Ephrata: the first adventure

C here. It’s fallen to me to inaugurate this blog as I chronicle the first of our weekly adventures. But first, a quick overview of what this is all about. The idea was simple: Ben has been here a year, but thanks to me living in CT and us having a wedding to plan, he’d spent more weekends driving north than exploring the area. And Pennsylvania is totally new to me. So we came up with the notion that each week we’re here, we’ll check out something new: a neighboring town, a theater or museum, a new park or hiking trail… whatever suits our schedule and strikes our fancy.

Our first adventure was built around necessity – we needed something to put the TV on. Now that I’ve moved in and added my obsolete DVD collection to Ben’s, keeping the TV on top of an end table didn’t seem practical. So after some hunting online, we set off for a used furniture store in Ephrata (EFF-ruh-tuh) to check out this baby:

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Ephrata is a fun little town, or at least, a town that’s trying earnestly to be fun. We checked out the train station mural (pictured above) and paid a visit to the irresistibly-if-inexplicably-named Uncle Funky’s thrift and oddments shop. While we were there, a teenage girl was teaching the woman (yes) who runs the place how to use social media. Ben was very tempted by an original Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves action figure (in package!) but ultimately resisted the purchase.

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We felt the call of hunger, and couldn’t turn down a visit to the Pancake Farm, where only the finest domesticated pancakes are served — none of your feral pancakes there! This cheap and hearty locale was populated by elderly folks for the most part, but as the proceeds support A Tail to Tell dog rescue, one feels good about consuming large quantities of pancakes there. We also split some “dutch fries” (scalloped potatoes with egg and cheese sauce on top) — add that to the new foods list.

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From there it was off to the Ephrata Cloister, the cultural portion of our day’s adventure. Despite what you might expect from the name, it’s a Protestant religious site, from a fringe religious community started by a dynamic leader in the 1740s. The leader believed in celibacy and his main followers lived in two dorms on the this site (the women’s survives), though married church members lived in the surrounding area. We got a guided tour and even tried their wooden block pillows. I don’t think I’d join up, based on those.

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We rounded out the day with a visit to the Green Dragon Farmer’s Market, which was really more a flea market/fair, with lots of booths and even buildings selling off-the-back-of-a-truck type items, cheap jewelry and clothing, typical fair items like jams and jellies, Amish furniture, shops like “Emma’s Handmade Doll & Geese Clothing,” and lots of food. Ben tried an Amish soft pretzel and I had a pepperoni-stuffed pretzel from the same place. Delicious! But our hopes of actual, you know, local produce were not really met…

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Somehow this is the Lancaster idea of a farmer’s market! Will we ever find where they keep the native veggies? Stay tuned…

 

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