Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday in Indiana

(This post is mostly done...we will try to post pictures when we have time.)

The view from our window in Goshen.

Wednesday was a busy day for Joseph's research. We moved out of our motel, wandered through an antique store in downtown Goshen, and then picked up Mary Oyer at her home. She took us to a little restaurant downtown, where we also met Matthew Lind and James Gingerich and his wife.

What a fun time, listening in on conversation between these Harmonia Sacra enthusiasts! I was amazed at what everyone knew, and how much fun they were having talking about it. Mary Oyer is 87 years old, and is sweet, witty, and sharp, pulling out names and dates and all kind of information. James Gingerich is a doctor who apparently is a Sacred Harp enthusiast as well as a lover of Harmonia Sacra. He has worked over the years to reproduce the Harmonia Sacra in its original form, and is amazingly adept at solfege singing, racing through do-me-la-do's at our table.Joseph asked them lots of questions, and I enjoyed listening in.

We took Mary Oyer home and she pulled out old hymnals from her collection and gave Joseph a lesson on the history of Mennonite hymnody, again with amazing love for her subject.

From Miss Oyer's, we headed to the Bonneyville Grist Mill, just in time to be in the lower level of the mill when the miller started grinding some corn up above us. It caused quite a rumble. The mill was a maze of gears and gizmos, and we enjoyed talking to the miller for awhile.


From there we started heading for South Bend for our last night, but Joseph got a call from a music guy at Goshen College who was willing to show Joseph their beautiful music hall and organ. So we turned around and went back to Goshen. The man was very kind, and let Joseph play the organ (and kindly went to do something else so Joseph didn't feel too stupid about not being able to play very well yet.

After the organ, we said goodbye to Goshen by eating at the South Side Diner, a cute litte diner that served way to many French fries in one order, and chocolate malts that could easily serve two people.

We re-entered the modern world by getting on to the interstate to head for South Bend and had our first experience with a toll road, then checked in and back out at our motel, and moved down the road to America's Best Value Inn. Joseph said he saw something that said rooms rented for over $200 a night in this area during Notre Dame football game weekends! I think he saw that at Knight's Inn! What do the other places charge, if they get away with that price?

Well, this is probably our last post, unless we squeeze something in while we wait around in the Chicago airport. We're looking forward to being home and seeing you all again! Joseph will spend the day at Notre Dame tomorrow, and I will try to write something worthwhile for Homeschooling Today. See you soon!

Tuesday in Amish Country

Well, here we are on our last night, after leaving our $50 and all the dirt and bugs in Nightmare Inn -- I mean Knight's Inn -- down the road. Apparently we overstayed our 15 minute limit while I looked for another motel, and they wouldn't give us a refund. We'll see what a letter might accomplish later. But we weren't going to sleep in that place. Yuck...bugs in the bathtub, dirty sink, no light bulb in the bathroom, ad nauseum.

Now, what can we remember about yesterday? We crammed as much sightseeing as we could into the day. We slept in just a bit and then headed to Middlebury for breakfast at the Essenhaus -- an Amish-ish breakfast buffet. Benjamin, once again, you would have loved it -- all the bacon you could eat, along with biscuits and gravy, eggs, mushrooms (yum), french toast, pancakes, frittery things, ham, cheese sauce, donuts, apple fritters, pineapple, strawberries, melon, muffins, etc., etc.

Amish style restaurant where we ate breakfast.

I quit trying to cook our meals because I had to use up everything or throw it away before we went to Washington, D.C., and we haven't had a microwave since then. Today I packed up the hot plate and dishes in a box to mail home, but found out it would be cheaper to check it on the plane.

After the Essenhaus, Joseph very patiently flopped on the grass under a tree while I wandered through a quilt shop for awhile. The quilt prices were ridiculous, but they had a fun selection of books. I bought one with some baby quilt ideas in it (gotta get this grandma role going), one on quilts in the Shenandoah Valley, and another one that I think you and I, Bev, might have fun with -- a sampler quilt idea.

Quilt shops. Gah...

Thanks to Joseph's excellent map reading skills, we had fun wandering the back roads all day instead of traveling the main highways. Doing that led us through the heart of the Amish areas, past their beautiful houses and farms, around countless horse-drawn buggies, and through the piles of pollution such a mode of transportation leaves behind on the roads. The pace was much more relaxed and quiet, except for the one time a big pickup roared up behind us while we were waiting to get over a hill and past a buggy. He gunned his engine, passed us and the buggy, with another buggy and a car coming from the other way, cutting back in front of the buggy going our way just in time to keep from hitting the oncoming one.

There are special spots marked for "buggy parking."

We went to a pretty little park called Krider's World Fair Garden, a recreation of a garden a local nursery owner had created in Chicago for the World's Fair in the 30's. It was full of all different kinds of trees, little ponds, and many kinds of shade-living flowers. Some Amish mamas and young ladies were picnicking there, and some boys were fishing crawdads out of the stream nearby.

Quilt block flower bed

Part of the Krider Gardens

We also visited the Middlebury Community Historical Museum, a humble little down-homey exhibit of pictures and memorablia that would be more interesting to the locals than it was to us.

We drove through more of the country, and stopped to be typical tourists while we shot some pictures of an Amish man throwing bales of hay onto a wagon while his wife drove the team of horses that was pulling a motorized baler.

An Amish couple baling hay.

From the simple life of the Amish, we ventured into the Shipshewana Flea Market, a huge market that happens three days a week. 40 acres with 1,100 venders of cheap stuff that people will wonder why they buyed after they get home. (Post-vacation: Yikes! I knew I was risking my grammatical reputation writing posts with so little usable brain cells, at such insane hours. Ahem...let's make that "bought.")

The insane flea-market.

It was somewhat amusing to watch people walking around, and to see the strange things that were for sale. We did finally find an antique section and the produce market. We never made it to the livestock section. We bought some homemade ice cream that was being made there, and some blueberries to put on it, some Michigan cherries, and a peach.

Cool ice cream making machine with an old tractor engine (I think...)

We made it through the traffic jam to the other side of the street and Yoder's Department Store, where Joseph looked with amazement at a local real estate paper (1800 sq. ft, 4-BR, 2 bath for $24,900 or how about "foyer entry, formal living room, main level family, formal dining room, galley kitchen with appliances, main level laundry, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, some hardwood floors, finished rec room in lower level with egress window plus in-ground pool, unbelievably priced at $159,000 for quick sale!") while I wandered through Yoder's seamstress heaven-on-earth.

You can't get a chicken coop for $160K in Oregon! (I don't know WHY it wouldn't let me upload this correctly...)

MORE quilt stuff. A sea of it...

All the guys waiting for their wives in the quilt store.

From there we went down the road to Menno-Hof, a center that very impressively presents the history and beliefs of the Amish and Mennonites. We were led through a number of rooms and presentations with narration and pictures, giving the history of the two groups. We were in a dungeon with all different instruments of torture used on the Anabaptist martyrs, a sailing ship with the immigrants that came from Germany to Pennsylvania in search for religious freedom, the printing shop of John F. Funk (who I think we have figured might have been a nephew of Joseph Funk), a tornado shelter complete with wind and lightning, and the inside of an Amish home, along with many displays that helped explain the differences between different types of Amish and Mennonites, the mission and service work of the Mennonite church, the music of the Amish and Mennonites, the Amish rules of living, and an invitation to join them in their service to Christ and others.

Part of the presentation at the Menno-Hof center.

It was very professionally done. Made me want to figure some ways to incorporate some of what they did into some ideas for Reformation Night -- not their information, just their means of communicating it. We spent a couple hours there and came away with a much better understanding of their history, and of our own family history that includes Mennonites who came to Pennsylvania from Germany. The display on Amish and Mennonite hymnody was also very interesting and should be a help to Joseph.

The round barn now used as a theater.

From there we wandered more back roads to Nappanee where we had a "thresher's dinner" at Amish Acres and then watched the musical "Plain and Fancy," which has been performed there for the last 23 years, and was written by the same man who wrote "Fiddler on the Roof." The story centered around an Amish family in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, and a modern couple from New York. It was well-done, and we really enjoyed it. It was performed in a round barn that has been transformed into a theater.

Inside the theater.

The ceiling. Of a barn. Pretty cool.

When we got home from that, we had a bunch of laundry we wanted to do, so we wrote and worked on the blog while our laundry washed and dried. It took awhile...another late night.

Pictures coming before we quit for the night!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Rest of Monday in Indiana

We're in the laundry room at 11:30 p.m. after a full day, washing stuff up so it will fit back in our suitcases. So the blog will continue until the laundry is done!

After we finally caught up with our luggage and cleaned up in the train station bathrooms we thought we'd get a look at Notre Dame University before heading for Goshen. It ended up being quite a bit further than we thought it would be, and then we couldn't drive onto campus. We were both getting hungry enough that we didn't want to take time to park and walk through the grounds, so we headed south -- at least that's what we think we were doing.

The entry to Notre Dame that we didn't enter

We don't know what went wrong, but it took us a LONG time to travel the short distance between Elkhart and Goshen. But we finally made it to the retirement residence where Mary Oyer lives, and Joseph went in to visit her while I hunted down our motel, walked through town a bit, mailed DP records back home, and then met Joseph at the Mennonite Historical Library at Goshen College.

By that time I was becoming brain-dead and fairly useless for helping Joseph. I read through an old book summarizing Joseph Funk's contribution to music, especially singing schools, in the South, and looked through some 1861 issues of Aldine's music magazine.

1861 editions of the "Southern Musical Advocate and Singer's Friend"

We also got to hold a 1860 Harmonia Sacra, another one that Gabriel would have helped print. It's so fun to come into such close contact with our ancestors from so long ago, and to understand just a little better what roles they were playing in God's kingdom during their lives. It continues to impress me how God has led our family to do some work that also involves book publishing and selling.

1860 Harmonia Sacra. For some reason the computer insists on rotating the picture like this!

Then my body started rebelling over its lack of sleep. I stared for awhile and yawned a lot.

As we were leaving the library, I saw a poster that reminded me that there was a quilt exhibit there on the college campus. The poster told us it was in the library, so we headed back in. I wish you had been there, Bev. You would have really enjoyed the exhibit. I sure did. Several quilts were made by a lady name Edith Shanholt, a lady who looks like she has the same quilter's disease as Aunt Colleen. I really liked her quilts. She had a set of three -- or maybe four -- that were based on Bible studies she had done. One was on the Psalms, one on the women of the Bible, one on the names of God, and one on the names of Jesus. Each was a smaller (crib-size) sampler quilt with lots of different smaller blocks all put together into one quilt. She had charts with the quilts that showed which person or name or Psalm each block depicted. They were each amazingly detailed!

The set of four quilts based on women of the Bible, names of Christ etc.

Part of the quilt show in the Goshen College basement

There were also many other quilts that I really enjoyed. Most involved applique, which I like, or very detailed, small piecing. I really liked most of the fabrics and design. Joseph laid down on a bench in the exhibit after taking pictures. He says the tiles in the ceiling were waving around and changing shapes. Guess he was tired, too!

After the quilt show, and Joseph going back in again to get his computer that he had left behind (!), we went downtown to a soda fountain I had seen in my earlier exploration. Ice cream! We sat on stools at the counter. I can't remember how old the place was, but it has been around for a long time. Joseph got a "Goshen College sundae" and I got a banana split. They were REALLY good, and a very nutritious lunch (milk, eggs, nuts, fruit).

The cool diner and ice cream place that we forgot the name of.

We headed to our hotel and moved in. After resting for a bit, reading and writing, we decided we wanted to go out and drive in the country before the sun set.

Gobs of buggies everywhere. They leave landmines all over the road...

We wandered through a lot of the Amish area, driving around horses and buggies, taking pictures, enjoying the tidy farms and gardens, and we even drove up into Michigan, just so we could say we had been in Michigan, and drove about 10 miles east before going back down into Indiana.

We went to Michigan. One more state checked off the list.

We smelled cows, chickens, pigs, fresh cut hay, and brush piles burning.

The buggies have flashing lights on them at night, so you can see them on the road. It's interesting. The roads are all worn on the outside edges, unless they have been repaved, because of the horses' hooves striking them all the time.

We actually got to bed at 12:08 and didn't wake up until daylight!

On the Run

Well, we'll see what 7 hours of sleep and a shower has accomplished! Actually, this is going to be short because we're leaving soon to get the most out of today, our last full day of sightseeing. Tomorrow we'll squeeze as much as we can in around meeting with music people at Goshen College during the middle of the day, and Thursday Joseph is spending most of the day on campus at Notre Dame. I guess I'll chain myself to a table in their library that day to write the HST article -- talk about waiting until the last minute...

We crammed a lot into yesterday. I'll have to finish this tonight while we do laundry, after a musical we're going to in the evening.

Let's see...oh, yeah...the train ride Sunday night/Monday morning...It was very pleasant, except for trying to sleep. Neither of us could get comfortable for some reason.

We saw the very unimpressive-looking platform of the Pittsburg train station at 11:45 and some lights of Cleveland when we stopped there at 4-or-something.

Finally gave up around 6 a.m. and watched the sunrise over Indiana fields and farms, and enjoyed the dialect and cheerful chatter of 3 Amish couples that came on board.

When we got to the train station, we thought we'd have to call a cab. It's a little, hole-in-the-wall train station. Then we realized there were three cabs outside. Apparently a large group of kids was on our train and had gotten off at South Bend, and they had cabs waiting for them. One of the drivers said he would call a cab for us -- his grandpa's City Cab. In our relief over getting a cab so easily, we completely forgot about our checked luggage, which I've already told you about.

We're off to eat our hearts out at the Essenhaus breakfast buffet in Middlebury, which sounds much better than the stale bread and English muffins posing as a continental breakfast in the motel lobby downstairs. (But we really like this motel. It has a window we can OPEN, and it looks out over a bean field! We could hear crickets all night!) Joseph will poke in a couple pictures while I get ready to go, and we'll finish tonight from the laundry room. Brace yourselves for a long post tonight...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Into Indiana

Just to prove that I am far too tired to write a post tonight, I'll just type without ficing my errors. You'll wee how uselss my brain is until it gets some sleep. We had a bood tay, but not any sleep to speak of on the train. Couldn't get comfrotatablae. We were so happy to get a tacia right away at the "s'outh Gend train depot that it took until we were pushing open the doors at the airport, where we were suppoefae to pick up our rental car, that I finally realized that we had fogotten to pick up our checked luggage from off the trainl. At least we had a car to go back. Felt pretty stupid, and newly apprecaitead what a good night's sleep accomplishes.

I flet like a homeless person, squeexing into the bathroom stall at the tiny depot to finally change out of the horrible clothese that I had rushed all over D.C. in. More tomraeoow!

Excuse me, I'm going to shovel all the brocuherus off omy bed and go enjoy the luxutry of sleeping horizonatlly. Goodnighta!

Touring Washington D.C. in less than Four Hours!

We're on the train going through Maryland right now, stopping in Cumberland, and about to enter Pennsylvania. We've had a great day! We had to get going early today.

Packing everything up on Saturday night. Ugh...

Joseph hauled Doorposts boxes down to the motel lobby for UPS to pick up on Monday, then hauled all the suitcases down,too. The heat outside was oppressive. It felt like we were walking into an oven at 7:45 in the morning. We drank orange juice while we waited for our cab.

My traveling bouquet from Harrisonburg, on its way to Washington, D.C.!

The cab was equipped with a GPS system that talked to him and told him where to go. He didn't seem to know where the train station was. The voice told him to turn left, he looked down the road and didn't think it was right, and then the voice told him it was recalculating, and that he should turn left at the next road. "Turn left," "Turn left," it kept saying, until he finally turned.

In the cab

We were at the station about a half hour before the train was supposed to come. It was kind fun, sitting out on the bench against the building, facing the tracks, and imagining what the area must have looked like during the Civil War days, with the soldiers building earthworks to defend possession of the railway.

Looking south from the Manassas Depot

A breeze came up and made the wait much more pleasant. It's a good thing, because eventually a man came out and told us the train was an hour and twenty-five minutes late.

Waiting for the train

It actually ended up being a very relaxing wait. The town visitor center is also at the train station, so I had an excuse to go in there and gather some more brochures for reading material. (Ask Joseph how much I have bugged him picking up brochures wherever we go. Ask me how handy a lot of those brochures have been.) There was also a little museum display between the station waiting room and the visitor center that was interesting to look at. We are our breakfast while we waited for the train, and I had fun breaking off tiny pieces of bread for the little birds. (There is the most incredible song bird around Virginia. One was in the trees out our door at the motel. It just sang its heart out, and had quite a song to share. I never did see it, but I would sure like to know what it was.)

At last the train came. Poor Joseph had a load of suitcases to pull up into the train, since we couldn't check any luggage at that stop.

Joseph mailing the only postcard we managed to send out. Oops...

The ride went by quickly, with interesting things to see out the window. Then poor Joseph had to get all the luggage back out of the train.

The inside of Union Station looks like an airport, but much more beautiful -- shops, car rentals, ice cream (I bet you think we had some. We actually voted for lemonade after we came in from hiking the city for 3-1/2 hours. We've gone two days without ice cream!).

The main part of the building has the high arches of train travel's old days. Joseph studied a map (in one of the brochures I had picked up :-)) while I found a bathroom, and then he guided us to the Capital Building.

Back side of the Capitol Building

We walked all around it,l but couldn't go inside.

Standard tourist shot from the side

Tour guide has moved on to Washington, D. C. now

The we realized how close we were to the National Gallery of Art and made a beeline for it. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me, even though we were constantly frustrated by our time constraints. We started with a special exhibit of small French paintings -- Pisarro, Manet, Degas, etc. I was surprised at how little some of the paintings were!

New assignment, girls. Help us figure out which artist did this painting. We liked several of his, but now we can't remember who it was.

Then we were about to leave the east building, which looked like it mostly contained modern art, when we remembered seeing a poster for an exhibit called "Heaven on Earth." It was amazing! I'm so glad we didn't miss it. It was all medieval illuminated texts, mostly from large (2-3 feet high) choir books. A real life look at these is so different than the pictures in the books! Exquisite detail, gold leaf that is much more reflective than the book pictures can show, etching in the gold leaf, tiny, tiny details, and deep, brilliant colors. I had never realized how transparent the parchment was either.

One shot of the marvelous show of illuminations.
Even this one was forbidden, Joseph was told after he took it.

We couldn't take any pictures. It's probably a good thing. We would have taken one of every piece in the exhibit! (I bought a couple books -- 5 minutes in the book shop -- that should inspire my calligraphic efforts.)

The west building housed the works we were most interested in. How do you do the National Gallery of Art in an hour and a half? We spent all day last year in the Chicago Institue of Art, and this museum was far bigger.

There were rooms and rooms of medieval art. How about a field trip for art history, girls?

A flyer listing the highlights a visitor might want to see if they only had an hour, helped us know that we wanted to see a DaVinci, some Raphael, Titian, and van Eyck, and in our journey to those paintings, we kept seeing more and more that we wanted to see. Joseph was talking pictures as fast as he could, I was turning this way and that, trying to figure out which ones to focus on, with so many to claim our attention.

Girls, we saw some Fra Angelico and Filippo Lippi, Sandro Boticello, and many others that we read about in our art history.

Da Vinci!

Raphael's St. George Slaying the Dragon.

Lucas Cranach the Elder

The Raphael Madonnas were beautiful.

We had agreed that we needed to head back to the train station by 2, and Joseph very dutifully dragged me out of one room after another, as we'd see things while we were trying to reach the front door.

We almost missed a whole room of Rembrandts.

Of course, everything we had seen in the museum paled in comparison to this marvelous piece of junk -- I mean sculpture.

This is what we felt like by the time we made it back to the train station.

We actually made good time getting back to the station, in spite of the heat and our weariness. We sat in the shade on a bench for awhile, Joseph some took pictures of all the weird tour buses. We had to get back by 3 to get our carry-on bags out of storage before they charged us anymore than the outrageous $28 they had already charged. (It was worth it, though, to not have to drag suitcases all over town. We were doing good to just drag ourselves.) The train left D.C. at 4:07, and that's where we are now. We went through Harper's Ferry (very picturesque) and several other pretty towns.

Harper's Ferry train stop. I was talking to Grandy as we went through here

West Virginia rock. The tracks ran through a path cut through this kind of rock.

The last stop, Cumberland, had 8 different church steeples that we could see. Now we're on a windy stretch through a forest of deciduous trees.

Wind mills going through the hills past Harper's Ferry

The sun is setting and we're gearing up for "Sense and Sensibility" after it gets too dark to see the scenery anymore.

Hey, Benjamin! We're going to go through Pittsburg!