Amish Country, Art, & Good Books

You can find a collection of quaint and interesting things when strolling through the streets of Intercourse, PA. The name alone is interesting. Nestled among mature trees on Philadelphia Pike in Lancaster County, you can meander into various pottery shops, quilt shops, and candle stores galore. If those don’t suit your fancy, try the fudge shops. Their product is divine. I even came across an insect store where butterflies and other bugs were captured beneath glass cases and hung on display. (For the record, I did not spend much time in that store….bugs. Ew.)

You can even spend time in an art gallery.

Mind you, I’m not clever about art nor do I have a degree in art history. However, as an author, I’m a fan of various kinds of art. Like this spoon rest I picked up at a pottery store.

So, when we saw a sign for the Julia Swartz Art Gallery, we made a point to pop in. Her paintings are exquisite. Realistic with a flare for haunting the viewer, in my opinion. My husband asked me later: How does a person put a price tag on a painting? My question was a little different: How do I pack one of these awesome paintings into my luggage for the trip home?

We chatted with Julia’s husband, who manages the gallery. He asked what brought us to town (Amy Tan & Rutger’s University) and he shared a bit of the gallery’s history with us. Before he and Julia acquired the building and set up her display of paintings, it was owned by a publishing house called Good Enterprises.

The parent company of Good Books, Good Enterprises was co-founded by one Phyllis Good who owned a variety of commercial real estate properties in Lancaster Counties. Ms. Good is also the author of the Fix-It and Forget-It cookbook series that was rather famous for teaching folks how to use the slow cooker. Talk about kismet in finding this little gem, whose origin is hidden beneath Julia’s paintings. I love my slow cooker so much that we used to have two of them. Unfortunately, they both decided to conk out within days of one another. For some reason I have yet to purchase a new one. Frugal or still in mourning—it’s hard to say.

After visiting for a bit, we bid Mr. Swartz goodbye and went about our day. Fate? Coincidence? A cosmic reminder, perhaps? Maybe. The experience did remind me that art is everywhere if you’re willing to look for it or create it. In this case, we walked out with four handcrafted note cards created by Julia Swartz to help commemorate our 2019 trip to Amish country.

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