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Friday, July 12, 2019

Traveling To Amish Country USA

Lancaster county in south-eastern Pennsylvania has long been known as the center of the state's Dutch country. Here it's not uncommon to encounter Amish buggies being whisked along country roads by handsome and proud prancing horses in Lancaster County. Nor is it uncommon for modern-day passersby
to experience a curiosity about the occupants of the picturesque buggies.

Who are these somber people dressed in attire from another century?

Traveling to Pennsylvania Dutch Country in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is somewhat like taking a trip back in time. This is where the Amish people live and work.

Lancaster is a tourist attraction, with working replicas of Amish villages and gift shops which offer Amish jams, jellies and handicrafts, dotting the winding roadsides lined with farms.

Ironically, the very people who tourists flock to see are reluctant to have their pictures taken or mingle with the visitors. Tourist guides in Lancaster County are quick to explain that the Amish people consider personal photographs a "graven image," a vanity which goes against their Biblical belief.

It is possible, however, to catch a glimpse of the Amish people, as they work the fields with horse-drawn equipment.

Amish people driving horse-drawn buggies keep almost as fast a pace as the automobile traffic.

Two excellent places to learn about the Amish way of life, which has remained virtually unchanged for
several centuries, are the Amish Village in Strasburg and the Amish Farm and House, located in Lancaster.

The Amish Village is a compact reproduction of 19th century Amish life. A guided tour of an authentic 1840 house explains how the Amish continue to live a simple lifestyle, without the "comforts" of electricity, other than by gas generator, and modern transportation.

The furnishings in the home are sparse, the clothing is simple, restricted to black or navy blue colors. Children's clothing is similar, and the guide is willing to point out to inquisitive young visitors that although
plain black footwear is the norm for Amish youngsters, black Reeboks are permitted and worn by many of the children today.

A trip through the kitchen reveals one small mirror for hair combing and shaving only. The women do not cut their hair, but wrap it tightly around their heads before doming a skull cap, and the guide mentioned that many women become bald around the hairline due to the severity with which the hair is secured.

A summer kitchen in the cellar reveals an old wringer washing machine, powered by a lawn mower motor, which is acceptable (the household lights and main kitchen stove are powered by propane gas), a butter churner, and a wood stove, with huge cast iron pots for cooking the jams and jellies.

Once the house tour is complete. visitors are free to roam the grounds, viewing a barn which houses goats and horses, and a pig sty where a mother pig cares for her young.

A schoolhouse, which visitors may at first think is a reproduction of a 19th century place of education, is an example of how the Amish children are educated today.

An operating smokehouse, a blacksmith shop, a windmill and waterwheel complete the self-guided tour. A village store stocks Amish jams, jellies and other delicacies, and there is a picnic area on the grounds available.

The Amish Village is located on Pennsylvania Route 896, two miles north of Strasburg, and one mile south of Routes 30 and 896 intersection. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the fall: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in November. Further information visit www.theamishvillage.net/.

The Amish Farm and House, located on Route 30 East in Lancaster, is open year-round. The operating farm guides visitors through 10 rooms, beginning in the front room of the house, which is also known as the meeting room, used at times for Sunday worship services.

A larger exhibit than the Amish Village, the Amish Farm and House consists of 10 buildings, and enough animals to keep younger visitors happy. Points of interest include a tobacco shed, which shows how tobacco is processed, a lime kiln, used to produce burned lime for whitewash, mortar and fertilizer, and a spring house, where a waterwheel powers the house pump.

Further information visit www.amishfarmandhouse.com/.

Read more about Amish Country and Lancaster Attractions here

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Take a day trip to Philadelphia and Lancaster County, home of the Amish people  

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