On the Road to Berks County, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia
We have been visiting with some of my aunts and uncles from my dad’s side of the family this weekend in Pennsylvania. Both of my parents are gone, so it has been really important for me to stay connected to the rest of the family. Unfortunately, we do not get together often, so it is really special when we do.
My one aunt and uncle own a restaurant in Berks County, so you can be certain that we had some great food this past weekend. They have been preparing and serving local foods as much as possible since they first opened 36 years ago, so the things that people are really taking notice of now (the farm to table movement) has always been a way of life for them.
Berks County is in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country and it is beautiful. There are farms and rolling hills every where you look. Many of the homes and barns are over 200 years old.
There are covered bridges throughout the countryside.
The Amish and Mennonite Markets were fun to visit. They had all sorts of great cheeses, meats and produce. You can even purchase raw milk in Pennsylvania.
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Gwen Pratesi is a James Beard Foundation Award Finalist in Journalism and award-winning travel writer. She is the author and owner of PratesiLiving.com with her husband, coauthor of Southern Heat, and co-owner of On the Road Culinary Adventures, a culinary travel business. She is a contributor to the Travel section of U.S. News & World Report and freelances for other publications including The Points Guy, USA TODAY, Cruise Critic, Travel + Leisure, Garden & Gun, Marriott Bonvoy Traveler, Reader's Digest, Forbes Travel Guide, Smarter Travel, TripAdvisor, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Magazine and World Travel Magazine. Her work has also been featured on MSN, Yahoo!, Business Insider, and SheKnows.
Gwen chronicles her love of international travel and experience as a professional home cook on PratesiLiving.com, where she shares the stories of some of the world's most sought-after destinations and cruise lines, highly regarded chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, wine and spirits producers and culinary artisans.
She and her husband traded in big city life in Atlanta for shorts and flip-flops on Fernandina Beach, Florida. They are enjoying the coastal lifestyle with their Tibetan Terrier, Rhythm.
Spectacular pictures, Gwen! Loved this post!
I remember when I was a little girl growing up in West Virginia, my Mom fell in love with all things Pennsylvania Dutch when we drove through that part of the country. She bought a little cookbook, and tried a lot of the recipes, and took up tole painting, and sketched a lot of covered bridges. Sweet memories!
My aunt and uncle-in-law live in PA and we love visiting there just for what your pictures show (and seeing them, of course). It’s an amazing part of the country and the Amish presence makes it even better.
LOVE the photos – I especially the farm…earth in the front, trees in the background. The old stone houses are spectacular.
I live in Philadelphia now, but grew up in Amish Country!
What a joy it was to see these photos 🙂
rocky horror? Gwen, you surprise me! … burnt toast and all?
now I do love a good shoefly and nothing better I would think than one from the PA Dutch country…
beautiful place Gwen – The Prof’s parents took a trip to that part of the country about 8 years ago and fell in love . . . now i see why!
I’ve never had Shoofly Pie but sure do want to taste it ASAP!
OMG Gwen, I grew up in Plymouth Pa! Bucks county is beautiful!!! The hills just breathtaking as I remember them. My Aunt and Mom loved to take Saturday road trips to Amish country. Had to buy a shoe fly pie and home made ice cream on the way home!
I can’t believe Chestnut Hill still has those cobblestone roads. My best friend’s grandma live there.
Best of all, “I used to watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show at TLA Cinema on South Street when I was in high school…” I did that too!!! The show ran there for years. I remember the midnight crowd waiting outside totally dressed to perform. Let’s do the time warp again… What a blast 🙂
I was the South Philly designated driver for the ladies of the family Italian shopping days. I can still smell the wonderful markets. My cousin and I would skip afternoon classes and go down to the market for lunch. Mom always enjoyed the cheese and other fine Italian foods I would bring home. It’s no wonder she covered for me when I skipped!
Thank you very much for the beautiful photos, they are truly a walk down memory lane!
Wonderful Gwen. Love your trips and explorations!! Love these posts!! I need to get to Philly soon!! Berks County is so serene and beautiful!
Many moons ago I visited Amish country with my boyfriend at the time. I loved the beauty of the countryside and remember having a family style dinner and later being detoured off the interstate because of a nuclear meltdown near Allentown! Talk about contrasts. Thanks for sharing Helen’s recipe for Shoofly pie – recipes handed down through the generations are always the best!
Hey Gwen, nice post showcasing our beautiful city and region. Thanks for sharing the local eats and fun places. I enjoyed meeting you and your family when you stopped in the spice shop up in Chestnut Hill. I like your blog. Shoofly Pie for everyone!!