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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
                 Wednesday, September 3 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Kishacoquillas Valley and return to New York
Monday, August 18 - vacation journal, part 7

Photo gallery related to this day's journal (58 photos)
Index for all vacation journal pages and photo galleries

During my
time as editor of the Nanty Glo Journal, (1962-65) the most important feature I initiated was a series of cartrip journals named "Pennsylvania Places." Each week that summer, after that week's paper hit the streets, my buddies Clem Deffenbaugh and Stewart Wertz and I would pack my Ford Fairlane and head out for some attraction worth seeing within a half a day's drive from the Valley. Stewart took the photos and I gathered the pertinent facts to turn into travel features. Though I don't remember most of the sites we visited, none was more impressive than the Kishacoquillas Valley, which my dad had introduced by describing it as one of the most beautiful places he'd ever seen. Though I believe he was familiar with the proper American Indian name for the valley, he preferred to call it the Big Valley, some years before a weekly network western series used that name in reference to California's San Joaquin Valley.

Having noticed around Lewistown and Juniata County a lot of references to the Kish Valley, when my newfound cousin Bonnie Bair offered to show Mike and me around a little on Monday morning, I mentioned how much that valley had impressed me and she seemed to agree it would make a great nearby daytrip. Her brother Danny Kennedy and she met us in her Blazer at our motel in Burnham. After breakfast in an appropriately country-themed cafe, we cut off on a back road to our first stop, an Amish farm owned by a carpenter who had worked on a major remodeling project recently finished on Bonnie's home. This was the first time I'd been on an Amish farm, though I'd driven by many in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. At the road a handmade sign advertised fresh produce and other items for sale. We entered the lane that wound past a shed and the barn to the back of the house, where a stand was set up, displaying very appealing vegetables, especially corn in the husks and tomatoes of varied strains and sizes, but all beautifully ripe. I didn't try to resist the temptation and bought a bagful. Mike asked the boys attending the stand, who might have been 12-year-old twins, if he could take a picture of the stand, and they nodded and jumped back out of the picture. When their younger brother. maybe six, didn't follow their lead, one of the older ones yelled to him in German (Pennsylvania Deutsch), obviously ordering him to get out of the picture.

As we turned the Blazer back out the lane, a litter of piglets, as cute as puppies, ran out from under a cover and across the lane and into another covering, too fast for our camera but taking enough time to give us a moment of awe.

Our next stop was a privately owned fishery or fish farm, where we enjoyed looking at the fish, swan, goose, and a friendly terrier who walked from the house down to the pond to greet us. Then on to a local winery, which we were told is one of 149 belonging to the Pennsylvania wineries association, a growing industry in the state. We tasted several of their fruit-flavored wines, like blueberry and raspberry, which were delicious but, alas, I was told they're too sugary for diabetics. Next Danny drove us on to a large Mennonite super market specializing in natural foods. (Technically, Amish, Mennonite, and German Brethren churches are part of a radical 16th Century reform movement known as the anabaptists. Amish, or "Old Order Mennonites" hold their services in homes and unlike the others eschew modern machines like electrical motors and appliances and internal-combustion-engine vehicles. Danny and Bonnie told us that after a spate of barn burnings a few years ago, most Amish farms now have a telephone for making 911 calls, though they're not inside the houses.)

We then drove up the westerly side of the valley, or ridge, which gave us spectacular views of both the Kishacoquillas and the Ferguson Valley. The latter is west of Kish and is not nearly as cleared and farmed. Mike could hardly stop taking pictures on the beautiful day, just as I couldn't keep adding more of them to today's gallery, even though there is lots of repetition. Returning to the valley, we drove through the immaculately manicured town of Allensville, the most sizeable town in the valley. We were told that it is overrun by visitors to its weekly farmers market on Wednesdays. We made a last stop at a unique market specializing in local foods, for mid-day snacks to hold us through our drive back to New York City. Danny challenged Mike to try some of the pickled beef organs.

We said goodbye to our newly acquainted relatives back at our motel. Having been pleased with our Super 8 Motel at Burnham, we used the chain's directory in the room and their toll-free number to book our last night of the vacation at a Super 8 in South Hackensack, New Jersey, for about $65 for two queen-size beds. What an improvement over the White House Hostel, which cost almost as much. We arrived there well before dark, with plenty of time to drive over the George Washington Bridge back to Manhattan, where we saw Times Square, finally, in all its glittering glory, and walked from there to 53rd and Seventh Avenue where we enjoyed an excellent dinner in a French-style brasserie, seated outside in the warm night.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Kids think the strangest things

When I was younger, I believed the line was, "Lead a snot into temptation." I thought I was praying for my little sister to get into trouble.

— Sent by Sallie Covolo

Thought for today

Tolstoy famously wrote that "happy families are all alike," and maybe they're alike chiefly in not expecting to be happy all the time. They meet problems and disappointments and take them in stride. In a real marriage, the dishes get dirty, the wife gets plump, the husband gets bald, and everyone gets grumpy at least occasionally. In the course of a lifetime together, everyone will need forgiveness, and happy families learn that giving it is the best way to insure receiving it in return.

— Frederica Mathewes-Green

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