Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lancaster County – The Land of Pumpkins!

It’s pumpkin time! Whether they grow them for fun or food, Lancaster County’s farmers sure know pumpkins. I never realized there were so many varieties before moving to Terre Hill.  Of course, you have your typical “face” pumpkins – great for carving on Halloween.  They are at every farm stand this time of year.

See how many of these others that you know.  Some of the names are as interesting as the varieties - Jack-be-Littles (tiny orange ones) and Little Octobers are shown with Baby Boo's (the tiny white ones pictured above).

The New Moon is white-ish and small and sit in front of the wagon. The big white rounded ones are called Full Moons.

In the back right of this picture, you'll see one of my favorites.  French Fairytales are elegant and very proud - with a lovely blend of green and orange and deep ridges.

It’s easy to see why the SuperFreaks get their name.

These light green, small pumpkins are called Jarrahdales and are terrific for baking.

Cinderellas are beautifully bright orange and squat - as though someone sat on them.  They too are among my favorites.  They are a unique French heirloom whose correct name is "Rouge vif D'Etampes". Some say they resemble the pumpkin that Cinderella's fairy godmother transformed into a carriage. And they were also served at the Pilgrim's second Thanksgiving dinner.

The peanut pumpkins are not to be confused with the Red Warty things.

Another one of my favorites – and a little hard to find – is the One Too Many. So pretty.

Pumpkins are great for decorating, no matter how you stack them – all the way up to Thanksgiving.

The Autumn Cups are small and dark green.

The Turk’s Turban is easy to remember..

As are the beehive - or maybe they are winter squash.  To tell you the truth, sometimes I have a hard time telling the squash from the pumpkins, but they are so much fun to decorate with, who cares? 

Perhaps the best part of pumpkin growing is catching a glimpse of orange in the fields as you drive along the back roads.  Slow down and you'll see them!

So if you just can't live without a pumpkin, or two, or twenty, head to Lancaster County and support our local farmers.  We'll be happy to share a list of the best pumpkin patches near The Artist's Inn.  But be warned - once you buy one, you'll want more.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

There’s No Place Like Home in Lancaster County

I recently took a wonderful trip with friends – we cruised the Caribbean, saw beautiful sights, ate delicious food, and laughed the week away. It’s funny how you take the time to study the clouds, look at the stars and listen to the wind on vacation, but we so rarely take the time while we are at home. Our daily lives seem so rushed that there’s barely a chance to catch our breath at the end of the day. But I’m sure that if we took the time, we’d find some fascinating clouds, stars and breezes in our own backyard.

And maybe it’s necessary to vacation once in a while to appreciate time together, away from the responsibilities and pressures of life. Perhaps it helps you look at your world with fresh eyes and be grateful anew.

While I loved learning about other cultures, exploring new places and meeting new friends in a “summer” climate, when I returned to Lancaster County, fall had started. Change was in the air – there were a few red leaves on my burning bush, the corn was being harvested, and the morning sunlight in the dining room shone in at a different angle. When you live in Pennsylvania the seasons present themselves patiently, as though standing on your porch for a while – subtle changes that you barely notice at first. But those small alterations keep adding up until even the most distracted among us notice them knocking at our door.

Would I trade the seasonal changes for anywhere else? Nope! The smell of fresh mowed lawn in the spring, the song of the birds in summer,
the crunch of the leaves underfoot in the fall, and
the blue of the winter sky against fresh snow...

these are the seasons of life, each one bearing its own surprises for us and giving us a new appreciation of the world in which we live.

And maybe that’s what getting away is all about.

Lancaster County is a place like nowhere else. And it is our privilege to share it at The Artist’s Inn, no matter what the season.