I spent a couple of days last week at a workshop in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It was a whirlwind trip with many hours spent in the car, but the journey was worth it (lots of learning and spending a little bit of time in a beautiful part of the country).
One of my favorite parts of visiting new places is hunting down unique places to stay. Adaptive reuse of historic structures is my absolute favorite. I get as giddy as a kid at a carnival. Ecologically sensible, preserves a bit of history, and is almost always more aesthetically appealing. I ended up spending this trip at Lancaster's Cork Factory Hotel. Built in 1865, it began producing cork in 1875 and later Kerr glass bottles in the 1960s.
The hotel, itself, was cozy and the staff very accommodating. The lobby was reminiscent of how I would imagine old roadside inns were. Dark, exposed beams and low lighting welcomed me when I walked in the door. The registration desk was just that, a simple desk staffed by only one person. I also loved all of the brickwork and was smitten with the exposed brick wall in my hotel room.
Lancaster was a bloody, sprawling catastrophe outside of its historic downtown and Franklin and Marshall. Target and other strip malls were overtaking farms and the surrounding countryside. The Amish tourist attraction above was sandwiched between the Target and another series of shops.
I managed to escape for an hour or so and found a back road to Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse, PA. I hadn't been to Amish country in years, and I was little blown away by the seeming exploitation of this culture. Everything was geared toward tourists, and it had a very Epcot feel. I was very conscious of the culture and not wanting to be that girl. I bypassed several photo opportunities because the thought of taking the picture made me so uncomfortable.
How do you handle picture taking in the midst of other cultures?