Thinking.. Where Could I Go On Vacation To Escape The Norm?
I am so tired of vacations full of crowded beaches, naked bodies, tourists and heavy traffic. After all, I am now middle-aged and don’t feel the need to be exposed. This makes me think “ Why not stay in the busy streets of Nashville in rush hour”, or better yet, stay home and rest through my much needed one week off per year. So I began to explore things that interest me. I love the country, the woods, hearing the birds chirp. animals and all that nature has to offer. I love a roaring fire and fresh gardening vegetables brought in from a hard days labor and making a fresh and organic dish for supper. What would make me the happiest? Then I thought about finding some people that lived the way in which the things I loved would be the center of their world. I immediately thought. “ THE AMISH”! That’s it, but where? I would love to go to an Amish Inn or perhaps a Bed and Breakfast and soak it all in. The simplicity of their lifestyle, the ease of daily chores and just to see how they are so content and happy living a less than luxury lifestyle.
After all, they are not the most friendly people I’d ever me and we have about 10 Mennonite families that live near a dairy farm we own and they are not to sociable or talkative much less neighbor-like to “outsiders”. But, there is Miss Ruby, she starts baking on Thursdays and by supper time that evening she has a wide display of fresh baked goods and organics ready to take to the local farmer’s market. I occasionally stop by and buy her bread and pies. She grows a big garden, sells fresh strawberries in spring and all the Mennonites in the areas have some type animals and a self- sustaining life style. I often drive by and see geese, a pet coon, and ponds with kids fishing all spring and summer long. So I went on a mindful journey online to see where perhaps are more of these people where I could actually go and be welcomed because our locals are very shy from “Englisher’s” (what they call us). Here is where my online research led me.
Amish Areas In United States — Where To Explore On Your Next Vacation
The Amish community is a group of people that have traditional Christian church fellowships. They are a part of the Swiss Anabaptist following. They are known for their plain dress, simple living, and high moral values. Though they are closely related to the Mennonite group, though the two are vastly different.
The group was started in 1693 by Jakob Ammann. When the Swiss and Alsatian Anabaptists had a “church split,” those who followed Ammann was renamed the Amish. After the split, many of the Amish migrated to Pennsylvania in the 18th century. Today, there are more than 227,000 Old-Order Amish who live in the United States. Most of these people can speak a dialect of Swiss — German, which is also referred to as “Pennsylvania Dutch.”
The “Buckeyes State” houses the largest group of Amish in this country. They are mostly located in the North-Eastern part of the state. Here, more than 40,000 people are spread out through four counties. Because more than half the population lives in Holmes County, most of the attractions are also located here. Most people come here to sample the Amish cooking, which is made from “scratch.” There are numerous great little shops and flea markets to enjoy as well as the ability to sample some of the best Swiss cheese around.
There are three major cheese distributors that ship their products around the country. Bakeries here are known for their homemade pastries, which literally melt in your mouth. You haven’t lived until you have tried a fried pie or whoopie pie. Don’t forget to swing by Hershberg’s for some scrumptious bread. Here, the people are truthful, welcoming, and hard-working people that simply enjoy life. People visit this area because it is a welcomed break from the stress of everyday life. Visitors love the option to eat in an Amish home and see how these families do things, or they can take a horseback ride and play with animals on the farm. Some come just find out what the Amish do and why they do it. Though there are all different belief variations between the Amish in this part of the country, it is a cultural experience that is sure to please.
Lancaster County, PA is the oldest settlement of Amish in the country. Here, the slower, more peaceful pace is a way of life. The Amish here is involved in agriculture as well as a wide array of businesses. Though this Amish community is a bit more commercialized than those in other states, getting off the beaten path will unveil some true Old-Order Amish and traditional style living.
Visitors love to tour the hills in an Amish horse and buggy ride. There are many Amish-themed attractions, even a comedy dinner theater. The authentic Pennsylvania-Dutch cooking is unlike anything you will ever taste. The people here live lives that are centuries of belief and tradition. They don’t have electricity, telephones, vehicles, or even buttons on their clothes. Their plain lifestyle is interesting to those who live in the rat race.
Shipshewana, Ind. is home to Indiana’s Amish population. Though this area is not as large and doesn’t have as much to do as some of the others, it is a tranquil place that offers rest for the weary. The Heritage Trail Driving Tour is among visitor favorites here. This easy to follow trail loops around through all the Amish settlements within the community. Along the trail, most people stop for pictures of the Quilt Gardens. These larger than life murals are replicas of Amish quilts painted to perfection. There are 22 in all, and every intricate pattern and design has a story all its own. The murals are only on display from May 30 — October 1st.
The Amish Acres Barn Theater is another big hit with travelers. See the Amish put their acting abilities to work in one-of-a-kind productions. Fruit Hills Wine and Orchard is another must see a place on the journey through the driving tour. The Shipshewana Flea Market & Auction is a place to find Amish treasures and baked goodies. Everything is easy to get to here as it is all within easy range on the tour. There is much to see and do so allow ample time.
About 15,000 Amish calls Wisconsin home. Though this is a newer settlement and not as big, it still has plenty to see and explore. There are four dozen settlements within this state’s border, which includes 120 church districts. The largest of the settlements is in Cashton, Wisc. The Amish began settling here in 1966. David Luthy is credited with helping the Amish to settle in this area. The oldest and smallest of the settlements is in Medford. Due to the especially cold weather in this reason, the growth of this community is not as extensive as the others.
The people here are mostly conservative. They do not use indoor plumbing, have hot water, or use cars or cell phones. This community is farming oriented. The Amish farmers supply plenty of milk for all the Wisconsin cheese shops. You will find plenty of shops to explore. There are buggy makers, hat shops, bulk food warehouses, hardware stores, clockmakers, and cabinet suppliers. The Amish work hard in this community to provide for their families. They are not afraid of hard work. They will certainly talk to any visitors who come through, but please don’t ask to take their picture. In all of the communities, pictures are considered vanity.
Travel To Amish Country
Visiting Amish Country is a great way to have a change of pace of everyday life. If the beach and mountains are becoming boring, perhaps, it is time to try a new adventure. In all of the communities in the four states listed above, you can find amazing places to stay, scrumptious foods, and plenty of entertainment. There is nothing better than meeting a “plain person” and hearing them rattle off in their Pennsylvania Dutch tongue. Their culture is fascinating and so different than learning about their lifestyle is enthralling.
My mind says go to Pa, my heart says Wisconsin. I so wish I could talk to someone with some background and knowledge on where I could go to lavish myself in their simple lifestyle, If only for a week. It would be a life-long memory for me. This trip I plan to take in June 2018, stay tuned!