The National Museum of the American Coverlet and the Morrison’s Cove Driving Tour

Sunday 8/11/13 we decided would be a great day to take another driving tour of the area. While in the visitor center the other day one of the pamphlets we picked up mentioned one called Morrison’s Cove Driving Tour that roams around the farmland where we were able to get a good look at some great old farms and took us through a few small towns, I mean Villages, that’s what they call them around here.

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The villages were all very clean and neat. The signs along the road said watch for bicycles and horse drawn carriages. When we first saw the sign Diane piped up and said,,, I WANT TO SEE A HORSE DRAWN CARRAGE!! Well before long you couldn’t look in any direction or drive down any road without seeing at least one. It was a pretty interesting thing to see but if you lived in the area and your choice of transportation was car I could see where it would get a little old after a while. But those buggies went along at a pretty good clip!!

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A lot of the younger people traveled on bicycle’s it seemed. I bet they all stay in pretty good shape.

At first glance I though most of the cart traffic was by the Amish but it turns out a lot of the people are Mennonite. I couldn’t tell the difference by looking. And to be honest I didn’t know the difference so in case you don’t either,, here ya go.

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The Amish and Mennonite people can trace their history to 16th century Europe. At this time, a group of Christians rejected Roman Catholicism and its infant baptismal practices. These Anabaptists gathered mainly in Switzerland and concentrated on returning to first-century Biblical living. Within the Anabaptist group, distinct sects formed. One group called itself Mennonites after a man named Menno Simon. Another Anabaptist group followed a man named Jakob Ammon and they took the name Amish. Eventually these groups settled in Pennsylvania, but they continue to be separate.

The differences of travel practices between Amish and Mennonite groups. Amish people do not own automobiles and travel by foot, on bicycle or by horse drawn carriage. Mennonite people have fewer restrictions, although some sub-sects may adhere to the same Amish restrictions. Some Mennonite people own cars as long as they are black. Both Amish and Mennonite people will ride in cars as passengers, sometimes hiring taxis to transport them long distances.

Looking at clothing styles to tell the difference between Amish and Mennonite groups. Amish people wear only dark colors such as blue and black in solid fabrics — no prints. Some, but not all, Mennonites now wear a variety of bright colors, although they still wear the traditional clothing styles, including suspenders, trousers, dresses, aprons and bonnets. Some contemporary Mennonites no longer adhere to any traditional dress standards.

Traditionally, both groups have been farmers, living simply off the land. While this continues to be the trend among people of both groups, some contemporary Mennonites are pursuing other means of earning a living. Some contemporary Mennonites now use electricity, telephones and televisions. Amish people do not allow any electricity or telephone service in their homes.

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We almost wished we had done that drive on a weekday because all of the shops were closed due to it being Sunday. It would have been interesting to walk through a few of the shops.

The drive also lead us past areas you could still see signs of the Civil War. In this spot you could still see entrenchments that were prepared in 1863 by militia under Col. J.C Higgins against threatened Confederate attack toward the railroad at Altoona. The march of troops towards Gettysburg on June 30th through July 1st ended the danger and the need for the entrenchment so it was never used.

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After our driving tour we decided to drop Jack off at home and head to the Coverlet Museum. The National Museum of the American Coverlet focuses on antique American woven coverlets. Dated coverlets in the collection range from 1771 to 1889.

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Melinda and Laszlo Zongor take care of the shop and Laszlo was our personal tour guide. He told us when we started the tour that he guaranteed we would leave knowing more about coverlets than we ever thought we would know.  LOL!!! That was easy in my case anyway because I didn’t know what a coverlet really was to begin with!! Laszlo is from Hungary and did a great job taking us through the museum.

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I’ll be honest and say I didn’t think I would enjoy the tour as much as I did. It really was a history tour and not just a tour about bed covers. The history of the old American weavers was really very interesting and Laszlo was a very animated Hungarian man that made it even more enjoyable.

There was a very good selection of coverlets hanging on the walls that changes out every few months but the collection of loom’s and spinning machines were very interesting to me. And how the art of weaving was really a mans job and not necessarily that of a woman. How farmers made the looms they owned and once people actually started buying looms how prices went up because of the new overhead and specialized or special order coverlets were then the thing. And how during the Civil War most wool was all used for uniforms so weaving all but disappeared and how during the war the Jacquard Head was developed and basically did away with the art of individuals weaving for a living when they returned from the war because the new Jacquard Loom was 10 times faster than what a single person could produce. I guess it was the cause of the first issues with un employment!! And because it worked off of punch cards it is said to be the first real step towards computers. .. Here is a link to the Jacquard Loom….

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacquard_head.

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As I mentioned, the tour was pretty good and again it’s something we would recommend if your in the area. Here is a link to the museum.

http://www.coverletmuseum.org/

Then it was time to head back out to the Jean Bonnet Tavern. If you remember the other day we ate to much at the restaurant to feel like having a drink in the bar so we decided to take care of that today LOL!!

It’s a nice pub and being a weekend day it was pretty busy. We had a dozen hot wings along with our drinks and because it was late in the day it took care of our appetites for any dinner. In fact we just ate some watermelon late in the evening and called it good.

Another great day. I think that really took care of everything we wanted to see in the area even though there is much more. Plus the campground emptied out a bunch while we were gone today.

Monday I hope will be a kick back day. We plan to is toss a roast in the crock pot and then visit a fresh fruit and vegetable spot we saw driving around. And we also found a self serve dog wash a lot like the one we found in Elephant Butte New Mexico so I think we will take Jack there as well. He’s due for a bath.

Maybe I will feel energetic and clean the inside of the Jeep. Tuesday we will leave Bedford and head to Gettysburg for a week. That should be crammed full of stuff to do as well.

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2 Responses to The National Museum of the American Coverlet and the Morrison’s Cove Driving Tour

  1. Lar says:

    Another good report. Looking forward to the Gettysburg report. Hope the weather stays good for you. Smoke cleared from around us the past couple days, very nice here. Lots of fire crews moving around.

    • Dave & Diane says:

      Glad you enjoyed the report!! And very happy to hear the smoke is clearing. We have had some rain while here but I guess that how it stays so green. Supposed to rain today as well during our travel time. Oh well,, as long as it clears while we are in Gettysburg.
      Tell everyone howdy for us!!

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