My husband and I (and nine-month-old) are a road trip family; we love to hop in the car and experience life outside of the concrete jungle that is New York City.
After going down to North Carolina a few months back we decided to keep things a bit closer to home and decided Amish Country in Lancaster, PA would be next on our places to visit list. So with that, we packed up for the night and began our two plus hour ride down.
The first hour of driving was uneventful, nothing but highway and trees as we make it through NJ Turnpike. Then, as the second hour of driving neared, my husband and I realized we were no longer in the big city and had officially entered Lancaster, PA, this as we drove and saw nothing but farmland and cattle. Immediately getting this quiet, quaint scenic view of Dutch Country as we passed endless cornfields, signs of homemade food nearby and buggies filled with Amish families making their way along the road. As we make our way to the hotel located in the downtown area of Lancaster, we see how things are different; there were shopping centers, and most importantly people.
The following day we head out to get some good old fashion Amish grub. We stopped by at the Plain & Simple farm in Birds-in-Hand, PA (yea, I’ve never heard of this town either) for what we thought would be brunch. We head into the restaurant to find that we had two options to order from. The first option was a smorgasbord of food that included appetizers, main course, and dessert or the second which was simply off the menu. We opted for the second choice as we saw what was on some of the other tables and knew we would’ve been there for a few days if we attempted the feat. We decided on the fried chicken, mashed potato, dried sweet corn, and coleslaw. We felt like dinner had just been served and it was only 11:30 in the morning, soon after the feast, we decided on a buggy tour followed by the Amish House Tour.
While taking these tours we were provided with information about their remarkable history, from the religious prosecution of 16th century Europe to the establishment of life in the New World. Very few people know much about the Amish, their lifestyle and what is most important to them their time-honored values and traditions.
Our buggy driver who was no more than eighteen wearing jeans, boots and a long sleeved shirt shared with us a little bit of his life. He informed us of his strained relationship with his family due to his decision to no longer be Amish. The decision was made based on his desire to continue his education and have a career, something that is not allowed as Amish children only attend school until the eighth grade.
The Amish House Tour gave us a behind the scenes look at the Amish way of life, from their farm life, their one-room schools where all Amish children ages 6-13 are taught and even to their living room, showing us first-hand how this tight-knit community live their lives.
I have to say that I was intrigued to actually see Amish people. Watching people who keep and to a certain extent distance themselves from the rest of the world is what has sparked our curiosity to learn more about them. Like many, I’ve only heard about their lifestyle but could never imagine seeing people in this country living without something that the rest of us have become so incredibly dependent on as is electricity.
After visiting Amish Country and getting a feel for their simplistic lifestyle, their strong work ethic, devotion to family and community. It made me wonder, with our society’s interest in restoring family values, would it be that off the wall to learn a few things from the Amish way of life?