Category Archives: Travel

What I Learned at my First Protest

Circus Protest
Last week, I went to protest the use of animals for entertainment, specifically in the Ringling Brothers Circus. It was my first time going to such a gathering, actually I don’t think I’ve ever been to any event that had protesters at it at all. I was nervous, yet excited. I had planned to go last year, but had come up with excuses not to go at the last minute.

Now, the main purpose of wanting to go was to stand up for the animals that are confined in cages for most of their lives and “trained” with whips and bullhooks, but it was also a huge learning experience for me. I was apprehensive to go at first because I detest confrontation. I avoid it at all costs, so how am I going to tell someone they are wrong for bringing their children to the circus? What if someone came up to me and asked a question I couldn’t answer, or what if there was actual violence? One’s food choices and subsequent support of animal abuse ranks right up there with religion and politics when it comes to heated topics. Did I mention I hate confrontation?

I decided that even if I stood there and held a sign and said absolutely nothing – that was okay. Same with if I went for 15 minutes and left feeling uncomfortable – at least I gave the experience a try.

So, I got to Hershey’s Chocolate World and wondered around a bit aimlessly looking for the meeting spot, until I met Olivia and Barb. They were super friendly, which was comforting. We walked to the spot in front of the Giant Center where people were already lining up and buying programs. The Giant Center has a 10’x10′ square that protesters are allowed to stand in.

I grabbed two signs, one that read ” They perform out of fear” and another that read “Caged and enraged. Whipped for your entertainment” with a picture of a caged tiger. Almost immediately a woman in a pink shirt came up to us (not me directly) and yelled “get a life!”, in a very passionate manner. She had a friend/family member calm her down and tell her “it’s not worth it” or something along those lines. I don’t even think I had picked up a sign yet and was a bit surprised at how angry she was. Not violent in any way, just angry. (Apparently at other showtimes two non protesters had to be escorted away by security for getting out of hand.)

Throughout the time there, some people in the group spoke up that the animals are abused and forced to perform, and that the elephants are being taken out, that the rest of the animals should be too. I felt more comfortable holding a sign and smiling at people. I learned a few things in my short amount of time standing there, one was that a lot of people made eye contact and smiled back. Almost a shocking amount of people. I expected people to either avoid eye contact and ignore us, or possibly to be angry.

Another thing that I noticed was that while a lot of adults did walk a little faster and ignore the group, kids were super curious. Children between 6-12 years old would stand still to read the signs. One girl asked her mom what was going on and the mother just ushered her away. I assume that most of the kids forgot about the people holding the signs out front once they were in the building with all of the lights and excitement, but I hope that it might have sparked some questions.

I heard a few more “get a life” comments throughout the evening, which didn’t bother me, but did make me think. We (Americans as a whole) have the right to protest something that we feel is unfair or unjust. I think the people that make those comments probably feel like they are being told they are wrong and get defensive, but to me, utilizing my right to protest is having a life. I’m standing up for what I believe in, and hopefully educating people who didn’t know that cruelty exists in the circus. One woman said she didn’t want to go in to the show anymore after seeing our signs. Her friends talked her back into it, but maybe it will prevent her from buying a ticket in the future.

Protesting the use of animals in the circus made me feel good. Not pat on the head, hooray for me feel good, but even if one person decided they weren’t going to support animal cruelty in the circus then I made a small change. It made me feel like I can use my voice to speak for those who can’t. Was it the most effective way to make a difference? I don’t know, but I felt called to do something. Will I do it again? Absolutely.

If you’re interested in more information about animals in the circus, here are a few resources, including a list of countries that ban animal circuses. There is no shortage of information out there about the reality of what happens to animals in the circus.

https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-circus-animal-abuse

https://www.paws.org/get-involved/take-action/explore-the-issues/circus-cruelty/

http://www.ifaw.org/international/news/which-countries-have-bestworst-records-banning-animals-circuses

http://www.mediapeta.com/peta/PDF/RinglingFactsheet.pdf

http://www.ringlingbeatsanimals.com/

http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/11/ringing-bros-usda-fine-elephant-abuse

Circus Protest Circus Protest Circus Protest DSC_0599

Circus Protest Circus Protest Circus ProtestCircus ProtestCircus Protest

Raw Review: Root – Lancaster, PA

Root of LancasterLast weekend, I finally made it to Root, a semi-new vegan restaurant in Lancaster. I wanted to check it out as soon as it opened, but I kept putting it off, basically because it’s in Lancaster and I never really wanted to battle 5 o’clock traffic during the week into the city, and on the weekends I got busy doing everyday life things.  They are pretty lame excuses and I found out I was missing out on some awesome food.

I told my husband I wanted to go for brunch and we headed out a little after 11 on a Saturday. To my relief, there was a small parking lot for the restaurant (marked as Reserved for WOW) that was mostly empty. (Parking in Lancaster or Harrisburg *really* stresses me out.)

Root of Lancaster

The Menu
The best thing thing overall about Root is that it is completely vegan, right down to the alcohol menu. I love having an entire menu to order from. Speaking of the menu, it had a decent selection and was reasonably priced. I’m looking forward to going back to try the dinner menu because there is more on it, and there are a lot of things that sound delicious.

Root’s menu is great for vegans and non-vegans alike. The brunch menu has pancakes, french toast, a grilled pb&j, and (tofu) tacos. The lunch menu includes soups, salads, and sandwiches.

Root Lancaster Zucchini Sandwich
Grilled Zucchini Sandwich – Grilled zucchini, lemon aioli, lettuce & tomato on rustic Italian bread served with fries.

What We Ordered
First, we ordered the brunch special, a pumpkin ginger waffle. It was a flavorful Belgium waffle. This item was the only thing that I thought was a little pricey given that it was just one waffle for $7. It tasted great, but I think if it was served with some fruit or something on the side it would’ve been a more substantial meal.

My husband got the Hearts of Palm “Seafood” Salad. It’s blended hearts of palm, celery, mayo and seafood seasonings on rustic Italian bread with lettuce and tomato, served with fries. He said it was a little salty, but devoured it before I could try a bite so I’m going to say it was good.

I ordered the grilled zucchini sandwich – grilled zucchini, lemon aioli, lettuce, and tomato on rustic Italian bread served with fries. I really liked the sandwich. The bread was crusty on the outside and soft on the inside and the aioli was super tasty.

We were both full after our meals, but I wanted to try as much as possible, so we got the two desserts, the Caramelized Apple Spice Cake and Blueberry cake, to go. We ate them later at home and they were both really, really good.

I’m kind of kicking myself for putting off visiting the restaurant for so long. I can’t wait to go back for dinner and to bring my mom.

Farm Sanctuary Event
What’s even more exciting is that in a few weeks, Gene Baur will be celebrating 30 years of Farm Sanctuary’s work in helping animals at a dinner party held at Root! I had no idea that Farm Sanctuary has history in Lancaster, which makes it even more awesome. More info and tickets can be found here. Let me know if you’re going!

Root of Lancaster Parking
Root Parking

Root of Lancaster

Root of Lancaster - Brunch Menu
Brunch Menu
Root of Lancaster - Lunch Menu
Lunch Menu
Root of Lancaster Beer List
Beer List
Root of Lancaster Wine List
Wine List
Pumpkin Ginger Waffle
Pumpkin Ginger Waffle
Hearts of Palm “Seafood” Salad
Hearts of Palm “Seafood” Salad – Blended Hearts of Palm, celery, mayo and seafood seasonings on rustic Italian bread with lettuce, and tomato, served with fries.
Grilled Zucchini Sandwich
Grilled Zucchini Sandwich
Caramelized Apple Spice Cake
Caramelized Apple Spice Cake
Blueberry Cake
Blueberry Cake

Bethlehem VegFest 2015

VegFest

Fall is becoming my favorite time of the year because of all the food festivals! This was my 3rd year attending the Bethlehem VegFest, and it sounds silly, but walking around all the vegan vendors and animal rights groups brings me so much joy.  This was the largest amount of people I’ve seen here, and it makes me so happy that it’s growing.

Cinnamon Snail Korean BBQ Seitan
Cinnamon Snail Korean BBQ Seitan

My absolute favorite, The Cinnamon Snail, was there and holy cow was the line long! It was totally worth it though. My mom and I both got the Korean BBQ seitan and my only regret was not taking better photos!

Cinnamon Snail Donuts
Cinnamon Snail Donuts
Cinnamon Snail Donuts
Cinnamon Snail Donuts

We got donuts to bring home and oh my goodness were they the best ever. I cut the donuts up so we could try a few. I had a Chocolate Ganache Stuffed S’mores, the apple crumb, and another one with glaze and (maybe?) candied hazelnuts. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing they were. If you ever get the chance to order food from the Cinnamon Snail….do it.

Vegan Treats
Vegan Treats

Okay, I do kind of have another regret. I didn’t want to get Vegan Treats too early because I didn’t want to carry it around and crush whatever we got, but then by the end of the day the line was loooonnnnggg so we just stuck with the donuts from Cinnamon Snail.

Vegan Treats Line
Vegan Treats Line

At the end of the day my husband said we should’ve just picked something up early when there was no line and stuck it in the car…::facepalm::

Gangster Vegan Organics
Gangster Vegan Organics

I loved seeing all the vegan food vendors and I really wish I had the stomach capacity to eat from all of them. I went in planning to get something from Gangster Vegan Organics, but after my BBQ seitan I was stuffed.

Heavenly Hot Dogs
Heavenly Hot Dogs

My husband got a hot dog from Heavenly Hot Dogs. He said it was good, but I just about scolded him for getting a plain dog instead of one of the specialty ones. (How could you pass up a chili dog, or one with spinach, peppers, and onions??)

Crowd

My dad and husband also got ice pops from Mompops, and I would’ve gotten one but I was way too full. I had a bite of a pretzel and it was salty and buttery and basically perfect.

Herbivore Good Luck Elephant Tank
Herbivore Good Luck Elephant Tank

I got to see Compassion Co in person, and got an Herbivore Clothing Good Luck Elephant tank from The Grape Cat.

There was music, cooking demos, people speaking, yoga, wine. It was a really well put together event. I can’t wait for next year!