During March Break 2012, The Quilt Store took a (luxury) bus load of avid quilters on a trip through Amish quilt country.
If you have never been to the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and you’re an avid quilter, sewer, or crafter, put it on your “Bucket List”. Our recent trip was whirlwind sight seeing, shopping and spending spree for all, with lots of good conversation, laughs, fun, good cheer and a few tears of joy.
We embarked on our journey with the first 14 of us boarding the bus at 7:30 in the morning. Then we headed off to Markham to pick up a few more, and then to Hamilton to pick up the last of our entourage. We formed a group of ladies who were as giddy and excited as school girls! We couldn’t wait to get there – we were hardly an hour over the border when someone asked, “Are we there yet?” That’s when I put on the movie Bridesmaids to make the ride a little faster.
We arrived safely at our better-than-home away from home: the Cork Factory Hotel, delightfully and warmly decorated and very comfortable. We highly recommend to this hotel to anyone travelling to this area.
Most hadn’t slept a wink. Not because we were uncomfortable, or because we weren’t tired, but the anticipation of shopping had us so excited, we were afraid of sleeping in and missing the bus!
Speaking of the bus, our driver Andre is The Man – we all loved him! He’s an exceptional character with the unbelieveable ability to get us in and out of some of the tightest, busiest spots. Every one of us told people we were joy riding on a bus…LOL!
Anyway – our first stop was at Weaver’s with over 10,000 bolts of fabric. This is when the feeding frenzy began.
Next was Burkholder’s Fabrics with over 31,600 bolts of fabric. Lots of fun here.
Andre was given a fat quarter bundle which he used to decorate the bus!
Bags in hand, we headed off to lunch, then to Saunders and an unbelievable store called Obie’s. You have to go there just once! I think the pictures say it all.
We don’t know how many thousands of bolts of fabric…
thousands of ready made quilts…
and thousands of pot holders…
were piled, hung and stuffed in there — and it still held a bus load of shoppers! If you’re ever in Lancaster, put this one on the map.
We ended our day with dinner at the Olive Garden and a sing song on the way back to the hotel with Lady Antebellum‘s “I Need You Now.” We changed the words a bit to needing fabric…maybe you had to be there. It was hilarious to us!
Our man Andre took us to the AQS Quilt Show and we explored the Farmer’s Market across from the Convention Centre.
What can one say about all the extraordinary quilts at the show? The talent, the work, the passion, it was all there and more. Some quilts left me speechless: truly works of art. Here we ran into Ester, one of our regular customers. Isn’t it funny who you bump into away from home!
With lots of shopping accomplished, some went off to the Sight and Sound Theatre to see Jonah. This was a fabulous venue, and a wonderful theatre production, enjoyed by all who attended. Back at the hotel, a few of us capped off our day with a glass of wine and some munchies.
St. Patricks’ Day and Trish’s birthday! I gave Trish an Irish Princess crown and, well, that was it! ”Queenie” was born and had the bus in stitches…ha..ha!
We hit the first outlet at 8:45 am (they opened the doors early for our bus – what royal treatment!). This place had everything: cottons, upholstery, polar fleece, fashion fabrics, and more buttons than you have ever seen. Oh, yes, damage was done.
Off to Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse. We visited Zooks, Bitty Kinna’s Quilt Shop, and Dutchland Quilt Patch. We walked the streets, going in and out of stores at the Kitchen Kettle Complex – 42 stores!
Yes, we shopped ’til we dropped: fabric, books, patterns, gadgets, templates, drying racks, hand quilting frames, sweaters, t-shirts, lanterns, candles, ice cream.
The Old Country Store found us meeting up with three more of our regular store customers. It was great to see Linda, Joanne and Marilyn and share a few laughs.
The Old Country Store also houses a Quilt Museum upstairs, which was well-worth seeing.
We boarded the coach to descend upon our last shopping destination which was The Quilt and Fabric Shack – all fabric $4 and $5 a yard. More shopping accomplished.
We walked down the road to our restaurant the Plain & Fancy. Sufficiently stuffed, we boarded the bus to head back to the hotel and to get together for our night cap re-cap of our shopping extravaganza.
All said and done, over 1,100 yards purchased, plus, plus…. That’s over a kilometre of fabric! Those that just came for placemat fabric admittedly went home with a lot more, someone fulfilled a Bucket List dream, another found the perfect drapery fabric, and others found the perfect backings for projects already completed. Some found the most beautiful fabrics and just had to press them all and tie them up with a pink ribbon to showcase their beauty.
Is there more to tell? Oh, yes…but sometimes, what happens in Lancaster…stays in Lancaster.
We boarded the bus Sunday morning. At 8:02am we pulled out of the hotel, and were completely unloaded in Newmarket by 7:00 pm.
Many thanks to everyone who made this trip so special, especially our bus driver Andre, and our friends at Ellison Travel and Tours Ltd.
Will we do it again? I am pretty sure the answer is yes!
Until we meet again,
Wendy L. Burton
The Quilt Store