Located in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Lancaster is just over an hour’s drive from Philadelphia.
I looked forward to learning more about this unique holiday spot, which is made up of two worlds living side by side in harmony.
The Fascinating Amish Culture and Lifestyle
The Amish came to Lancaster in the 1720s, and they lead a life that dates back to that era, when the world was a little less complicated. It was fascinating to learn that the Amish want to be self-sufficient and not rely upon others in order to exist. They make many of their clothes, and the girls pin their dresses so that they will grow with them over the years. They use propane lamps and irons, as well as gas-powered refrigerators. Compressors power their milking equipment and water wells. Since just before the new millennium, the Amish have also been using solar power to create electricity.
Traditional Amish clothes hanging to dry on the clothesline
The Amish Village and Shopping at Kitchen Kettle Village
My starting point was a tour of The Amish Village, in the heart of the lush farmlands. It allows visitors to fully experience the Amish culture as it is today. There’s an authentic Amish farmhouse dating back to 1840, a one-room schoolhouse (children attend school until 13 or 14 years of age) and barnyard complete with cows, sheep, chickens, goats and horses, as well as a blacksmith shop and market.
Next, I drove east to Kitchen Kettle Village, home to 42 boutiques and restaurants, including the family-run Jam & Relish Kitchen, a true food lover’s paradise. There are literally hundreds of delectable goodies, including jams, relishes and sauces to try. They also make the famous Whoopie Pie, which originated in Lancaster. I dived into the sweet, spongy, buttercream-filled sandwich with zeal, and spent over an hour trying everything else.
Before leaving, I visited Village Quilts to see the amazing selection of hand-made quilts and wall hangings. They even sold “quillows,” which is a quilt that can be tucked up inside itself to make a pillow. The perfect thing for lazing around on my settee on a Sunday afternoon!
Touring The Amish Village in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Horse and Buggy Ride Through Beautiful Countryside
To take full advantage of my time in Amish country, I took a tour from Kitchen Kettle Village on an authentic horse-drawn buggy. Jerry and Jimmy pulled me around for an hour, not flinching once as cars came by at speed. We trit-trotted along the country back-roads, through a covered bridge and past open farmlands.
Many of the houses we drove passed were colonial revival and late 19th century Victorian style, and I found out that you can identify the Amish homes by the green blinds in the windows and the clothes hanging out to dry.
Open Amish farmlands in Lancaster
Boutique Accommodation and Family-Style Dining
Lunch for the day was served at the Plain & Fancy Farm Restaurant, a family-style eatery with communal dining tables. The fried chicken was delicious – crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. And the dessert of Snitz apple pie was to die for.
Afterward, I walked next door to relax in my room at AmishView Inn & Suites. Surrounded by open cornfields, this is a great place to stay. The bathtub was gigantic, and with a glass of red wine in hand and some bubble bath, my evening of perfection was easily decided.
This is a place that must be seen in person to fully appreciate. Be sure to have an authentic Amish experience during your trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania!
Relaxing at AmishView Inn & Suites in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
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