What I Learned about the Amish in Lancaster, PA
After our fun day at Hershey Park in Pennsylvania a few years ago, it was time to head back home — but not before we drove another half an hour to Amish Country!
This German expat was not going to go home before I saw what my countrymen and woman were up to.
I’ve always wanted to learn more about the Amish. I’m so intrigued by their simple lifestyle.
In this post I’ll tell you what I learned about the Amish and their lifestyle and beliefs. I’m not an expert, but this is what I was told during the tour we took about the Amish lifestyle.
Did you know the Amish are not really Dutch at all, they are German?
Well, they come from several places, but they speak German, not Dutch. The term “Dutch” is an old term for Germans. “Deutsch” means German.
Since it was Sunday, the Amish were in church. But they don’t have churches — they meet at each other’s houses. Once a year, every Amish family hosts the whole community (20-30 local families) at their house.
It’s a big production because the largest room in their house needs to get cleared for special benches for the service that will get delivered. The service is pretty long, like 3 hours, and then everyone eats and visits with each other.
So all of the real Amish stores were closed because the Amish families they were in church and visiting with their community, but we were able to visit The Amish Farm and House, which is run by “English” people — non-Amish people who do work on Sundays.
We took a bus tour through the country, learned about the Amish way of life in a house tour, and walked around the farm to see the animals, corn maze, and one-room school house.
The bus tour was my favorite part of the whole day. We learned that the Amish live among the “English” — I had assumed that they all live in one area, secluded.
The Amish go to Target and restaurants just like we do, but they don’t have electricity in their own home. In their view, that lets in the outside world.
Do you know how you can tell an Amish house apart from an English one, even though they can be right next to each other? The clue that you are looking at an Amish house or farm is that it doesn’t have electric wires going to the house.
But, the tour guide explained to us, the Amish run all kinds of things on batteries, so they do have refrigerators and other conveniences.
We only saw a few Amish people; two buggies coming home from church and a couple of girls that were walking home. They were wearing black instead of white bonnets, which mean that they are available for marriage. They only get to wear them on Sundays.
We passed these train cars and were informed that it is a hotel! You get to spend the night in one of the train cars. How fun that would be with L!
There is also a renowned train museum nearby, so we’d have plenty to do if we visit Pennsylvania again.
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience – read more here.
Here are a few Amish products you can find on Amazon:
I have this Amish wood polish, and it’s amazing.
The Amish are known for the beautiful handmade quilts. These are high-quality quilts that will be passed from generation to generation instead of polyester quilts made in China.
I bought this pancake mix, and these sweet potato pancakes were delicious!
If I had a little girl, I’d make her wear these cute bonnet hats on sunny days — I’ve always liked them on The Little House on the Prairie. I have a bit of a love affair with the simple life of that time.
But first Landon tried out an Amish scooter. Here is something that I learned that stunned me: the Amish are not allowed to ride bicycles because they always have to have one foot on the ground.
But they ride these large scooters and use roller blades.
We toured an example of an Amish kitchen.
Many people wonder if the Amish use mirrors.
This is what we were told: the mirror is only for the man of the house — Amish women are not allowed to look into a mirror once they are married. What they look like is not what they should be interested in. Can you imagine?
And they have to sew their own wedding gown!
Meaning they are wearing 20-30 pins on their body, and we are not talking safety pins. These are straight pins like sewing needles.
Only a married woman with kids is allowed to wear an apron with a bow in the back at home so she can get all the housework done. And with an average of 5 to 10 more kids, I don’t think the work of an Amish woman is ever done.
Another thing that would seal my fate if I were born Amish is that they walk barefoot half the year and that the girls and women only get to wear a thin cardigan in the winter — no coat or jacket.
I don’t understand how they make it through the winter, freezing all day and night. I’m so miserable when our house is colder than 70 degree!
And they don’t have AC in the summer, of course, unless they rig up something with a car battery.
Landon noticed the corn maze next to the school house and took off.
Amish school houses are one-room buildings, and they build them every two miles so that kids never have to walk more than two mile to school.
I really love that ideas — I walked to school my first four years of school in Germany, and then later biked to school when it was further away.
The Amish teacher has to be unmarried, and school only goes up to 8th grade.
It always warms my heart that people believe in buyers being honest to leave the money. I’m a big believer in karma, and I love chanced to do the right thing like these.
After learning so many interesting fact about the Amish lifestyle (did you know that an outsider would have to live with his girlfriend’s Amish parents for 15 years before he would maybe be allowed to become Amish and marry her?), we drove home in the comfort of our rental car.
Amish are allowed to ride in a car but not allowed to drive it.
Want to learn even more about the unique lifestyle of the Amish?
I bought this Pocket Guide to Amish Life:
Pin this for later!
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