Saturday, November 8, 2008

Extras in Lancaster County

While we've been in and around Lancaster county for the past two weeks, we've seen and done a lot of Lancaster things. My favorite thing has been exploring downtown and the central market. I can't wait to take visitors to the central market. It is a really neat place filled with fresh produce, meats, cheeses, seafood, baked goods and coffee all crammed in to this old brick building in the very center of the city. Rob and I stopped their last Friday and bought crab cake sandwiches from Bob and split a seafood bisque.
While we were there we ran into a guy we met who was having a porch sale on Prince St. with his wife Kara when we first visited Lancaster in September. He works on an organic farm and was at the market trying to sell the last of their crop for the winter. We also made friends with Wendy Jo and girl about my age who has a homemade baked goods stand with her sister. We bought an apple pie for our lovely hosts after asking around in the market and everyone sending us to her. We also met a guy named Rafiki who is from Uganda and has an african food case there in the market. We told him about us and what we were doing with HOPE and said we'd come back to see him when we got home.

Another thing Lancaster is famous for is used book stores. We've already picked out a favorite in Dogstar Used Books. It is in the neighborhood where we first had hoped to live, the West End. Its a small crammed space where every nook and cranny is filled with books. It's right across the street from the Chestnut cafe which closes down every tuesday to sell at the market.

Rob and I have been interested in visiting St. James Episcopal church, its a really friendly close-knit community. We've stopped in a few times during our two visits up to Lancaster and have always left with good feelings and warmed hearts. When we first stopped in last Friday to say hello and tell them we were back in the area for about 6-9 months and why, they were excited for us, interested in what we were doing and even prayed for us. Bob Hartley, no relation we've yet found, also took us on a historical sociological tour of the city. He's lived here over 30 years and described the transformations the city has went through during that time. He also pointed out the three main types of original housing structures you'll find in Lancaster city, working class homes, managerial homes, and owners homes. It is an interesting feature that Rob and I now take note of more consciously as we explore the city. While on the tour we made a stop at a small store you would think resembled more of a package store than what we found in side. As soon as you step through the door you're pretty much bowled over by the scent of quality aged cheeses. Turns out this whole in the wall is really a specialty import store well disguised. Specialty meats, mostly cheeses and also vats of specialty olives are the biggest treasures located in the back of the store, but in between the front door and the back meat case are a few shelves lined with a variety of any kind of imported food you could imagine. It was totally not what we were expecting to find. Bob also took us on a tour of his own garden- he asked if we didn't mind a side trip as the previous night there was a bit of frost and he had covered his lettuce to protect it.


  1. Thank you for all of the info. The crab cakes and olives (in the cheese store) sound soooo good. I don't know if we can wait for you to return from Rhwanda before visiting Lancaster.

    You and Rob have really learned so much about your new home town in just a few days.

    Have fun on your adventure.

    Love to you both


  2. Ok, so I planned to sit down to read your blog in it's entirety to catch myself up, but I found that starting at 11:45 pm when I have to get up at 6am not such a great idea. So I'll have to stop for the night. I already want to come visit you. The town sounds so great!