Something new has been added to Volant's parade of shops since I last visited: Volant Mill Winery, established here in 2004. The winery is a family business whose wines are produced from vineyards in Mercer County.
A nice selection of wines is offered, with a choice of 5 complimentary tastings. (I thought that was unusual!) A tray of assorted cheese cubes stood nearby to cleanse your palate--which was timely, since we had each just polished off a homemade glazed donut from the Amish stalls!!
Mom needed a birthday gift for her sister, while I wanted to find something I thought Jim would like. We both settled on a white wine named Vidal Blanc--described as "smooth and crisp with a touch of citrus ending in a dry finish".
Here's a sampling of other wines to try:
Fredonia-a sweet red made from native grapes
Volant Red-a 'cannot go wrong' red wine for everything
Dechaunac-a refreshing semi-sweet wine with a crisp palate
Chamburcin-medium bodied, light ruby, rich berry flavor with a hint of oak
Wilmington White (best selling)-sweet, everyday wine with intense flavors
Edelweiss-crisp and fruity body
Riesling-sweet, crisp like autumn air; harvested late for that Ice Wine character
Delaware-a beautiful light and fragrantly fruity semi-dry wine
Don't you just love the descriptions?
Hours are Monday-Thursday 11am-5pm; Friday and Saturday 11am-6pm; Sunday 12Noon to 5pm
Volant's appeal has always been the shopping. Dozens of shops offer country kitsch, handmade furniture, scented candles, fudge, dried flowers, seasonal decorations, specialty foods, home decor, kitchen accessories, braided rugs, linens, clothing and art.
The town spreads out from the old Volant gristmill and climbs up Main Street, which leads to New Wilmington and beyond. Sidewalks creep from store to store, as visitors shuffle up and down them. Buses bring people from distances and cars jockey for parking spaces, especially when holidays loom.
I've always found Volant a great place to find Christmas ornaments or a special gift for friends or family. When living in Pennsylvania, a visit in the late Fall made a big dent in my Christmas list, while lunch at one of Volant's small restaurants gave us the boost we needed to finish our shopping!
Shop hours are Mon.-Sat. 10am-5pm; Sun. 12N-5pm.
*picture borrowed from www.volantvillageshops.com
If you have a sweet tooth and LOVE fudge, Attic Treasures has a number of delicious choices.
I asked for a sample taste of Toffee Fudge....that's all it took, one taste. It was packaged up for me in no time at all. Of course, I shared it with Mom and had some to bring back with me.
Attic Treasures also had a large selection of coffees--would you believe Strawberry or Amaretto flavored coffee and other exotic blends. I'm not a coffee fan, so I wasn't stirred (hee,hee) by these flavors. I did see some teas, as well.
Hours are Mon.-Sat. 10am-5pm; Sun. 12N-5pm.
The 1906 Mercantile Company had many items for the home. You'll find 18th century reproductions, framed prints, quilts and rugs, small cupboards and tables, period lighting, country curtains, pottery and stoneware, plus collector dolls, tea sets and doll furniture.
I found a candle in the "apple dumpling" scent that I bought for a friend who just had surgery and included a star-shaped holder which cost $3.00. It smelled wonderful--I can just imagine it in her kitchen!
This shop offers many different country accessories in wood, tin, brass or iron to make your home a cozy place! For the complete look, they also carry wallpaper borders and stencils.
Hours are Mon-Sat. 10am-5pm; Sun. 12N-5pm.
The Amish in this area are of the Old Order who generally wear the same style clothing used in the 16th century. Their plain style of dressing is meant to resist worldliness and pride, but encourage modesty.
In the past, I've noticed navy blue, royal blue, black and brown colors on the women. Patterned prints are not permitted. This weekend, however, I saw a young woman in a horse-drawn carriage wearing a pink short-sleeved blouse.
The men and boys I saw in town wore wide black hats, navy shirts with black or dark colored pants. Belts are never used, only suspenders.
Pennsylvania Amish grow crops or are dairy farmers. The farms are handed down through the family and tending is done by using horses, not tractors. Known for their superior talents in woodcrafts, some members supplement their income in this way.
They are descendants of Jakob Amman from the Palatine region of Switzerland.
Weekends find the Amish in town setting up small stalls from which they sell homemade breads, cookies, muffins, pies, preserves and pickles. Don't try to take their photograph, though, because it is something they discourage.
On the chilly November morning we visited, a small stall offering freshly made donuts drew a long line of hungry people. As we waited patiently, a crew of 5-6 Amish women worked feverishly in the back of the stall, producing these tasty treats by frying the dough in oil heated over fire--no electric or gas was used. The donuts were among the best I've tasted.
The Volant/New Wilmington countryside is home to many Amish farms. It's estimated there are 1500 members making up this community.
I find their spiritual upbringing interesting. The Amish are governed by fellow members of their district. There are 14 districts which make up the Amish community in the Volant and New Wilmington area. Each district is compiled of about 75 adults, plus young adults and unbaptized children.
A bishop and church officials govern the community, giving welcomed direction to the group. Sunday services are held in members homes, with the location changing each week. A flurry of preparation readies the home to receive members and a noon meal is provided by the hosts.
Members typically open their homes once a year. Services are conducted in High German and last about three hours. Hymns are sung from the Ausbund (pictured).
*picture to follow
As we traveled the side roads of western Pennsylvania between Volant and New Wilmington, we couldn't help but notice the bright yellow road signs warning us of horse and buggy traffic.
We delighted in the fact that we saw evidence of this as a few horse-drawn buggies trotted passed us on the opposite lane. I was even able to snap a photo from a distance away--all that and drive, too!
Along the way we also noted a group of horse and buggies parked outside some type of store. I just had to pull into the lot and snap a picture. I don't think the horses minded, though!
*picture to follow