Pennsylvania or German Countrysides?


Yes, this post has both countries in photos. Can you guess which galleries have photos from Germany?

The cool, crisp air of Autumn visited us this week in Pennsylvania. Pretty soon, it is time to unpack the sweaters, leather boots and European scarves I love so much.

But… meteorologists are predicting a warmer-than-average fall for nearly all of the United States. That was bad news for me headed to PA for leaf peeping. Foliage was not as bright, nor will it last very long. By the time I was to head home, the leaves were getting more color as the week went on. Some in PA noticed leaves dropping before getting their Fall finery.

You can see some color in the foliage of both countries. It was this time last year I visited Germany. Was it not long ago we were coping with weather up in the nineties, while saying adios to summer? The weather in both areas are similar. When I visited Germany, the temperatures were almost the same as here at home. I check weather often, and in PA the early morning temperature in Reading was 50°F and in Niagara Falls, 63°F on Thursday. That is unusual that Niagara Falls is so much warmer. The whole week followed suit.

During my visit to PA, the weather was beautiful. No rain, yet lovely cloud filled skies. I was wearing a sweater some days.

Quite a few communities have Pennsylvanians claiming German heritage.  You can see evidence in many towns. One thing that felt like the homeland was the landscape itself. The mountains, hills, rivers and lakes had a European feel. Homes, churches, schools and barns built of stone which is plentiful in Pennsylvania were a reference to their life in Germany.

I wonder if you can tell which images are from Germany or Pennsylvania. I popped in two galleries from Germany just to make you look a little closer. Click the galleries for hints from which country you are viewing. Four are of PA and two are from Germany. Many images look almost interchangeable.


I hope you enjoyed the scenery in Pennsylvania and throughout Germany. Lancaster County is such beautiful farm country, much being Amish owned farms. While the Amish, ancestral homeland is Switzerland, the Amish language is Swiss/German. We called their language Pennsylvania Dutch. Dutch was not for The Netherlands, but for Deutsch which is German for German. But they talk so differently it is like a bastardized version of the German language. Below, the gallery has images from Little Switzerland in Jim Thorpe, PA, near New Jersey. It is a town very much like those found in Europe, locked in a time-warp.

One thing nice about where I am from in south-eastern PA, in a short few hours drive time, I can be in New York City, Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington, or Atlantic City.

I stopped a number of times just to take in all the beautiful landscapes, scenic mountains and well-tended farms. Why I crossed from Pennsylvania to Maryland? Eagles of course. Did I see any? Find out next post.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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12 Responses to Pennsylvania or German Countrysides?

  1. We are finally home from Maine and enjoying the beautiful weather in Pennsylvania. Over the last few years, I have noticed that through out the year it is sometimes warmer on Cliff Island than in Bryn Mawr. We saw so many bald eagles this summer and early fall in Maine, very exciting.

    • Yes, the weather was very good for my stay. I am coming down again for eagles in a few weeks, and hope the weather is good for my photos. The eagles are moving around and the warmer weather has kept them further north. I have seen them along the Niagara River too. The big difference is the numbers and accessibility.

  2. When I visited Germany, it reminded me a lot of Western New York.

    • I really am surprised you would say that. I really do not find any comparison. Our terrain is so flat and we do not have the lush evergreen and deciduous forests seen in Germany or even in PA. We don’t have the age or history in the towns and villages like I showed in this post from Jim Thorpe. While Jim Thorpe is only from the early 1800’s, here in WNY we don’t have the surrounding mountains as in Jim Thorpe.
      There is a huge difference driving from NY to PA. It is most noticeable in the condition of our roads and infrastructure. PA is sinking money into keeping bridges, roads and pristine landscape free of development, and in PA the hills grow taller and the even the wildlife seems more plentiful at this time of year (migration). There is no comparison to the beauty found in Germany or even PA in my opinion. Sure Niagara Falls and the gorge are beautiful and some of the cliffs in Germany are somewhat like the Niagara Gorge, except in Germany they are much higher rock walls with more imposing rock faces.

      The towns and rivers are much more scenic too, and I include Letchworth State Park too that does have rock walls up to 600 feet> I am not sure if Letchworth (Wyoming County) is in WNY or Central NY. We might have better waterfalls though in NY than in Germany or PA. I can’t think any I have seen as impressive.
      Look at Melk…nothing like that.

      and the houses…

      or even these shops that at least look like the ones in Jim Thorpe.

  3. Karen says:

    Amazing similarities, love the barns. Interesting about the stone barns; my husband and I have a Dutch surname, but our lineage is overwhelmingly German; maybe that’s why we’re drawn to stones? Always wonderful to tag along on your travels, Donna.

    • I really should have posted the stone barns. We have many where I am from. The ones in this post are beautiful wood framed barns by the Amish. I am always amazed at the care taken when barn raising. Glad you tag along. I always hope readers get a sense of the places I visit.

  4. swo8 says:

    Beautiful photos, Donna. There are a lot of similarities in the two countries.

  5. How similar landscape or even some buildings are! It’s extremely difficult to discover where your photos were taken, Donna! But as you told more about the history and the people living in PA I now can see some reasons responsible for these cirumstances.
    Thanks for showing and telling!

    • Yes, were I am from in PA, there is a large community of German descendants. Even here in Western New York there is a community of predominantly German descendants. It seems they group together some places.

  6. The similarities in your beautiful pictures are amazing, Donna. They reinforce why, as you say, many ‘communities have Pennsylvanians claiming German heritage.’ Love that you used Jim Thorpe as an example — Jim Thorpe being so very close to our home. Wish we had known you were nearby and put out the welcome mat at Astolat, dear gardening friend. The trees are finally getting some color since there was a frost earlier this week. We are planning driving to Jim Thorpe before all the leaves fall and maybe taking a train ride through the valley there. P. x

    • Thank you Pam. I was close to where you live and did travel through the Poconos. I am in PA a few times a year and will be back with a friend sometime in November. I plan on going to see eagles like I did this trip. I enjoy being “home”.

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