Other destinations Edit
Amish towns have colorful names, most are unintentionally humorous.
The Amish are a community of Christian Anabaptists, related to the Mennonites and Church of the Brethren. The name "Pennsylvania Dutch" is actually a mispronunciation of "Deutsch" or German. The Anabaptists originally came from Switzerland and were welcomed to Pennsylvania by William Penn and his descendants.
There are many different Amish exhibits and attractions in Lancaster County that allow you to learn about the Amish and surrounding area in a way that is respectful and positive for everyone involved.
The Amish speak their own language (a dialect of German) called Pennsylvania Deutsch (or "Dutch"). To them, non-Amish Americans are called "English", regardless of ethnicity.
High German is used as the liturgical language in Amish church services, but outside the clergy, most Amish people are not proficient in it. Most Amish people speak English as well to communicate with non-Amish clients for their businesses.
Get in Edit
Lancaster Airport (LNS IATA) provides a number of domestic flights, the closest international airport to Pennsylvania Dutch Country is Harrisburg International (MDT IATA). Rental cars are widely available at the airport (as is Uber and Lyft) and the city of Lancaster is a short, 30 minute drive along Interstate I-283. Lancaster County also has several Amtrak train stations along the Keystone Corridor (collectively known as the Keystone Service).
Get around Edit
- Public transportation (bus system)
- Taxi and ride-sharing
- Walking around Lancaster City and other small towns throughout the county.
An excellent way to see the Amish by automobile is to travel along Rt 896. Follow Route 30 East from Lancaster for 3 or 4 miles and make a right turn when you come to Rt 896. It will be directly past the outlet centers. This road will take you to the little town of Strasburg which is a very picturesque place in its own right. Along the way, you will see numerous farms and probably a decent number of horse and buggies. Please remember to drive slowly around the Amish horses in order to avoid scaring them.
The Strasburg Railroad is an authentic steam-powered locomotives that will take you for a ride back in time.
Horse and buggy rides are a popular way to experience Amish living hands-on.
Free things Edit
- "Mud Sales" are auctions put on by local volunteer fire departments that use them to raise funds. They take place somewhere in Lancaster County almost every weekend during late Winter and early Spring.
- Go for a drive and enjoy the rolling hills of Amish farmland. Covered bridges are plentiful throughout Lancaster County.
- Farmers markets (Central Market in downtown Lancaster being the most popular one)
- Petting zoos
- Factory tours
- Parks and trails (including Lancaster County Central Park)
- See more free things to do here.
Amish are known for their well-made wooden furniture. Showrooms are clustered along main roads.
Many Amish farms have small stores, farm stands, or roadside booths selling anything from fruit and vegetables to dolls to homemade jams and jellies. Keep your eyes open for the often hand-painted signs that list what's available.
- Family-style restaurants
- Any variety of chain restaurants (fast food, sit-down restaurants, coffee shops, etc)
There's a large variety of local breweries, bars, pubs, and even several wineries in Lancaster County (see a partial list here).
Stay safe Edit
Be extremely careful when passing horse and buggies on the road. Use your turn signal when you enter and then exit the oncoming (or passing) lane.
Although not hostile to outsiders, the Amish are an intensely private religious community doing their best to go about living according to the ways of their religion and culture, and very much wish to be left alone unless you are invited. Be respectful of their culture, and do not trespass or obstruct them as they go about their daily lives. Do not take photographs of Amish people, as they consider this to be idolatry and hence, prohibited by the Bible. However, taking photographs of objects such as their horse buggies is fine so long as you do not obstruct them or intrude on their privacy, and no people are visible in the photographs.
Go next Edit
- Honey Brook - Just across the county line.