Sacred Orchards

Northern Pennsylvania Wilds

What is the mystique of an ancient apple orchard wrapped in snow? And where are the North Pennsylvania pioneers, their farmsteads long gone to weeds and young forest? “Northern Pennsylvania Wilds” takes a photographic and storytelling look at the apple and orchard history of this important Hinterland. This was the terrain where famous American apple varieties found their origins. Where Johnny Appleseed learned and planted his first orchards. Seneca Indians and Amish alike haunt these pages as patient teachers and role models.

The Forbidden Path

What lessons from the past can one find in an apple orchard? It’s not the things that you plan for that become the greatest challenges; it is unexpected events that cause the real ordeals in life. “The Forbidden Path” leads us toward a boundary crossing. A written story about an earlier time provides both chance to find the past and prepare for the future. Unexpected heavy rains cause flooding, rapid industrialization reshapes the landscape and settlement can cause confrontation and conflict. We become a culture while the Native peoples become largely unseen spirits.



The great sweeping valley of Shenandoah runs north and south from the silvery limestone course of the Susquehanna in the North, to the vaunted railroad center of Roanoke in the South.  The coastal rivers cross the central portion from west to east, and then cut the mighty Blue Ridge.  Culturally, the apple history of Shenandoah includes the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Milam Apple, and Luray with its Bheam.  The City of Staunton claims its Elizabethan Shakespeare Theater, and its Elizabethan Apples alike. While Jefferson’s Monticello at Charlottesville boasts its replanted gardens and orchards of Albemarle Pippins.  In its day, this was the grain and apple basket of the East, the source of fields and agriculture to serve the westward expansion associated with the Great Wilderness Road.  Its orchards, many of them, still stand, still produce fruit and cider, if you only know where to look.