The Amish people have always been somewhat of a fascination for many of us. The fact that these people forgo all of the modern necessities for a simpler life style seems almost unbelievable in this crazy, mixed up world. But like the doubting Thomas that I am, I wanted to see it for myself.
Now, that may sound all wrong, but to me, that is one of the things that travel is about: Visiting places where people live differently, approach their day unlike I do, and carry on a way of life that I can only imagine.
It keeps me in check for remembering that everybody isn’t just like me.
So after stopping off in Valley Forge, we headed to Lancaster County and what is known as Pennsylvania Dutch Country with just enough time to get a glimpse of the Amish way of life.
Sightings of horse drawn, black buggies and the smell of horse manure, lol, clued us in that we had arrived.
While I didn’t take any photos of the people (they prefer not to be photographed), here is a snapshot of the sights, sounds, flavors, etc…
The people, the farms, the view
It was a windy day and many of the homes or farms had clothes lines strung with laundry fluttering around in the wind. What made it so much more picturesque was the bright colors, the uniformity of the wardrobes and the way that same theme carried itself from one home to the next.
It was a little like art and the images have stayed with me, so much so, that I’m thinking I’m going to try and hang a laundry line out in the yard this summer.
(Although I’ll probably just keep to hanging sheets and towels because I doubt our neighbors want to see Ken’s collection of Nascar tee shirts and my collection of yoga pants.)
We saw several Amish families working their fields or tending to chores and children playing in the yards, paying little or no attention to those of us driving by to catch a glimpse of how they live.
At one point we spotted a farmer on the back of a three horse plow. Wow!
And this farmer was making fast progress, I might add.
By the time we turned around to head back, he was already on the other side of the Route 30 working on his next field, all the while cars and trucks are zooming by.
He didn’t look one bit envious of all those motorized vehicles. He just kept about his pace and focus like he didn’t notice them at all.
The stores and shops
There are roadside shops along Route 30 near the town of Intercourse (honestly, that’s what it’s called), and while some are exclusively handmade Amish goods, some were a mix of other suppliers. And still some of the shops were filled to the brim with goods that did not look Amish-made to me, at all.
If you build it, they will come…and set up shop!
There is a hub of shops in the town called Kitchen Kettle Village where we tried some homemade Amish ice cream…and it was amazing.
There’s a store that sells Amish made jams, jellies and salsas. In fact the Amish ladies do the canning right in plain sight at the store.
In addition, the store carried small batch salsas of every flavor you could think of and homemade Amish cakes and pies that had me drooling.
Tip: Remember to pack jars of jams, jellies, salsas, etc.. in your check-in luggage on the way home from a trip. I didn’t and the jars were confiscated. Needless to say, it was a bummer.
There are Amish tour options, which offer buggies rides and other activities that will take you deeper into the Amish community.
We didn’t have time to do any of those, but for our short and sweet visit I came home with an even greater respect and appreciation for the Amish people.
Before we left Philadelphia, I also learned that just about anything Amish-made, from furniture to food goods is well sought after from the stores and restaurants in the Philly area and even considered premium.
By the way, did you know that the Amish population is growing?
I was curious about that little tidbit, too. Read more about it, here.
Thanks for stopping by ~ Amy
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