Love and Harmony

Thursday, June 24, 2010 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Day 55:  Hamburg, NY to Cranberry Township, PA
Leaving Hamburg this morning, we headed for the southern shore of Lake Erie, which is the gateway to wine country in western New York and Pennsylvania. Some 20,000 acres of grape vines blanket Chautauqua County in southwestern NY, making it the country's top largest grape-producing county outside of California.
We were doing a bit of letterboxing along the coast when we realized we were only 20 miles from Jamestown, New York, the hometown of Lucille Ball.  Since 1996, Lucy’s hometown has welcomed visitors from all over the world to the Lucy-Desi Museum. On exhibit are costumes, awards, photographs, and other memorabilia from the estates of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
Next door, the "I Love Lucy" Museum showcases items related to the famous original sitcom.  Among the most recognizable are replicas of the sets for the livingroom and kitchen in the Ricardoes' New York apartment, and the Hollywood hotel set where Lucy burned her nose while meeting William Holden and re-enacted a famous movie scene with Harpo Marx.
In Pennsylvania, we stopped in the historic community of Harmony to seek a letterbox hidden near the Harmonist Cemetery.  The Harmonists came from Germany in 1805, where they had been persecuted for their beliefs. Believers devoted themselves to communal living, hard work, and prayer to prepare for the second coming of Christ, which they expected to occur in their lifetime. To purify themselves, they gave up tobacco and adopted a celibate lifestyle. They were an agricultural community that wished to grow grapes for winemaking.
During the ten years the Harmonists were in Harmony, Pennsylvania (before the community moved to New Harmony, Indiana) , one hundred members were buried in the commune's cemetery.  The Harmonites did not mark their graves with headstones or grave markers, because they thought it was unnecessary to do so. Today, their graveyards are fenced-in grassy areas with signs posted nearby explaining this practice.
In 1869, Mennonite stone workers were hired to wall the Harmonist cemetery with stones quarried nearby. The unique Mosaic tablets gate weighs more than a ton but can be opened realatively easily by pushing either tablet to rotate the gate on its pivot.

Our journey southward has begun.  We'll probably spend another night in the Pittsburgh area before setting our sights on West Virginia.

Daily Stats
Miles driven:  261
Letterboxes:  5
High temp:  74° F
Grapevines:  84,216
Souvenirs with Lucille Ball's image:  2,139
Harmonist headstones:  0