The Amish are a Christian Church group with Anabaptist origins who prefer to live a simple life away from modern technology.
Currently, the Amish have a population of about 230,000 people in 22 different settlements in the United States and Ontario, Canada. The second largest group, after the Amish community in the county of Holmes, Ohio, is found in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
The Amish men wear dark suits, black or straw hats whereas the women wear long plain dresses, an apron and a white bonnet. These self-made clothes are very similar to the seventeenth century fashion clothing.
With a fervent belief in the New Testament in a very literal way, the Amish families defend pacifism and a simple way of life, without cars, televisions, phones, or appliances.
The Amish are farmers and carpenters and usually sell their handmade goods at the closest city markets that they get to by a horse-driven buggy.
Children that are born in an Amish community are not obliged to follow the Amish way of life. On the contrary, when they turn sixteen they are given the chance to see and experience the modern lifestyle and decide if they want to belong to their community or not. Curiously, only a small percentage of children decide to abandon the Amish way of life.
What to See in Lancaster?
Driving through the secondary roads of Lancaster, you often come across horse-driven buggies driven by the Amish, and see this community's farmers working the fields with their horses and manual tools.
Depending on the time of your visit, you’ll witness the members of the community getting on with their everyday activities, see children wearing their straw hats playing football, or the adults going to the neighboring towns to sell their goods.
For visitors, we recommend going to the Amish Farm Museum, which is very interesting. It's a place where you will get to see the group’s customs and traditions while visiting a traditional Amish house.
In the Lancaster county, where every fruit and vegetable has been grown with care and without any added colouring or preservatives, you’ll find several restaurants serving food prepared by the Amish.
How to get to Lancaster County?
The easiest way to get around Lancaster county is by renting a car. Thanks to this means of transport, you’ll be able to discover the smaller routes, go at your own pace and stop when you see something interesting. The main roads worth visiting are 30 and 340.
Lancaster County is 164 miles away from New York City, 120 miles from Washington and only 69 miles from Philadelphia. We recommend combining a trip to Philadelphia with the Amish Country, Lancaster. And if you want to discover Washington, you can also continue your journey southbound until you get to the capital of the States.
You can use Google Maps to plan your itinerary: