Oh the Places You Can Go… With a Library Pass

Last week I mentioned that I have been doing a summer of field trips.  A segment of these summer adventures have been made possible by the passes that are available to be checked out from the Lancaster Library system.  If you are a Lancaster resident, this is worth checking out!  If not, these places are still worth visiting, you may just have to pay.

There are about 9 places you can get passes for in the county, but only 4 were of interest to me.

1. The Hans Herr House.  The Hans Herr House is the oldest standing settlement in Lancaster county and the oldest Mennonite meetinghouse in America (it hits both of these categories because it was both a home and a church, simultaneously).  It was built in 1719 and is now a museum.  The home also shares grounds with a Native American Long House and miscellaneous farm related buildings, including a barn and a blacksmith shop.  There are tours offered but we happened to go without library passes on a Saturday when the “Global Fair” was taking place.  The Global Fair is an event hosted by Eastern Mennonite Missions where missionaries from all over the world have booths full of food, activities, and cultural information.  Since the fair was taking place, there were no tours offered.  Instead, there was a tour guide stationed in the house and we badgered her with questions until we felt like we understood the place.

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The Hans Herr House.

2. Ephrata Cloister.  Ephrata is a town about 15 minutes from me that was started as a home for celibates, anxiously awaiting the return of Christ.  He hasn’t returned yet and all the original singles have died, so now it’s a museum.  Interesting facts include their intense daily schedule (which included a 12-2 am church service and one meal a day) and wooden blocks for pillows.  Also, the grounds are very pretty.  I would recommend a visit.

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Johann Conrad Beissel’s home (he was the leader).

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Reportedly, not much importance was put on uniformity in the shingles since Christ would be coming soon and they wouldn’t be needing that home for long.

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View from the bakery to the ladies’ dorm.

3. President James Buchanan’s Wheatland.  Rather a long name, but you get the point.  This was the home of President James Buchanan.  There is a small museum on the grounds that is a good use of time if you arrive early for the on the hour tours.  It has a lot of local history stuff that’s interesting to peruse.  The tour itself is about two hours but flew by with the wealth of knowledge our young guide possessed.

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My friend and field trip buddy with the former President himself.

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The back entrance to Wheatland.

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Delicious sunlight in the upstairs foyer.

4. Rock Ford Plantation.  Rock Ford is a beautiful location but I have little to say about it since we showed up for a tour, waited for the tour, the sign said there was a tour, but then no one showed up to lead the tour.  So we walked around the grounds, watching a fawn dance across the lawn and people gather for an evening wedding.  I’m so disappointed that I don’t think I’ll go back.  But if you have better luck, please tell me what we did wrong!  I really would have liked to see it.

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Rock Ford up close.  The cover photo is of Rock Ford a little ways away.

Why you should use your library pass to visit local locales:  

  1. It’s free!  And everyone loves free!
  2. It helps you understand the history of where you live.
  3. For the adventure of it.  Sometimes it’s just nice to have a Saturday that doesn’t involve laundry and cleaning.

*If your local library doesn’t have passes, I’m sorry.  It really is a nice perk.

Local Lancaster, PA

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