Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Westbound Day 2 New Holland, PA to Martinsburg, WV 200 miles

Don't be misled by the title of this post.  The distance from New Holland, PA to Martinsburg, WV is about 149 miles.  I logged 200 miles on the odometer today.  So my 51 miles of driving around Lancaster, PA makes up the difference.

I began by going cross country (read, no double lane restricted access roads) from New Holland to Route 340 which meanders to Lancaster (city).  You really get an appreciation for farmland.  Makes me think this is what America would look like if there had been no Industrial Revolution.  The country is rolling farmland all well manicured and neat.    The landscape is dominated by huge silos and plowed fields.  True farming communities populated, it seems, by Mennonites/Amish.  The first time you encounter a horse drawn buggy on a 25 degree, frigid, windy day in January it's a novelty and you try to get a picture without drawing attention to it.  But after similar encounters all day in all places (I so wanted to take a picture of the buggy parked outside the Target) it becomes no more unusual than a pick up truck would be in the Boston burbs.

This sight was a surprise...a team of four mules spreading fertilizer.  Not as common as the buggy commuters, but this was not the only farmer I spotted doing this.  It must be the time of year to fertilize as the aroma of manure was common in the area.  I spent most of the morning driving around East Earl Township.  This is the northeast corner of Lancaster County and according to a map in the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society this township has the greatest concentration of "Old Amish".  These people seem to reflect the popular notion we have of the Amish.  I learned at the museum the ways of the Mennonites/Amish range from very conservative to less-so and cannot be stereotyped anymore than one could stereotype all Catholics.  This is also the area that my ancestor Hans Graf was said to have originally settled.

About 10 miles from East Earl Township is the Lancaster Mennonite Museum which I had programmed into my GPS along with the address I had of the nearest Starbucks.  I thought I would go to the museum first then to Starbucks.  What a great surprise the musuem is directly across the street from the Starbucks.
I spent almost two hours here. There is a great bookstore and friendly staff.  The library is well maintained and it contained both Volume I and II of the Groff book.  They had a genealogical pedigree chart showing the descendants of Hans Graf originally drawn in 1867 and updated in 1932.  I was able to buy a facsimile of this and I will pore over it to determine my line.  As I paid for the chart the cashier told me she should get one since she too is a descendant of Hans (we both agreed we could use his first name since we are "family").  Here is a bit more about Hans.

It took about 2.5 hours to get from Lancaster to Martinsburg.  My route took me through Harrisburg, PA, across the Mason-Dixon line into Hagerstown, MD across the Potomac River into West Virginia.  In keeping with my efforts to eat local cuisine I can't decide whether to go to Waffle House or Chick fil-A, both within sight of my hotel room.  I am in the "south" after all.

I've heard from Jim and Stella Mainero, Steve Loo, Pam Hall, Janey Price, Aunt Jo Kocourek, Jim and Jean Smith keep reading.  To all my Fugitive Bill Literary Society members I will not be at the meeting on Thursday, I should be in Ohio along the National Road US Route 40.