I have always been proud to say where I’m from.
After spending the last 12 years in Maryland, I had become a very Chesapeake Bay-oriented person. However, I realized that the open space of open water gave me the same sense of freedom and comfort that the rolling hills and far-stretching fields of farmland did when I grew up in Lancaster County PA. When my family decided to move home to PA, we looked forward to the celebrations of the harvest and reconnecting with the people who make all of the landscape come to life. I had no idea that I would head as far home as Kitchen Kettle Village, my family’s business where I was fortunate enough to grow up learning from local experts and absolute characters who make Lancaster County the wonderful place that it is.
Today I’m back full time as the Co-Innkeeper at The Inn at Kitchen Kettle. I’ve played lots of roles (a server at the Kling House, a friend of Yummie, a festival expert in rhubarb and fall festivities, and an employee at the Leather Shop, Jelly Room, and other stores.) But now I truly am home – I get to welcome Village visitors as an overnight guest to my Kitchen Kettle home just as my mom does. It must be in our blood since we both embrace the job of sharing this place just as Pat Burnley (to me, she’s Grammy) did as the original hostess with the most-ess to the first guests in 1954.
One of the driving forces for my decision to come back to Pennsylvania and to Kitchen Kettle was my own children. They squeal with excitement when we go visit Grammy and Charlie; decorating a gingerbread cookie is pure joy to them as 2 and 4 year olds; and they’re quickly learning the value in giving back, a foundational element of KKV. They have no idea what fun, what opportunity for growth, and what passion for sharing their own home are in store for them now that we are even more rooted in life at Kitchen Kettle. I am so eager to pass along the pieces I’ve learned from every member of my family who is here at the Village!
One big element I bring from the Chesapeake is that we tend to focus on the water, but the area of land, including Lancaster County is what feeds the water. It’s a relationship. That is mirrored in my experience across the watershed from PA to MD and back – all of our experiences and background feed into who we become. I am grateful for my roots, grateful to have branched out, and grateful to ultimately come home.
-Allyson Gibson, Kitchen Kettle 3rd Generation