Undoubtedly, the first thing out-of-town guests have questions about is the Amish.
The Back Roads
Drive along the back roads between Strasburg and Ephrata and you’ll see plenty of Amish farms, buggies and cows. But if you really want to see the countryside, jump on a bicycle. The Lancaster Bicycle Club hosts rides of varying distances and paces on Saturdays and Sundays (plus ice cream rides on Wednesday evenings in the summer). If you’d rather go at your own pace, the club makes cue sheets available via its website. If touring PA Dutch country is your goal, consider rides (distances are 8 to 50+ miles) that depart from Conestoga Valley High School. Details: Lancasterbikeclub.net.
Dinner with an Amish Family
Such dinners are privately arranged by tour companies and bed and breakfasts. The next best thing would be a meal at a restaurant such as Katie’s Kitchen (200 Hartman Bridge Rd., Ronks), which is Amish owned/operated. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served, and the specialty of the house is PA Dutch. Just recently, the restaurant offered its Amish Wedding meal. Details: Call 687-5333 or visit katieskitchen.com.
Stay on an Amish Farm
Three Amish farms that comprise Amish Farm Stay make cottages/guest houses available to visitors. They are Beacon Hollow Farm near Intercourse; Country Lane Farm in Leola; and Dutch Homestead in Paradise. You have the choice of lazing the day away or helping with chores. Details: Visit amishfarmstay.com.
Mennonite Information Center
The center offers information and insight on the lifestyles and beliefs of the Amish and Mennonites through exhibits and movies (Who are the Amish? and Postcards from a Heritage of Faith). The center is also home to a reproduction of a Biblical Tabernacle. Guided tours are offered of Lancaster’s countryside, and events such as quilting seminars are held. The center is open Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m. 5 p.m., through October. 2209 Millstream Rd., Lancaster. Details: Call 299-0954 or visit mennoniteinfoctr.com.
The Amish Farm and House
Guides provide information about all things Amish: their history, culture, customs and beliefs. The 15-acre farm is home to a farmhouse, animals, farm buildings, exhibits, a blacksmith shop, a milk house, a one-room schoolhouse and a Scooter Run. A covered bridge dating to 1855 is also on the property. Bus tours of Amish country are also available. 2395 Lincoln Hwy. East, Lancaster. Open daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Details: Call 394-6185 or visit amishfarmandhouse.com.
The Amish Village
Features include a farmhouse dating to the 1840s, farm buildings, farm animals, a market, a blacksmith shop, displays of buggies, plows and tools, and a one-room schoolhouse. Bus tours are also offered, with each making one stop at a unique property. Open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., through November. 199 Hartman Bridge Rd., Ronks. Details: Call 687-8511 or visit amishvillage.com.
The Old Philadelphia Pike seems to be buggy ride central: Abe’s Buggy Rides at 2596; Amish Barn Buggy Rides at 3029; Aaron & Jessica’s Buggy Rides at 3121 (Plain & Fancy); AAA Buggy Rides at Kitchen Kettle Village. There’s also A is for Amish Buggy Rides at the Red Caboose near Strasburg.
Plain & Fancy
Amish is definitely the theme of this 10-acre property near Intercourse. Tours of Amish country, The Amish Experience in the F/X Theatre, shops, buggy rides and the Amish Family Feast (featured on the Travel Channel) await! 3121 Old Philadelphia Pike. Details: Call 768-4400 or visit plainandfancyfarm.com.
There’s even more all-things Amish information on the Discover Lancaster website, discoverlancaster.com.