrific!

Philly is a great sticker town. It's so interesting how so much of their street art takes that form, compared to New York, which is all about spray paint and big paste-ups.

Re. Gettysburg, it's hard to believe that such a beautiful place could be the site of such a tragic, epic conflict.

Aileen said...

Wow, you are brave to try scrapple!

I'm glad you got to see some great sites for history and beauty...

The Amish have always amazed and confused me. And they seem to be such a peaceful and happy people.

The Trustees said...

We've got the schedule for Blogfest, but it is subject to change as per attendees needs.

lettuce said...

baguette, there must be some kind of french provincial version of scrapple that you could try... they'll eat anything down there

Lamalu, you should! and i might go back soon!

sally i do like my new more complicated camera, but def. wouldn't be without the little compact, i love it

kimi that was just what i thought about the efrata bunch - like shakers, but less fun! haha.

dumdad its such a good film. and funnily enough, there was an extended amish family at the station in Philly, while i was waiting for a train to DC. that really made me think of harrison ford.

lee - see my comment above to baguette! theres bound to be some french version... not quite pate de tete, but similar maybe?

tut-tut, i'd love to try if you'd made it.

trac, wasn't it a nice day? how was Hastings?

squirrel, that advert is rather worrying. Do they always have faces?

steve it was really interesting, the difference from NYC street art. D'you have any theories as to why?

aileen, amazement and confusion - yes. and as a community, numerically, they are growing fast and expanding geographically apparently. Well placed to respond to some contemporary issues/problems I guess...

I will be contacting the Trustees soon to confirm itinerary etc.

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