What Impressed My Family and Me Most About the Amish

Here’s a bit of weird info – I’ve had a desire to visit Lancaster County, or better known as home of the Amish people, for years. Yeah, I know, odd. Instead of dreams of tropical beaches, I want to check out farmlands of mid-America.

The thing is, that this is a truly unique trip. My kids have been to plenty of beaches. Living in Central America gives us quicker access to this. However, we don’t get much travel to countrysides with pristine farmlands and cultures such as the Amish.

Family fun - Amish Village Lancaster County PA

And this year we’ve had an extra special treat. I was able to travel to Pennsylvania with my extended family. More of a family reunion – my parents (the grandparents), my brother and his girlfriend (the uncle), me and the kids. Everyone ended up learning something new.

family reunion trip

What we Learned Visiting Lancaster County – The Amish Experience

You can read all you want about the Amish, but the best (and in my opinion, only way) is to not only visit the area, but do a tour to fully understand who they are and what they are all about.

amish experience

After much researching for the best option for us, I decided on The Amish Village tour.

2 Must-dos on the Amish Village Tour

1. The Amish Village – 12 acres to explore

2. The Backroads Bus Tour of Amish Country

We did both, and wouldn’t have it any other way. The entire trip was less than three hours, doable for young kids. And even the adults didn’t get bored or tired.

The Backroads Bus Tour – What It Is All About

What exactly is this bus tour all about? The quick explanation – it’s a 90 minute tour that goes through working farms where a guide will tell you about the Amish life – history, customs, beliefs and traditions.

tour of lancaster county

In other words, it is a great orientation of your surroundings and understanding how these people live and what they are all about.

amish farm working the field

But what really was wonderful is what we learned from the guide.

We had a couple of stops with the tour as well. One main one was an Amish family home and business that owned a miniature horse farm.

miniature horse farm lancaster county pa

These seem to be rather popular here. I didn’t get the reason why miniature horses, but certainly loved that my baby was able to do a little ride. They were simply perfect for each other. I think if my ten year old did the same ride, he would’ve squashed the adorable horse.

miniature horse ride - Amish Village Lancaster County PA

The family also had a store where they sold all sorts of homemade stuff from pretzels to root beer.

Amish Shop - Amish Village Lancaster County PA

We also got a chance to see a carpenter at work. Most Amish are manual laborers from farmers to carpenters to construction workers. Their carpentry is respected worldwide for meticulousness and precision.

Amish Carpenter - Amish Village Lancaster County PA

Fun Facts About the Amish Way of Life

Our guide told us many wonderful stories and facts. These were some of my favorites:

  • The Amish don’t have any electricity, computers, phones in their house because they don’t want to become connected to the grid. However, they do use it during the day in their offices and they have phones on corners that are for several families at once.
  • They don’t drive cars, only horse buggies.
  • Men who don’t have beards – aren’t married.
  • The longer the man’s beard – the longer he’s been married.
  • They only have up to an 8th grade education. Their kids all go to one room school houses, where there is one teacher and the older kids help the younger kids.
  • The Amish don’t like to depend on anyone at all, including the US government. None of them will ever go on Social Security, even though they contribute. They will never go on welfare (most Amish are actually quite well off). None of their farms are government subsided. They always help each other.
  • The Amish are extremely humble, which you can immediately see by their appearance. They don’t want to ever stand out as more important as the other, because their religion specifies that every person is the same. And this includes people that are not part of their religion.
  • Amish don’t have churches, instead their parishes have around 25 families in each. And every other Sunday a house will hold the services. The minister isn’t chosen by anyone. When it’s time to choose a new minister a piece of paper will be put in the bible and who ever gets that bible will be minister for life.
  • A minister is almost like the president who sets and makes all the rules for that parish. They carry the most responsibility. This is super important for the Amish, especially if they have a modern minister which helps them become more part of the society. Since they are farmers, to sell to mainstream America, they need to go by certain rules. I.E. how milk is done. If the minister decides to keep the old ways, which will prohibit some of the farmers to work and earn money, these families will decide to leave. If they do, they normally go to the Mennonite sector, which is still extremely similar to their beliefs but modern with electricity and other less strict lifestyle regulations.
  • Did you know – when an Amish boy or girl turn 18 years old, the family gives them money and allows them to enter our world for two to four years. They can drive cars, have computers, dress normally, do everything we all do. This includes partying. This tradition is kind of like ‘sowing your oats’ before committing to a simple, strict and religious life. Only 9% of Amish leave and if they do, they can never have contact with any one again.
  • My Favorite Fact of the Day – Amish are usually some of the first people on scenes of natural disasters to help. For instance, Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, etc… They believe everyone should help everyone else, but they never want to be mentioned or given any glory for this.
  • Fun fact –  the Amish don’t use bikes. They have scooters that have wheels like bicycles. The reason why, bikes can take their kids pretty far. However, a scooter not so much. It’s to keep the kiddies closer to home. Until, of course, they get their own horse and buggy.

amish scooter

Read more facts about Amish Here

Breakdown of the Amish Village Grounds Tour

Recommendation – When you first arrive, before heading out on to the main grounds, do the short tour of the Amish House. It’s included in your entrance fee and really gives you a good background about these humble people. And the best part, it’s no more than 15 minutes which is a good enough time for even the youngest of kids to get into the tour. My four year was really enjoying it to my sheer surprise. I was resisting it a bit, but he was awesome.

The Amish House and Village- Fun Facts and Photos

The Kitchen – this is the most important room in the house. And during the winter the warmest since they don’t have central heat.

amish kitchen

The Amish Bedroom – usually shared by many people. The Amish are known to have anywhere between 5 – 13 kids.

Amish Bedroom - Amish Village Lancaster County PA

The Amish Wardrobe – they don’t use buttons, nothing shiny and only certain colors.

Amish Clothes - Amish Village Lancaster County PA

The One-Room Schoolhouse – this is where all the kids of a certain area, that is walking distance from the house are taught. Their favorite recreation activity is baseball.

One Room Classroom - Amish Village Lancaster County PA

Wooden Covered Bridge – Do you know why bridges are covered? Because a wooden bridge that isn’t covered will usually last around 15 years while a covered bridge lasts 100 – 125 years.

Covered bridge - Amish Village Lancaster County PA

Tools – this is what the Amish use for their farming today. I know, they look like they are from 500 years ago.

Tools for Amish - Amish Village Lancaster County PA

General Store – this is a replica of what a real Amish store looks like. I love everything in it!

General Store - Amish Village Lancaster County PA

Information for Amish Village and Bus Backroads Tour

Amish Village

Address: 199 Hartman Bridge Road, Ronks, PA 17572

Phone: 717-687-8511

Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9am-5pm; Sunday: 10am-5pm

Prices:

  • Adults: $9.00

  • Children 5-12: $5.50

  • Children 4 & younger: FREE

(access to the entire Amish Village property is included in the cost of the tour).

Bus Backroads Tour

Prices:

Amish Village Tour: (Includes guided house tour and self guided farm Tour)

  • Adults $9.00

  • Child (5-12) $5.50

  • Child (0-4) Free

Bus Tour Only: (Includes 90 minute countryside bus tour)

  • Adults $20.00

  • Child (0-12) $13.00

Premium Package Tour: (Includes both guided house, self guided farm tour and 90 min countryside bus tour)

  • Adults $26.00

  • Child (0-12) $16.00

 

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About Marina Kuperman Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 10+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

8 Responses to What Impressed My Family and Me Most About the Amish

  1. Sarah says:

    I live near an Amish community and throroughly enjoyed your post. It is very common on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, PA to find Amish-made furniture or have Amish workers do construction work. For me, however, it’s the sudden encounters such as sharing a swimming hole in central Pennsyvania on a hot summer day, or seeing the beautiful knit socks or quilts on laundry lines that excite me. Seeing the difference between their everyday life and my everday life is a never ending source of fascination. Did you have a chance to eat pot pie when you were there (a very thick noodle, not a savory pie) or smoked meats? Did you try other Amish dishes? What did you think about the food?
    Sarah recently posted..Walk Through TSA Screening Like a Rock StarMy Profile

    • Hey Sarah,

      I truly enjoyed being there. We did eat the chicken pot pie and ate a lot at the huge sit down restaurants and also the buffets which are just insane and some were really delicious.

      It’s so gorgeous there! Great place for kids to run around.

  2. Very interesting post! It must have been quite nice to be in the countryside for a bit and to see something so different. Thanks for sharing your visit!
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..INTERVIEW: Wardruna Revives Ancient Nordic Folk TraditionsMy Profile

  3. Jennifer says:

    I’m from Pennsylvania (my parents still live there) and there are a lot of Amish since my childhood home is located in the country. It is definitely more common to see a buggy on my road than a car. There are a lot of furniture shops around where you can get beautifully made wooden furniture. There is also a restaurant that is an Amish Kitchen and the food is very good.
    Jennifer recently posted..A Week In the Life of a Travel BloggerMy Profile

    • Hey Jennifer,

      It’s so funny, now that I’m writing about this area, so many people have written me saying they grew up around these parts and always such positive comments about. I feel living near the Amish would be a lovely experience since they seem genuinely good people. plus a super area for kids to be raised!

  4. JoAnn O'Connell says:

    Hi, I am the driver who had the pleasure of showing your family the Amish way of life. I want to thankyou for the great review of the tour. Thanks for posting the great photos. I hope you plan to visit again.

  5. Debs says:

    Great article and I loved the photos i never knew half of the things that your tour guide told you very interesting thank you.
    Debs recently posted..Fun Things to do in Canberra, Australia for FreeMy Profile

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