"My Town" is a new feature to VCUathletics.com where we give
an in-depth look into the hometowns of one or several of our
student-athletes. Our next trip is off to Honey Brook, Pa. home of
sophomore field hockey standout Autumn Dea. VCU
Athletic Communications Graduate Assistant Mollie Wallace sat down
with Dea to learn about more about the small Amish town.
We all have a picture in our mind of "small town USA". For many of us, this is the generic setting where everyone knows your name and downtown is a concentrated area which looks as if it has been frozen in time. Basically the town should look like it was the inspiration of a Norman Rockwell painting. Well ladies and gentlemen; look no further because I have the quintessential small town for you.
The hometown of sophomore field hockey player, Autumn Dea, is one hour west of Philadelphia, Pa. and is in the heart of Amish country: Honey Brook. The name just makes you think of a small quaint town that oozes with charm.
The population of Honey Brook is 1,287. It is a part of a township by the same name located in Chester County, Pa. Honey Brook was originally named Waynesburg and was divided from the Nantmeal Township. A schoolmaster and land developer bought a plot of the land and proceeded to conduct a lottery to sell plots for Waynesburg which he named after the Revolutionary general Mad Anthony Wayne. The town lies between the headwaters of the east and west of the Brandywine Creek. This caused considerable problems with the development of the town due to water. Wells had to be built which was a large expense to residents of the town.
Honey Brook was renamed in 1884 by the residents of the town. The railroad was completed and ran along the south side of Horseshoe Pike. There was another town along the railroad in western Pennsylvania named Waynesburg. Because of this shared name, supplies and freight were being delivered to the wrong locations. Not okay. In keeping with their heritage, the residents decided to change the name from Waynesburg to Honey Brook which translation from Nantmeal meaning "sweet stream." And sweet it is.
When the borough was incorporated in 1891 there were 700 people living in the town. "It is really small. There is only one traffic light in the town," commented Dea. As you can see, it has not grown that much throughout the years; however, residents do not seem to mind that much.
Honey Brook is the type of town where people miss you in church on Sunday, will stop to say hello in the streets and they will help you carry your groceries into the house. "There is a family-feel since it is so small which is nice," added Dea.
The people of Honey Brook also support the local economy. "There are a lot of farmers in the area so people will buy produce from the farmers instead of going to the store," commented Dea.
As mentioned before, Honey Brook is in the middle of Amish country. For those of you who might need a refresher course in all things Amish…here is a brief run down. The Amish are a group of people who are known for their simple living, plain dress, and their lack of modern conveniences. There are over 240,000 Amish people living in Canada and the United States. This religious group began migrating from Germany to the United States, in particular Pennsylvania, in the 18th century partly due to religious wars, poverty and religious persecution. Today, the Amish live among a fast paced society yet they still maintain the traditions of their ancestors.
"They are super friendly and there are horse and buggies everywhere," commented Dea. "People think that is kind of weird but we don't think anything of it."
So what do you do when you live in Honey Brook and aren't Amish?
"As a child it was a lot of fun because I had a lot to do," said Dea. "We would play in the woods or play with the neighborhood kids. It was boring as I got older because there is nothing to do."
"Any legitimate place is about thirty minutes away," Dea stated. "When I was a freshman in high school, the next town over got a Wal-Mart, which was a really big deal." According to Google Maps, there are now three Wal-Mart locations in the vicinity of Honey Brook: north, south and east.
So you have to make your own fun when you live in Honey Brook. "We would have bonfires in the summer," commented Dea. Bonfires are great because you get to burn stuff and make s'mores. What says fun more than s'mores?
"We would go to the movies but that was about thirty minutes away so you really had to be committed to going," added Dea. You would really have to want to see the new Jonny Depp film in Downington, Pa. at Regal Cinemas if you drove thirty minutes.
But for those of you who don't really like burning things or driving thirty minutes to see a movie, then a corn maze might be more your speed (if you don't have allergies).
Corn mazes are always a popular event in the fall and this especially rings true for residents of Honey Brook. Dea states, "Corn mazes are a fun activity during the fall and so is pumpkin picking." All of this can be accomplished at Mast Farms located in Morgantown, Pa. just 10 minutes north of Honey Brook.
The owners of Mast Farms are third generation potato farmers but they also grow strawberries, corn, soybeans, wheat and pumpkins. The corn maze is by far their biggest attraction. There are actually two corn mazes that are on 12 acres of land. You can even do the maze in the dark but be sure to bring your flashlight; although, that sounds like the plot line of a B rated horror movie.
The farm has more to offer than just corn mazes. There is a petting zoo, a hale bale mountain and tunnel, hayrides, swing sets, zip lines, and much more. Fun for the whole family is certainly an understatement.
So if you ever want to hang out with the Amish, see a town that truly has only one stop light or get lost in a corn maze, then Honey Brook, Pa is your travel destination. Now this may not be for everyone but Dea wouldn't trade her hometown, "I appreciate growing up there. It's a great place and I love it." Honey Brook puts a whole new meaning on "Home Sweet Home."