Today was one of those days that started out with a light rain and turned into a wonderfully blustery day with the kind of cold bite in the air that says, "Indian Summer is over and won't be back again this year."
At our RV Park in Lancaster County, we were entitled to a free two-hour tour of Amish Country, and we did that this morning, getting caught in a no-passing zone behind a buggy on the way there. But you expect that around here, so it's not a problem.
The rain spotted the mini-bus windows on the outside, and hot air from all the passengers steamed up the windows on the inside, so we couldn't get any pictures while we were driving.
We made three stops. The first was at an Amish shop that sold a variety of Amish-made crafts and goods.
My mom and I each bought a "Quillow" there, a quilt with a pocket, and when you fold it up and tuck it into the pocket, it becomes a pillow.
The next stop was an Amish quilt shop, where the Quillows cost two dollars more than what we paid, so we were happy (well, we already were, so we were happier) with our purchases. They showed us a selection of their quilts, the most expensive (and exquisite) being over $1,000. Pocket change!
Stop number three was at a Mennonite shop, where the scent of their home-made candles made most of us from the bus say how good it smelled when we walked in the door.
We bought some homemade ice cream instead, not having much of a need for candles.
Our driver/guide had been raised as Old Order Amish but joined a less strict Amish church, and later left that church for normal American life. She wasn't shunned by her family, because it's only the Old Order Amish that do that and only to people who had joined their Order.
She told us about the Amish religious services and weddings (it's wedding season, now that the harvest is in) and other facts of Amish life. I learned more than I expected, since my friends and I toured an Amish farmhouse in 2004. In that tour, they distinguished between Amish and Mennonite as the only two choices for Anabaptists. But our guide today told us about more subtle differences even among one group or the other. It's good to know, and I'm glad we went.