Brandywine Region & Amish Country

We have always wanted to visit Amish Country. Hearing that they are the among the best farmers in the world (yes, I said the world), we decided on a trip at the peak of harvest time in September.
Our first stop, however, was Winterthur in the Brandywine Region of Pennsylvania.
What and where is Winterthur?
Nestled in the beautuful Brandwine Valley, this museum, garden & library on almost 1,000 acres is home to the world’s premier collection of early American decorative arts.
The former home of Henry Francis du Pont, it encompasses an unrivaled collection of more than 89,000…yes…89,000 objects (our favorite was the set of six tankards made by patriot and goldsmith, Paul Revere) made or used in America  between 1640 and 1860, a matchless twentieth-century naturalistic garden and a world renowned research library, all for the viewing.
The small groups and personable tour guides made these two hour tours that much more intimate. Stupendous!
  Next at Winterthur, The Campbell’s Collection of Soup Tureens.
A fitting prelude to lunch these porcelain, silver and precious metal works of art tureens in shapes so varied (panels of foliage, decorations of vegetables, fruit, flowers, fish, lobsters and larger animals) exemplified how the simple meal served in a pot evolved into the most elaborate and imposing vessel in a table service expressing the fashionable taste of the owner. Quite tasteful.
So where else would one want to go after a long morning of touring and tureening?
Chick-Fil-A..that’s where!
Could we possibly top our first memorable trip to the home of the first boneless  breast of chicken in America sandwich ever???
Yes and Yes…thanks to Jim Flood and Marie Proctor, the operators of  Chick- Fil-A. Their genuine sense of caring for the customer and the sense of pride they exude filters all the way down to their “team members”, and you can feel it. Remember Barbara from the first trip 6 months earlier?
I don’t know if everybody gets the same treatment, since most folks aren’t like me in a restaurant..however by the time we left we were treated to strawberry (with chunks of strawberry) and vanilla shakes and a book titled Eat More Chikin (no “c”) & Inspire More People; Doing Business the Chick-Fil-A Way by Founder S. Truett Cathy. And, of course, another fabulous Chikin Sandwich.
Jim and Marie…thank you for your fine reception and we will see you again!
(phoodographs to follow)
Next stop…Brandywine River Museum to see an exhibit of Trompe L’Oeil paintings. Can you imagine a painting that looks 3-dimensional?  We got there 30 minutes before closing…thus it was a short, but quite unique, story.
Time to relax.
We had made a reservation at the Fairville Inn in the Brandywine Valley and our timing was great. The weather was well earned and we just happened to, unbeknownst to us, pick a day when the inn was booked with members of an antique car club that included 1920’s vintage Cadillacs and Rolls Royce, etc. It fit in perfectly with that old time feeling and history the  area exudes. A fitting prelude to Amish Country.
The innkeepers Laura & Rick Carro were most gracious and Chef Rick knows his way around the kitchen, serving a sumptuous and healthy breakfast.
The rooms were cozy and comfortable…and wait till you take your socks off and feel the carpet underneath your feet. Ahhhhh!
As a matter of coincidence, I happen to have gone to school (Great Neck North Class of ’66) with Rick’s cousins. Hey Rick, did you send my best?
Up the next morning and, what the heck, off to the Herr’s Potato Chip Factory.  Short and Sweet. Took the tour, saw tons of fresh potato chips being made, couldn’t stop eating them, and packed the car up with about 50
two ounce bags of chips and pretzels and whatever else they made @ a whopping .17 cents each… uh huh….17 cents. Still eating them.
As I noted in my previous entries and in hindsight, to follow the suggestions of the guidebooks is something to be wary of…however since it was our first visit, we went to Bird-In-Hand Farmers’ Market and other “Farmers’ Markets”.
For first time visitors they are interesting, however they didn’t quite fit my definition of a farmers’ market. I pictured large markets with an abundance of fresh foods like a large Union Square Market. Although big and diverse in the product choices…and with unique products only by virtue of the fact we had never seen them before and they were local, very little was “fresh”. As well, it seemed that large quantities of candies and nuts were simply put into small containers with a nice looking store label. We’ve seen that before.

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